Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

Today is my brother's birthday. I have talked about my brother here before, he is the computer genius that has fixed all of my computer issues. I think he is a fabulous guy, but it has not always been that way.

Growing up, we did not get along much at all. Yes, we were close in age, there are only nineteen months between us, but we had such different interests so there was not much common ground. I do remember making trails through the woods by our house with treasure maps for each other to follow, and playing FBI agent and hiding Monopoly money in the books in the living room as clues to some pretend crime. But he pursued his interest in Boy Scouts and being smart, and I paid attention to my looks and having lots of friends. To say that we did not have anything in common besides DNA would be a slight understatement.

I also remember things like this.
Here's a family picture from 1982. It may be hard to see as I am still doing the take-a-picture-of-the-picture thing, but this will have to do, since I do not have a scanner and would not know how to use one of I did. That's me, the cute little bowl-hair-cut blondie, with my brother, our parents, and our half-sister Jeannie. Wait, is that a band-aid across my nose? And the beginnings of a black eye? Why yes, it is!

This family picture was taken just a few hours after my brother decided to throw a brick at the neighbor girl. She was being mean to him, which she often was, and he picked up a brick and threw. The only problem was she and I were on the swings, so he threw the brick while she was in front, but by the time the brick arrived, she had swung to the back, and I swung forward to be met in the face with a brick. Jeff's first lesson in oscillating motion.

Oh, I have more stories about the horrors I faced at the hands of my brother, but I won't keep going. This is his birthday post, after all, and we don't need to go into why I had to have a root canal and a crown on my front tooth. Let's keep this upbeat, shall we?

I cannot sit here and play innocent the whole time, however. I may have, once or twice a week, put on cowboy boots, picked on him till he got mad, and then run away till he chased me and I might have stopped fast with my foot sticking out behind me so he would run into my heel. I might have done that. But I'm not admitting to anything.

We started to grow a little closer in our college years, then he met Miss Wrong. Get it? She was not Miss Right. Anyway, that relationship took a lot of his time and attention, and I moved up here and we drifted apart for a few years. A couple of years ago, he kicked Miss Wrong to the curb and ended up meeting Miss Right. We have both come to appreciate the value of our family, and although a hundred or so miles separate us, we do our best to stay in touch. We plan dinner once a month and he tries to join us on big outings, like the zoo.

I think he fits in well, don't you?
My brother is smarter than anyone I have ever met. He has a blog called Tragically L33t, and I read it, but I don't understand it. Click HERE and explain it to me, OK?

He married Miss Right a little over a year ago and I am so happy he did. She is wonderful and I love her, and they are so good together. I am really looking forward to years to come as we continue to grow close and have the relationship that we never did as kids. He is kind and giving, smart and funny, and confident and sure. He is an amazing man.

Happy birthday, Jeff! I love you!

Making Your Own Laundry Soap

I was blog-hopping a while back when I ran into Michelle Duggar's website. You know, the woman on TLC with eighteen kids? Yeah, her.

Well, she had a page with family recipes. Out of curiosity as to what it takes to feed a family of twenty, I clicked on it. And I found something cool.

She makes her own laundry soap. At first I was skeptical. Homemade laundry detergent? I had images of faded colors on my clothing and stains that would not come out. But then I thought a little more about it, and with eighteen kids, you kinda have to have clothes last to go through a lot of hand-me-downs, right? I started asking people if they had heard about it, and got a good response. Works great, natural instead of nasty chemicals, and cheap. Alright, I can go for that.

So I tried it. And of course, I took pictures. And I an going to blog it, because that's what I do. I don't ever want to steal someone's idea without giving them credit, though, so Michelle Duggar's link can be found HERE

The recipe (as copied and pasted from the Duggar website, since I am too lazy practical to type it all out myself) is:

4 Cups hot tap water
Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

I found Borax right away, at Target. Borax can be found basically everywhere. The soap bar and the washing soda were a little more difficult, though, but I was able to find the soap bar at Ace Hardware in Lynden, and they were able to order the washing soda in for me. You can get these easily online, but I like to shop local.

This is what I started with: I used a regular cheese grater to grate the soap bar, and although the bar was hard and took a little effort to grate, it really didn't take long at all. I added the water to the bucket, dumped in the melted soap, and filled it the rest of the way with water. Easy peasy, I was done. And a little disappointed that it didn't take longer, I was thinking I was going to be getting into making stuff, but it was over in about five minutes.The next day, it was nice and gell-ey and looked like this.

To be honest, filling the container was the hardest part. I would recommend stirring the contents of the bucket first to break up the gel, it will be easier to fill the laundry detergent bottle.

I bought enough stuff to make two batches of this, and it cost me less than ten bucks. Less than ten bucks for twenty gallons of laundry soap! I have been using it for a week, and it works just like my old, expensive stuff. We all have really sensitive skin in our house, (seriously, Emma was allergic to the chlorine in the tap water in our old house and would break out after every bath,) and it has not been a problem at all.

I would definitely recommend it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

That's Hot

Guess what? It's hot out.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. It's not supposed to get this hot. The thermometer in the shade of our back porch says 101. My little window a/c has been running since Sunday night without stop, and is currently keeping the house at a reasonable 82 degrees inside. Emma has a fever of 101.4. Drew has roseola. Ben has decided that naps are for babies, and he doesn't want to anymore. So he wakes up Grant because he wants to play.

I'm tired, I'm hot, and I haven't done laundry in three days since I don't want to run the dryer and make it even hotter in here. So the laundry is piling up and I just dread doing it. Just a few more days, and I will catch up. It's supposed to be cooler this weekend, right?

I'm hot. And not in the Paris Hilton way. I have been wearing my bikini around the yard. Because it's hot. But me in a bikini is not hot. But I don't care. Because I'm hot.

Have I mentioned that it's hot?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tiff Answers, Part 2!

I have to say, this whole Ask Tiff thing has been fun. It has been interesting to see your questions, should we do this more often? Is it as much fun for all of you as it is for me? Are you doing happy dances every time someone leaves a comment? Oh, that's just me? *sigh* Alright.

Moving on, here are the rest of the questions, asked by you, my wonderful readers!

Djan asked: Were you the class clown in school? Where and how did you develop your slightly satiric sense of humor?? You are laugh-out-loud funny sometimes.

