Thursday, December 22, 2005

More Sweet Boy.....

Telling Auntie a story....

Hanging out at the river with Grandma & Smokey (the dog)

Everybody say, "Cows Dammit."

Things I saw on my way to work this morning.....

1. A green toilet. Not sage green. Not seafoam green. Really more of a cross between grass green and chartruse green. It was sitting on the front step of a local business.... I wonder how long it has been sitting there?

2. A monster truck decorated with Christmas lights sitting in someone's front yard. Complete with candy-swirl decorations where the monster lights go and a giant inflatable Sponge Bob in a Santa hat sitting in the back.

I'm going to think about this for a while.....

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

You know that part in “Runaway Bride”….

The part where he asks all the ex’s how the bride likes her eggs and everyone gives a different answer…. And they all happen to be the way THEY like their eggs?

That’s me.

And, I’ve discovered, I’m not alone.

A friend of mine & I have been discussing this over email. We would discuss it in person but we are the same about that too…. We are good friends but being good friends means being ok with the fact that time is a precious thing…. We don’t have the time or the energy to get together as often as we would like. And that is too bad. But at least we know that and are honest about it.

We were discussing holiday traditions and all. We are both the oldest of several children (me-3, her-4) and our childhood has very similar dysfunctions. And we both handle situations the same way…. Almost to the point of scary. Lots of planning and lists but many built-in options for flexibility or plan-changing. We are both very smart & very practical. We are both shy but self-assured… which often comes across as aloof. We are both mediators in our families. We both value family very much and almost always sacrifice our own happiness for the “common good” of the family. We both suffer from stomach ailments or “weak” stomachs… gee, think that has anything to do with being the mediators instead of the screamers?? At 2:00 am after a stressful day or event you will find either one of us, sleepless, scrubbing the grout around the toilet with a toothbrush or alphabetizing the spice rack. And yet, most people who know us would say we are “laid-back” and would only use the term “anal” if they saw my carefully labeled and organized medicine cupboard or looked in my container-lid drawer.

We were never close in school. Circumstances beyond our control made the kids in my class very self-reliant and close with each other but beyond that I was never much of a one for friends. I lived too far from town and things were too strict or strange at my house…. Nothing horrible or unspeakable…. Just the usual FUN in dysfunctional.

Talking with her this week has been a fascinating exploration of myself. We agree on so many things and can see our own behaviors & defenses in the other person….. scary, but reassuring too.

I don’t know where I was going with this but I guess I’ll finish by saying it is nice to know I’m not alone in the many facets of my personality.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Susie's Cookie Exchange

The post below is my standard yearly form letter. Susie has offered up a Blog Cookie Exchange challenge. Here are my contributions:

1. My form letter & a photo card of Sweet Boy.... tradition.
2. Black holiday socks with little santas on the sides.
3. My black velvet pants.... elastic waist.... the key to healthy fudge consumption.
4. Fudge & caramels. My fudge was perfect, the caramels were soft and this year I branched out and did truffles too.... they are easy but they really do look like reindeer poop.
5. My brilliant gift idea this year seems to be dvd's and art supplies.
6. We don't do much outdoor decorating.... no plug-ins means no Grizwold-style light displays but I do try to decorate the barn loft and do a few things with plain greens & bows. I'll post pictures if I take any....
7. Holiday Party Season is limited to 24 hours. This year we did Hot Stuff's work party on Saturday night and mine on Sunday afternoon..... we didn't do any other parties.... does that mean we are anti-social or have no friends?
8. My family opens gifts on Christmas Eve, then does Santa presents & gifts from distant relatives on Christmas day. Hot Stuff's family does it all on Christmas day.... it is a long day.
9. My family is known for "casual" meals on Christmas Eve. Favorites include CostCo lasagnas & bag salad or cold cuts & import beer varieties. It is about being together... not being in the kitchen. My "style" is rubbing off on my husband's family.... although I have yet to convince them "fudge & cookie bar" is an acceptable meal buffet.
10. I am totally going to kick Hot Stuff's ass on the Christmas tally this year. I have so many thoughtful and perfect gifts for him and awesome stocking stuffers. Yes, it is a competition and, yes, for some reason competitiveness makes me sound like a valley-girl.... totally awesome.

