This Cat May Need Fresh Batteries

A conversation with Logan tonight:

(Logan has just begun to discover that certain toys need batteries, and if they don’t have them, they don’t work.)

Logan: Buttons doesn’t need batteries. (Important to note: Buttons is the cat)

Me: Why not?

Logan: Cause he doesn’t need them. (Typical toddler logic.)

Me: Does he have batteries?

Logan: No, Mama.

Me: How does he run then? (I’m trying to get him to understand that food is fuel, and that we eat to get energy. Toys run on batteries, people and pets run on food. Admittedly it’s a bit of an advanced concept for a toddler.)

Logan: Uh, Mama, Buttons doesn’t run.

Oozes yes. Runs, not so much.

Perhaps I should have been more clear with my “how things work” lesson. However, it’s true. Our incredibly lazy, fully indoor cat, indeed does not run (in the “gets places quickly” sense of the word).

It’s awesome how preschoolers can be both wrong and spot on at the exact same time.


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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in kids, Parenting, Pets, Stuff My Kids Say


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Baby Book Failure

So, I am a baby book failure. My oldest sons baby mementos (birth announcement, hospital bracelet, teeny tiny hospital issue hat, ect) are safely stored in a shoe box that I have apparently lost. His little brothers stuff is shoved into the bottom drawer of out filing cabinet, so at least I know that I can find it. Don’t think that this means that I love the baby more. Just to prove that that’s not the case, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Liam’s (the baby) name isn’t even on his keepsake birth certificate (the one they give you at the hospital along with an address to mail $35 to if you want the real deal). Nope, it never got filled out. They were in such a hurry to get us out of there they just handed us a blank one. It looks official though, and I’m thinking that maybe I’ll save it until he is a teenager, and use it to play a really good practical joke on him. Maybe I’ll fill it in to convince him his name isn’t Liam, rather it’s something with more character like, “Belthazar” or “Penguin Pants.” I like to keep my options open.

So, since I do not keep baby books, I don’t have an awesome place to write down the hilarious stuff that comes out of these little people’s mouths. So without further ado, stuff my awesome kids say:

We’ll start with Liam, because he is little and doesn’t say much. He says both Mama and Dada, and though he does say Dada more, I’m not offended. I just take it to mean “Dada come change my poopy diaper!” He does a lot of indiscriminate screaming to try to get his point across (Liam, not Dada), but he is starting to add a few words to his vocabulary. Most recently, he has taken to flinging things on the floor and squealing “Unh-Ahhh,” his version of “Uh-Oh.” Since he is most often flinging food, the dog is his best friend right now. The polite boy that he is, he has started saying “akew” when you give him food. This is baby for “thank-you.”

Logan says piles of funny stuff because he is three and in addition to having a strange little brain, he is also repeating everything he hears. And as you may know, the husband and I are pretty funny. When Logan was a baby, he said all of the usuals, such as “Mama, Dada, up, doggy,” etc. One of my personal favorites was “key-key” (kitty), which was always screamed while in pursuit of the cat. I don’t think that his little 1-year-old brain understood that he was giving the key-key ample time to escape with his warning screech. However, now that he is three, he says tons of awesome things. It’s amazing listening to this tiny little brain that has a shaky grasp on language as it is, saying everything he thinks with no filter. Some of my recent favorites:

When asking for batteries to be replaced in a toy, Logan mentioned that his brother Liam did not run on batteries. When further probed, he revealed that “Leelee runs on cerals and puppies!” No wonder he can crawl so fast.

“I gotta get my bunkles out!” Bunkles = Tangles

Upon asking to describe what he happened when he fell down: “I hurt my pants!”

“I need a napkin!” After vomiting everywhere. You may need a napkin buddy, but I need a haz-mat team.

“Don’t poke my hair!”

Come on though, who wouldn't want to poke awesome hair like this?


So, because I am a baby book failure, I have decided that I will blog about all of the things that normal people put in baby books (normal being a relative term I suppose, unless of course normal people write love songs to the pediatric urologist in their baby books).

