"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Drunken Blogging...Margarita Recipe

>> Saturday, July 30, 2005

I am visiting my Aunt & Uncle in Clinton, Iowa this weekend. My husband is helping my cousin tile the entryway in their home, so it's my excuse to get drunk & stupid...

Here's the margarita recipe we've been sampling. Careful, it's potent!

1 can limeade (frozen)
1 can triple sec (use the limeade can)
1 can tequila (again with the limeade can)
1 can beer (the lone beer in your fridge will do just fine!)

Blend with ice or pour over ice; whichever you choose. The first one left me buzzing! I have made careful edits, but may have misspelled something!

Hope you all have a great weekend!


When I'm 40

I want to be Diane Lane. I don't want to be like her, I want to be her. My SIL and I took a mini girl's-night and saw Must Love Dogs. It was cute in a very it-could-happen-just-this-way style. Total chick flick but so well done that I think my husband might have enjoyed it. I love John Cusack. And I've become enamored of Diane Lane since Under the Tuscan Sun.

My goal for today: to not get out of my pajamas. Yep, I want to schlep about in my pjs all day long. Even though I'm up earlier than I planned to be and it is gorgeous outside and the Farmer's Market is today and I would really love some fresh veggies and flowers... Ugh... So difficult to slow down... So difficult...


I have a question for all you mothers out there. When did you switch your young ones to milk? I am still nursing Brenna, had planned to do so until she was about a year old. I am slowly weaning her and we are down to 2 nursings and 2 servings of expressed milk per day. I have noticed that recently that my production is down. (Man, do I feel like a dairy farmer with that sentence. ) Brenna has never had formula and I am not about to buy any. And, to top it off, I woke with my first menstural cycle since she was born. (TMI? This is why I told you men to stop reading. I have to be honest, 18 months without a period was awesome.) So I know the hormones are lessening and the drop in production will continue. And I know that my doctor won't approve of the idea of milk just yet. He didn't approve of her eating food as early as she wanted to, either.

So, when did you give your youngster milk? Did you mix it in a little at a time? Brenna has been enjoying yogurt and cheese for months. She had her first pizza last night. Tips and tricks, please!



>> Friday, July 29, 2005

A terrific photo session! I am so happy with these! Here are just a few for your enjoyment:

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Stars & Stripes (a "pin up" for all our military readers)

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Happy In My Hat

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Picking Flowers

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So Big

There are more. And I would love to share them all... space constraints and such.


TiVo isn't thinking too clearly

I love my TiVo. I really can't imagine being without it. No more TV on TV's schedule. Brenna can watch Sesame Street any time of the day. I don't have to worry about Brenna getting to bed on time so I can watch Rock Star:INXS.

There is only one problem. My TiVo thinks I'm Spanish. Daily I catch it recording movies on the Spanish movie channels. I don't speak any Spanish past hola, adios and cerveza. We don't even have those channels. Shouldn't it know that?

I don't know how this happened. And I don't know how to stop it.

At least I was able to convince it that I don't like Nascar.


My Big Boy

My first baby is going to preschool this fall. I have had his name on a waiting list for the last several months to get into the preschool I chose. His name was first on the list. I left a message with one of the ladies last week to see if there had been any dropouts. No call back for over a week. With August fast approaching, I decided it was high time I chose a backup plan. I called some other preschools (which are too few for our town, BTW), and decided to go check another one out. It is offered by a gymnastics school. The kids will go to the gymnastics 'gym' to work on large motor skills once a week. They have trampolines built into the floor of the place. SOLD...Carter wanted to stay & play!

Wouldn't you know, I had a message when I got home from paying for registration plus first month's tuition. My first choice had a cancellation. Oh well, he's going to Triad (second choice). If it doesn't work out, I will call my original first choice. I think he'll be happy either way.


Ahhh, This is How to Spend the Day!

>> Thursday, July 28, 2005

Today was the perfect summer day. I think the high was 81 degrees (Farenheit for those of you who use the other), the sky was the blue of a Caribbean sea and there wasn't a cloud to be seen.

Doug stayed home from his 8-5 gig (the perk of being a contractor) to work on a side project. Brenna & I went to Jen's so I could cut everyone's hair before they go out of town this weekend. When we got home Doug & I set up the castle and Doug & Brenna played while I made lunch- which we ate on the deck.

Brenna went down for her nap shortly after lunch and Doug & I remained on the deck, laptops on the table, working; Doug on trust fund issues (not ours), me learning Microsoft Front Page.

After Brenna woke we spent some time in the tent playing. Security was tight; noone could have gotten close enough to bother us.

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Here's Brenna after taking Doug's hat. She's pretty proud of herself! (Look at that sky!)

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Playtime was followed by ice cream at Marble Slab (YUMMY!!), shopping at World Market and Marshall's (I found some great hat boxes) and dinner at HuHot with my mom.

A perfect day.


Thank You, Senator Grassley

>> Wednesday, July 27, 2005

This is the response I received to an e-mail I sent to Senator Chuck Grassley. He, unlike Senator Harkin, seems to be taking time to read and comprehend letters from his constituents before responding (if you can call that crap Harkin sent a response) to them.

While I think most politicians are self-serving egomaniacs, he appears to be doing SOMETHING. I appreciate the response to my letter, and I will continue to send messages.