Yes, I'm one of those people.....

Ok, people, this holiday season we are taking a vote at the Homestead household. Who thinks my Holiday Form Letter is clever, witty & charming? (Silence…chirping crickets…) Ok, who agrees with my darling husband and would rather be saved the torture of finding their reading glasses and just get an adorable photo card of the boy?

Too bad. The letter tradition continues… Actually, I told Hot Stuff I would be fairer this year and include the low-lights as well as the highlights of 2005. He just didn’t think anyone wanted to hear I locked my son in the car (in Colorado, in October… there goes Mother-of-the-Year AGAIN). But isn’t it interesting to know Sweet Boy can say, “Dammit. Cows.” and sound, oddly enough, JUST LIKE his Grandpa Al?? Ok, I won’t tell you Hot Stuff & I still argue about letting the cat out or about my little “problem” with closing the garage door.

We went to Cannon Beach in May. Sweet Boy’s first airplane trip. Honestly, can I say Sweet Boy is easier to fly with than Hot Stuff? Hot Stuff doesn’t like to fly… must have something to do with that one time they thought the fusee residue on his fire clothes was bomb-making material. We had a great time in Cannon Beach, it was a family reunion for Nana's family. Finally met Cousin Bobby and, of course, immediately loved him… he is irreverent & funny and we share a fondness for grapefruit juice and vodka. Hot Stuff’s family is really into eating, drinking & laughing. I won’t talk about my favorite meal since Uncle Gene could go to jail... that's all I'm going to say...

In June we had a little housewarming party… A keg of Blackfoot Brewery’s finest and Papa running the bbq is really all you need to have a good party. Gunnar thought he was in heaven with all those kids playing t-ball… I don’t think the kids were quite as impressed when the “outfielder” ate their ball. We are currently negotiating whether this party will become an annual deal or not…. If it doesn’t, just show up at our house sometime around the beginning of June and we will party anyway.

We spent quite a bit of time with the Lala family this year. Lala and the kids came up in July. We spent some quality time at Spring Meadow Lake. Sweet Boy & I went down there in October. We ate sushi at Target… I’m not kidding. It was good, too. Now we are trying to talk them into coming up here to ski this winter.

In December we headed to Las Vegas. The rodeo was a blast and Sweet Boy loved every minute. We bought an umbrella stroller for the trip…. Best $10 we’ve ever spent. Sweet Boy stuck his sippy cup by one leg and his little backhoe by the other, pulled his hat down low over his eyes and he was ready to go. The whole clan was there….mom & dad, Brother & Sister. Not only did we NOT injure each other… But everyone managed to have a really good time. And, no, for those of you wondering… Dad did not show up at the airport with a carry-on dog food bag… although we all know that is his preferred method for packing his gear.

Yes, life is pretty sweet here in the Gulch. Sweet Boy & Daddy are watching his (supposed to be a Christmas present) Shrek 2 dvd and eating popcorn. Is popcorn a vegetable? If it is we can put it on the short list of veggies Sweet Boy will eat. He also doesn’t eat anything green… including green goldfish crackers and green m&m’s. Sweet Boy points at the ceiling fan and says, “Ewlicopter,” and he loves to do “dangerous tricks” and turn somersaults. I tried to get a holiday picture with his riding moose but he refused to ride on it… he’d rather grab it by the neck and wrestle it to the ground…. Then he stands up, throws his hands in the air and waits for the applause. He really is a character and there are so many stories…

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a happy 2006. Stop by and visit if you can!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Redneck Medicine

*I said this over at Friday Playdate and I'm saying it again.....

Screw the tylenol. If you are truly sick go with Theraflu & Wild Turkey.

You think I'm kidding, don't you?