And then Brenda commented: I don't currently have a question but I'm going to try to keep you honest here... NO, she was not the class clown in school!

Wow, Brenda, did you think I would lie about it? Sheesh...

Maybe we should ask Brenda what I was like in school. Since I met her on the first day of seventh grade, and I haven't been able to get rid of her we have been friends ever since. No, I was not the class clown in school. I was more of the geeky, tall, waaaay to skinny kid. Seriously, I graduated high school 5'9" and about 112 pounds. I didn't speak up much until I got to know people, I was pretty shy. Once you got to know me, I like to think I was funny, but maybe not. Brenda will have to set us straight on that one. Strange to think of that now, that is really not me anymore.

As far as where I got my sense of humor, it came from this guy.
People meet my Dad and after about five minutes, they say, "OK, it's all starting to make sense now. I get it."

Thanks for thinking I am laugh-out-loud funny. I still can't believe people are entertained by my ramblings about poop.

I want to know how you cross out words.

First time caller I mean question asker of Ask Tiff. Thanks so much for taking my question I was so nervous...

OK, this one is easy. Don't be nervous, Amy, I only make you bite the head off a Barbie on your second question...

To cross out words, just type it like this: <>words I want crossed out< /del> Just don't put the spaces in there, and it will work. When I remove the spaces, it looks like this: words I want crossed out Very cool, huh?

**UPDATE** I am writing this, but when I publish it, it is not showing up. To cross out words, do these things<> around the letters del in front, then these things <> around /del at the end. I hope this makes sense. what you see above is wrong, you have to have del in the little brackety things, but it keeps dropping them when I publish the post.

Aimee said... What do you mean "when we found out about Drew?" Is there something special about Drew? I'm kind of a new reader so I hope I'm not being totally obtuse. And BTW, your blog is the only one that I have to wait until I finish my coffee to read, or there will be coffee coming out of my nose and I don't want that to happen EVERY morning. You are a great writer and make wonderful stories out of everyday occurrences, which is a gift.

Coffee out your nose? Oh, don't do that, that sounds very painful. I cannot imagine going to the hospital with second degree burns to your sinuses and having to explain that you got then from reading a story about a crazy woman with dimpled thighs and belly flab running around in a bikini. I shudder at the thought...

When I say "when we found out about Drew," I am referring to when we found out we were pregnant with Drew. At the time, Marty had already gotten the referral and the physical for a vasectomy, and we had just had a garage sale where we got rid of all of our newborn stuff. The twins were fifteen months old, they had barely started sleeping through the night, and we were just starting to feel like we were treading water instead of constantly struggling to stay afloat. A new baby was not exactly what we had in mind!

But to be honest, it was not as big of a deal as people might think. We kind of said, "Wow. That'll be fun." And we kept on with life. I insisted on an ultrasound at our first appointment, and we learned that this wee one was one instead of two, so we were fine. After twins, one would seem easy. We kind of figured that if God decided we could handle it, who were we to question?

Ok, I have two questions: - Have you ever thought about or looked into free lance truly have the gift and it encourages people and makes them laugh!!! - After the twins did you want more kids? I know that before Drew was even born you made sure that future blessings would not be coming your way anymore...did you not do that when you were pregnant with the twins because you knew you wanted more? Have a great day!!! Kristen

Kristen, you are fabulous. Thank you for all your kind comments! I have never considered myself a good writer, I actually failed English in high school and college. I have been getting a lot of good comments on my blog, though, so I did look into free lance writing a couple of months ago. To be honest, I don't know where to start and I don't have time to research it. I kind of think that funny mommy bloggers are a dime a dozen, I don't know that I am any better than hundreds of other bloggers. I am thinking in a couple years when things calm down a little I might at least try and pursue it, though, we will see!

As far as having more kids- like I said before, we always said we wanted 2.5 kids. When we found out we were having twins, Marty's first reaction was, "I need to get a hysterectomy!" He was ready to have surgery that day, except for the fact that, you know, he never had a uterus. We decided we were done after the twins, did you know that if you naturally conceive and carry twins once, your chanced of having them again quadruples? Yeah, not a good thought. We decided not to take any permanent measures at that time, as several friends had done that recently and regretted it. We agreed to wait until the twins were a year, to make sure our decision was based on what we really wanted and not just "twin shock." After a year, we both felt that it would be just too much to have another child, we could not imagine another set of twins. (Fifteen passenger van, anyone?) We started the process of a permanent solution, but obviously God had other plans for our family. And we are so glad that despite our best effort, Drew joined our family. Our family really feels complete now, and we could not imagine life without our little surprise.

Anonymous asked: What is it like to be related to the one and only REAL "King Jullian"? :) You, I am sure know who this must be cuz I am so beautiful and you love to love me :) Don't you wish you where me? I just love me so much! You want to touch me don't you? lol lol lol

OK. I'm going to answer these one at a time. You have to type slowly and use small words with some people, and I don't want to confuse this reader.

What is it like to be related to the one and only REAL "King Jullian"? :)
Well, it's kind of embarrassing, for one. Do you really have to wear the lizard-crown when we go out in public? And walking up to people in church yelling, "Come on everybody! Let's go meet the pansies!" It's too much, really.

You, I am sure know who this must be cuz I am so beautiful and you love to love me :) Yeah, I know who you are. You are this guy. But with red hair.

Don't you wish you where me? Where? Do I need mapquest for this one?

I just love me so much! You want to touch me don't you? Ummm... I think that is illegal in several countries. "Don't touch the feet!"

lol lol lol Keep laughing, buddy. I get to choose your nursing home someday. Love you! :)

Carmen O. said... what am i thinking RIGHT NOW? You are thinking, "Wow, that explains a lot. I wonder if that King Julian guy is serious. And I thought my family was strange..." Oh, and you are also thinking, "Wow, Tiffani is soooo cool! I want to be just like her someday!"

Dan said... When will my editor ever finish proofing my submittal???
Oh, Crayola, your editor forgot. Again. And it's been what, two months? Umm... Your editor would like you to re-submit your writing sample and I will get to it at my earliest convenience, and I would like to formally apologize for the delay. Because of this unfortunate turn of events, I will reduce your fee by half.

Your welcome.