Dear Mrs. Hauschildt:

Thank you for voicing your thoughts on our immigration policies. I share your concerns about our border security, and want to reassure you that I am opposed to proposals that would grant amnesty to illegal aliens who are currently in the United States.

I would like to inform you that Congress passed, and the President signed a bill into law which includes measures that 1) require states to implement secure driver’s licenses; and 2) prevent terrorists from using asylum to gain entry into the United States; and 3) authorizes the improvement of border fences. These provisions were originally part of the REAL ID Act.

Also during discussion of the supplemental spending bill, Senator Craig offered an amendment to allow agricultural workers to earn legalization. I voted against this amendment, also known as AgJOBS, and it was not included in the final bill.

In the past, I have opposed legislation that provided amnesty for unauthorized workers. Amnesties encourage illegal immigration and undermine respect for the law. In fact, illegal immigration soared when Congress passed amnesty legislation in 1986. I don’t think we should go down that road again.

President Bush has stressed his opposition to a blanket amnesty, but has supported reforms to our current laws. I think we can agree that we need a system that ensures a more orderly, humane, legal and safe migration.

One legal process in place for foreign workers is the H2B visa program. This provides entry to those who work in seasonal, non-agricultural industries. While we have a cap of 66,000 per year, the number of applicants far exceeds the allotment. A provision to increase the cap on visas, and allow for them to be distributed over the course of the year, was included in the supplemental.

The Department of Homeland Security is instrumental to securing our borders, and keeping interior states like Iowa safe from terrorist threats. Since 9/11, we have enacted reforms on visas and increased resources at our borders. We have implemented the entry-exit system, also known as U.S. VISIT, to track all visitors (including foreign students) who come to the United States.

While I believe that our country is safer than it was on 9/11, I continue to raise concerns with the department.

I have asked the department about “catch and release” policies that allow apprehended aliens to go free in our communities.

I have asked the department to close a loophole in the visa revocation process. When a person’s visa is revoked – maybe for national security reasons – it is almost impossible to deport them if they’ve reached U.S. soil. I have introduced legislation to fix this loophole.

I have pressured the State Department to interview more foreigners who want to come to the United States. I have encouraged them to cease using Foreign Service Nationals to process applications.

Congress needs to continue to exercise oversight of this new Department.

We need to more closely monitor those we have let in. Currently, local law enforcement officials do not have the authority to arrest individuals because of their illegal immigration status. I was the author of a program created in 1996 that would allow the feds to work cooperatively with state and local officials in order to investigate, apprehend, or detain illegal aliens. Unfortunately, law enforcement is not taking advantage of this program.

We need to do more for interior states like Iowa. Incredibly, there wasn’t even an INS office in Iowa to deal with the state’s growing problems. I persisted, and in March 1996, the Justice Department agreed to locate a permanent immigration office in Des Moines. Since then, I have insisted that more immigration personnel be placed in the Quad Cities.

I truly understand your concerns about our immigration policies, and proposals for reform. As a member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, please know I will continue my oversight in this area. Your comments and suggestions are valuable in this endeavor. Please keep in touch.


Chuck Grassley
United States Senator


6 Weeks and All I Get is a Frickin' Form Letter?

A few of you may remember my last post about Iowa's distinguished Senator Harkin and how disgusted I was with his response to my inquiries. If you don't, go read it.

This is the response I got to my last email. I was very specific with my questions, thinking that I would be able to get actual answers and not feel good spin. It seems I was wrong. This is the response I got, word for word:

July 26, 2005

Dear Jody:

Thank you for contacting me. I hope you will pardon my delay in responding to you.

I appreciate your continuing interest in illegal immigration. You raised several important points in your letter. Please be assured that I will continue to study this important issue and will keep your views in mind as it is debated in the Senate.

Again, thanks for sharing your views with me. Please don't hesitate to let me know how you feel on any issue that concerns you.


Tom Harkin
United States Senator


Please do not reply to this email. To contact me, please log on to my website at http://harkin.senate.gov/.

This is the reply I get when I specifically ask for his views on strengthening our borders and removing illegal immigrants? Seriously?

My sister emails our other Senator often. His replies, even if they don't mesh with my way of thinking, at least provide explanations. What do I get? Crap.

I hope Jen will post the last letter she received; I think some of you may enjoy it. I believe her topic was illegal immigration, as well.


Photo Session From Hell!!!

>> Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Today Brenna turned 9 months old. Wow. How did that happen?

So I took her to get her photos taken. Three quarters of a year... that calls for photos. We go to Sears; it's affordable and they usually do a very good job.

Notice I said "usually". Today was not usual. Brenna & I arrived early, as I like to do just in case she falls asleep in the car and I have to wake her. So we have to wait. No problem. We wander through Sears, watch Nemo on a big screen TV, cruise down the mall to Old Navy, spend $6 on an outfit for Brenna, come back to Sears and watch some Aladdin on the TV at the portrait studio.

By this time Brenna is pretty active- she climbed up on the foot rest of her stroller and was standing there like it was the most natural place to be. Daredevil.

At our appointed time the photographer- and I use that term loosely- ushers us into a room. I show her the two outfits I have brought and I assume that she will suggest backdrops and/or props. Nope. She hands me a sheet and says, "These are the backdrops we have."