On that note, I suppose I should mention that Liam started walking this week. Of course I can’t remember which day. If I could I might not be a baby book failure.

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in kids, Parenting, Stuff My Kids Say


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Smokey the Bear Would Be Disappointed In Me

I remember Smokey the Bear from grade school. “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” I have never played with matches, I am cautious with campfires, I make sure that the BBQ is turned off and the fire is extinguished. I’m a pretty fire safe lady. But as I write this my house reeks of smoke, to the point I’m afraid that it is going to set of the smoke alarms, again. So apparently Smokey the Bear was limited in his scope. Yes, I can prevent forest fires, but house fires are clearly a whole other story. I suppose that Smokey only cares if a fire takes out his home, not mine. Selfish bear.


Let’s rewind back to the Christmas Eve service at our church this year. We were having a small family style service in our church’s living room, cozy and complete with cookies, cocoa, and pretty little tea-lite candles on the table. All was well until the middle of the service when Liam had crawled over and was attempting to eat my husband’s sheet music. He was defenseless against the attack, as he was using both of his hands to play the guitar. I moved the stack of sheet music further toward the center of the table. Problem solved. Until about 30 seconds later when the song took an interesting turn. “O come, o come Emman-Uh! Nicole, FIRE!” Yep I had set the stack of music directly on top of the candle which shockingly resulted in a fire. I grabbed the stack of paper and blew on it. When that didn’t prove effective, I ran the papers to the bathroom and extinguished them in the sink. Christmas service continued with a sense of excitement in the air. The only drawback was my husband trying to play the songs with a large chunk burned away. Everyone was quite understanding. I chalked it up to a fluke. It had been a long day, and I was exhausted. Tired people set the occasional accidental fire. Whatever.

Moving forward, we had friends over for dinner this weekend. I made mini pizzas and some of them had olive oil for a sauce. I opened the oven to check on the pizzas, and moments later the smoke detectors were going off. Some of the olive oil had gotten on the burner of the stove and created a nice smoke cloud. The smoke detectors in our house are really quite awesome. 1st of all, our 750 square foot house that would be totally covered with one smoke detector, has 3. They followed code, and placed one in each bedroom and in the living room. The bedrooms are right off of the living room, meaning that we have 3 smoke detectors all within about 6 square feet. When one goes off, they all go off. On top of that, the smoke detectors are hardwired, and I don’t really know what that entails except for the fact that they don’t need batteries, and you can’t turn them off in the case of a false alarm. You just have to stand there and fan them repeatedly until they decide that the threat has passed and calm down. So we fanned them, they calmed down, and we all had some laughs about my cooking.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I was on the couch dinking around on Facebookdoing homework, and suddenly with no warning, the smoke detectors were at it again. I glanced into the kitchen to make sure that I had indeed turned the oven off after lunch. I had, so I assumed that perhaps it was the cool mist humidifier that I was running for the baby in the playroom while he napped. I went into the playroom, and other than the smoke detector making the baby scream, all was well. Just as I was silently cursing the stupid crazy smoke detectors, I walked into the boys’ room. It was pungent with smoke. I went straight to the electric baseboard heater to examine it while Logan pointed at the smoke detector and informed me, “Mama, I think it be makin noises.” Really buddy, ya think? The curtains were still hanging clear of it, so I crouched down to see if anything had fallen behind the dresser. I found three sippy cups of water neatly lined up against the heater, but they were barely even warm, so I peeked inside the actual vent part and saw an obstruction. I fished around in the vent and found this:

Mmmm... warm and toasty

Yep, that is a singed sock and a very burned part of what used to be a Target receipt. Being the genius that I am, I pulled these out of the very hot heater with my bare hands. Please note, that my finger is now blistered. I then aired out the room the best I could opening all of the doors and windows, even though it was freezing out. Once the room was sufficiently aired out, I put the kiddos back down to nap, but not before I had a little talk with the three year-old about not putting stuff in the heater. He listened very carefully and nodded yes, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he is not the actual culprit. I happen to know someone who has just learned the skill of putting things into other thing (like blocks into a cup, or perhaps socks into a heater vent), and has a particular disdain for socks. I cannot actually prove my theory, but I’m pretty certain that the perp is 2 foot 7, blue eyes, blond hair (but mostly bald), and looks a little something like this:

