...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tales from the Doghouse

So, we have a dog named Finn (meet him here).

He's been in our household for nearly eight months.  He has learned a lot, so have we.  But he is still a puppy, and sometimes that feature shows up in less enticing ways than others.

For example...

he ate his house.


Yes, I bought him a brand new, lovely, wooden dog house just a couple of months ago.  I put it together and he really loved hanging out inside it from the get-go...and he started gnawing on it from day one.  I figured he would mangle the edges and then he'd live in a disfigured but still functional home.  I guess I can swallow my annoyance and live with that.

But that's not how things went.

This is what happened.

First, he chewed one side so much that there was no longer wood for the screws to sink in to, so it pretty much fell apart.  He did the same to the bottom of the house so what was left was kind of like an expensive, wooden lean-to.

But heaven forbid he should stop there.  So he deconstructed the remaining assemblage until none of the sides could stay together anymore and all that was left was the sad, lonely top (which I balanced over this window well for a week or so to give him some protection while we tried to figure out what to do next).

This is part of the lovely array of wood shreds that Finn left as evidence of his mad demolition skills.

Anyway, Josh did a bunch of research (knowing that his wife might get really angry if we spent a bunch of money on yet another doghouse only to have that one devoured as well) and found a house which gets great reviews and seemed to be fairly difficult to tear apart and didn't cost hundreds of dollars.

So we ordered one.

And when it (finally) arrived at our house, Josh put it together.
(If you are interested just beware that you buy a kit to assemble but you have to procure your own 55 gallon drum...not too hard to do.)


Fancy, sturdy, difficult to chew new dog house for Josh's dog.

Just one problem, said dog has no interest in going in this house.  It has been pretty rainy around here and our k-9 friend can be found sitting on his favorite stump, soaking wet while rain pours down on him because he doesn't want to go in his house.

This is where he sits.  Silly dog.

Josh has braved the elements several times of late to force the dog into his house and then he locks him in so he won't be drenched (not trying to be mean, but trying to teach him that he can actually stay warm and dry if he uses this thing).  We've also taken to putting his food inside the house to try to entice him inside and teach him it is a good place (he does go in to eat, or he pulls the bowl out and eats outside, but he still prefers to sit in the rain...maybe he just likes rain).  

I do worry about it a bit.  We'll see what happens once winter hits and it starts to get cold. While we do bring the dog in every night or in really frigid weather, he is a primarily outside dog and he will be spending some time in the weather and I wish he would learn to appreciate his place of refuge instead of ignoring it.  We'll see how it goes.  

Crazy mutt.  Lucky for him so many people around here like him so much.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dr. Who comes for breakfast

I was making shaped pancakes the other morning for my crew of monsters.  I made sword shaped pancakes and shark shaped pancakes and jelly fish shaped pancakes.

Then I got a request for a shape I had never done before.  

One of my sprites called out, "Mom, will you make me a tardis shaped pancake?"

Oh my heck.

What a crew of nerdy little Whovians.

Tardis shaped pancakes, here we come -- I ended up making several with varying degrees of success.  (The kids were very encouraging even though my pancake skills leave much to be desired.)

Who knew we would be inviting Dr. Who to breakfast.

(As a side note, I just cannot get into this show -- I don't care for it.  But several of my kidlets are completely addicted.  Crazy kids!)

Friday, September 19, 2014


This week was a crazy one (hence my poor, ignored blog).  I feel like I have spent the last ten days or so sprinting from thing to thing to thing with barely a moment to breathe in between.

As my kids get older and involved in more things weeks like this just may become a regular part of life, it could get pretty wild around here.  It's happening more and more.

But that's not the point.

So, this week I had one day in particular that was ridiculous!  I had to maneuver things into crazy yoga poses just to fit everything into an amenable time slot.  It was a rowdy bit of wrangling.

And then I got a message from someone asking me to do something for her that day.  It was a rough day already, but I knew she needed help and I wanted to help her and figured I could maneuver things to make it work so I took a deep breath and I said ok.

The hard part for me was her attitude.  She is a working mom and after I said I thought I could manage what she needed she took on this attitude of, "Well, of course you can.  You stay at home with your kids so you have all the time in the world.  Don't pretend that you know what it is like to be tied into an overly-demanding schedule like those of us who work full time and still have to try to fit everything into the hours left over after that."

I hate this attitude. I've run into it over and over throughout my years as a stay-at-home mom and I despise it every, single time.  Why am I somehow lesser because I stay at home with my children?

However, I'll readily admit this sneering attitude is not one sided.  I've hated it for years, and -- I'll tell you the truth -- I hate it from both sides.

I don't like this Mom vs Mom under the table battle covered with false smiles and barely veiled contempt that seems to go on about who is the more fit, more stressed, more run ragged mother -- the one who works or the one who doesn't.

I hate it when a working mom insinuates that a stay-at-home mom is semi-lazy, only semi-intelligent and only semi-living up to her potential (not to mention she has all the time in the world for any activity under the sun) because she isn't tied to full time employment.  I cringe at the, "Well, it's not like you really have anything to do all day anyway" look that I sometimes get from such mothers.

But, I also hate the other side of this stigma.  I have heard time and time again stay-at-home moms who berate working moms because they don't care enough about their families to sacrifice to be home with them or they expect someone else to raise their children because they are too tied into their jobs.  This, "If you really cared about your kids then you would stay at home like I do" attitude is nasty and unfair as well.

I imagine there are instances where both of these stereotypes are true.  There are probably lazy moms who lounge around all day watching tv and eating bon bons and there are probably moms who care very little about their family and choose their work like over their home life....but I don't really know any of them.