Ummm, OK. So I pick the first backdrop and she sets it up. I put Brenna down, she sits, I make her smile and... nuthin'. The camera isn't working. I wonder, "Isn't this something that you should check before you bring in a 9 month old for pictures?"

She spent 10 minutes trying to figure out why the camera wasn't working. When the manager finally came in it was revealed: the camera was unplugged.

Well, now that the problem is resolved let's get down to business. So, again, I sit Brenna down, I get her to smile and then... what the hell is that noise???

It's the photographer. She is trying to get Brenna to look at her after I get a smile. Brenna does look at her- with a look of shock and concern; mouth open, eyes wide.

I dismiss photo after photo. Brenna is clearly done posing; there are things to explore. I grab some flowers for a prop- again, no help from the pseudo-photographer. Stop with the freakin' noises already! Seriously, you are scaring the baby!! More photos; mouth open, eyes wide.

I should have just left. But no, I think that we will soldier on and change Brenna's outfit. What was I thinking? More loud noises... I finally tell the photographer that I really don't want my daughter looking directly into the camera in every shot. This is when we get two, yes two, good photos. (Last time we took Brenna to get her pictures done it took 7 shots. And you pick six. Today it took 17- and only two were decent!)

By now I'm done. Brenna's done. I look at the photographer and say, "We're done." I change Brenna out of her dress and the photographer begins the sale. I'm tired & cranky. I sit and try to listen. I say, "I know what I need, let me do that first." She continues her pitch. I stop listening.

I make a few selections, pay & leave. And immediately call Doug. I'm so upset that I am almost in tears. And the more I talk about it the more bothered I am. So I called back and spoke to the manager.

She was a bit bitchy at first, "Why didn't you bring this up while you were here?" Ummm, because you left on a break as soon as my session was done and the only one there was my photographer? Was I supposed to wait for you to return?

I kept on, explaining how my photographer was very loud and scared Brenna, how she didn't really seem to know what she was doing, had she even been trained to photograph children, how I was unhappy with the entire experience and, as time went on, I became more unhappy about it.

We have an appointment Friday for the manager to redo the photos.

I leave you with the two photos that turned out:

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Growing more everyday

>> Monday, July 25, 2005

Well...our lives have changed once more. The dreaded day has arrived, as if we didn't have enough to worry about. What's going on you say? Why I'll tell you; Brenna climbed the staircase from the first to second floor entirely on her own power. Not to worry, I was behind her in case she fell backwards, but it was all her. By this time next month, I fully expect her to be handing in third grade homework. She's already just as interested in our history, art and political books as she is with the books with pretty pictures and board pages.

Now that the Princess is all grown up, I'm looking at her "baby" pictures. <wipe away tear> There's her gratuitous butt-shot that's in every Mother's picture collection. She's over there in wearing her winter coat with ears. And there's her first feeding of "real food"; now she would much rather feed herself, and none of that baby stuff either!

I wonder which college she'll pick out?


Frank put out a new tune

I went back in time to Frankie's heyday and got him to record this. He was just starting out, so it didn't cost a lot of smackeroos.

Note from Jody: Everyone should go check this out! Seriously funny!


Karnival of the Kidz

WOW!! I can't believe that it's already Monday!! Well, no putting off the inevitable... here we go!

Once upon a time there was a beautiful fairy. She was full of Whimsey (Capricious) and joy. Really, she was. I hear tell that this photo was not taken at her best angle. This lowly peasant thinks she is quite beautiful.

Maybe the fairy was sad because she wasn't invited to Tater's Birthday Party. I understand that they have One Happy Dog (Speaks) there. No wonder everyone looks so happy! Hmmm, I wasn't invited, either.

Elsewhere in the kingdom the Pink Ninja was holding Training Camp. Army Wife Toddler Mom knows that Stemily's Twins Gone Wild won't dare disrupt the kingdom if the Pink Ninja trains her army well! I imagine they would all teach eachother a few things!

Prochein Amy and her eldest were busy inspecting the grounds. You have to get very close to see the fairies... Very, very close.

Meanwhile the kingdom's future magicians were practicing magic and learning science in the remote land of Iowa (Geek). Someday they will enchant many people throughout the kingdom.

Just what is this kingdom? Why, the kingdom of (the color) Orange, of course. I Practical-ly (Penumbra) forgot the Princesses of Orange! I'm sure I would have been banished for that!


The Science Center

>> Saturday, July 23, 2005

Jen & I took the kids to the Science Center yesterday. Great fun was had.

I love this place because they have everything set up for children to play and learn. They also have an area called "Little Discoveries" for toddlers and infants.

Here are Carter & Ethan placing golf balls on a ramp. What fun!

And here is Brenna taking a break from sticking her fingers in the ramp and stopping the balls.

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And what fun would there be if you couldn't make a mess? There were 3 big vats of bubbles!

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This area was great fun. And would have been more fun if it wasn't being run through by 3rd graders. Yep, a whole freaking swarm of them, running like fools, through the toddler area. I actually heard a teacher say "I like to bring them in here because I don't have to watch them". Nice. Jen had words with a couple of them after they ran over her boys and she & I both had to tell children who to be polite and share. And we said this to them in front of the people who were supposed to be watching them.

More on this in a bit.

