Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh the Places We Would Go

Before I get into the list, I want to note some of these would be fun with the kids and others not so much just yet.  If money truly were no object though, we'd hire a nanny to travel with us on all of these adventures.  I have always had a major case of wanderlust, which may or may not have contributed to my love of anthropology.  The first time I went out of the country was with my Dad at the tender age of 9.  We went to Canada, and I've been fascinated with other countries ever since.  I absolutely inherited my love of travel from my Dad, and I've always been thankful for it.  My mother, not so much, as she's a bit of a worrier.  To her credit, she DID let her 18 year old daughter traipse off to Europe for an entire month.  I only hope I can be that brave when my girls get that itch.

So here is our list of the places we'd go this summer if money were no object:

1. New Zealand
     I would LOVE to go to New Zealand with the entire family.  The scenery, the wineries, the beaches, the friends that we have there.  Oh, and did I mention that my friend Amy is about to pop with her 4th boy?  Newborn baby head smell would be a major bonus of that trip.  I know that it is winter there right now, but I actually prefer a cooler climate.  I would LOVE to drive on the other side of the road and learn about all the words that we don't have in common.  I would love to take the girls out in the countryside and go roaming.  The plane ride(s) would SUCK, but the trip would more than make up for it I think.

2. Alaska
   The entire state is on my bucket list, and I know the girls would love it too.  I want to see the glaciers, before they all melt.  I want to see the mountains and the whales.  I want to see the vast wilderness that is almost as big as the continental U.S.  I'm all over some Alaska, though we'd hopefully not run into any Palins while visiting.

3. Galapagos & Machu Picchu
    I think for this one we would either take nannies or leave the kids at home.  When they get a little older, we'll definitely be taking the girls on this one.  I want to trek up to Machu Picchu and watch the sunrise.  I want to drink Pisco Sours and chew on Coca leaves.  I might even eat a guinea pig if the opportunity presented itself in a culturally appropriate manner.  (I only break my vegetarianism for local unique experiences!)  I want to see the amazing wildlife of the Galapagos.  Did I mention that I also have a good friend studying and working in Equador that we could visit?  Erica would be a super big bonus!

4. Japan
    I studied Japanese for 6 years and have never been to Japan.  I still can read a little bit.  We know people there, several actually.  We could do Japan.  From Tokyo to Kyoto to the Inland Sea, I would eat Sushi (sooo worth breaking the vegetarian diet), take a million pictures, and have a GREAT time exploring a country that I spent so much time studying about.

5. Turkey
    My research is with Turkish-German girls in Berlin.  I've spent so much time hearing about Turkey, and I REALLY want to go there.  From Istanbul to Ismit and Anatolia to Ankara we'd check out all the amazing Byzantine ruins and get Turkish baths.  We'd lounge on the beaches and find treasures in the markets.  We'd drink tea and eat baklava like it was our job.  I would take all my Turkish girls from Berlin to translate for us and help nanny the girls.  It would be AWESOME, plus, they LOVE kids there!

6. South Africa
    One word: SAFARI!  The girls would LOVE it, and we'd have a GREAT time if we took our friend Sarah who did her fieldwork in Cape Town.  I want to see the Cape.  I want to see Johannisburg.  I want to see it all.  I want to see the penguins on the beach.  I want to tour the wineries.  I want to drive on the wrong side of the road (theme!).  Bonus: our first time on the African continent, and they LOVE kids there.

7. Scotland
    I'm obsessed with Scotland, and my girls are too.  Not only have they watched Brave at least a hundred times, they also love How to Train Your Dragon, Waterhorse, and pretty much any movie where one of the characters has a Scottish accent.  I would drag my friend Megan over from Berlin to be our tourguide/nanny for our trip.  I want to see the castles.  I want to play in the tide pools.  I want to get lost in the land of Ewan MacGregor, Gerard Butler, Sean Connory, and Craig Ferguson.  Did I mention how much I LOVE the accent?  It would be grand.

8. Egypt
   Last but not least, I would love to go to Egypt.  Specifically, I would go to Cairo and Alexandria.  Our old roommate's husband is Egyptian and is STILL waiting for his U.S. visa to finally be processed.  Lucky us, we'd hire him to be our guide and translator.  I want to take a boat ride on the Nile.  I want to tour the museums.  I want to go shopping for cotton.  I want to ride a camel through the desert.  It would be AMAZING.  I want to do it, and I know the kids would LOVE it...or be awful.  Did I mention that they love kids there?  They really do.