I thought his crimes would stop at texting and driving; who knew arson would be next

I am actually so grateful for my annoying smoke detectors because I was seriously sitting 5 feet away from his room and I didn’t smell anything until I opened the door. Yikes! Just to be on the safe side, I piled blankets on him and turned the heater off for the rest of his nap (either that or I turned it all the way up- half of our heater knobs are installed upside down, so it’s hard to remember in which room to do what).

So Smokey the Bear was right. I can prevent forest fires. However, my fire prevention skills apparently stop there, as I clearly cannot prevent indoor fires. I’m not sure what his advice to me would be, but I feel like even though a have yet to set a forest fire, he’d probably be disappointed in me.

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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Cooking, kids, Parenting


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My (Dip-alicious) Plan for World Peace

My three year-old is going through a phase. He has to have everything his way. He has to do what he wants, when he wants to do it. Everyone who disagrees with him is wrong. He has become a control freak. I think that this phase is most commonly refered to as “childhood.” I would say that I hope it stops soon, but to be quite honest, I still might be going through the same phase myself. And even though I don’t usually resort to throwing whiney tantrums, I do tend to get my way. Because I am the adult. Or at least I put up a pretty good front pretending that I am.

Everything has become a battle. I’ve found (the hard way, of course) the secret to doing battle with three year-olds. Are you ready for this parenting wisdom? I choose to not battle him whenever possible. This only works for little things like letting him wear whatever the heck he wants, even if he looks completely ridiculous. I did have problems with him wanting to wear dirty clothes, but I just told him that everything in his hamper is dirty, and gross, and might have baby poop on it. Now he won’t go within three feet of the thing, let alone resurrect any clothes out of it. We also have our nonnegotiables: you will wear a jacket and shoes, you will sit buckled into your car seat, you will say please and thank you, and you won’t have screaming banshee fits in public unless you want to start a war with mama. We do try to offer lot of choices: green beans or carrots, fork or spoon, milk or water, simmer down or time-out. However, sometimes you can’t win.

Lately we’ve been in the midst of a food battle. This kid has been an awesome eater for the last two years, but his appetite has diminished considerably lately. And what’s worse is that he barely eats any fruits or vegetables any more. It’s getting to the point where I’m starting to worry about scurvy. Which leads us to lunch the other day. I made sandwiches and pear slices. Logan was, once again, refusing to eat his pear slices. I tried to coax him into trying a bite.

Him: “No! I don’t like appwles!”

Me: “They’re not apples! They’re pears. You will like pears. Look, brother likes his pears.”

Him: “No pears! I don’t like them!”

Me: “No sandwich until you try your pears.”

Him: “NOOOOOOOO!” (He thinks for a moment) “Can I have some dip-dip then please?”

Me: “Sure pal.”

Please take this moment to note, that my child (much like most young children) loves dip-dip. He’s mostly a ranch or ketchup guy, but he likes all kinds of dip-dip. I totally use this to my advantage. I take his plate into the kitchen and grab a jar of left over baby food that our youngest never ate from the pantry. To be extra spiteful, I made sure it was pears. I plopped some pear puree on the plate alongside his sliced pears and gave it back to him. He dipped the pears into the pear puree, and made yummy noises. He ate all of them, and asked for more. He felt like he won, but really I won. So in my book we both won. And you can judge me for tricking my kid, but at least now he’s not going to get scurvy. I am totally counting this as a parenting victory.