So we left the toddler exhibit and went upstairs. There are legos to make cars to race and a water way to build dams and play with boats. There is an egg drop (you wrap the egg in foam and drop it from a crane) and a train set. Removing Carter & Ethan from this area for lunch was a bit trying. Promises to return fell on deaf ears. Well, Jen's ear were deaf; there was quite a bit of screaming.

As we were leaving the lunch area I saw a guy dressed in khakis and a button down shirt; not the polo that most employees were wearing. So I walked up to him and said "So, what are you in charge of?"

"Pretty much everything," he replied.

I ended up having about a 20 minute conversation with him about the group we encountered, how the teachers didn't watch them and how the children were run down repeatedly. He was very understanding of our position and gave us passes to come another day. He told me about the delimma of groups and what the Science Center is going to do with problem groups that return. Let's just say it has to do with extra staff.

So, armed with passes to be used after school begins we continued our exploring.

No science center is complete without the ball of electricity.

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Brenna was shocking me while I held her.

Soon she had had enough:

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And the boys had meltdowns soon after. We had a good time, though. I can't wait to go back.


Self Portrait Friday: How I Blog

>> Friday, July 22, 2005

Katy says that today is all about the computer and how we blog. I had Doug take some photos, and man, do I look white trash. Must I do this?

OK, here is Brenna blogging:

She loves the computer. We have tried to put an unhooked keyboard in front of her to keep her occupied. No way! It must have a monitor- that works- and has things that beep and flash!

And here is me, loooking extra white trash:

Surrounded by my cluttered desk, real estate ads, lists of things that need done. And I am reading blogs. Commenting on blogs. Feeding my blog addiction. This is not the most attractive shot...Doug kept telling me that my bra straps were showing. I knew that, I wasn't too worried... this is how I look in the morning; I throw on a pair of pants and try to get a few things done before I get dressed for the day.

And speaking of getting things done- I need to start!

Have a great day, y'all!


Outgrowing Friends

>> Thursday, July 21, 2005

I saw a comment that Mama Duck left on another blog about outgrowing friends and losing touch. That made me think about the friends I left behind in Minneapolis when I moved to Iowa. And it made me very sad.

I had 6 very good friends; the kind of friends you usually make in high school; the kind of friends you think will be there forever. I have found that 400 miles is too far for some friendships to survive.

Now, only half of those friends have disappeared. We'll call them K, J & S.

K was an alcholic when I met her. A black-out drunk. But she was so kind that you just couldn't help but love her. And with a lot of help and a lot of determination she got sober. And remained that way for 7 years. I really looked up to her and respected her for that. Until she met Ali. He was Iraqi and abusive. He also drank & used drugs. A really good Muslim, huh? Anyway, he didn't approve of her friends and isolated her. She began drinking & using drugs with him. And then she became pregnant. I'm sure you all know where this leads. She knew I didn't like Ali, that I saw him for what he was and we drifted apart. I used to call her, just to check in. Once in a while she would return my calls. But I haven't heard from her since March.

J was one of those people that everyone wanted to be near. She always made you feel so good about yourself. She was so intelligent; put herself through law school and volunteered as legal counsel for charities. She, too, had gone through treatment programs and had been sober for quite a while. The last time I saw her was right before I had Brenna. Then she just disappeared. Her phones were disconnected; letters were returned unopened. I heard that she lost custody of her daughter and was in a treatment program for drugs, crack to be precise.

S was probably my best friend. I was with her while she was in labor with her daughter. I stood up with her at her wedding. I supported her during her divorce. We kept in touch until pretty recently. But she met a guy, moved in with him and her phone has been disconnected. It makes me wonder what is going on there; I don't have a good feeling about it.

The remaining 3 friends: B, G & E.

B is a friend I will probably have forever. We aren't as close as we once were and we see many things differently. She has very strong opinions that I don't always agree with but I also know that she will come if I really need her. She's a rock.

G. What can I say about her? She is someone that everyone calls their best friend. She is kind, generous to a fault and so damn beautiful both inside and out. She's also an artist & flakey beyond belief- which only makes her more wonderful. Think Phoebe from Friends. There are times I won't hear from her for months but when I do see her it's like no time has passed.

And E. E is like the screwed up little sister I never had. When I met her she was 19, I was 31. We are incredibly alike yet so very different. She is sharp as a tack and has amazing artistic talents. She also has low, low, low self esteem and, I think, issues with depression. And right now she is breaking my heart. I hadn't heard from her in quite a while, which worried me. She was the one who kept in touch with me the best of everyone. She drove down to see me the day after I had Brenna. And that day I knew something wasn't quite right but I was so tired and elated that I didn't pay any attention to the sirens I could hear going off in my head. And now, after much prodding on my part, I have heard from her and she is in deep, deep trouble. The kind of trouble that you don't get in to yourself and you don't get out of without lots of help. And she has asked for my help. And, although I desperately want to help her, I know that I am in NO WAY qualified to do so. I am afraid that if I don't help her she will be lost to me, and everyone else who loves her, very soon. And I don't mean that in a literal way but in a physical one. I'll follow up soon with a more informative post.

Which brings me back round to the point- outgrowing friends. I don't know if I so much outgrew my friends or if the path I chose was just so far from theirs. Sometimes I feel like I held our little group together- actually I know I did- and when I left everyone just drifted apart and became lost.