So that's it.  That's my list.  I had to limit it to only 8, but I assure you that I could have added at least 100 more places to this list.  I LOVE to travel and will instill in my children an appreciation for what they have through traveling and seeing what else is out there.  That is my favorite benefit of traveling when you are young.
:-)

Here we are on our first big adventure together where neither of us spoke the local language:
Our Honeymoon in Brazil! 


Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Helping Hands

This week has been especially characterized by helping hands.  My dear friend KZ (of Taming Insanity fame) had a doctor's appointment, so naturally I volunteered to have a solo playdate with our 4 kids.  We had a great time playing with her little Spider-man and sifting through their dress-up clothes.  Mayzie preferred the panda suit that was quite obviously 2 sizes too small for her.  


Even Evan got in with his helping hands too, bringing Mayzie her sippy cup, though he may have taken a sip or two on the way to giving it to her. 

Later in the week Annika showed her sister how to navigate a game on the iPad.  When I asked them if they wanted to go play outside, they told me, "No mama, we're having fun."  

Finally on Friday, the girls helped me pick out all this fun loot at our local farmer's market.  (Why they have it on a Friday is beyond me, but that's not the point.)

I even got to show off my beet cooking skills with some roasted beets and carrots one night, and rice pilaf with the beet greens another night.  YUMMY Summer goodness! 

I've also tried to have helping hands for my good friend who's been having a rough time because of her brain tumor.  It makes her non-functioning a couple of days a week, and I try to check on her.  I love hanging out with her when she isn't spaced out, and I love that I can help her when she's having a hard time just getting through the day.  

I can't help but have helping hands.  I love being the kind of friend that you call when you need help with something.  Andy is the exact same way.  It is in our blood.  We always say yes if we can make our hands helpful.  Funny enough, we are also the kind of people who have trouble asking for help when we need it.  So friends, if you need something, my helping hands are here for you too. 


GFunkified

Friday, June 21, 2013

Is Grad School in Your Adventure?

I get asked all the time about graduate school. Is it worth it? What's so great about it anyway? Is is affordable? What will it do for my career really after I graduate? All of these are great questions that you should certainly ask yourself before you even start the application process for graduate school.

 Just applying to graduate school can be expensive. All told, between the GRE study materials, the cost of the test, all of the transcripts I had to collect, the postage to mail the packets, and applications fees for the 6 schools I applied to, we paid around $1000 just to apply. That was all before we even knew if I would get in at all. That was a MAJOR expense for us while we were both still in undergrad waiting tables to pay the bills.

 Honestly, there was not really any other way for me. I had it set in my mind that I wanted to pursue my PhD, and I was going to make that happen no matter what. We had a friend who was the same way about medical school, so much so that she actually moved to the city where she wanted to attend medical school even after getting rejected the first time. When you know, you know.

 I was recently contacted about this really tongue-in-cheek choose-your-own-adventure quiz that walks you through the process of deciding if you should go to graduate school.  It is really funny to go through the thinking process as someone who has jumped through almost all of the hoops for her PhD.  I remember all of the debates and the pro/con lists, and in the end it wasn't about all of that for me.  The quiz is really fun, so definitely check it out if you are thinking about graduate school.  My only critique of it would be that it greatly underestimates the amount of debt you can incur as a graduate student, with the highest possible amount being $35,000.  It also greatly underestimates the possible starting salaries of just out of college grads, but I'm not exactly an expert on that am I.

Andy recently asked me if I feel like I'm going to finally be a grown-up when I graduate school and get my first grown-up job.  He was worried he'd offended me.  He hadn't, but mostly because I've always treated graduate school as my job.  I've never been one to lolly-gag around about school, and grad school has been no different for me.  It is a very serious endeavor that you really (really) have to want to give yourself over to if you are going to pursue it.

So check out this hilarious quiz and choose your own adventure.  Who knows, maybe grad school really IS right for you after all.