Dip-dip has restored the peace in our house (at least temporarily). And I think I’m on to something here. Perhaps I’ll call the UN to pitch them my idea…


Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Food, kids, Parenting


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Post-Holiday Chaotic Bliss (Complete With Sweatpants and Cardboard Boxes)

My husband was on vacation from the 17th through the 25th of this month. Coincidently I did not post on the blog during this time. Some may suspect that this lack of posting was because I was busy hanging out with my husband (which I suppose may be true). However, truly, my lack of posting can mostly be boiled down to a lack of material. As it turns out when my husband is home to help manage the chaos that tends to saturate my life, my life is actually a lot less chaotic. And as a result, less interesting. It’s times like these that I can rejoice in the fact that I don’t have a live in nanny. Can you imagine how boring my life would be? I wouldn’t get to experience any of the crazy antics that tend to ensue when I take my children out of the house by myself, and I would probably be out of excuses for my hair being in a permanent bun, and for wearing yoga pants (which unless you actually practice yoga, are pretty much sweat pants) a lot of the time. Kind of a no-win situation.

Now that my husbands vacation is over, the chaos is back in full swing. The munchkins and I have a nasty cold, which my in-no-way-medically-trained-mother diagnosed over the phone as either bronchitis or pneumonia. She couldn’t do an in-person diagnosis because she refused to come within 3 square miles of my germs. Regardless, due to our cold (which is not probable to be bronchitis or pneumonia), the kiddos and I have been hanging around the house, fighting over the new toys. I’d like to say that it’s just the kids fighting over the toys, but seriously, the Weeble Treehouse that we got for the baby is awesome! You know you want one.

Even with all of the new toys, the most popular playthings in our house this week have been the boxes. Which I think is great. Playing like this: fun!

This is The. Best. Toy. Ever.

 Finding your toddler has climbed atop the new kiddie table, crawled inside the box, and is about to fling himself (box and all) off the side onto his unsuspecting baby brother, significantly less fun. Sadly, there is no picture of this because I felt a need to stop bodily harm from occurring to either child. This scenario has further confirmed the suspicion that while my son has my blue eyes, and my awesome hair, he was entirely bestowed with Daddy’s reasoning skills.

Since Daddy is back to work, and since there are still tons of awesome boxes lying around, I predict that more chaos is to ensue. But, as I’ve made clear, chaos makes life interesting. So until school starts back up for me next week, I will be chilling in my yoga pants with messy hair, enjoying the chaos that my children create around me. Ahhh, back to normal.

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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Holidays, kids, Parenting


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O Christmas Tree (How to Make Your Own Christmas Memories in 14 Simple Steps)

When I was 12 my mom went out and bought a fake Christmas tree and a pretty set of coordinating decorations to go on it. She was excited. No yearly cost, no pine needles, no fire hazard. Plus, with the new decorations, our tree looked like a perfect department store model. You put it together when you are ready for it, and put it away when you are done. To me however, it was the end of an era. I missed the days of the real trees. Now, interestingly enough, I never can remember where we got our trees. I’m guessing they were from tree lots, but I honestly can’t be 100% sure. What I do remember is how once we got the tree home, my mom and my stepdad would wrestle the tree into a 5 gallon bucket, propping it into place with a variety of rocks found outside and saved for this purpose. My mom would videotape my stepdad as he tried to get the tree wrangled into the bucket, and he would yell at her to put down the dang camera and come help with the tree. With all of that energy required, I can see why she eventually went with the fake tree.

Once the tree was secured, he and my mom would sit back, and allow my sister and me to do most of the tree decorating. We would carefully deliberate over the placement of each ornament on our large collection, and inevitably every year we would manage to break one of these incredible delicate antique bird ornaments while trying to clip them onto the tree. We would blast either Christmas music or Tom Petty (what, those aren’t interchangeable in your house?), and it was a generally merry and good time.