Well, that's all the questions this time, thank you all for playing along!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sweet Stellan

Alrighty, folks! I know there are a lot of prayer warriors out there, and I am calling on all of you right now. Really, RIGHT NOW! I'm sure you know of the story of Stellan, the sweet baby with the bad heart. He was admitted once again to Children's Hospital with SVT (Supra Ventricular Tachycardia, a very rapid heartbeat) and he is fading fast.

Please pray for him, God did heal him once and he CAN do it again. Pray for the wisdom of the doctors who are treating him, and pray for his family. Pray for his sweet Mama who is holding her fading baby in her arms. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to go through what this family is going through, and I am crying as I type this, but please, PLEASE pray for this family and the healing of this amazing baby boy.

To get updates, go to their blog by clicking HERE.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tiff Answers! Part 1

Wow, you guys are doing great with Ask Tiff! I had no idea you all had so many questions about me. I now have a lot of blogging to do. I am only going to answer a couple of the questions now, since I can be a bit, umm, long-winded and this would be a really long post if I didn't cut it off. And I know you all have lives to live, and don't want to spend half the day reading about my life. I'll keep questions open till Sunday, and answer the rest throughout the week. Feel free to click HERE for the original post and to ask a question of your own.

Here we go! I'm so excited!

When did you realize you loved photography enough to make a career (even if a part-time one) out of it? ~your sister-in-law Beth

Well, to make a short story long (which is something I am good at,) I have actually been involved in photography for a long time. I was in Campfire girls when I was young, and one of the girls' father was a photographer. We took a trip to the zoo and took pictures with black and white film, then went to his house where he had all the developing gear and we developed our own pictures. I was loved it, the whole process fascinated me. I was eight.

In Jr High, I got involved in photography as a 4-H project. Our family took a road trip to New Jersey, taking five weeks to drive across the country in our minivan and seeing the country. I used my dad's manual camera, and learned a lot about f-stop and shutter speed. I was still thrilled with the whole idea of it all, and was given a limit of two rolls of film a day when we were sight seeing. I got a great shot of the capital building in DC, where the light reflected off the filter and the photo looked like it had alien space ships surrounding it.

Here, I took a picture of the picture. No, I am not cool enough to have a scanner, and this print has been around a while so this is kinda scratched up and not the best quality, but here's the picture I am talking about.

I entered this photo in the fair and won Best In Show, and then entered it at the State fair in Puyallup and got a Judges Choice. I was thrilled and decided to pursue a career in photography.

When looking at colleges, I found a few colleges that had photography programs. I remember poring over the brochures of colleges far, far away and dreaming of life on my own. But I freaked out a little at the thought of it all, and chose to stay close to home and go to the local community college instead.

While in college, I got a job as a photographer at one of the department store photo studios. It was great for a while to be nineteen and have the job title of photographer, but reality hit soon after- since I had basically no control over the camera or lighting, I was not a photographer, but a people-poser and a button-pusher. I had to sing a few too many rounds of Barney's song to make screaming kids look halfway decent and I got bored and moved on to a graphic design company which specialized in model and talent comp cards. There I learned Photoshop and Pagemaker, and even though I was not directly involved in photography, it was a big part of the industry.

Life took over, and I was not involved in photography for quite a few years. When my sis-in-law Amy started her business, I was thrilled for her, and told her if she ever needed help to call me. My first wedding was last year for Amy's sister-in-law, where Amy needed to be in some of the pictures. I went for the day, and Amy handed me a camera, put it on manual mode, and told me to do my best. I was used to my dad's film camera where you only had a few settings to mess with, and the transition to a professional digital camera was a little bit of a shock. I would mess around with things, try to make the shot work, and then every half hour or so give the camera back to Amy so that she could put the settings back where they needed to be. I went into the day thinking I knew about photography, and finished realizing I did not know a thing.

But once again, I was hooked.

Although I still have a ton to learn, wedding photography has been a perfect job for me. I can stay home with the kids, and only work weekends when Marty is available. I can choose which weddings I work, and my boss is awesomely cool. Like, super-cool. I hope to one day have her level of cool-ocity. :)

But really, I have the best job in the world!

Did you always want a big family? With 4 kids how many loads of laundry do you do a week? Do you have a dishwasher? If so, how often do you run it? Kind of silly questions, but I only have 1 toddler and I feel like I'm always doing laundry or the I'm curious how it is with more kids! Hope this helps! :) Heather

When Marty and I were going through pre-marital counseling, we talked about everything we wanted for our future, including the number of kids. Marty is one of four, and I am one of two. My brother and I did not get along when we were growing up, and I always wanted more siblings to play with. Marty and I decided on 2.5 children. We would have two, and then re-evaluate. If we had three, we would re-evaluate, and possibly have four, but no more than that. So, although some of our kids were God's plan and not ours, we love it. We absolutely love having a big family, and even though life is crazy most of the time, we wouldn't have it any other way.

As far as your other questions, I remember when Emma was born and the shock at the amount of laundry one small child went through. After Drew, I never even noticed a difference in the volume of laundry. I think with each child, you lose enough sanity/memory that it doesn't even mater anymore.

I would never have survived in the olden days without my dishwasher and washer and dryer. When I actually keep up on things, the dishwasher runs twice a day and I do two loads of laundry a day. However I am quite often not caught up.

Laundry is my nemesis. I don't know why, but I have a real problem with all the folding and putting away. Usually the clean laundry piles up for a couple of days before we have a laundry folding party and get it all taken care of.

Here's my point of view. The laundry and the dishes and the cooking and the vacuuming and the cleaning and the bathrooms and everything else can be done every day. But if I were to do all these things, I would never have time to sit and read my kids a book, or take them to the park or the beach, or play trains with them or color. So I don't do it all. My house is cluttered, there are Cheerios on the kitchen floor and laundry piles up. When the kids go to school, those things will still be there. Well, I do hope I have a chance to sweep up the Cheerios before they all go to school, or that would just be gross. But you get my point. Kids are only little for so long, and I don't want to miss their childhood because I was making sure my door frames would pass the white-glove test.

You have to pick what is most important to you (and your spouse) and let the rest slide. And yes, you can still be SuperMom, even if you let the kids draw murals in the dust that gathers on the shelves!

