Tag Archives: Family

Feeling Good

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I’ve been working really hard on keeping really good habits, though I’ve realized that I have to do it at my own pace. I figured it out after a few dozen organizational websites or motivational Pinterest thingies that I can’t just follow someone else’s idea of what will work, not even really if I get to adjust things and “make it my own.”

I’m not sure if that made any sense at all, and I’m sorry if it didn’t. My brain is currently working on tangents and run-on sentences. ūüôā I’ll do my best to explain…

You guys may remember my post back in March about how gung-ho I was about following a little printed-out binder full of cutesy reminders of what I should be cleaning each day and then magically at the end of 20 days, my house was supposed to be perfect and I was supposed to have the skills and habits of a swell housewife who probably even took off her husbands shoes as soon as he got home from work everyday to give him a nice foot rub. Yeah, that happened.

Well, I did the first two days, not the foot rubbing part, but then I gave up completely. It was probably something ridiculous like, “But I don’t want to clean the bathroom today, I want to organize my closet!” and then I just decided that the whole thing was stupid.

Since then, I’ve tried a ton of different ideas and “systems” – and I even considered spending a couple buckaroos on the Unfuck Your Habitat app because it just sounded like something that would be right up my alley and it would probably share the same disgruntled views of this housey job that I’ve got. Would that be an Unfuck your Habitapp? Either way, I digress, as I do, and that’s why we’re here anyway… But I didn’t want to waste a valuable dollar and ninety-nine cents on an adorable app that would likely only keep me going for a day and a half.

So last week a good friend of mine (another stay at home mama) said something about putting her shoes on to get ready for cleaning the house earlier that day. Uh, what? So she started talking to me about this Flylady thing that a friend of hers had told her about, and that it was really helping her. Apparently one of the main steps of the day to keep your house feeling happy and clean is to get dressed first thing in the morning, including your shoes, I guess to keep you from completely relaxing. The whole, you wear shoes to “real” work outside of the house, so help your brain associate that with work at home, and only take off your shoes and relax at the end of the workday. Man have I been doing it wrong this whole time! ūüėČ

Well, I tried that for a day, as well as a few other steps that I found on the website, like shining your faucets after every time you use them??? But I still wanted to sit on my couch after I put in a load of laundry and stay there until WAY PAST when the dryer went off. Facebook, blog, all sorts of super important things to do, it didn’t matter that I still had on my knee-high lace-up leather and fur boots on, I was going to relax if I wanted to. I just kicked up my boots onto my cluttered coffee table, and went about my lazy day.

Ok, so screw this, I can figure this out on my own! For the entire past week, since the day after I wore my apocalypse boots all around the house, I’ve managed to keep dirty dishes out of the sink entirely. They go straight to the dishwasher, and the dishwasher gets run (gets ran, is run, I don’t know…) as soon as I can’t fit the next thing in it or as soon as all of one thing (like plates or something) is dirty. Then, as soon as the dishwasher is done, everything gets put away immediately.

Also, all trash is thrown out as soon as it is made. It really helps that Doodle LOVES taking things to the trash, so I’ve gotten him to where he’ll actually call me out on putting a small piece of trash on the coffee table or leaving the mac&cheese box on the counter, then he’ll happily take it to the trash for me.

Our normal, have-to-use-daily clutter now goes into a canvas box basket thingy that we originally got to hold Doodle’s cloth diapers. The box stays on the coffee table, and is a convenient “I don’t know where to put this right now” spot. And every few days, or whenever I notice that it takes more than a few seconds to find something in it, I just clean it out. Mainly, I end up fishing out random toys Doodle hid in there or cleaning out Jake’s work pocket trash that he dumps in there every day after work. Hey – at least he’s not leaving it in there so that it ends up in the washer every time… I’ll take what I can get here. ūüôā

Speaking of the washer – I spent a whole day catching up on laundry, and now I’ve got a small basket downstairs in front of the washer and a small basket upstairs in our room. Upstairs laundry goes in upstairs basket, downstairs laundry, downstairs basket. As soon as one of them is full, they’re both dumped in the washer, and they get washed, dried, folded, hung, and put away right then.

I also moved my furniture around and was able to vacuum everything that hasn’t been accessible since we moved in two and a half years ago. I didn’t exactly move the furniture around just to vacuum – I’ve been seriously feeling stuck, and rearranging the living room helps me feel like I’m in a new place. That’s the wanderlust gene my loving father passed down to me. Thanks, dad. But the living room is super fun (I can’t wait for Jake to get home tonight to see what he thinks) and the entire floor is super clean – or, you know, as clean as my awful vacuum can make it.

I need to overhaul the bathrooms tomorrow, but it really wasn’t that long ago that I did that anyway, and we’ve actually been doing really good at keeping up on that without even really thinking about it.

Other than that, all I really need to work on is getting in a good method of keeping cooked meat things available for the carnivorous hubby who isn’t home at typical meal times while also providing my vegetarian self and my picky little man with nourishment, all without spending the entire day everyday in the kitchen. I recently realized that I’ve got one of those 3-part crock pot guys in my garage, so I think I’m going to try to figure out how to use those without burning down my house, and I think I’ll be able to do a decent job at just making different versions of whatever I may be cooking all at the same time to appease all of us.

I haven’t touched the coffee cup sweaters, and I’m fairly certain that it’s a completely lost cause to finish them and get them to my friend in time for Christmas shopping. But I’ll keep them sitting here, just in case, you know, I get the intense need to crochet one day after I’ve finished cleaning everything, while my pots are crocking, and I’ve already gone through all of the Facebooking, blogging, and youtubing that I’ve needed to for the day.

This is becoming a long post, sorry, deal with it. Or don’t. Either way. ūüôā

Doodle ’bout freaked me out the other day when I got off the phone and found this:

Look mama - I got Link's ears on!

Look mama – I got Link’s ears on!