I suppose I am saddest about this because I have never made girl-friends easily. They were my family when I was far away from my own. Quite often I wonder what would have happened if Doug had come to Minnesota instead of me moving to Iowa. But I know... we wouldn't have survived the drama that we would have been dragged in to. And I wouldn't have the wonderful life, husband & daughter that I do. Change is necessary. And, for me, it has been very good. I just wish I could say the same for all of my friends.


Happiness is:

>> Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Today was the realtor showing for our house. I was running around finishing the small things and Brenna was like a zit on my ass. She is going through a clingy phase. And if she's not stuck to me or in my arms she's screaming like someone has stolen her fruit puffs.

After much drama and tears we were out the door by 9:30 and on our way to the mall. I completely made up for the terrible shopping I experienced in Kansas City. I have fallen in love with the clothes at New York & Co. At least this season. I got 2 pair of jeans, a lacy tank with a sweater to cover it, another cute shirt and a belt. Yea!

Of course I had no shoes to go with the tops. Off to DSW. I love DSW. Just wait til you get a gander at these shoes!

These will look so freakin' hot with jeans! And they will go with so many things! Of course I had to buy a purse. It is just about the color of this text. Yes, there is just a bit of the pumpkin in the shoes, just to tie it all together.

And just so you know, Brenna wasn't completely left out. She got new PJs and a summer top from Baby Gap- clearance, of course.

Oh, according to our realtor the showing went quite well.

Ahhh, happy day.


Drunken College Pictures

>> Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's Way Back Wednesday, the day we relive those days we hoped were long past and forgotten. But, NO! The Kept Woman believes that reliving the horror that is your past is good for your soul. Or maybe it's good for a laugh. I can never remember how that goes...

I am ashamed to admit it, but I didn't go to college. I went to cosmetology school and was working by 19. But I do have some fun photos. The picture I really wanted to share is missing. I can see it in my head... Black jeans that lace up each side from ankle to (very low) waist, white button down shirt tied to show (what once was) a tight tummy, very long, very styled hair ,a bottle of Jack in one hand and a bottle of Jose in the other.


But I was able to find a couple of photos for your enjoyment. And both include my sister- I hope she doesn't hate me for this! I did restrain myself from using photos of her on her 21st birthday. :)

The first photo was taken in 1993. We were at my favorite bar, The Runway. Live rock bands 7 nights a week. I was probably there 4-5 nights a week. Sad, I know. As you can see, Jen & I had very different tastes in clothing.

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Next, I take you to 1998, way past college, but a fun photo nonetheless. This was Jen's bachlorette party. Again, I have restrained from showing the humiliating photos of her with dollar bills for the "entertainers" and offer this respectable picture of us dining.

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And, as a side note to my brothers, I have unearthed photos of proms, graduations and other such moments in your lives. Bribery will be accepted to keep those photos hidden.


My Tardy KOK Post... and Other Monday Occurences

>> Monday, July 18, 2005

OK, I am behind on posting this. I will not say "late" due to the widespread panic the last time I used that word.

So everyone mosey on over to Katy's for this week's Karnival of Kidz.

Next week is my turn to host so I'll be sure to remind everyone later this week to get submissions in.

Why am I so tardy in my post today? Well, I'll tell you. After getting up at 7am and feeding Brenna and performing all that goes in to my morning ritual (none of which is for me) I watched my sister's boys for a while then prepared to take Brenna to her house so I could go to the dentist.

My dentist is about 1 1/2 hours away. He charges about half of what I would pay to have the same work done here. So today, as I had a cleaning and a crown, I drove 3 hours and saved about $510. Definately worth the drive as we don't have dental coverage.

I arrive back at my sister's, chat a bit, pack Brenna in to the car & bring her home- where she proceeds to cling to me like a barnacle on a boat for about 2 hours. She didn't even want to let daddy give her a bath. Yep, my daughter doesn't have an addiction to a pacifier or a blankie. Her addiction is to me. She has just gone to bed and I am preparing some chicken to top a salad. I'm starving.

After dinner I will do a couple loads of laundry, resume cleaning on the house and maybe, if I am lucky, shower.

The End


Let Me Introduce You

>> Sunday, July 17, 2005

On our right sidebar Doug has many topics and blogs to visit. I don't really know how he keeps up with them... I have trouble visiting my favorites (and I apologize if I've been lurking & not commenting! Time seems to be of the essence!) Anyway, we have recently added 3 new "friends" under the first caption "War on Terrorists".

I would like to invite you all to visit Erik on his Long Strange Trip, Heather, the KettleKorn Queen, and Curt who seems to be InTheAir.

Take a minute to stop by and read their musing from Iraq. While you're there drop them a note and thank them for their service to both our country and the Iraqi citizens.

Special thanks go to Katy who introduced me to Erik who then brought his friends along!


Exciting New Tastes

>> Saturday, July 16, 2005

Brenna has outgrown her baby food. No more tiny jars of mush for her; she'll have what we're having, if you please. She has become quite adept at feeding herself and is showing a tendency toward left-handedness.