Well, that's all I will answer for now. Keep the questions coming! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Letter To My Neighbors

Dear residents of our driveway,

Well, hello, how are you? I'm good, thanks for asking. The reason I am writing this is to inform you of a certain situation that will be changing in our yard.

As you all know, it has been hot out lately. Really, really hot. And our little window air conditioner helps a little, but more often than not, the inside of our house is hotter then the outside. I'm sure you have seen us playing in the yard, running through the sprinkler and such. True, there is not much of our yard that you can see, because of the placement of the fences and trees, but I know you can catch a glimpse of us every now and again.

Which brings me to why I am writing this letter. I have been playing outside in baggy t-shirts and jeans, since I do not own any shorts that fit (and I refuse to shop for some, just knowing that I will lose another ten pounds soon and fit into my old ones,) and frankly, I am tired of the bad tan lines. In my quest to not look so much like a middle-aged haggard mom, I would really like to avoid having tanned forearms and white as can be upper arms and legs. I have made a decision that may affect you. I apologize that it has come down to this, but I really feel this is the best decision for me.

I am going to start playing outside in my swimsuit. And not just any swimsuit. The bikini that I wore before I had kids.

Now, I know that this may cause a bit of shock at first, as the pasty-white glow of newly exposed skin might cause headaches, and my cellulite-ridden thighs might bring on nausea. I am aware that my stretch marks and flabs of extra skin from carrying twins are not going to be the prettiest to show off between scraps of Hawaiian-print fabric, but that is the decision I have made.

And just so you all know, I have started Jillian Michaels 30-day shred, so I hope that the masses of flubber will soon be a thing of the past. And yes, I am aware that doing seven minutes of a thirty minute video one time and then not looking at it again for a week and a half might not constitute "starting a workout routine" for some, but we twin moms have to run on a different schedule than the rest of the world.

I think every girl has the right to get the most out of spending oodles of money on a swimsuit that she can never wear in public again. Yes, I have gained a bit since my days of wearing a bikini, (cough! thirty pounds! cough!) but give me a break, I had four kids in four and a half years! I think that you all might agree with me that in these tough economic times, that we need to use what we have and get the most of it. So I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and I beg you to not be so distracted by out-of-shape and brightly glowing form that you have an accident with your weed-eater.

Hopefully, over time, my pasty-whiteness and flab will become a thing of the past and we will be able to be friendly neighbors again.

Thank you for your time,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ask Tiff!

I have been asked a few question in comments lately, and I thought it might be fun to do an Ask Tiffani post. What do you think? You like the idea? Good.

So here are the rules: There are no rules. You can ask me anything. From how we felt when we found out we were having twins to how we felt when we found out about Drew, my childhood, how I sort my laundry, whatever! Anything that has been on your mind that you are just dying to know. Have fun, be creative, and please actually ask questions so that I don't have to pretend someone sent an e-mail with a question that I made up just to make me feel like less of a dork, OK?

Leave a comment on this post to ask your question. You can click on anonymous, but please sign your name to your comment so I know who you are!

Depending on the response, I will answer these either late this week or early next. Have fun asking!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lumps, Thumps, and Softball

My brother is a fabulous guy. Yesterday, he came up to spend the day, since he had vacation time from work and well, he loves me. We hung out at the house for a while, then he took our whole crew out for dinner and we went to Marty's softball game.

Here's my brother with Drew. They had a good time hanging out, watching the game. Well, for about three minutes, then Drew was all filled up with his anyone-other-than-my-mommy-time.

My fabulous hubby, swinging at the ball! I don't know if he got a hit on this one, my brother actually stole my camera and took this one while I was tending to Ben.

Why was I tending to Ben, you ask? Well, to put it mildly, Ben is a fun, crazy kid. And sometimes he does fun, crazy things. Like running as fast as he can, and trying wave his arms wildly at the same time.

I'm sure all parents, and most non-parents, have seen the moment when a kid is running too fast and starts to lose their balance. For a while they are fine, but the next step is a little off. they start to try and get their feet under themselves, but can't seem to manage to gain control as their momentum carries them ahead. At this point as a parent, your insides are screaming, "Nooooo! Catch him, he's going down!" But you cannot move quickly enough. And then they start to fall. First the knees, followed quickly by the sides of the ankles, and then the hands, then the elbows, and last but not least, the nose and the head. And if it is on concrete, you can hear the thunk as the disproportionately-large-for-the-body head hits the pavement. You run to them, and have them scooped up and in your arms before the scream comes.

Because you all know that the scream is coming. And the longer the pause before it happens, the worse the injury. And this one was a nice long pause.

I picked him up, even with Drew in the front pack and my camera slung over my shoulder, left Grant and Emma with my brother and hauled him to the bathroom, where a very nice mom got us some ice from the concession stand. I cleaned him up the best I could and we headed back to the game.
You can see in this one how large the knot swelled, his forehead is not usually that shape!
This is why I never take the kids to Marty's games by myself.

Of course, in typical two-year-old fashion, he was off and running in no time. But when we got home, he wanted to use his new Lightning McQueen ice pack, because he had a "bad owie."
Is it bad that I think he is adorable with his ice pack on his poor, swollen head?

This poor child hits his head so often I have memorized the signs of concussion in a toddler, so I knew he was OK. And today he is fine, unless he wants a snuggle. Then he will point to his nose and say, "Owie, owieeeeee!" Then grin and climb up in my lap.

And because I am a sucker for a good cuddle, I baby him and hold him close, saying, "Oohhh, the poor little baby, hit his poor little head!" And I hold him veryverytight until he squirms out of my grasp and runs away, giggling.

Gotta love the injured-toddler games that come with the injured toddler.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not Me! My child! Monday

Instead of our usual Not Me! Monday! we will be having Not My Child! Monday! Just for fun.

As usual, this was created by MckMama, who is fabulous and her blog can be found HERE.

Welcome to Not Me! My Child! Monday! This one is going to be short, as I am here with my brother who is visiting for the day, and I don't want to be rude and ignore him while I am blogging. I will throw flying monkeys at his face, but I do have some standards for appropriate behavior with guests!

This week, under the close and careful supervision of their father, my children were NOT fed Jell-O as their fruit and vegetable serving for dinner. Twice. In a row. Including the night that they were fed a "fun, picnic style dinner" which did NOT include one large plate of cheese and crackers and one large plate of Jell-O jigglers in the middle of the living room rug, and told to go for it. We did NOT decide that we are introducing them to another culture by serving them like this, and called it Asian family style dinner.