Put on your jammies & sit on the edge of the bed and drink it down in a few big gulps.... because if you aren't on the edge of the bed you WILL NOT make it to bed and will wake up several days later passed out on the floor with Captain Crunch stuck to the side of your face.... oh wait, that's a different story.....

Maybe you would recover in that passed-out time period even if you were awake... but it is so much more pleasant to be dead-unconscious.

Uncle Mo (not really my uncle) swears by it and says it MUST be Wild Turkey. We don't keep Wild Turkey around the house (it causes Hot Stuff to do an unfortunate thing called the "Turkey Dance" and, especially after that one video, we just don't want that) but I've found that Black Velvet works just as well.... don't waste any of the good stuff on this (Oh lordy... I can hear my brother stepping up on his soap box now to remind me the QUALITY that is BV....) because it really does taste like.... hmmm, words are evading me here.... it tastes like mentholated lemon-flavored rocket fuel. But damn if it doesn't work.

Go ahead... try Redneck Medicine. You'll like it.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Well Fuck.

Sorry, had to drop the f-bomb in the title just to keep with the spirit of things....

I just found a post I wrote in mid-October and never posted..... so here it is..... kinda unfinished.... like so many things.....

Things I learned this weekend.

You can wrap a package beautifully and still not like the parents of the little girl you are giving the gift too.

The grey in my hair is paint…. Really.

You will feel better if you get new green apple dishwasher detergent & dish soap…. Then splurge and buy yourself a green apple candle and start referring to it as “spa kitchen.”

I end way too many sentences with prepositions. When did my grasp of the language become so poor? And why do I think myself justified in tacking “asshole” on the end of every sentence just to cover the preposition?

If you give a little boy a cup of water and a sponge brush he will “paint” an entire door clean. No guarantees on what you are setting yourself up for in the future when he gets his hands on a paint-loaded paintbrush.

Babies like McDonald’s. (First McD’s meal…. Write it in the baby book!)

When you touch up trim at knee level be prepared to discover a little boy with paint behind his ears.

The Dyson Rocks.

No matter how funny you might think it would be to paint a grey skunk stripe on the dog… don’t do it.

Getting up at 6:00 am sucks…. Especially on a weekend.

If you paint the garage door it will rain.

The older I get the less tolerance I have for modern country music.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Why do people say fucking cold?

I mean, isn't that an oxymoron? Fucking cold. I guess you could start out fucking cold.... like if you were doing it in a snowbank or something.... but really, the act itself just makes things warm.... doesn't it?

West Yellowstone was -45F yesterday..... that is WITHOUT wind chill.

Our thermometers were -23, -24 & -21 yesterday at 9:00 am. Yes, I have 3 thermometers. Shut up.

It doesn't feel too miserable as long as there is no wind and you keep moving. The snow is so cold and frozen it doesn't stick to anything.... it is odd and I can't really explain it... you just have to see it.

My father-in-law got the jeepster running while we were gone and plowed out our yard.... a good thing since the pickup doesn't have a block heater and won't start so I'm driving the car.

What's a block heater? Well, have you ever been in cold country and seen a little plug-in dangling out of the front of a vehicle? Did the driver tell you it was an electric car and he needed a really long extension cord? He was lying. It's a little heater that plugs in and warms the engine block so the car will start.... and the Dodge doesn't have one.... how dumb is that? Guess what Hot Stuff is getting for Christmas.... yup, a block heater and a new extension cord. My mom has this really cool extension cord with a light on it so you know the outlet works.... but it is white.... think about that.... white extension cord, white snow storm.... you won't find the plug in for that baby until spring!

How do you survive in weather this cold? Stay warm. Seriously. Dress for it. We have a chicken light (can I make this stuff up?) in our well house to keep things from freezing and when it is really miserable we keep the cupboard under the sink open so the water line doesn't freeze and the water running at a trickle so the drain pipe doesn't freeze.