Here are just a few of the fun new things Brenna has experienced this past week:

6 Cheese Tortellini
BBQ sauce
Pesto Pasta
Maid Rite Sandwich (this may be an Iowa thing)
Ground Turkey
Mexican rice & beans (from Daddy's burrito)
Orange Frozen Fruit Popsicle
Cheesecake Ice Cream with Raspberries

And a couple that Mommy wasn't quick enough to stop her from experiencing:
Dirt on a wood chip (when Mommy was pulling weeds)
Dog food (Toby shared very nicely, thank you)

In other updates: tooth #6 is peeking through and she is crawling only as far as she has to until she reaches something to pull herself up to standing. She is becoming quite the daredevil, letting go for up to 10 seconds before falling on her diaper-padded bottom.


My Mug with my Glass

>> Friday, July 15, 2005

I can't stand to drink anything hot in the summertime. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love the smell!

This is the first drink I've had today. Crystal Light Pink Lemonade. MMMMM. Notice the lovely hair & lack of makeup? I'm packing the car for the weekend & there's no point getting fixed up for that! Besides, nobody at Target cared what I looked like this morning!


Self Portrait Friday

Well, Katy at The Grass Isn't Greener said to photograph "your mug with your mug" as suggested by Erik in Iraq.

Now, I know that if Erik can drink hot beverages in Iraq when the temperature hovers around 125 F I should be able to do it for just one day. But I just can't. I'm not a coffee drinker- though I do make it for my husband every morning- and I don't put hot liquids in my body in the middle of friggin' summer.

So, this is my submission:
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Yep, water. I guess I'm odd in the fact that I actually like water. But it must be ice cold.

I'd like to share more with you but Brenna has just crawled in to my office telling me that it is nap time and I must continue the top to bottom cleaning of the house. Today's plan: the guest bedroom, Brenna's bath & Brenna's room. Which is why I look so fancy today.

And I'm off...


The only good thing

The only good thing that can be said about the recent bombings in London is that it appears that that was plan B for the terrorists. Plan A was stopped in its tracks.


The lifecycle of modern political scandals

>> Thursday, July 14, 2005

Betsy gives the goods. Be sure to read the comments. I think I was eloquent.


Because I Don't Have Enough To Do

As I had mentioned in a previous post, Doug and I had planned to begin house hunting and put our house on the market in about six months. Well, we found a house on the market that we fell in love with.

It has an acre & a half of wooded land, a wet bar, stone fireplaces, a jacuzzi tub... Of course finding this house moved our plans forward a bit. As of yesterday our house is officially for sale. And I am doing what must be done...

Cleaning. Every inch of the house. Easier said than done with Brenna crawling everywhere and pulling herself to standing by grabbing my pants. She is sleeping now and the oven is cleaning. Soon I will have to do my part.

The realtor just came by to get the keys. The signs are in the yard. The description sheets are out. Just over 2 years ago I sold my house in St Paul to move into Doug's house. Now we will buy "our" house.

That makes me incredibly happy.


Way Back Wednesday...for me, too

>> Wednesday, July 13, 2005

With my 15 year class reunion coming up this weekend, I thought this might prepare me to see all those horrible pictures again! Here's my senior class photo:

Junior prom, Mom made this little number. I loved the 'mermaid' tail. I apologize that my Australian exchange date's eyes are closed. It's the only one I could find from Junior Prom. Also, my hair got whacked off right before class photos were taken, so my hair is a lot shorter than I would have liked. Jody & I shared my junior/her senior prom. Quite interesting! As you can tell, Jody and I were not so alike back then! As we get older, we seem to be a bit more alike!

Senior prom, the dress was all stretchy. It was a mini with (again) a mermaid type skirt (all gauzy with sequins on the lower edges). I loved that dress!


Way Back Wednesday

>> Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Let me begin this with the explanation that this was the 80's.

Let's start with Junior Prom. 1988; you can tell it was the 80's by the gloves & big ruffles. At my high school you could only go to prom if you were a junior or a senior. No one else was allowed. At this time I was dating a guy who was out of school. I guess he must have been 21. He was a loser, ummm, musician; yeah, that's what I meant. So I went to prom with a friend that I worked with. The theme was "Stairway to Heaven". Did I ever mention that I grew up in a small town? Yep, Led Zepplin was- and probably still is- worshipped down there. Anyway, I liked the dress well enough. I wanted black shoes & gloves but my mom said that "Only hookers wear red & black together". I still think it would have looked better...

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Flash forward to Senior Prom. 1989; more ruffles accompanied by lace & shoulder pads. At this time I had actually graduated from high school and was enrolled in cosmetology school (I graduated at semester, I had taken all the school had to offer). Don't you love my hairextention? I was still dating the loser and again went with a friend that I worked with. The theme: All That Jazz. Seems the junior class (who threw the party for the seniors) had a bit more class than we did.

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As you can see I had a soft spot for geeks even then. I wouldn't date them, of course...


Fun Stuff

We learned Sunday evening how to have fun during a 4 hour electricity outage! First we did this:

Then this:

And on Monday, we played farmer at Great-Grandpa's farm. We were baling hay with Grandma's cousin Rich:

When I asked Carter if he wanted to be a farm boy, he kind of laughed and said "Nooooo". Fun to play one, though!


A New Addiction

>> Monday, July 11, 2005

Tonight I had Doug stop my TiVo'd program while I put Brenna to bed. When I came downstairs Rock Star INXS was on TV. It sucked me in. Have you seen this yet? Crazy!!! I heard some of these people and wondered why they were unknown. And I wondered how a couple of them made it on to this show.