He had taken it upon himself to use every last drop of spirit gum to get his elf ears on by himself. Nevermind that we used every drop of the spirit gum remover it came with to get off the teeny amount we used on Halloween because THAT SHIT DOESN’T COME OFF! Jake took one look and said, “Oh god, we’re going to have to cut it,” in the most calm and collected (and obviously overcompensating for the incredible surge of emotions going through him) manner with this pale face and deer in headlights look.

A quick and frantic google lead me to a possible solution, so I grabbed the leftover baby oil (that we kept since his baby shower when he was an infant and we never actually used it – see, it pays to keep things forever!) and doused him. It was listed as a “maybe, it might work, you could try it and hope for the best?” kind of solution in the forum I happened upon – but holy goodness that stuff practically DISSOLVES spirit gum. He had giant globs of it on his jeans, I squirted some baby oil on it, rubbed it in a little, and it was GONE – incredibly oily, but gone nonetheless. After a pretty intense hair-brushing session and several baths to get residual oiliness gone, his hair is TOTALLY intact, the spirit gum is gone, and we have learned our lesson of putting prosthetic accessories away and out of reach after we’re done with them.

‘Til next time, folks. It’s been fun. ūüôā

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Happy Father’s Day!

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Happy day to all of you awesome dads out there!

Jake is an amazing dad. He works full time, often times pulling overtime shifts to help a little further with extra expenses. He’s also¬†taking full-time college classes, not taking breaks in the summer so as to finish his degree faster with which he will work even longer and harder hours. He rarely goes out with friends on evenings he can find a few spare minutes. He doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of video game time he was always used to, nor the funds for the newest of games or the best of technology that we had when that was the only thing we cared to spend our extra cash on.

When he is home (and not working on school assignments or reading), he’s tossing Doodle around, making him one of his favorite sandwiches, or giving him a bath, brushing his teeth, and taking him to bed. He fully takes on our constant-education approach by talking about various letters and¬†sounds in words we say, counting anything they’re looking at that can be counted, or teaching him new words or different ways to use existing words. Even when he’s tired, he’ll still sit with Doodle on his lap playing games with him on the tablet or making sure he’s interacting with Little Einsteins or Word World when the cartoon asks him questions.

Jake does everything he does 100%: full-time work, full-time school, full-time dad, full-time husband. He doesn’t have much left to be full-time Jake outside of any of that, yet he takes it all on with complete dedication and love. For that, I’m continually amazed and overwhelmingly grateful.

What’s really wonderful about this year’s Father’s Day is that he’s FINALLY almost in his new position at work (which he’s been waiting patiently for since February) where he’ll have his own office WITH HIS OWN DESK! He’s NEVER had this before, always working in places where a desk is shared with other coworkers, and where it’s rarely been able to be sat down at and used. He’s very excited about this, as now he can have his own coffee cup sitting on it that he uses each day and he can place pictures and knick-knacks on it that he can look at throughout a rough day to remind him why he works so hard.

With that in mind, Doodle and I set out to make him something that¬†he can be excited to place on his desk –¬†something that clearly says how much Doodle and I care about him. Doodle loves dragons, I love plants – let’s put the two together… but let’s also make sure that if Jake’s super busy at work for a few days, that it will do just fine with a little bit of neglect. ūüėČ

Doodle picked a red and green succulent for our present.

Doodle picked a red and green succulent for our present.

He then picked out one of the dragons we got him for his birthday.  He was SO excited that we'd be giving it to Daddy!

He then picked out one of the dragons we got him for his birthday. He was SO excited that we’d be giving it to Daddy!

I cut a hole in his back, and Doodle had to inspect it to make sure it would work.

I cut a hole in his back, and Doodle had to inspect it to make sure it would work.

We shoved some dirt into the hole...

We shoved some dirt into the hole…

Then we stuffed the plant into our little dragon pot.

Then we stuffed the plant into our little dragon pot.

Doodle watered it to clean off the excess dirt.

Doodle watered it to clean off the excess dirt.

Then he showed off his creation.

Then he showed off his creation.

There it is! A dragon plant for dad!

So I Went a Little Overboard… Happy Birthday Doodle!

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Doodle turned 3 last Wednesday. Where in the world did the time go? I swear, this parenting stuff gets harder and harder as time goes and you realize how much is already over. Gone. Done. No more of my darling 2-year-old saying “wuv” and “hopadoctor.” No more of my 1-year-old boy wobbling around learning his new walking skills. No more of my 3-month-old passed out on my chest and drooling down my shirt… Ok, that one had some cons so I’m not terribly missing it!¬† But newborn baby cuddles are the best, and they’re gone.

But seriously, I have a 3-year-old now! I have an independent, strong-willed, and fearless Doodle-monster now. Safety is of minimal concern to him, new discipline tactics need to be tried regularly as old ones have lost their umph, and opinions are expressed very vocally regardless of my level of exhaustion or headache. But honestly,¬†the fun doesn’t stop, and it seems to just keep getting better! New wonders are discovered daily, and his growing motor skills make for much cooler playtime. It’s really the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced, no matter how done with being a mama I may get every few days. I look forward to watching him learn and grow every single day.

So anyway – along with a 3rd birthday, Doodle just had his 3rd birthday party. And as many of you have probably learned, I threw myself into a pretty good anxiety attack a few weeks ago, neglected household duties the past month or so, and had an outrageous amount of work I had to get done. I’m sure you’ve all been hanging off the edge of your chairs to see the fruits of my labor, so here you go…

All-in-all, we had 16 kiddos and 16 adults. Not quite as many as I was anticipating, but it was an absolute blast!

Dragon head pears.

Dragon head pears.

See those ADORABLE dragons hanging from the umbrella?!

See those ADORABLE dragons hanging from the umbrella?!

Doodle totally diggin' his dragon party.

Doodle totally diggin’ his dragon party.

Goodies!

Goodies!