And get this.... THEY AREN'T CLOSING THE SCHOOLS. Because, well, why? They have to keep the schools warm enough to prevent frozen pipes and that's warm enough for learning, right? One of my friends said kids were outside for recess on Monday. Other states close the schools if there is a foot of snow and the temp is below zero.... not here.

Are we tough or stupid? Wait... don't answer that.....


I'm feeling a little behind on the whole holiday season. Anyone else?

This morning I trudged to the giant closet (the old feed storage shed I de-mousitized and turned into my personal storage space) and drug out the boxes of Christmas decor. This weekend I'll decorate the barn loft (we don't do outside lights but I like to put a little something in the barn loft.... right now a scarecrow & a big corn sheaf are up there....) When we moved out of town we made a serious effort to simplify the holidays.... cutting down on the decorations, gifts, parties & general static.

The tree.... we are cheating about the tree.... last year we hiked about eleventy-million miles into the woods to get the perfect tree.... it really was lovely but my out-of-shape self almost DIED and there was no snow so we had to carry it out rather than skid it on a sled. We have another spot we can usually drive too that requires less hiking but with all the snow and cold this year (you didn't think I was going to let you forget it is -23 F here, did you??) we won't be able to get in there and it wouldn't be safe to take Sweet Boy.... so Hot Stuff's boss planned a thinning project for this weekend in an area with lots of Christmas tree-sized trees. So no big family event but we will end up with a great tree for the price of a $3 permit.

Last night I got groceries. Two work holiday parties this weekend to do potluck stuff for and candy-making things. I do fudge & caramels every year.... because it is really hard to screw up fudge and caramels (although one year we had "spoon fudge" on accident...) this year I'm branching out and adding rice crispy treats..... I know, I know.... hold me back! This morning I hit Target for that holiday stuff.... you know..... toilet paper & paper plates.... the stuff it sucks to run out of when you live 10 or more miles from Target and have guests.

Hot Stuff ordered our Christmas card photos last week.... can't wait to see what he picked. Yes, I do a form letter.... and, yes, I brag about my kid in it.... bite me.

Shopping. Well.... I have IDEAS for everyone... does that count? I'm about half way done. I plan to knock off a bit more of that tomorrow morning.... this is one serious advantage to having too much vacation time.... coming to work at 10:00.

Santa is bringing dental hygiene products for everyone this year..... this is one of those odd things that started when I was a kid..... Sweet Boy is getting a spiderman electric toothbrush & fruit-flavored toothpaste. He's also getting new crayons, mitten clips & a sticker book.

Oh hell, I guess I better confess now..... I over-shopped for Sweet Boy. I wasn't going to tell you.... after talking about simplifying and all.... he is getting a new toybox, a Shrek 2 dvd (which we've actually already opened and watched....), a Shark Tales dvd, a new big boy sled, a plastic backhoe (if I can find one....), Dr. Seuss books and a step stool/tool box (if I make it out to Home Depot before Christmas....). I was also going to get him a Lands End snowsuit but they are backordered until January.... whew, saved myself $65 there..... And you KNOW Hot Stuff will go out the week before Christmas and buy him a bunch of stuff.... we are OUT OF CONTROL.

So, how is everyone else doing with the howl-iday season??

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happy Birthday to You.

Happy Birthday dear Lala.....

A gorgeous package is brewing on my desk.... but it might be a while before I mail it.... wanna get those half-price post-holidays hershey kisses you know......