During one of the days that my children were left unattended under the close care and supervision of their father, who is also my loving husband, the twins did NOT drive their new-to-us Power Wheels Chevy Silverado through my garden. And my darling husband did NOT just try to pull up and straighten the corn stalks so that I would never notice. He did NOT write about it as his Facebook status update, blowing his cover.

My children were NEVER put to bed in t-shirts as jammies, and then allowed to wear the shirts as shirts the following day. We always put them in proper sleep attire!

What did your kids NOT do this week?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Things We Have Learned Part Four

This week, I learned that if the kids have been sitting happily at the table, coloring with markers for a half hour, not even looking like they are thinking about moving, it is still not a good idea to walk out of the room to speed-diaper-change Drew. Even if I am only gone for six seconds.

Grant learned that if Mom walks out of the room, running away with a red marker and immediately coloring on your bedding is a sure-fire way to get in a lot of trouble.

Baby Drew discovered that if you suck on your toes while you are eating your dinner, you can mash some strained peas in between them and save yourself a snack for later.

I have not yet learned how to get carrots out from under his toenails.

Marty learned that if you roll up the garden hose on the hose-rolley-stand-thingy, but don't remove the sprinkler, you will get in trouble with your wife for not finishing the job.

I learned that if the hose is rolled up, it is a good idea to look and see if the sprinkler is still attached and pointing your direction, because just turning on the faucet will spray a big stream of water straight up the leg of your shorts and goose you. And if you call your husband up to blame him, he will just laugh and laugh. And them laugh some more.

And if this happens while you are potty training two little boys, you will not be able to convince them that you were sprayed by the hose, you did not actually have an accident.

And your husband will continue to laugh.

Marty learned that is he continues to laugh at situations such as these, he will get his ear flicked when the kids are not looking.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursdays With Tiffani

I'm thankful for: our fabulous financial advisor, Layne Johnson at Waddell & Reed. We got our quarterly statement this week and our portfolio increased by almost 20% during a recession. Now, do realize that we are only talking about a teensy bit of money here, since we spend $200 a month on diapers and baby food and cannot contribute much toward retirement our account is rather small, but still. That's pretty freaking cool. And as we are very loyal people to those who do well by us, I will post his phone number (360)734-4728, as a thank you for the fabulous job being super-cool. Call him, and tell him Tiffani Stauffer sent you!

Looking forward to: the UPS man driving his big brown truck to deliver the new lens I bought this week! I sold my old camera and put the money into a new lens for my new camera, and found one that I think I will love. I sure hope I do love it, I cannot afford anything better! Oh, and Gordon and Tracie are home today, so I cannot wait for her to read this post and find out what we did to her house!

I'm listening to: I was just listening to Emma explain to Grant that the new bookmark he was holding had to be hers. "Grant, I think it is mine. See? It has a school bus on it so it has to be mine. I think it must have came in the mail as a congratulations for going into Kindergarten."

What's for dinner tonight: We are going to a barbecue for Marty's softball team tonight. My fabulous husband, who has to have a plan for every moment of every day, has not yet informed me if it is a potluck or not. Even though I asked last week. And three times this week. And if he calls me at four o'clock to tell me it is a potluck and i have to fix something, I just might beat him. And if he does not call me at all, and I show up empty handed and it is a potluck, I will

Missing: I am still missing one tennis shoe. And yesterday I decided to start Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, especially after I saw some test shots Amy did of me at a wedding and I looked horrible. I got seven minutes into the workout and quit, because I really am that out of shape because I was barefoot and I didn't want to injure myself. I would love the convenient excuse of not having shoes to continue my no-exercise lifestyle, but I cannot handle going out in public looking like I am carrying a lumpy pillow under my shirt around my belly. So I need to find my shoe. And Ben's not talking.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Had a Horrible Childhood

We had a moment of recollection recently. A moment that started with Emma saying, "Mommy, what's a bison?" turned into me Googling the correct lyrics for Home on the Range, and ended with both Marty and I questioning the very moral fibers with which we were raised.

I found a website that had lyrics for all the good old patriotic songs, and Marty and I sang some for the benefit of our children; America, Home on the Range, America the beautiful, and on and on. Then I came to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and immediately the lyrics came to me. I did not even have to look at the screen to start singing.

My eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school,
we have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule,

we're barbecuing the principal tomorrow after school,
our truth is marching on!

Then Marty joined in.

Glory, glory, what's it to ya?
Teacher hit me with a ruler,

I met her at the door
with a loaded .44
now she ain't my teacher no more!

And then we looked at each other, and then at our five year old that had lost interest and was watching the Mariners game. And we busted up laughing, a little embarrassed at what we almost taught her.

How horrible is that song? And how did we learn such and awful thing? After doing a little research (i.e.: asking my Dad,) I discovered where on earth I heard such a song.

I learned it in school. And not on the playground, but in music class, taught to us by our teacher Mrs. Rutherford, who my dad described as "goofy." And she was. She taught what she wanted to teach, and believed music should be fun. She also taught everyone the traditional Christian based Christmas songs, because they were great examples of music.

She did her own thing. She marched to her own beat, if you will. Good for her.

Have any of you gone back and watched cartoons of the late seventies and early eighties? I was so excited to find the Smurfs, Tom and Jerry, and Looney Tunes in OnDemand so that I could show Emma what cartoons were like when I was a kid.

And you know what cartoons were like back then? They were rude, racist, violent, and sexist. As much as I liked Speedy Gonzales, he will not be a "household name" in my household.

So I got to thinking. If I was raised that way, and turned out normal alright, then what influences will my kids have that will not make any difference to them? Where is the line between protecting our kids and letting them have fun and march to their own beat?

And what am I doing that my kids will look back on and say, "I cannot believe my Mom thought that was OK?"

Well, I think anyone who reads this blog regularly can answer that one for themselves, but we have to keep the therapists employed, right?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How To Photograph Your Kids, Part Two

Back in March, I did a "how to photograph your kids" post that seemed to be a favorite. As you may know, I work as a second shooter for Amy Parsons, a very talented photographer in the county. I have been helping her for almost a year now, so I consider myself quite the talented faker when it comes to photography. Seriously, there is so much that I don't know, and won't figure out for a while. So what's a gal with a nice camera and very little photographic knowledge to do? Why, teach all of you everything I know, of course! So this will be a very short post.