So I’ll stop here and let you know what all’s on that table: coffee/dirt dough dragon eggs, teeny tiny adorable crocheted dragons, gold bars filled with candy, gold and jewels, sticky dragons, and clothespin dragons with fruit snack wings.

Passing out the dragon eggs.

Passing out the dragon eggs.

Helping Ling and Doodle open up their eggs.

Helping Ling and Doodle open up their eggs.

How fun those eggs look when you open 'em up!  The kids were crazy excited to hatch baby dragons.

How fun those eggs look when you open ’em up! The kids were crazy excited to hatch baby dragons.

So there was also a slip and slide, little dragon pool (ok, so it was actually an alligator – but we can pretend!), sandbox filled with dragons, gold and jewels (you know, because dragons horde treasure), and the swingset, of course. We also did a dragon pi√Īata!

Ling having a BLAST on the slip and slide!

Ling having a BLAST on the slip and slide!

Doodle whacking his pi√Īata!

Doodle whacking his pi√Īata! See how I made the stick a sword? ūüôā

CANDY!!!

CANDY!!! (Sidenote – after most every kid got at least two turns of whacking this thing a good three or four times each, Jake had to come over and break it open!)

And Doodle really didn't care about any of the candy that spilled out once he found a sucker.  Sat here for 10 minutes munching on this while all of the other kids nabbed all the candy!

And Doodle really didn’t care about any of the candy that spilled out once he found a sucker. Sat here for a good 10 minutes munching on this while all of the other kids nabbed the¬†rest of the candy!

So, you guys ready for the cake? I don’t know, I was kinda trying to push this off as long as I could… Ok, how’s this? ¬†I’ll just walk you through making it. We started here:

Just some lumps of cake, right?

Just some lumps of cake, right?

Then I blended up all of those pieces that I shaved off to get my lumps-o-cake along with a little bit of extra frosting, ended up with what was essentially pre-chewed cake mush, and did this:

Do you kinda see where this is going?

Do you kinda see where this is going?

I made me some fondant (powdered sugar, marshmallows and dye), and started decorating.

Wait a second, Kortney - what are you doing with all of those circles???

Wait a second, Kortney – what are you doing with all of those circles???

I got all those (and what seemed like 500 more) circles all placed just so, added a few other colors of fondant for various features, and ended with this:

Yeah, that's right, people.  I made an effing dragon!  Scales and all!

Yeah, that’s right, people. I made an EFFING DRAGON! Scales and all!

LOOK-IT-MUH-CAKE!!!  Made it 100% by myself!  I'm little bit proud, if you can't tell.  :)

LOOK-IT-MUH-CAKE!!! Made it 100% by myself! I’m a¬†little bit proud, if you couldn’t tell. ūüôā

Doodle ADORED his cake!  Notice how the candles are coming out of his mouth?  He's breathing fire, guys!!!  :)

Doodle ADORED his cake! Notice how the candles are coming out of his mouth? He’s breathing fire, guys!!! ūüôā

Doodle got the whole head all to himself.  It's literally half a sheet of cake.  I was a little nervous...

Doodle got the whole head all to himself. It’s literally half a sheet of cake. I was a little nervous…

Luckily he just demolished it.  Got a few good bites in, but mainly just tore the head apart in a fit of dragon birthday excitement!

Luckily he just demolished it. Got a few good bites in, but mainly just tore the head apart in a fit of dragon birthday excitement!

All in all, it was an absolutely amazing day! The weather was perfect, our friends and family are great, and the kids had a blast! I’d like to think that next May I won’t dig myself into an anxiety attack over whatever ridiculous theme we’ve come up with by then, but that’s just not likely. Depending on what he’s crazy into next year, I may just end up thinking it’d be a good idea to build a pirate ship in the backyard or build a dinosaur dig site in our gorgeous lawn. Please, help convince me next year not to do those things. ūüôā

By the way, Jake’s curious – at what age would it be appropriate¬†to have¬†a zombie birthday party? We’re talking, like, brain and limbs being eaten by zombie head and torso red velvet cake, gooey-bloody-decaying goodness everywhere, crocheted bloody body parts in the goodie bags… I say 7, what are your thoughts?

It’ll Only Take Two Hours

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Jake and I love building things.

I mean, we’ve really only ever totally “built” one thing – but it was an amazing cart that folded up to be able to perfectly fit into the trunk of our old Kia Rio (seriously tiny car) that we used for a Rainbow Gathering (hippie camping love). It barely took up any room, so we could still pack everything we needed on top of it! And we made the plan 100% ourselves, and we did all of the figuring and measuring and cutting and screwing and finagling together as an amazing wood-stuffs-making team.

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And that’s it. That’s why we *love* building things. We VERY successfully built the first thing we ever tried building. I mean, sure, we had played with legos and put together little wooden and plastic models of things before. I’m sure Jake built a birdhouse in cub scouts or something. We’ve assembled furniture and things. But we BUILT this cart, see.

That was almost four years ago, however. (Fun fact – we made it a year, to the day, before Doodle came into our lives.) And we haven’t really had the resources or motivation to build anything since. Until I found the coolest thing in the world that we absolutely had to make!

It was one of the first things I saw when I started using Pinterest about a year and a half ago. A sandbox with benches that unfolds into a cover. Or a sandbox with a cover that folds into benches. Whichever works best for you. But we were broker than broke –¬†had just been through three different moves in four months. I originally just wanted to but it for him whenever funds got back to a good place, but then we found plans to build it. We had a project! We had the motivation, but we were still missing the resources.

Skip ahead to the present –¬†preparing for a 3rd birthday. We needed to figure out something we could get/make for Doodle. It had to be big. It had to be awesome. I skimmed through my “Crafty Stuffs” board on Pinterest. There at the very bottom was the plan for the¬†sandbox! We could do it. We had to!

Jake took off some (much needed) time from work between his¬†Spring and Summer semesters of school, and we knew that this was the only time we’d really be able to devote the time and energy into it. I looked at the plans, read all of the comments on it, got a list of materials we’d need, and let Jake know how easy this thing would be and how fast it would go.