Now, I'm not a fan of reality TV. I haven't watched anything since the first season of Survivor. But this one...this one may drag me in.


Karnival Of Kidz

Well, it's that time again!

Jody at Iowa Geek says you may have to look twice. See if you can tell which one is Mama Geek and which one is Baby Geek!

Ferdy at The Conservative Cat shows us a movie of the jumping dolphins. Now, that's one talented cat!

Jen at Iowa Geek just wants to relax with the family!

Katy at The Grass Isn't Greener gives us the very loving twins. Boy, do they look like a handful of fun!

VW at One Happy Dog Speaks shows us her three sons. Funny, I thought 2 was enough!!!

Pam at Camp Happy Bad Fun has a mischievous little photo of Nathaniel. Here comes trouble!

Deputy Headmistress at The Common Room has a lesson on animal classification. Read it and see what you think!

And an entry I seem to have missed the first time around.....
Susie at Practical Penumbra has an adorable picture of her niece. What an angel!!

Please visit the sites and enjoy the experience!


The Best Part of a Busy Weekend

>> Sunday, July 10, 2005

Our town has a festival the weekend after the 4th of July every year. Friday, we took the kids to the carnival. Saturday was the parade; a 3 hour event. Sunday we vegged out on the couch. This is a picture of my 3 favorite guys!


Plans for Today...

>> Saturday, July 09, 2005

Shopping. And lots of it. Yesterday was kind of a bust for me. I hate bad shopping days; nothing was fitting right; everything I loved was out of stock.

Brenna & Doug are napping right now; Doug woke with a headache, poor guy. I am looking out my window at Country Club Plaza. My window also looks over the pool area at the Fairmont. All I can think as I look at those tanned bodies is: I hope they are wearing sunscreen. :) Me, I'm white. Lots of the Irish in me. And I look at my skin and wish I hadn't spent those years tanning, wish I had worn more sunscreen. I see the damage. So I get my tan sprayed on every week. smirk

Ummm, another gorgeous day in store for Kansas City. Many safety vibes are being sent to friends in Florida who are battoning down the hatches and awaiting Dennis. I hope they won't be facing another season like they had last year. So many people haven't yet recovered from that.

I haven't written anything about the horrifying bombings in London. I really don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said. I hope the resolve to fight terrorism remains strong or grows stronger; I hope the death toll rises no higher; I hope they catch those who planned these attacks and prosecute them to the highest extent of the law. My heartfelt condolences go out to those who lost a loved one.


Hello All

>> Friday, July 08, 2005

I am coming to you today from the Panera at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Today has dawned sunny, warm & gorgeous where I am; I hope your day will be as beautiful.

Brenna is eating bits of bagel and playing with her sippy cup of apple juice; I enjoyed a spinach and bacon souffle and a cup of Earl Grey.

We are here to join most of my immediate family for a "Welcome Home" weekend for my brother Justin & his family. I took on the responsibilities of "cruise director" and booked our rooms at The Raphael. Doug & I had stayed here before and had such a great experience.

My main plans for this weekend are as follows: Drop off the nephew (YEA!!) this morning, shop, shop, shop, dinner tomorrow evening at The Melting Pot (YUMMY!!) and the Kansas City Zoo on Sunday.

I have finished my souffle and am off to window shop as I stroll back to the hotel to rouse the boys from bed and nurse Brenna. I wish everyone a wonderful Friday!


My Pretty Princess

>> Wednesday, July 06, 2005

This is another list of things my kids have started saying:

After baths, dancing around in the towel "I'm a pretty princess"; from the 2 year old boy.

Whimpering "I'm not tired" when they are obviously on the verge of falling asleep.

Dashing around the kitchen table "You'll never catch me! HAHA!"

"I'm a big boy & you're not. You don't get to go to preschool." Big boy is very proud of his potty training achievements. I don't really like the taunting, but it is true enough.

Every day is truly an adventure!


You May Have to Look Twice

>> Tuesday, July 05, 2005

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That mischevious smile, those sparkling eyes, that fuzzy fly-away hair...

I showed this photo to my dear husband who asked "Was this at your mom's house? No, wait, her floors aren't like that."

Yes, dear readers, that is me when I was about the age Brenna is now. The likeness is quite uncanny, no? I had always thought that she favored Doug. I guess I was wrong.

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Almost the spittin' image... Brenna has better clothes.


Way Back Wednesday

This little game, started by Mama Duck at The Kept Woman promises to be humiliating beyond all belief.

Her decision for the first post? Junior High. Is there any worse time in your life than Jr. High? But, as I really like Mama Duck I am willing to play along.

Please don't scream aloud when you see this. I'm not sure if this is 8th or 9th grade. Either way, yikes! Ahhh, the early 80's... Yuppies, turned up collars, Member's Only jackets... I think this was at the end of my Duran Duran phase, right before my infatuation with "hair bands". Some things are really better left in the back pages of photo albums.

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Next Monday

My sister Jen is hosting Karnival of Kidz right here at Iowa Geek. Let's flood the mailbox with lots of good entries and make her work extra hard!!

Not sure how to play? Just click the link above to get the scoop!!


I'm Late

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July. We had a very nice family gathering at my mom's.

Yesterday, being Monday, was Karnival of Kids. It was hosted by Michele at Letters from NYC. She did a terrific job putting it all together... head on over & see!