**I was not compensated in any way for this post, and do not endorse the products advertised on the site in any way.  I just think it's a fun quiz for thinking about your future options.**

Here we are camping the summer before I started graduate school...so young and innocent.  
I honestly had no idea what the years would bring, but I was ready for the challenge! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pinterest Inspired

I had been searching for a way to make a chore chart for Annika for some time.  She's 5 years old now, and it was high time she get to helping out around here.  I don't want her to ever lose that little kid will to help out around the house that she has, and this chart would be a way to reinforce that behavior with some positive feedback.  The actual one I saw on Pinterest wasn't exactly like this, but this is my variation if a chore chart for Annika: 

This is a black posterboard.  I wrote on it with this cool paint-like marker that looks kinda like chalk, and I really like the effect. 
I don't think it is too much to ask a 5 year old to help out around the house.  No, she doesn't get an allowance to do these things, but we're considering it.  What is an appropriate amount for a 5 year old to earn for doing the things we expect of her?  Is a monetary incentive really necessary?  These are the debates we have around our house.  I want to instill in her a sense of responsibility, and I worry that paying her to do these things around the house isn't really a great way to do that.  I mean, nobody pays me to do the laundry or unload the dishwasher.  Thoughts?  
Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mayzie Days


Last week Annika was in full-day preschool camp at the YMCA here.  It was amazingly fun for her, and a serious relief for this Mama who was getting exhausted from breaking up the she-took-that-from-me fights and decoding the I'm-HUNGRY requests from both whiny girls.  I don't know what it is about this summer so far, but my girls have caught the whines.  The only way I've found to cure them so far, is to get out of the house though that can get rather trying with both of them.  

It was great to have two full days to work (which is twice as much as I usually get), and 3 whole days with just Mayzie.  Here are a few pictures from our escapades. 


Here's Mayzie all excited at the Zoo! 

She got to meet & play with Beliza the Jaguar in the Rainforest area and checking the map for where we should go next. 

Here she is pretending to be a bat. 

I love my special Mayzie days filled with loads of cuddles and long naps (for both of us).  It was so nice to get to give her the attention that she longs for every day and to be able to connect with her.  I made every day a YES day, which wasn't too difficult.  The requests of a not-quite-3-year-old are not that outlandish or extravagant.  We had Fun.  We ran around town and stayed home to watch movies.  We stumbled on an awesome new free play-date program & kept our regular play-date with friends sans Annika.  I worried less and actually got to chat more. 
There were MANY smiles & requested piggy-tails. 


Here's Mayzie playing at the surprise organized play-date.  This will definitely become a regular thing, as you can't beat a FREE indoor play-time with loads of 0-5 kids running around.  

A requested picture as we were leaving.  She's sooo tall!!

How can you NOT say yes when this kid asks to go swimming in the apartment pool?  





Side Note: Look at all that F&%$ing bird poop on the fence!
Pool= Energy Sucker every time! 

I loved my sweet Mayzie days last week, and get to have them again several weeks this summer when Annika goes to various camps.  I also get some Annika time, which is oh so precious in the waning days before Kindergarten begins.  I know that the sweet summer days filled with fun and whatever we want to do are going to go away.  This might be the last summer that I'm home with them.  This WILL be the last summer of Mayzie being not-quite-3 and asking every day when her birthday is.  This will be the last summer of Annika being 5 years old chasing bugs, racing everywhere, and learning how to swim.  I want to cherish it.  I want to not hate the heat and humidity so much.  I'm trying.  It's our first summer in the Ohio River Valley, and I'm getting used to it still.  So the Mayzie days of summer will be filled with love and sweetness that only an almost-3-year-old can give to her mother.  That child lights up my world, and I'm so lucky to be her mother.  



GFunkified

Monday, June 17, 2013

How to Keep Non-Parent Friends Post-Parenthood

After you have kids, there seems to be a major shift in thinking in some people.  When all you can think about is the needs of a little human or litter of them, it is hard to remember what it was like before they were there.  I know this from personal experience.  I have tried to imagine what our life would be like with no munchkins constantly demanding things and taking up our time, but I honestly can't.  But just because I can't imagine life without kids, doesn't mean that I can't be friends with people who don't have any children of their own.  I find the proposition of ONLY being friends with other parents to be a bit BORING.  I mean, seriously, who wants to talk about potty training and breast-feeding all day long. I jest of course, but there is some truth in that parents always have the conversational crutch of talking about their kids and/or kid related things.  I don't know about you, but I have a whole list of other things I'm interested in than my kids.  So here is my list of 5 ways to keep your non-parent friends after getting puked on and diaper duty become regular things in your life.