“It’ll only take two hours!”

He laughed at my estimate, I laughed at his disbelief.

Two hours and¬†another trip to the hardware store later, he had grown tired of sanding the 24 boards needed to complete the assembly, so he moved on to staining¬†the¬†first half of the¬†boards. I have no positive experiences with power tools, and he used to be a professional painter, so most of the beginning stuff was all his job. (I mean, I did clear out the 4 foot by 4 foot square in the rock bed while he was working…)¬† Another hour or so and we were done for the night. The next day,¬†the rest of the wood was sanded and stained in the first two hours of working.¬† (We are totally aware of the fact that at this point you should really wait until the stain has had plenty of time to cure, but we’re impatient and it was already pressure-treated wood anyway,¬†so we weren’t too terribly concerned about it.¬† Mainly just wanted the wood to be a little prettier.)

Ok, so we’re a little over my estimate at this point, but this is where the fun really begins! (And, in all honesty, this is where my estimate actually started anyway!)

We got the base put together, and Doodle was crazy excited. He knew that we were making a sandbox, but when we put the base on its side, he darted into it and started dancing.

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I briefly considered just stopping here, maybe making a few braces for the bottom to keep¬†it standing¬†up, and giving Doodle a stage for his birthday. But we needed to press forward – we were SO CLOSE! Plus, what would we do with the other 20 sanded and stained 2×4’s that were perfectly measured to fit on his new stage?

We continued working, stopping again for one more quick trip to the hardware store because APPARENTLY I can’t count and¬†we¬†needed more screws. We got the pieces hinged together, put some handles on, threw in a few hundred pounds of sand, and gave Doodle his early birthday present.

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Happy it’s almost your birthday, Doodle! Now, if you don’t mind, just stay in that sandbox for the next three weeks while mommy frantically tries to make as many dragon-related things as she possibly can for the 20+ chitlins that will be invading our backyard for your special day and daddy returns to work, picks up a few double shifts to help pay for your shenanigans, and starts up his summer semester.

Total time spent buying, prepping, and building – probably close to¬†9 hours. Total time spent “building” – 2. Sure, I was right, but Jake was absolutely right to laugh at me.

Why I’m a Mama

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This morning hasn’t exactly been a “typical” Mother’s Day. Hubby was off to work before we even woke up – never mind sleeping in, breakfast in bed, or waking up to adorable Doodle-made gifts and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. That’s not to say that¬†those things won’t come; I do have an amazing husband who loves me and appreciates me more than I ever thought possible, and I also have a Doodle who’s heart is kinder than any I’ve come across. I’m sure the two of them will make this afternoon/evening amazing for me – but this morning, this is why I’m a mama:

Doodle was stoked to give me my present this morning.

Doodle was stoked to give me my present this morning.

A beautiful bouquet of flowers.  And, it kind of doubles as a handmade gift!

A beautiful bouquet of flowers. And, it kind of doubles as a handmade gift!

I just can't get enough of this face!

I just can’t get enough of this face!

He even offered me some of the breakfast I "made" him...

He even offered me a bite of his breakfast. He’s so sweet!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mamas! I hope you all get crumpled dandelions and bites of Cinnamon Toast Crunch as well.

Who Needs Mornings Anyway?

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Ok – now don’t think me a child abuser or anything… But we typically keep a lock on Doodle’s door. It’s one of those plastic things that clips around the handle with the holes in the sides so big people with good dexterity can still squeeze through the holes and open it. Like, it’s on the inside of his door. Like, he can’t so much get out when he’s in…

Really though, I have a very valid reason! See, our rooms are upstairs, as is the bathroom, the spare room, and the coat closet. And in the middle of the doors is the smallest hallway in the world, directly followed by a half-a-staircase leading straight down to a life-sized Gumby, an overfilled bookshelf and a stand-up globe on a teeny-tiny landing, then a 180 turn to the whole rest of the staircase. To make this worse, there are zero, ZERO, outlets in the entire hallway/staircase/landing/Gumby area to plug in a light, and there are no windows either. Danger, Will Robinson, seriously.

And to make this even more worse – ok, I have a really hard time sleeping if I can hear absolutely anything at all that isn’t a constant sound. The dog storing, the neighbors playing their awful music, even my husband breathing. Not even snoring, just breathing! And it’s not like I can make him stop breathing so I can get some sleep, I wouldn’t so much have a husband when I woke up. So we keep a fan on through the night. And it’s not even that it’s that loud, but it’s really hard to hear much of anything with that thing on.

I mean, we can hear things, like when Doodle woke up in the middle of the night screaming BLOODY MURDER because he got the stitching from his blanket wrapped around his finger – purple finger, had a nice indentation for two days, seriously scary stuff! Alright, but anyway…

So, I’m absolutely terrified of a lot of things Doodle waking up in the middle of the night or even in the wee hours of the morning while it’s still dark – I can just imagine him being the little sneaky ninja punk that he is. His little door slowly creaking open, his little feet going over the squeaky floorboards without a sound, his little face glancing back at our open door, his little silent giggle as he realizes that we can’t hear him… But then, in my sneaky-ninja-punk-imagination, he tries to grab the hand rail but can’t see it, or he thinks he has another few inches to walk on the floor before the steps start and he loses his balance. Ok, sure, the life-sized Gumby (at least I assume he’s life-sized, who really knows how big Gumby is??) would provide a decent cushioned landing after thumping down those 6 or so steps…

But my mind keeps going, and I see my clumsy-sneaky-ninja-punk rolling off Gumby, into the bookshelf. The bookshelf then starts to topple over (as it’s crazy overfull, you see?!) and books and shelves start to fall on my discombobulated Doodle. He falls further over and into the stand-up globe. Then, in like Looney Tunes fashion or something, Doodle tries to run up on the top of the globe as it falls down the stairs. He ends upside-down at the bottom of the stairs, covered in bumps and bruises, with ripped up book pages and stuffing from Gumby falling all around him like snow. I know, my imagination doesn’t so much count on laws of physics or probability or anything… But anyway…

So there’s a lock on the inside of his door. And he’s always been so flippin’ cute about it when he wakes up – he’d just knock on the door with a sweet little “Hewwo? Hewwo-o?” until we’d get up and rescue him. (He’s actually able to open the door if he tries hard enough, he’s just REALLY GOOD about sticking to boundaries we’ve set for him and he leaves it alone.)