Here is Part Two of How To Photograph Your Kids: Outdoor Edition!

First, as was proven in my last photography post, four kids is a lot when you are trying to get natural shots. This particular photoshoot happened when Emma was gone, and it was just me and the three boys.

One of the best things you can do to get great shots outdoors is to be in the shade. This is particularly good if you are like us, and your whole yard is shade. Not only is is flattering light, but grass does not grow well, leaving you with green moss that is nice and soft between the toes and requires little mowing, looking great in your photographs.

Getting some good baby shots is a great thing to do while the twins are running around. Because, the one-on-one time will not last long before your older kids will position themselves right where they think they need to be and yell "Cheeeeese!" As loud as they can. Do you think we do this photoshoot thing often?

It can be difficult to get everyone's attention held and get the baby smiling at the same time. It is a great idea to utilize whatever is available to you at the time. In this shot, the cat walking by was very helpful in getting the children's undivided attention and keeping them focused. Now if only I could train the cat to walk in the right direction.
"Ok, now give your brother some love!" May or may not be a good idea. Stay within arm's reach so as to not allow then to love the baby toooooo much.
But occasionally, you might get just the right moment, and prove that there really is brotherly love amongst all the chaos in our house.
Taking advantage of their naturally competitive side can work to your advantage. I really truly did not ask them to do this, this was their way of proving that they both loved their Baby Drew as much as the other one.
Alas, the twins being two, their attention cannot be held for long, before they try to drive their tractors into the Hydrangea and get them stuck. Men. Sheesh. But how adorable are the big boy undies? And yes, Ben is pants-free because he had an accident and I was to lazy tired of doing laundry to put another pair of shorts on him.

And then, you must capture the moments where the bush is attacking the child. Yelling, "Watch out, Grant! The monster is eating you!" is entirely optional.

Remember that when they pick flowers, asking then to "Show me!" may not work the way you think. They don't quite get that concept yet.

A little boy who wants to tuck a dandelion behind his Mother's ear is the sweetest thing. But two little boys who want to be just like Mommy are absolutely adorable.

Your focus on the other kids might create a situation where the baby starts to feel neglected and roll off his blanket onto the grass the moss. Removing the bits of moss off his drool-covered face is always a good safety tip, but he might glare at you because he wanted to save them for later.
That's the end of today's photography lesson, I hope you all learned some useful tips!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday!

This blog carnival was created by MckMama, and is a wonderful way for us to confess our weekly naughtiness in a fun way. Won't you join in?

I was NOT really, really excited about opening a new body wash this week. Maybe I am the only one, but I really love going into my bathroom cabinet and sorting through the scents of Bath and Body Works body washes that I stock up on when they are on sale. This week, I chose Sweet Pea, it just seemed fitting for the season. Heavenly! I was NOT really disappointed that it did not lather well, and that I needed to re-load my scrubby twice during my shower. It did NOT take me a full week to discover that is was body cream, and not creamy body wash. I am much smarter than that!

I did NOT decide after my poop filled day on Thursday, to continue the potty training process and put the twins in big boy undies on Friday. I did NOT think to myself, "It cannot be any worse than yesterday, right?" The twins did NOT have four accidents in under an hour, and Ben did NOT have an accident while I was feeding Drew his lunch, and while I was cleaning it up, Drew did NOT get tired of waiting and decide to feed himself.I did NOT give up and put them back in pull ups.

My friend Tracie did NOT go out of town this weekend. Heeheehee! I'm sure by now you all know about our little traditions of pranking our friends houses while they are out of town, but just in case, go HERE and HERE to get caught up.

Are you all with me? Good.

Tracie's husband, Gordon, has a brother named Brad. Brad stayed at the house to take care of the farm, and was given specific instructions to not let us in the house. And that's not a not me Monday not let us in, that was a for real not let us in.

So we got to thinking. More specifically, Holly and another person who will remain nameless (but was really and truly not me!) got to thinking. And the decision was to honor their requests and stay out of the house. I mean, they already had the toilet, and we were getting bored with re-arranging spice racks and putting bed pillows in bathtubs.

We did NOT accost Brad and leave him no choice, bribing him with brownies and company. And take pictures of his innocence to prove it.

We did NOT have a party. We did NOT bring a potluck, with yummy meat and use their barbecue for a fabulous dinner. Without them. Who would do such a thing? Not Me!

And their dogs did NOT get a hold of a shish-kabob and eat it. I mean, really. I would NEVER feed someone's dogs people food. Even though it was an accident.

We did NOT let our kids jump on their trampoline. And that is NOT my super-hot hubby watching the kiddos jump to make sure they stayed safe. Isn't he cute?
And being that it was a mid-eighty-degree day, we did NOT have a pool party and go swimming, using their pool toys and accessories, and having a grand old time. That is NOT Holly holding Grant on the deck, and I am NOT holding Ben in the pool.
But really, look at this backyard. Wouldn't you NOT crash and have a pool party, too? My niece Lily says, "Yes! Yes, I would!"
Love you, Tracie!

What did you NOT do this week?

Friday, July 10, 2009

CODE BROWN (And I am not talking about the UPS man)

It started out like any other day.

But, most of the bad days do. They creep up on you, disguising themselves as good days, until they get everything in position to attack your household with their bad day messes and screaming children trauma.

I was sitting on the couch yesterday when it happened. Emma was in time-out for something, I cannot even remember what, and baby Drew was playing happily on his activity mat on the floor. The twins were climbing all over me and we were having fun.

The moment that the bad day started is easy to pinpoint. Grant was sitting on one side of me, and Ben on the other. I was talking to Grant and turned to look at Ben, and saw him squishing some play-dough between his fingers. "Why does he have play-dough on the white couch?" I asked myself. That thought was quickly followed by "and when did we get play-dough the color of poop?"

It wasn't play-dough.

I picked Ben up and found his pull-up overflowing up the back. There was poop squished into the back of the couch. There was poop squished into the cushion of the couch. I found poop smeared up the backside of my right leg. That really worried me, since I had been sitting on the couch for a few minutes, and had to wonder where I was when I was smeared with poop, and how long ago that had been.