1. Don't have sucky friends.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it really isn't.  The worst part, sometimes you don't know that your friends kinda suck until after you have kids.  Example: We are really great friends with a couple from our non-kid days, and they aren't planning to ever have kids.  We knew this before Annika was born, but we had no idea why.  The reason: She's AFRAID of children.  Seriously!  She came over to visit us when we were visiting Evansville and Annika was about 8 months old.  Annika pulled up on the chair she was sitting in, and the woman actually cowered in the opposite direction.  There is a picture, but I will save her the internet embarrassment.  Being afraid of my children SUCKS.  Don't suck.  I promise my kids are not scary minions...most of the time, and I really want to still be your friend, but asking me to ONLY hang out without my kids is going to seriously limit the amount of time we can be together.  I LOVE this lady and her husband.  I still count them as some of our closest friends, but in this aspect, she sucks.  Sorry if you read this C, but I HATE that you are afraid of my kids.

2. Contact...it works both ways
This sounds simple, but it can be difficult to keep up with your friends' lives and in contact with them when you are busy chasing around kiddos.  Make an effort to keep your common courtesy when it comes to your friends especially.  Return their calls/emails/texts/tweets/facebook posts.  Comment on their lives too.  Your life and pictures on FB didn't all of the sudden become more important because you have kids.  Just do it.  One small note to friends without kids, parents will probably be a little slower with the contact.  Be understanding and a little more patient with us.  We still love you, we just have tiny humans sucking all the life energy out of us.


3. Have something to talk about other than your kids
Have you ever known someone that bought a boat?  They are soo proud of their purchase.  They want to show you pictures of it.  They offer to take you to see it and out on it whenever you want.  They are over the top enthusiastic about all things boating and can't talk about anything else all day every day.  You humor them for a while, but at some point you want to smack them across the face and say, "get over it already."  New parents can be the same way about their kids.  Your offspring might be the most interesting things in the world to you, but everyone else can only take so much of the blah blah blah kids kids kids.  Have something else to talk about to your friends. Whether that's politics, the news, the latest book you read, or any other acceptable conversation topic in the world other than kids or kid things.

on a very much related note:

4. Stay interested in your friends' lives.
Your children are not the center of everyone's universe.  Ask your friends what is going on in their lives, and be genuinely interested.  Be an active listener and don't forget to look at them.  The parent conversation where your eyes wander away to look for the kids is NOT appropriate with your friends who don't have children.  Make a point to be interested and look the part too.

5. Make time for them
Last but not least, make sure you make special time for your friends without your kids around.  This does the double duty of making your friends feel special and getting you some much needed rejuvenating time away from your kids.  Everyone will feel better, and you might not even be distracted while you converse.  You might even be able to enjoy a meal without having to cut up someone else's meal into tiny bites.  You might not get interrupted a million times and have to ask your friend, "What was I talking about?"  You might even meet them at a place that requires ID to enter!  GASP!

There they are, my 5 easy steps to keeping your childless friends after becoming a parent.
How do you keep your childless friends?  Have you ever had a friend who was actually scared of kids?    

Here we are at our friends' wedding that specifically requested NO KIDS attend.  
We got a babysitter and had a GREAT time!  Our friends who didn't respect the request may have actually gotten a scowl from the bride...the aforementioned C.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

6 Random Facts about Me & Andy


Oh Mama Kat, I have some really random facts for you about us. 

1. Andy and I met when I trained him to be a server at ChiChi's.  I was instantly attracted to him, and may have helped him cheat on his server exam a little bit (though he'll deny it).  I really love to tell people that I trained him though.  

2. Our song is Duncan Sheik's "Home."  Not many people know it, but it is totally worth a Google. Our amazing friend and ex-roommate Heath sang and played it on the guitar at our wedding.  It was so very special. 

3. We are very often the same weight, despite being 4+ inches different in height.  

4. Andy's birthday is the day before mine, so we're the same age for one day a year.  Every other day I'm 364 days older than he is.  At least he'll never forget my birthday.

5. When we found out we were having another girl, we had a really hard time agreeing on a name mostly because every time I suggested one, he would proceed to say it in the voice of a strip-club announcer.  It was extremely frustrating and funny at the same time. 

6. We don't get into watching many shows together, but we LOVE: the Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Battlestar Gallactica, Weeds, and Parenthood.  A little eclectic, but that's us. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, June 10, 2013

Great Expectations @ Gfunkified

I didn’t plan on getting married.  My parents are on their 3rd and 4th marriage respectively, and seeing that many failed marriages made me pretty much reject the entire institution for a very long time.  Then I met Andy.  He came from a wonderful family where his parents married right out of high school and still actually loved each other.  He was handsome and a dynamite kisser, so what could I do but say yes when he asked me to marry him a mere seven months after we started dating.  It felt right.  I felt like I was home when I was with him...