But, night before last – he’s been working on his two-year molars (I know, he’s almost three, leave me alone!) and he wasn’t sleeping very well AT ALL. Jake was up late (like 3 in the morning late) working on a final paper for one of his classes, so it was mainly up to me to get Doodle back to bed. Well, none of us really got to sleep until about 3, so we were pretty darn exhausted. So I wake up to a slight noise of, “Whoosh! Brrrr! Zhoom!” Jake looks at the alarm clock as I go to check on Doodle. He frantically looks at me, “What time is it?! The clock says 12:40!” Doodle sounds fine, so I don’t even open the door to check on him real quick. I check the digital heater box thingy, it says 11:40, but I can never be too sure about it since we don’t typically change it with daylight savings and it’s really difficult to decide whether it was spring forward or fall backward and was it right before that or after it and do I add an hour or take an hour away to figure out what time it is when I’ve just woken up. So I go downstairs and check the microwave and stove. 12:40.

I go back up, whooshes and zhooms are still going in Doodle’s room. I crack the door open, and Doodle has taken every article of clothing out of his dresser and made a huge pile of it. He is laying on said pile of clothing, fully dressed in a mismatched set of pajamas that I did not put him in the night before, and he’s got a pair of socks on his hands. He’s holding an old hat of his (we typically have all of his special baby clothes folded neatly in the bottom drawer of his dresser for safe-keeping – we should probably do something about that now…) and he’s playing with it as though it is a rocket or airplane of sorts. “Whoosh! Brrr! Zhoom!” At 12:40. In the afternoon. We just woke up. I have NO FLIPPIN’ IDEA HOW LONG HE’S BEEN AWAKE!

So Jake and I feel like awful parents, obviously. We’re neglecting our poor son, what would happen if he silently (yeah right!) hurt himself or needed something?! How will we ever work on nighttime potty training if we leave him locked in his room for hours after he wakes up?! We should be working on letters and numbers and crafts with him, not sleeping the day away as though we did not have a small person who depended on us for all of his upbringing. We’ve GOT to get that lock off the door and just be able to hear him if he were to get up. I’ve got to throw out my fears of him falling down the stairs, try to get some kind of nightlight set up in that hallway to where he can see if he does happen to get up in the middle of the night. We can do this, right?

I promptly forget to actually take the lock off the door as I get him dressed in something other than the inside-out and backwards pajama “set” that he’s gotten himself into and get him downstairs for some milk and brunch. We go through our day without a hitch (or a nap, because, you know, who flippin’ knows when he woke up and I don’t want to put him down for a nap an hour after we get up with him…) and I put him to bed at the end of the night. I don’t even think about the lock on the door when I put him to bed, but then Jake gets home, we hang out for a few, and we start heading to bed. We giggle again about our random sleep-in day, and I luckily remember at that point that I should probably take off the lock from the door as I go in to check on him.

I get in his room, notice that he’s laying sideways on his bed all wrapped up awkwardly in his blanket, and he’ll likely fall off his bed at some point if I leave him in this position, so I adjust him nicely, tell him I love him, re-tuck him in his bed, and proceed to take off the lock so I can close the door and he won’t be trapped in there when he wakes up. Only, a funny thing happened. The lock was not on his door.

I go and ask Jake, “Did you take the lock off his door earlier today?” “No, I haven’t touched it. Did you maybe take it off when you got him this afternoon?” “No, I can’t remember touching it since a few days ago when Ling and Hippie Mama came over to play and I took it off so they could play in there and not be locked in…”

That’s right, people… My son was NOT locked in his room, and he stayed IN HIS ROOM all morning, until 12:40, and likely would have stayed there for GOD ONLY KNOWS HOW LONG had we not heard him whooshing and zhooming his airplane-hat. UNTIL 12:40! In the afternoon! Fully able to leave his room and come wake us up whenever the eff he wanted to.

Now, ya’ll, don’t get all jealous-like. Last night we didn’t get to bed ’til about 2 as Jake was working on another final paper and getting a speech ready for some classes this morning. 7:45 in the morning Jude was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and opening that door, begging me to get up and get him milk and bananas and yogurt and a bagel and a “shandwich” and an apple and every other type of food he might want first thing in the morning. He’s so sweet, though. “Mommy, you make some coffee first?” Yes, I make some coffee first, I’m freakin’ tired.

Best Friends

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Doodle has a few best friends.¬† There’s Boogie, his almost 6-year-old best girl cousin friend,¬†JJ, his 4-year-old best bro cousin friend, and Ling, his almost 3-year-old¬†best girl friend – these¬†are probably the three that he’s spent the most time with, that he asks about the most, and that he wants to see as often as possible.¬† He does have one other best friend though, one who lives for him and only him.

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Best friends since before his chubby legs could take him anywhere.

Ash, our family dog, is almost 6 years old.¬† She was born exactly three days after Boogie, one of the best cousin friends.¬† Jake and I (and consequently Ash)¬†lived with Boogie and her mama (my sister M) when Boogie was still just a wee one for about a year and a half, and then¬†another year and a half after that we brought Doodle into our family.¬† Ash has been the guardian protector for both Boogie and Doodle her entire life.¬†¬†She’s also been¬†perfectly present whenever dozens of other¬†friends and cousins have come over to play.¬† She knows nothing but the love and play from tiny hands that still grab, pull, push, and prod.¬† And she loves it.

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Waiting patiently for him to learn how to roll over.