I found squish marks of poop on the floor every few inches from the kitchen into the living room. I passed it all by and took Ben into the bathroom to get cleaned up. I brought Grant with me as well, so that he would not play in the poop and make an even bigger mess.

I started the shower and washed off my leg, then started filling the bathtub. I removed Ben's pull up and started using baby wipes to get the majority of the mess off him before I threw him in the tub.

As I had Ben leaning face first against my leg, scrubbing his backside, I was trying to look at the positives. You know, so that I didn't cry/scream/throw things and have a fit. Hey, at least this is going to make a good blog post! I thought to myself. But then, the natural effects of the running water took their toll on Ben.

And he peed all over my leg. The very same leg that I had just scrubbed poop off of.

Utterly defeated, I finished cleaning him up, while his urine streamed down my leg, pooling between my toes and onto the bath rug. I took some deep breaths and just kept going.

Grant was behind me, asking if he could take a bath, too. At least it will keep him out of the way, I though as I quickly stripped him down and removed his pull-up.

A word of advice. Always check the pull-up before you remove it. Because sometimes, the poop will cling to the child just long enough for you to remove the pull-up cleanly, only to fall to the floor with a splat when the child takes a step.

Because there was certainly not enough poop on the floor already.

I remember yelling something, but I cannot remember what. Don't worry, it was not profane, although those words were floating around in my head. I grabbed TP, scooped up the poop pile, threw it in the toilet, cleaned up Grant and threw him in the tub and tried really, really hard not to cry.

I went out into the living room to start to tackle the mess out there. And yes, our house really is that small that I can leave the boys in the bathtub and go into the living room and they are still safe. But what greeted me from the living room was not what I expected to see.

You see, Drew has been rolling lately. And in my haste to get the boys into the bathroom, I neglected happy, content, quiet baby Drew on his activity mat. I returned to find happy, content, quiet baby Drew had rolled across the poop-covered living room carpet and had his head about two inches from a pile of poop.

I scooped him up, checked him over and put him in the exersaucer, where he could not move. Of course, he wanted to play on the floor, so he started to cry. I suddenly remembered that my sister-in-law took our jointly-owned carpet cleaner two days ago, and tried super-duper hard not to join Drew in his wailing cries of pity. I cleaned up the couch and the floor, checking on the boys every minute and a half, and listening to Drew scream as he could see me moving around but I would not pick him up.

I finally got everything clean. I changed my shirt, just in case, scrubbed the boys down and got them out of the tub.

Baby Drew was still screaming. Not just an I'm lonely, Mama come pick me up! scream, but more like You are ignoring me! Someone call CPS! This is baby abuse and I am demanding you pick me up right now! Did you hear me? RIGHT NOW!

All this time, Emma was still in her room from whatever thing she had done wrong before the day turned bad. I felt bad leaving her in there that long, but at least she was quiet, and she was out of the way.

As I left the bathroom I told the kids not to go in there, and for good measure, locked it from the inside and shut the door. that was not a mess I needed to tackle right then and there, so I left it alone.

After I got everyone fed and down for naps, I bleached the entire bathroom, took off all the couch cushions and washed them, and finished ridding the house of the offensive smell of lingering poop.

The worst part is, I know that continuing to potty train will create more piles of poop on the floor. I think I need the carpet cleaner back.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fourth of July pics!

I love the fourth of July. We are a very patriotic family, we are so blessed to be American. I love my country, and the fourth brings out all the pride I feel for this great land of ours.

We did not do our traditional activities this year, we usually go to a parade with friends, but those friends were camping, so we skipped the parade and stuck around the county. My parents came up and we hit Zuanich Point Park for their festivities. They had bouncy castles, which Grant wanted no part of. Do you all remember this post? The one where Grant was totally freaked out by the bouncy castle? Yeah, he remembers it, too. And he spent the first ten minutes there eyeing the monstrous thing looming up ahead and saying, "Grant no want to bouncy. No castle. Grant no want to."

Once we convinced him we were not going to force him to bounce, he was OK and we had fun. There were a few games and booths, and then we walked and played.

We hung out and listened to a great band. My Mom and Drew had a fun time together, and he loved the light wind in his face.
I took Emma to the bathroom, and Grant decided he wanted to go, too. Alright, first pottying attempt out of the house! And he actually went on the potty! WooHoo! I cheered him, and told him, "OK, when we get out there, you have to tell everyone else you went peepee on the potty!" I did mean everyone else in our group, but he seemed to miss that. As soon as we exited the building, he ran up to the first group of people he saw and yelled as loud as he could, "I went peepee on the potty!"

Luckily, it was a group of ladies who were obviously mothers, because they cheered and clapped for him. And he was thrilled.

Then we headed home for barbecued steaks and fireworks. This was the first year the boys were old enough to be involved, so they were very excited. Emma remembered sitting on the porch rail last year to throw pop-its, so we let them all do it this year. I think that was the best part of the day for them!
You know you have had a full, exciting day when you go to check on your kids a half hour after bedtime and find this.
Oh, yeah. That's comfort.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I have a lot to do today.

I have to do dishes, and clean up the pile of clutter that has accumulated on the kitchen counter. I have to do sixty-three loads of laundry, and I have to change twelve diapers an hour and try to get the twins to go peepee on the potty and not on the floor/my left foot. And I have to go to the grocery store and the Green Barn so that I can feed the family something other than onion and ketchup soup with pancakes.

But did you all notice the new background? I have been wanting to customize my blog for a long time, but have tried only to discover that I have not had the time/skill to do it yet. Last night, I sat down and spent a couple hours working on it and finally figured it out. What gets me is the fact that it actually took about ten minutes to make the background and apply it, but the rest of the time was spent trying to figure out how to do it. Yeah, that ten minutes of work has taken me three months to accomplish.

So now that I know how to do cool things, I really want to finish my bloggy project. But I know that if I do, the kids will stay in their jammies all day, watching TV, and eating whatever crumbs they find in the couch cushions. And Marty will come home to me still in my bathrobe, with wild, un-cared for children and no food for dinner, but my blog will be pretty!

OK, maybe I won't do it that way. But there will be changes coming soon, little by little. Hope you like them!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Not Me! Monday! Was created by MckMama out of her desire to admit imperfections in a therapeutic, fun way. Head on over to her blog to see what everyone else has NOT been doing this week!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday!