Read the rest over at my friend Greta's blog: Gfunkified where I have a guest post today.  Looking forward to seeing you over there.  


G*Funk*ified

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Monkey Butt Cancer

Some kids have teddy bears, others have blankets, our Mayzie has a monkey.

*
*Photo Credit: Mike Terry

Stinky Monkey (as he is called around our house) arrived when Mayzie was a baby.  My mother bought it to sit in her jungle themed nursery and it had a sache inside to somewhat disguise the dirty diaper smell.  One night Andy put the monkey in the crib with Mayzie.  We left in in there for a few nights.  She snuggled with it and it was adorable.  Then, when we went to switch it out for another cuddle buddy, she would have none of it.  Did you know that smell is the sense most strongly associated with memory?  It's true.  She smelled that darn sache in there and was hooked.  With Annika we had diligently never let her get too attached to one single stuffed animal, with Mayzie there was no changing it up after the initial impression.  She was hooked.  

Stinky monkey goes everywhere.  We've convinced her not to bring him in public anymore after too many trips around stores searching for that darned monkey that she dropped in a random aisle, but he dutifully waits in the car for her snuggles when we get back.  Stinky monkey came to Germany with us, and that is where he contracted monkey butt cancer.  

It happened when Andy and the girls first arrived in Berlin.  We were staying at a temporary apartment and the girls were having a grand time exploring it after we lugged all our suitcases up to the 4th floor walk-up.  Andy and the girls had arrived just that morning and we were all already exhausted.  Mayzie went in the bathroom. I have no idea what she was doing in there, as we were certainly not watching her, but all of a sudden we heard it---the sound of the monkey plunking in the toilet.  EWWWW.  Ew Ewwwwww.  It had to be washed immediately; let's just say that the toilet wasn't the cleanest in the universe.  Stinky monkey went in the washer.  It came out clean, but we had no way to dry it other than to let it hang for probably 24-48 hours. 

Andy had a brilliant idea.  He stuck a hairdryer up the monkey's butt to get it dry faster, knowing full well that Mayzie would throw down if she had to try to sleep without the stinky monkey.  It worked.  The monkey was dry in no time.  But then, I held the monkey to check for dryness and noticed something.  There seemed to be a large mass in the butt of stinky monkey that had not been there previously.  The mass was the size of a softball, and it took us a while to figure out that the plastic beads in the butt of the monkey had congealed into a sort of monkey butt cancerous mass that could not be broken apart by hands.  

Doctor Andy to the rescue.  Being the superb surgeon that he is, Andy solved the problem by taking a hammer to stinky monkey's butt.  Mayzie watched in horror as her favorite cuddle buddy was mutilated by her father.  There was crying (Mayzie).  There was laughing (Annika & Me). There was frustration (Andy).  But by God, he got the mass to go away, mostly.  

We consider the monkey butt cancer to be in full remission now.  Despite a golf ball sized tumor that refused to be broken up, stinky monkey has shown no signs of cancer in more than a year now.  We're pretty sure the remnants are benign.  

Stinky monkey recently got another bath.  He was seriously stinky and you almost couldn't tell that he is actually two different colors.  He came out of the washer clean and wet, and Andy faced the same conundrum as in Berlin.  How do you dry a monkey that MUST be dried as quickly as possible.  I arrived home to the sound of something plunking in the dryer.  I asked Andy what it was.  
He replied, "Stinky monkey."  
"NOOOOOOO!  You'll give it cancer again!!!" I exclaimed. 
"Don't worry, I put it on the delicate cycle." He explained.  
Skeptically, I replied, "We'll see won't we." 

It turns out, monkey butt cancer only comes from hairdryers.  Thank goodness, because our hammer somehow got lost in the move and we haven't replaced it yet.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bacon

Thanks Mama Kat for another great set of options to choose from for the weekly roundup for the Writer's Workshop.  This week, I chose the prompt: a post inspired by Bacon.

This is not the popular opinion, but I'm just putting it out there that I do not like bacon.

Every Sunday I get to sleep in thanks to my amazing husband.  Every Sunday, he cooks an entire pound of bacon.  He lights a candle in the kitchen and keeps the fan running on the stove, and even sometimes opens the back door, but it is no use.  I still awaken to the smell of bacon in our bedroom upstairs with the door closed.

Perhaps it is my vegetarian nose.  Perhaps it is the fact that I never really liked bacon even when I did eat meat.  I don't even like Fake-on that much, though I will eat it when presented.  (That's fake-bacon for all you non-vegetarian friends.  Andy says it tastes like cardboard, but I've never eaten any cardboard so I wouldn't know.)