Ash is an American Staffordshire Terrier.  You might know her breed better as an American Pit Bull Terrier or just a basic Pit Bull.  Run in horror real quick people Рthis dog eats babies.

As you can clearly see, Doodle is in danger at all times he’s around his bud.¬† She’s completely unpredictable.¬† One minute, she seems calm as a cucumber, and the next, with no apparent motive, she turns into a ravenous beast who needs to be muzzled and tranquilized in order to maintain our family’s safety.¬† Seriously, dangerous stuff here. We do try to feed her a few dozen babies or kittens each¬†week to keep her blood lust satisfied, but we can only do so much and we never know at what moment she’ll turn on our sweet boy.

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I think he’s more interested in chewing her up.

So, aside from my (hopefully) obvious sarcasm there – some people¬†actually think these things.¬† Heck, you, my faithful reader, might even¬†think these things.¬† And that’s ok.¬† It’s not a character flaw.¬† You might have owned a pit bull who completely snapped on your unsuspecting family.¬† More likely than that, however, you heard about somebody who heard about somebody who knew somebody whose loving family dog flipped its lid on a small child who thought they were just playing. Either way, I do want to raise some awareness that while some dogs can become scared or angry and attack someone without apparent provocation,¬†sometimes, just sometimes, any breed of dog can be absolutely amazing.

But that’s the thing about dogs in general.¬† They’re animals.¬† They come from wild animals.¬† Sure, there’s been a few dozen generations between their wolf ancestors and your little Fido barking in the backyard, but the fact should never be discarded that they are animals and they do have the capacity to act on various wild instincts.

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Laying on the sweetness so she can get a turn on the XBOX.

Owning a dog, any dog, is a big responsibility.¬† Not only do they need the basics of food, water, shelter, and exercise, but they also need owners willing to invest time into them to properly train them in obedience and socialization¬†and to invest¬†money into them¬†to make sure they are healthy.¬† This is for any dog.¬† And even with all of these factors met, there’s still the potential for any dog to have health, socialization or behavioral issues.¬† Just like people, each dog has a different personality.¬† Some don’t deal with change well, others don’t¬†seem to notice.¬† Some appreciate space when they’re trying to relax, others prefer dog piles.¬† Some get jumpy or¬†anxious when new people come over, others couldn’t care less.¬† Some like to dig under fences, others are completely content in whatever confinement they’re given.¬† They’re all different, some good, some bad, some not at all¬†cut out for families with children.¬†¬†But, overall, there are many dog breeds that, on average, have amazing reputations as family-friendly dogs.¬† And do¬†you know who’s near the top of almost¬†every list there’s ever been?¬† Yep, Ash and the rest of her Pit Bull brethren.

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Doodle enjoys ear licks – Ash is happy to oblige.

Ash is what we like to refer to as¬†a big dumb dog.¬† (Say that in a dumb dog voice as though it’s just one word, and that’s pretty well everything you need to know about her.)¬† She loves cuddling, but she’s not really smart enough to know the full extent of her size, so she’s terribly awkward.¬† We accidentally taught her the command “be a cat” when she was a puppy.¬† We had cats, she loved chasing the cats, and when they would perch on the back of the couch, she’d perch right next to them.¬† How cute, right?¬† Let’s¬†teach her to do that on command, right?¬† Argh!¬† We had just about no idea what we were doing as dog owners for a good bit of her growing-up-ness.¬† Oops.

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Good be a cat, Ash!

She farts, and then looks toward her back-end with this look of curiosity as though to say, “Where in the world did that¬†noise come from?!”¬† She goes to smell something on the coffee table, doesn’t realize where the end of her nose is, and accidentally knocks it off the table after a few nudges, then cocks her head and stares at the object in complete and utter confusion, “How’d that get down there?!”

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Don’t let her look of frustration confuse you, they will sit like this for hours, every once in a while she’ll turn up her head and lick his little face joyfully.

She loves having her ears pulled and played with, hanging out in the play area with Doodle’s stuffed buddies, chasing the big ball in the yard when Doodle kicks it, and running around the swing set when Doodle and his buddies are playing on it.¬† Never mind that she doesn’t pay attention to the moving¬†swings and sometimes gets knocked around –¬†she’s totally resilient and will just keep on running with that tail a-waggin’.

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Keeping watch over her Doodle while he practices some fine motor skills.

What’s best of all about her personality, though, is how¬†much she just wants to be close to Doodle.¬† She’ll park right next to him and do nothing but watch his surroundings, mainly toward the front door.¬† If ever there’s a noise outside that she deems detrimental to his safety, she posts up right in between him and the offending sound as though she’s about to kick some intruder ass for getting too near her boy.¬† If he goes upstairs, more often than not she’s right behind him, stopping a little ways away from him but still keeping an eye on him.¬† Even when¬†she lays¬†down to catch a few winks, she’s still facing him, opening her eyes every once in a while to get an updated location of him and moving her head toward his new vicinity.

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This isn’t a dog, it’s a horse. See?

And how does Doodle feel about his dog? He can’t get enough of her. He absolutely adores giving her nice touches, knows full well not to ever hit her or pull her hair (or anyone else for that matter) and¬†would¬†give up¬†any amount of playtime to simply cuddle with her on the couch. He wants to help feed her and give her water anytime he notices us doing so, and he lets her out back as often as he thinks she might want to go potty (so long as we help him with the door if it gets stuck).

He’s very kind to her when he accidentally steps on her or knocks a toy onto her, as well. He gives her this amazingly remorseful, “I’m so sorry, Ash. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I love you,” as he proceeds to give her head the softest sweetest nice touches he can muster up. Throughout the entire ordeal, Ash has either barely noticed that anything has happened (bigdumbdog) or is licking Doodle’s face with a thousand kisses.

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Perfect timing!