I did NOT start working on Not Me! Monday! at midnight even though everyone (including Drew) was sleeping soundly. I am NOT severely sleep deprived because Drew has been waking up every half-hour to hour every night for a week. I was NOT frustrated beyond all belief that, tired as I am, I could not sleep. Even though I really really needed it.

Grant was NOT tossing and turning on a very noisy mattress, and every toss and turn did NOT sound like someone breaking in through a window, freaking me out. I did NOT go into his room to check on him about five times, even though I knew what the noise was, just to make sure. I am NOT that fearful of someone breaking into the house at night!

OK. Enough with the late night chatter, and on with the real Not Me's!

I did NOT accidentally forget to turn the valve off on my propane tank, and try to use the barbecue to find that all my propane was gone. I did NOT then cook my pork chops on the stove, grumbling and complaining the whole time. At least they turned out well.

I did NOT have to make a run to Ace Hardware to get a new propane tank on July 3rd, hoping that I was not going to show up behind the fourth of July barbecuing slackers and find that there were no propane tanks left. I did NOT successfully get a new tank, and have yummy steaks on the fourth!

I did NOT pull a simple prank on my sister-in-law, and put pictures on my blog showing the inside of her new car to freak her out while she was on vacation. I did NOT simply write her a note and put it inside her car, telling her I loved her and that I was not going to do anything to the car, since it is brand new, and even I am nicer than that!

I did NOT let Holly believe that I pranked her house, but actually spent a few hours cleaning her kitchen when she was gone. Holly has NOT been surviving this past year as a full-time mom and a full-time college student, and her husband works on oil barges, so when he goes to work, he is gone for forty days. She did NOT finish this year with a 4.o, and her mom did NOT want to help her out and clean her kitchen since she has been so busy this year. I did NOT even move her fridge and stove and clean behind them. I did NOT take pictures to show only her, but I won't put them on the blog. Really, how would you like it if someone broke into your house unexpectedly and moved your fridge, took pictures of the floor under it and posted it for all to see? I may be mean, but come on, people!

And finally, I did NOT spend some time last week watching old Michael Jackson videos to remind myself that strange and weird as he was, he was incredibly talented and changed the music industry for the better. I did NOT giggle while watching Black Or White when I suddenly remembered watching this video as a kid and having a huge crush on him then.

What did you NOT do this week?

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Five-year-old Teenager

Emma came up to me this week with an excited look on her face.

"Mom, guess what! You are going to freak out! Do you KNOW who is coming to Reese's mom's work?" (Reese is a friend from pre-school.)

"No, sweetie, I don't. Who is coming to Reese's mom's work?"

She gets close, about to divulge a very special secret. "The Jonas brothers!" And then she puts her hands over her mouth and squeals.

Seriously. She is five.

"Wow, Emms! The Jonas brothers! That's crazy!" And I pulled her in close. "Emma, do you know who the Jonas brothers are?"

She looked at me, still excited, because this was HUGE. "No, who are they?"

I laughed. She didn't appreciate it.

The next day...

"Mom, were you freaking out when I told you the Jonas brothers were coming to Reese's mom's work?"

"Not really."

"Cuz, I was freaking out. Really, Mom, FREAKING OUT."

I am in sooo much trouble in about eight years.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Life Lessons In Toddler-land

I was sitting on the floor at my mom-in-law's house, and Grant was playing with a Sheriff Woody toy. You know, the cowboy from Toy Story? He's a cute cowboy and had one of those old-fashioned pull strings on the back with various sayings.

Well, Grant pulled the string on the back and Woody sad, "There's a snake in my boot!" I asked him, "Grant, do you have a snake in your boot?" He giggled, "No!" He pulled the string again a few times, till that saying came back.

When he heard, "There's a snake in my boot!" He looked at me excitedly. I repeated what Woody said. "There's a snake in my boot!" Grant suddenly looked up, realizing that I had just said that I had a snake. "Mommy, a snake in your boob?"

Then he decided to see for himself.

"No, Grant!" I tried not to laugh as he is trying to pull down the front of my shirt to find the snake. "There's a snake in my boot! BooT, boo-TTT!"

Grant repeated me again. "A snake in your butt?" And he looks confused, since we don't use that word, we say bum.

"A boot, Grant, a boot!" and I showed him Woody's boots, "this is a boot, it goes on your foot!"

Grant sat and stared at me a minute. Determined that I was hiding a snake from him, and he wanted it. He looked at my feet, which were bare. "Snake in your toes?" Then he attacked, trying to dislocate my toes to look between them.

It took some convincing to finally make him realize that there was no snake. When you are two, it's pretty disappointing to learn that toys lie to you.

Darn Woody. And he looked so wholesome and kind on TV.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Your Mama Made Me Do It

OK, depending on who is reading this, maybe not your mama. But to one blog reader/sister-in-law in particular, this one's for you. (But the rest of you can read along. It might be fun!)

See, our little group of friends has a little tradition. One that involves vacations. More specifically, breaking into the house of the friend who is on vacation, and messing things up. We are a group of jokers, as many of you may recall by the toilet on Tracie's porch and the feet on Tarah's pillow.

But today it was Holly's turn. Holly is wonderful, and I have messed with her house before. But today, I did something a little different.

And her mother made me do it.

Really, it's true. My mother-in-law called last night with the idea, and even offered to watch my kids while I went over there to accomplish my task. My mother-in-law did NOT tell me to call Tracie and have her meet me there and so her own brand of pranking, though, I did that on my own.

Oh, and if you want to visit Tracie's blog and see her take on it, click here.

So what did I do, exactly? Well, I'm not going to tell quite yet. Because Holly is coming home soon and I want it to be a surprise. Shall I give a hint? Oh, OK!

Holly just bought a brand, spankin' new car. Like really, she got it the day before they left. Would I be so mean that I would do something to her brand new car? Maybe.

Was I able to gain access to the inside, even though she hid the keys super-well? I don't know. I do not have a past as a criminal, but my brother and I learned to pick locks as kids. Don't ask, that's another story for another day.

Is Holly FREAKING OUT right now? Yup, you bet! Just remember, Holly, your mother made me do it.

And that's the best part of all.