The worst part: Bacon is Andy's favorite food.  He could eat it all day every day.  I can't even kiss him when he has bacon breath.  Sometimes I swear that he eats so much bacon that his pores start to emit the smell and I can't even stand to be near him.  But I want to be near him.  He's really darn handsome and a great cuddler at that.  What is a vegetarian girl to do?

Our girls also love bacon, though Andy once got angry at me for giving them his leftover bacon from his Sunday cooking extravaganza.  He doesn't like to share.  I'm not sure it isn't a conspiracy to try to make our girls love him more than me, but so far it isn't working.

So here's to all you bacon lovers.  I love one of your kind, but your favorite food makes me want to yack.


Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Us!

9 years have passed.  9 years and I'm still so in love with him. 


 We still slow dance, just mostly in the kitchen now. 

 We were so young and excited and clueless.  

Here are 9 things we've learned in these last 9 brilliant years together. 

1.  Things don't always go as planned, and that can be a good thing.  (Example: surprise pregnancy)

2. Being supportive through graduate school is not easy, and chasing dreams takes serious patience with each other.  

3. Keep talking.  Never stop talking.  We can't read each others minds yet, and staying on the same page is essential. 

4.  When it comes to the kids, we have to be on the same team. 

5. DATE NIGHT ROCKS!! 

6. Keep it spicy...you know what I mean. 

7. Finding other couple friends that we both like is HARD.  We're so thankful for the ones we have! 

8. We'd rather spend our money traveling than buying nice things, and we spend most of our traveling going to visit family.  We would have never predicted this 9 years ago. 

9. We really do love each other more deeply and passionately than we did 9 years ago.  Our love grows every day, which is still rather unbelievable.  



Monday, June 3, 2013

Fill in the Blank

That horse got covered in _________ today.

I said this phrase to Andy with regard to a stuffed horse at our house.
What do you think he thought I said?
What did I actually say?
Go.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

F*$%ing Birds

Our apartment is surrounded by birds.  I don't have a Tippy Hedron complex or anything like that, but I'm really not a fan of our fence constantly looking like this: 


Tuesdays are my day to work from home, and sometimes my friend Jenny comes over to help me stay accountable.  Last Tuesday we stepped outside to get some fresh air, and we discovered a baby bird writhing on the ground.  It was sad.  I didn't know what to do.  We couldn't reach the nest to put it back and I didn't have the heart to kill it.  So naturally, I called my mother to ask what to do.  I didn't want the girls to come home and find it in the backyard.  Mom laughed and advised that we move it to a spot where the girls wouldn't see it with a paper towel.  She then reminded me of a funny Annika story from way back.  

I couldn't do it.  Luckily, Jenny is braver than I am.  She wrapped the bird in a cloth napkin (I thought it deserved a little more dignity than a paper towel), and she placed it under a bush behind our backyard area. I was still distraught about that F*$%ing bird when I went to bed that night, even though I knew in my heart that we couldn't have saved it and that it's mother probably already forgot about it.  

The old story that my mom reminded me of: 
When we lived in Cleveland, a bird got stuck in our chimney.  It fluttered and made some soot come out of the flue and it was generally annoying.  As it was an unusable fireplace, we couldn't open the flue.  We had no idea what to do other than to let it continue to try to get out and/or die in there.  It was a loong week before one or the other happened.  Every time it fluttered in there and black stuff came down on the white painted fireplace, I may have muttered that colorful phrase in the title.  I don't even remember doing it.

My mom came to visit.  Mayzie was a little baby and Annika was barely two.  We were playing in the living room when we heard the bird fluttering in the chimney.  Annika looked directly at the spot where the black stuff kept coming down, shook her head and said "f*$%ing bird." I looked at my mother with upturned hands as if to say, "I have no idea where she learned such appalling language." At the same time my mom looked down her nose at me as if to say, "Don't even try to pass that off on Andy. That was the exact tone and cadence that you would say that phrase in."  We laughed, and the story became legend among my friends too, almost as much as Annika's other phrase: "Dead mouse, it happens."  That's a story for another day. 
:-) 
Does anyone know how to clean that fence without actually having to touch the poop? 3 thunderstorms have yet to clean any of it off, and I'm super grossed out by all the poo.  

Have your kids ever picked up on a phrase you'd rather not have them repeat, especially in front of your mother? 

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