Speaking of kisses, it started as one of those disgusting habits that I frantically tried to do away with when he was little. She was never really a licker before him¬†– I mean, sure, she’d kind of lick us, like on our hand if we were petting her head or on our chin if¬†our faces¬†got a little too close to her face. But, when Doodle was little,¬†she’d straight up go out of her way to give him a full-face slobber kiss at any available moment. We were obviously concerned that she’d develop a taste for him and gobble him up he’d think this was just how you interact with dogs and we’d never be able to stop it.

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Gearing up for a kiss.

Well, while he was learning how to properly open-mouthed slobber kiss us in his first few months, he decided that she was part of the family too and she deserved the same kind of kisses, so that just perpetuated her love of full face licks which in turn further perpetuated his open-mouth kisses. I finally gave up. That’s just how they share their love, and it boosts up his immune system anyway. Luckily, he doesn’t instigate the open-mouthed kisses anymore, but he does still grab her face and give her smooches right on her lips, to which she happily responds with a few good licks across his face. Giggles follow, and then a nice squeeze or chase around the living room ensues.

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Passed out together on the dog bed.

So, as he in an only child and I am a stay at home mess, even though we do play with many friends frequently, Doodle spends most of his time at home¬†with boring old mom, so his dog is his favorite company.¬† I just adore their love for each other. He’ll get her set up on the couch with a pillow, blanket, and stuffed buddy so she can take a nap, he’ll ride on her like a horse,¬†or he’ll put a hat or basket on her head so she can play whatever super hero or birthday party game he’s playing. And she eats him it all up.

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You thought I was kidding, didn’t you?

But my absolute favorite is when he specifically wants to sit on the couch with her so that he can watch a cartoon with her. He’ll ask me if he can go to sleep with her, then he’ll just cuddle up to her however is comfiest for him based on how she’s laying, and he’ll zone out on his show, scooting closer if she adjusts at all. And she’ll place her head on him or shove it between his body and the couch and doze off. And there they’ll stay, probably for hours on end if I kept the cartoons rolling or didn’t remind him to go potty occasionally.

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Cuddles on the couch.

There’s really nothing I can say to emphasize completely how grateful I am that we were blessed with such a kind-natured dog as Ash.¬† As stinky as her farts are, as annoying as her snoring is, and as irritated as I may get with her when she won’t stop jumping on people who come over no matter how much I work with her on it because she’s so darn stubborn or when she needs to go outside for the billionth time in the last hour even though she’s already done all of the business she could possibly need to do¬†AND has¬†patrolled the backyard at least a dozen times and nothing has changed and she’s just going to want back in after 13.45 seconds of being out there anyway, she really is such a sweet girl and our life would be much less rewarding without her company.

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**Love**

As far as Doodle is concerned, having a family dog (other pets too, but especially dogs) is ridiculously beneficial to children in the realms of education, health, and socialization.   Seriously, check it out here, here, or here, or go look it up yourself.  Children with dogs in their families (or access to dog reading programs like this one) even tend to learn to read fluently easier and enjoy reading more by having a furry friend always willing to sit and listen to a book without correcting mispronounced words or telling kids they skipped a page.

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Lounging on his bestie.

He’s learned more about remorse, sharing, and forgiveness¬†from her than he has from any other friends of family members.¬† He knows to be kind to all things, creatures and people alike, because we have been able to stress with him the importance of caring for her with love and respect, but also giving her space when necessary.¬† He will likely grow up with an open mind regarding many myths and stereotypes once he’s old enough to realize the common (and some legislative) views of dogs like his (among other things).¬† Granted, by that time she’ll likely not be around anymore, but hopefully we will have provided him with ample time and opportunity to make amazing memories with his wonderful dog.¬† And, by that point she will have also taught him her¬†final lesson –¬†about grieving and loss.

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You just try to separate these two!

Above all, though, he’s got a best friend who whole-heartedly adores him.¬† Happy, healthy dogs tend to love with a fervor that knows no bounds.¬† No matter how long it’s been since she’s seen him, how many times he’s taken food out of her bowl, how many times he’s closed the back door accidentally¬†leaving her outside when she wanted in,¬†or¬†how many times he steps on her as he tries to get down from the couch (because if she’s not up on the couch with him, she’s likely parked right below him waiting for him to get down), she’s always ecstatic to see him, kiss him, chase him, and fall asleep on the couch with him.¬† She really is a¬†boy’s best friend.

Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with an Emphasis in Criminology and a Double Minor in Philosophy and Psychology

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If you had told me – say, 6 years ago – that the young¬†man¬†I was dating¬†would enroll in college after we got married and¬†made a¬†baby,¬†I would’ve laughed in your face.¬† Had you continued on to say that he would¬†go for¬†a bachelor’s degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminology and a double minor in philosophy and psychology, I would’ve had you institutionalized.

But that’s exactly what he had me looking up for him today while he was at work.¬† That’s what I¬†figured for him¬†all day while Doodle watched and rewatched Henry Hugglemonster.¬† Apparently my husband, who has always detested everything that even sounded like school, loves learning.¬† I mean, I know he loves learning.¬† I’ve always known that¬†he loves¬†learning.¬† But not like this.¬† Not at all like this.¬† He literally wants to fill every available elective credit spot (and trust me, there’s a ton of elective space available – it’s a degree in sociology!) with enough philosophy and psychology to add more words¬†to his degree.