When the fake tree, with its matching decor, came into our home everything changed. It wasn’t as fun to watch as my mom popped the color-coordinated branches into their spots, and each decoration had a specific place that it belonged. Decorating for Christmas became orderly and organized. It was no longer happy chaos, and therefore was much less fun. So as a child I vowed that I would always have a real Christmas tree when I had kids. And with the exception of Logan’s first Christmas (he was only 3 months old-what would he care), we have done a real tree every year. Our trees always come from different places. Sometimes we go to tree lots, and one year we got one that my dad cut down from his property. This year I wanted to do something different, a real memory maker. So we went to a place to cut our very own tree.

So this has been a very long-winded introduction to the real point at hand, which is a (not so) Super Mama tutorial on how to cut your own Christmas tree in 14 easy steps.

1. Do your research. Find a farm that allows you to cut your own tree. Call them to confirm their hours, and ask basic questions. An important question to as apparently is “do you provide the saws?” There was a tree farm that required you to bring your own saw, but we skipped that one because 1) we only have a circular saw and an ax, and neither of those seemed tree farm appropriate and 2) I wasn’t super comfortable letting my children run around in a place where strangers are wielding all sorts of various cutting implements.

2. From your research pick your farm. We selected a farm where all of the proceeds went to a local charity that benefits foster kids. I recommend this route. It allows you to feel good about yourself while destroying part of the environment.

3. Bundle up your kiddos to prepare for the cold December outdoors. Get distracted bundling them and forget to bundle yourself. Since you’re only wearing a sweater, prepare to be cold, very cold.

4. Bask in your childs excitement when you tell him it’s time to go get a Christmas tree. Both of you can be a little disappointed when you arrive at the tree farm and have to have the awkward conversation in which you realize that he was actually excited about Christmas treats not Christmas trees. Memory making fail.

5. Once your toddler finally gets into the excitement of picking a tree even though we can’t eat them, begin to wander the farm looking for your perfect tree. Once you pick a tree out head back to grab a saw from the proprietor. On your way back to the original tree, find a better tree. (No, it wasn’t better just because it was closer to the car…okay maybe that was a tiny part of it.)

6. Try to get your husband and children to pose in front of the tree. Regret doing this during what is supposed to be nap time because now your three year-old won’t stop pouting. Accept that this is the best photo that you will get.

Happy Daddy, Happy Baby, Pouty Toddler - Everything is as it should be

7. Do a quick ceremonial saw with your 3 year-old for a photo op:

I'm a wild tree-sawing lumberjack woman

8. Have husband actually saw down tree. When he is done he can put his foot up on it like he has conquered a mighty beast.

If you picture him wearing flannel instead of a hoodie, and that the toddler is actually an ox, he looks just like Paul Bunyan, don't you think?

9. Pay for your tree and have the girl who has no clue what she’s doing help you tie it to your car. Later lament that you forgot to take a picture of this. Spend the whole drive home praying that your tree doesn’t go flying off the top of your car, and that if it does that it doesn’t actually injure anyone.

10. Arrive home and put your tree in a tree stand. If your lucky, and your kids are still to little to get into the decorating, do it yourself while they are sleeping. String all of the lights onto the tree without checking to make sure they work first. Plug in the lights and realize that one strand is indeed dead. Unstring and replace the lights. Mutter a bit under your breath if necessary. While decorating, remember that a certain husband broke Liam’s first ornament last year. From the looks of it baby didn’t have a very good first Christmas:

Poor Baby

11. When all the decorating is done lay underneath the tree with your husband and enjoy the beautiful sparkly pine scented wonderfulness of the moment. Remember why you always have a real tree.

12. Spend the whole next morning trying to get your 3 year-old to stop touching the tree and your 1 year-old to stop eating the tree.

13. Realize that three days later none of the ornaments on the bottom half of the tree are where you originally put them. Never bother to fix it.

O Christmas Tree

14. Remember all the fun Christmas chaos as a child and hope that your children are building their own love of crazy chaos family time that they will eventually pass on to their own children.

O Christmas Tree, indeed.

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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in General, Holidays, kids, Parenting


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Awww…Can We Keep Him?