Ahhh, Sunday

>> Sunday, July 03, 2005

It's Sunday morning, about 8:30am. Brenna & I have already been on a quick bike ride; now I am sitting on the couch watching a TiVo'd episode of What Not to Wear, Brenna is crawling around on the floor.

Have I told all of you that? Brenna is crawling now. She is also pulling herself up on everything in sight (including the dog) and "cruising" around the living room. The days of my baby being where I left her are over.

My brother & his little family returned to us Thursday. They had quite the eventful trip and are very happy to be home.

Today Doug & I are going to look at houses. We will probably be in the market for a bigger house next spring...


A few words from Sergeant Mac

>> Saturday, July 02, 2005

A long time ago, in a desert far, far away I was a lowly driver for First Infantry Division staff officers during Desert Storm. I pulled an AK47 round out of one tire, had another blown off by an anti-personnel land mine (if it would have been an anti-tank mine, I wouldn't be here today) and got to change another tire when I ran over some shrapnel. I drove too close to destroyed Iraqi tanks, I guess. I helped clear some bunkers, but that was pretty uneventful. Mostly, I drove about 35,000 miles in a combat zone in 5 1/2 months.

Amanda's brother Tim outprocessed the Army last year. He was with the Fourth Infantry Division when they were deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I would like to share the words of a soldier who's lived in the same desert and experienced a much more personal war. A war where a child you befriend today may be forced to wear an explosive vest tomorrow. It's raw and only gives you a piece of his feelings, but well...

Memorial Day
I guess there are a couple of days in a year that you will see me being serious for once and down to earth. Last year at this time I was at my welcome home party with my family and friends. The next day I had to speak at the Memorial Day services in front of my hometown. Funny how a guy my age can have two days out of the year for what I have done with my life. Have Memorial day and Veterans Day. Memorial day isn't for me really but for my buddies I had to leave behind in Iraq that don't get to experience a life like I am right now. Not a day goes by that I don't think about a day over there and have dreams now and then about what has happen to me over there.

There are memories that will forever stick with me till I die and I can't help that. I remember sitting in our motorpool working on our tanks and relaxing when our radios went nuts. All we could hear was someone yelling for help. A motar platoon got attacked at a children's hospital by an insurgent that dropped a grenade on their position. 3 of my buddies that I hung out with in the barracks were killed with 4 others that I knew wounded. Hurts when all you can do is sit there and listen to the voice on the other end crying for help as his soldiers/friends are dying. Other memories are while I am on guard, one of my buddies tanks rolls past my position and he waves at me and flips me off like we always did when we saw each other. About 30 secs later, the ground shakes and I hear a loud explosion. My buddy's tank was hit by a roadside bomb(IED) and his tank commander was hit and killed. My buddy was ok but, while I helped him clean the inside of the tank from all the blood, he just broke down and cried for about an hour while I just held him like a brother. I guess that is what we were over there, "Brothers". I guess the last thing I will leave you of my memories was a tank patrol left through my gate around 23hrs(11 pm) and around 0030(12:30am) it rolled back in with Bravo's Company Commander no longer with them. Killed by another roadside bomb and again, a father not going home to his kids or wife. Kids that will no longer have a father to play with and be there for their important life events.

I am one of the lucky ones that made it home with only little damage to my body but every soldier has a wounded heart and a piece of them gone. Every time you loose a fellow soldier, you loose a piece of yourself. So now you know what some of the things I have seen. I am lucky to be here and going to live my life to its fullest! Please just remember my friends that look over us everyday and remember the pain we all have gone through. To those that aren't here, thank you and you are still my brothers! Don't tell me that this war we don't need to be involved in because my buddies didn't die for nothing. They made a country's life somewhat better to the best that we could. Yes I hate that country and I hate the people over there. I never want to go back and I just wish they would blow it up but my buddies didn't die for nothing!

Sgt Mac out!


Now that's torture

Lileks' take on Gitmo.


Brenna's Tips For Summer

>> Friday, July 01, 2005

1. The proper chair is essential. A lounge is ideal. Especially one with an umbrella. And beverage delivery.

2. If you must spend time with others make sure they are cute.

3. Be sure you have all necessary summer equipment. A picnic basket and gardening kit are essential. Just imagine a picnic lunch in your own flower garden.

4. A pretty summer dress is a must-have. And a matching hat makes the outfit complete.

5. Have Mommy set everything up and enjoy!!!


Self Portrait Friday- Tattoos!!

Another Self Portrait Friday is upon us. Visit Stemily to get the rundown. Today is tattoos; I think this may be my fault. After seeing so many last week during "Summer Wear" I thought we should focus on the art.

I have two tattoos. My first, at age 23, is located on my right thigh. I wanted a unicorn... I'm sure it had some sort of significance when I got it. I had my tattooist add the falling star & clouds so it didn't "just sit" on my skin.
My second tattoo, about 6 months later, I designed myself. It is tribal and cherry blossoms. In my mind the tribal, being a strong design, stands for strength and independence while the cherry blossoms are girly. It really signifies how I felt at that time.

I have been craving another tattoo since that time but have never followed through- mostly because I'm not sure what I want. I did do a lot of piercing, none of which are "installed" anymore. Which is a good thing. I don't feel like sharing that much.

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