How amazing¬†that my¬†wonderful husband¬†works full time to keep a roof over our head and food in our bellies and then¬†wants to completely fill any amount of free time with a degree this extensive just so he can move up in his chosen field and work even harder.¬† All while I play all¬†day¬†with an incredibly well-behaved¬†toddler (is he almost too big for me to call him that?) and occasionally do some laundry and dishes.¬† I’m amazed, literally.¬† And he’s happy.¬† Happy to come home, happy to go to school, happy to go to work, happy to have time with our¬†family, happy to relax in the back yard with friends, happy to play video games, and happy to turn off his games to do homework.¬† Just plain happy.¬† And it makes me happy.¬† And I do love being happy.¬† ūüôā

In other news, Doodle has now gone a full week of dry underoo-clad naps!¬† ūüôā¬† And he’s gotten a ton of peppermints all week because of it.¬† You know those soft peppermints you get at Christmas time – yeah, this kid digs those things and if that keeps him from making me buy more diapers, I’m all for bribery!¬† And his language is getting incredible!¬† And he’s sounding out and spelling words like dog, cat, pig, and bed with his letter magnets on the fridge!¬† I mean, he watches Word World a lot, and there’s a dog, cat, and pig on the show, and I can think of at least three different episodes where they specifically spelled and created a bed, so I’m sure most of it is just repetition and memory, but still!¬† That’s repetition and memory of letters, letter sounds, and words!

But with my big boy growing and learning so much, we’ve come to a sad understanding – other than the fact that he no longer says hopadoctor¬†instead of¬†helicopter – Jake and I are officially dad and mom.¬† Take a moment and sigh with me.¬† We can’t even threaten him with tickles ’til he stops breathing to get him to¬†call us mommy or daddy just one more time!¬† I’m sure it’s just a phase – I hope it’s just a phase.¬† At least let me be mama!¬† I can’t do this mom business.¬† Not yet!¬† That’s too close to, “Mom, can I borrow the car keys?”

I think we’ve settled on dragons for the birthday, which is good because I have my work cut out for me if I want to make myself even more frazzled than I did last year.¬† His birthday’s in a month and a half…¬† Gosh, how did he get to be almost 3 already?!¬† So now I’ve got to get the party stuff going, the invitations and¬†all of the party¬†favors and fun activities and such (not to mention the cake!), I still need to finish that uterus (I know!¬† I’m such a slacker) and get a few of those headbands done for my midwife friend, get a whole bunch of curtains¬†sewn up¬†for another wonderful¬†friend of mine, and build a sandbox for Doodle’s birthday.¬† Hopefully all of these things can happen soon.¬† ūüôā¬† And I know I can’t ask Jake for much help.¬† But that’s ok – he works hard so I can do all of these wonderful things that make me happy.

So anyway, if I’m not around a lot, this is why.¬† I still love you all, and I will try my darndest to continue commenting on your blogs.¬† And if anything outlandish or amazing happens, I’ll make sure to tell you all.

I Think He’s Got a Future!

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Doodle has always loved playing with the camera on our tablet. Since the very beginning days that we got it and started playing with all of the fun functions, he’s loved making videos and taking shots of himself. He’s never really played with my real camera though. That is, until my family’s mid-March-Christmas-get-together-thing when his Mimi (my mama) let him play with her point and shoot. He learned how truly simple it is to just aim the camera at something, look in the little screen to make sure you’re taking the exact shot you want, then click that little button there at the top. Now he’s grabbing the camera anytime he sees it sitting around or whenever he notices I’ve put it down after a little photo session. Seems like he wants to¬†take pictures of everything and everyone¬†– just like mama! ūüôā

And he’s not half-bad. I mean, he’s not exactly half-good, either. But I’m his mommy, and I see the artistic expression he’s going for in each of his pieces. Or something like that. So here’s a taste of his amazing photography skills along with what I believe is what he meant to name his photos.¬† Prints are available should you fancy any, prices may¬†vary.

Self Portrait or Checking for Boogers

Checking for Boogers

The World Closing In

The Living Room Through Fingers

Mommy Laughing

Mommy Laughing

The Door and the Giant's Shadow

The Door and the Giant’s Shadow

Spider-Man

Spider-Man Balloon

Skyping with Erin

Skyping with Erin

Where I Like to Keep My Things

Where I Like to Keep My Things

My Protector

My Protector

Mommy Should Vacuum

Mommy Should Vacuum

Daddy on the Tablet

Daddy on the Tablet

Wittle Wine-gines.

Little Einsteins and a Foot

Computers and Coffee

Telephone, Laptop and Coffee

Daddy and Mommy

Parental Units

Zombie Slayer

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You might remember in my Spring Break post that Jake and I went out for a movie and dinner without Doodle in tote. What you may not remember (probably because I neglected to tell you) is that in between the movie (Jack the Giant Slayer) and dinner (Olive Garden) we stopped at Barnes & Noble to kill some time and look around.

Now, if this were, say, three and a half years ago that Jake and I had time to kill at Barnes & Noble, we likely would have spent all of our time in the New Age, Religion, Philosophy, and Sci-Fi sections, grabbed a half-dozen new books or so, and went along our merry way. It was not three and a half years ago, however. It was four days ago. Four days ago (as well as every day since three and a half years ago when we found out we had made a baby) we were completely obsessed with our Doodle. Sure, we spent a good fifteen minutes in the New Age/Religion/Philosophy section and gawked at the outrageous prices of new books nowadays. And Jake did mosey over to Sci-Fi where he found THE book that he needs next in his series, but I told him we could find a used one at a fraction of the price. But then we did what is now our norm. We went over to the kiddo stuffs.

Doodle’s got tons of books – that’s not to say that he doesn’t need tons more, but there just wasn’t much that caught our eye over there. Again, the new book prices thing kind of helped with that – used books all the way! So we wandered over to their little “toy” section. Adult toys (No! Not that kind!) like Star Wars bobble heads, Mario Yahtzee, and Marvel comic stuffed heroes. All super great things, but not quite what we were looking for. Then we saw it, and we had to get it…

(Mind you, we did also end up getting a set of fruit dominoes for Doodle for counting and fruit identification purposes and a physics book on clearance for Jake, but that is not what this post is about…)

Y’all remember Doodle’s Zombie Slayer Christmas present? Well, it needed an accessory…

Zombie!

Zombie!

Putting that zombie slayer to good use.

Putting that zombie slayer to good use.

He figured out how to kill his zombie friend with headshots all by himself, even.  Such a good boy!

He figured out how to kill his zombie friend with headshots all by himself, even. Such a good boy!