So I had some time to kill after I took my Chemistry final tonight, since my lab partner was giving me a ride home and I finished the test an hour or so before her. I forgot to bring a book to read and since I was done with the class I didn’t really feel inspired to read the only book that was currently in my possession- my Chemistry text. I wandered the corridor hoping to find a newspaper or something lying around, but all I could find were several copies of the school paper. Even though community college papers aren’t really my thing, I was bored enough to read through it. It was mostly a pretty generic college paper, until I got to the back. The back is where I struck gold.

Solid Gold!

 There are so many awesome things happening here, I can’t decide where to start. Okay, we’ll take it from the beginning. The title:

On Broadway!

 To me this title implies that this is an article about reptile performers. Come on, who else soaks up the spotlight. In actuality it is an article about a reptile store in the local mall that opened over a year ago. I’m not really sure how this is newsworthy, but I kept going. The next thing I noticed was the awesome quote in the center of the article:

I know it's a little dark, and you may need to click on it to get it big enough to read, but it's worth it, I promise

 First of all, this is just good information to know. I bet that this quote will prevent a lot of unsuspecting people from buying an anaconda in the hopes that one day they might teach it how to fetch. Also, this quote really answers a lot of questions about what I thought was my dog. He doesn’t usually care if I’m calling his name, and he really doesn’t seem to recognize what I want from him (especially when what I want involves him stopping whatever misbehavior he’s involved with at the time). He MUST be a reptile. That explains everything!

Canine or Reptile? You decide
And then the sidebar. I really, really love the sidebar.

"Illegal Exotic Pets in Wash"

Finally, perhaps my favorite part of the article is the sidebar. First of all last time I checked the abbreviation for Washington State was WA, but since this says “Wash,” these pets are either illegal to own in Washington or illegal to put in the wash. Either way, I am firmly opposed to putting any pets, exotic or not, in the washer. That’s just not cool.

Now for my itemized analysis of the illegals:

Non-Human Primates: I was a little concerned about this at first, but since the list specifies that it’s non-human primates, I’m relieved. I was afraid that perhaps I was keeping my children illegally. But since I’m over 95% sure that they are human primates, then we should be in the clear. Also, if any of you were considering getting a human primate as a pet, rest assured that it’s not illegal in Wash.

Badgers: No problem here. I have never wanted a badger. Those little guys have a reputation for being mean. However, apparently this list doesn’t 86 beavers. So if you’re disappointed that badgers are off the list, consider gifting a beaver this Christmas.

Large Cats: Due to the fact that this list doesn’t really define “large cats” I’m a little worried. I know that tigers, cougars, and pumas are out, but what about our beloved Fat Buttons? Everyone who comes into our house marvels about how huge he is. Is our adorable large cat an illegal in this state? If so, since he’s been living here for over six years do you think they’ll grant him amnesty?

I'm not fat! This fur just isn't very slimming on me.

 Alligators and Crocodiles: I have no issue here. My bathtub certainly isn’t large enough.

Water Moniter Lizards: I actually had to google these bad boys, and as soon as I read that they can grow to be over 10 feet long and weigh up to 55 pounds, I was convinced that they deserve their place on the no-go list. I’d actually be willing to sign a petition to keep them there.

Venomous Snakes: I’m glad that these aren’t allowed as pets in Washington (or the wash – we never really cleared that up). I wish that they weren’t allowed in camping areas either.

Wolves: Oh, man. I totally wanted to try to tame one. Perhaps I can tame a coyote since they aren’t on the list.

Hyenas: I only know hyenas from The Lion King, but based off of their portrayal in that, they don’t seem like very good pets.

Bears: Not even a little black bear cub? But they’re so cute!

And finally, Elephants: First of all, to me elephants would be very impractical in Washington. It’s cold here. Based on where they’re from, I assume elephants like to be warm. That would take a lot of blankets. However, with only elephants and big cats being excluded from your safari pets, that still leaves plenty of ridiculous options. Zebra, giraffe, or hippos, anyone?

All in all, this article definitely wins my vote for most thought-provoking part of the school paper.

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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in General


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