The women I know -- almost without fail -- are grasping to do everything they possibly can to raise their children and support their husband and manage their home in the very best way.

Some of those women are like me.  They scrimp and save and plan because they choose to live on one income instead of two so that they can be available for their children during the day.  Or maybe finances aren't an issue for them, but they b-line from grocery shopping to library trips to school to dance practices to soccer games and flute lessons and scouts and everything in between while still making dinner, canning tomatoes and peaches, doing laundry and trying to be kind to those around them.  These women often lend a hand to other moms who need them and that is as it should be.

But many of these amazing women have full time jobs.  Many of them work these jobs because it is what their family needs them to do or because they are a powerful contributing force to the good of their community.  They are nurses and teachers and lawyers and principals and everything in between.  We need them.  But because of their work, their day is clipped. They get to squeeze homework and vacuuming and yard work and cooking and family time and projects into a much tighter schedule because they are minus 8-10 hours each weekday (and sometimes weekends).  What they get done in that time is incredible.

In each case, these women adore their children and want what is best for them.  Each woman sacrifices for the good of her family and strives to meet their needs but each has a different way of doing that -- the way that works for her household.

What I don't understand is why we have to compete with each other.  Why do we look down our noses at another mom who is trying her best but is doing it in a different way than OUR way?

Why are we judging everything "she" does as wrong and building up our way as the ONLY right course.

There are billions of families out there in the world.  It seems to me that every single family is different and that means there must be billions of right ways to have a family.

As long as we stay focused on what is most important, I strongly believe God will guide us in our decisions and help us each to find the path that will be best for our situation.

Instead of belittling or criticizing, wouldn't it be great if we -- the moms of this world -- would band together to support and encourage each other.

Wouldn't it be great if I could tell my working-mom friend about a rough week and she would just listen and sympathize because she knows what a rough week is like instead of smugly thinking to herself, "Well, you had it easy because you had the whole day to get it all done.  You have no idea what a rough day really is."

And wouldn't it be awesome if she could complain to me about a difficult day on the job without me thinking, "You are completely wasting your time there, if you were any kind of real mom you would spend your time with your kids instead" or "At least you got to have intelligent conversation with adults, I got to speak toddler and break up fights all day."   (FYI, I don't actually think those things -- well, maybe the 2nd one sometimes -- but you get the idea.)

I firmly believe that moms love their children.  Period. (Is typing a period after writing the word period redundant?...whatever.)

I also believe that in nearly every single case, moms work hard to do what is best for their family.

These women want their small ones (and not so small ones) to be healthy, happy, well rounded, intelligent, loving people.  They want to help and support and encourage and teach and bless their baby's lives more than anything else.

But there is more than one way to do that.  Not every family fits into the cute little picket fence, two children and a dog "Leave it to Beaver" mold (yeah, we sort of burst out of that one four kids ago).

There is a right way for each family, and your way may not be my way.  In fact, I'd bet you a dollar that your right way will be vastly different in some aspect or another than my right way.

And that is ok.

In fact, it is the way things should be.

Maybe instead of picking each other to pieces, we can unite.

We can mommify ourselves!

We can raise our families in love and harmony and can see each other as equals -- one more mom together with us on the path -- instead of competitors that must be beaten out because they just aren't good enough.

Our goal is (or should be) to help our families become the best they can possibly be.  If that is what we are aiming for then we will each make the choices within our own sphere that will lead us toward that end.  When we are honestly, truthfully, fully devoted to that cause, how can we go wrong?

And all the better if we cheer and encourage our fellow Momma's because we know from experience that this is a difficult journey.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Adventures at the fair

Last night we trundled our clutch of kidlets to the Utah State Fair.

I love the fair.  I like seeing exotic squash and gigantic peppers and beehives and 4H creations and I love the fresh, soothing smell of animals (honestly, Josh thinks I'm nuts, but I do).  This year we had managed to procure a foursome of free tickets and we bundled that with a Monday night trip on a "kids 12 and under are free" evening so aside from paying for parking ($8...seriously?) our adventure was very budget friendly.

Monk sheep in their ceremonial shrouds.  We chatted with them, but they had taken a vow of silence so it was a pretty one sided conversation.
My younger kids have not been able to be around farm animals much since we don't visit my grandparent's home as often as we used to (we leave their great-grandparents exhausted and their small home bursting at the seams, plus the kids activities make travel to see them more difficult these days).

Anyway, we explored animal exhibits (including watching some chicks pick their way out of eggs which was pretty cool), watched a couple of shows on the pavilion, rode one ride each (which meant waiting in lots of lines because heaven forbid we all choose to go on the same thing) and just had a good time.

Logan picked up every single flyer available as we walked around, he had quite the collection by
the time we headed for home.

Ellie loved the rabbits best of all...she did NOT like the goats...find out why later.

The funnest animal building was the goats for sure.  There were LOTS of goats out and about to interact with.  It took a bit of prodding to talk Ellie into getting up close and personal with the animals (she was a bit nervous).  But by the time we hit the goats, she was doing much better.  So she walked right up to a little one to say hi and he promptly sneezed right in her face.  Gross!!!  She was pretty upset (but the rest of us were trying to hold in the laughs...poor picked on little princess).

Aubrey being cheesy with her little friend.

This little fiend was determined to explore Parker's arm pit.  OK.
But the best part of all was when Bryce kissed a goat on the lips.

(Actually, the sweet man in charge of these goats gave Bryce a peanut and dared him to feed it to the goat with his mouth...which Bryce did -- after Aubrey flatly refused to participate in such shenanigans...way to go Bryce!)
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All in all it was just a fun little night out with the family.  

Like I said, I love the fair.

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