Viva Las Vegas

** in which I again brag about my perfect child.

Family Vacation 2005 is officially over. Here’s the recap. We left Saturday afternoon out of the newly remodeled Helena International Airport (what? It has flights to Canada…. That’s international.) Lovely airport, we were on-time, the giant red suitcase weighed in at exactly 50 pounds, it was still above zero degrees, the Saints football game was on the radio and they were winning…. Life is good. Flying time to SLC is about an hour. Sweet Boy & Daddy colored with the color wonder markers (Ok, confession…. When I first heard of color wonder I was horrified….. won’t something that only colors the pictures stunt Sweet Boy’s creativity? I now believe color wonder ranks right up there with yogurt-covered raisins, umbrella strollers & sippy cups as the most amazing things ever invented.) I said, “Sweet Boy, can you color the deer’s nose?” and he promptly markered his own little button-nose…. But hey, it’s color wonder… no harm done!! We raced through the SLC airport…. Only 45 minutes of layover and when you are flying into Concourse E it is always a mad-dash….. Sweet Boy was in heaven…. Pointing and saying, “airplane, airplane” over and over. He wasn’t sure what to call the luggage carriers but he settled on “tractor” and he even saw some “big trucks” and a “pickup” too. True nirvana was reached when we saw a BACKHOE. He promptly fell asleep immediately after take-off. (I didn’t even drug him this trip…. I swear.)

We had a long, long shuttle trip to the hotel (take a taxi…. It costs a few bucks more but takes way less time.) We rested a few minutes and then met up with my mom & sister. They’d been there since Tuesday and swore after a few days you didn’t notice the smoke quite as much…. Yes, I’m complaining about the smokiness. Sorry, but I come from a state that just went completely smoke-free. (Ok, some places have until 2007 to comply.) I’m also going to complain a little about the prices of some things…. Overall, not too bad but there was this one $4.50 hot dog that Sweet Boy didn’t eat that’s really bugging me….. My dad & brother arrived a little later in the evening. Oh yes, the whole nerd herd was there….

We spent two days wandering around, going to Cowboy Christmas (vendor hell) and just acting like tourists. Sweet Boy loved the tram, the helicopters that fly over regularly, the lights & all the water features. We were disappointed the Treasure Island boats were out of commission and we decided not to fork over the cash to go to the Secret Garden and see the animals.

Sunday night we went to the rodeo. Amazing. Truly. I like rodeo anyway but this was an amazing event. We smuggled in a bit of Black Velvet (in the diaper bag… rather than the usual boot-top storage method preferred by my brother). Hot Stuff did an amazingly elaborate dance on the escalator (pretending) to go back down so the lady at the bottom could search his backpack… then she kinda realized he was with Sweet Boy and said, “oh, never mind” and I again realized just how devious my darling husband really is….

Taking cabs (we did it 3 times) made me sick to my stomach. No car seats. Need I say more?

On the way to the airport we bought an umbrella stroller. Best $9.96 I’ve ever spent. Sweet Boy likes to stash his sippy cup on one side of his legs and his toy on the other and away we go.

The flight home was very uneventful. It left at 6:45 am so we all napped most of the way. Being brilliant, I got cheesy-crackers for my “snack” and Sweet Boy broke them into pieces and dropped bits of fake cheese all over me…. Hot Stuff tried to help and managed to smear the cheese everywhere. Ah, motherhood. (I do remember a time when I traveled a lot for work and got on the plane wearing spiffy little outfits carrying a book, my ticket & a bottle of water….. those days, my friend, are LONG GONE.)

Sweet Boy lived up to his title and was, truly, sweet the whole time. What an amazing kid. Running on limited naps, late nights, odd eating schedules and going, going, going and he never melted down once. (Well, not totally true…. We got home Tuesday and went to lunch at Pizza Hut buffet and he cried when he was pooping his pants at the table and everyone looked at him…. Boy likes to poop in private.)

Friday, December 02, 2005


Little boy walking around the house saying, “Dam. Damiam. DAM. Dam?!?” He looks at his mama and says, “Dam?” Mama scowls, looks around and points towards his crib. Little boy grins, giggles and runs to the crib yelling, “DAM” and then rattles off a string of garbled gibberish while trying to wrestle an orange book out from between the crib railings.

Is the little boy in trouble? Listen closer to his gibberish ….DAM.

Get it?

**UPDATE** Mary P. got it. He's developed an addiction to "Green Eggs & Ham."

My mom says this is called Kaleechee.

Sweet Boy is getting ready to go for a slide. (Don't worry... I didn't let him go down the big hills) These hills are really fun when it is muddy!

You can see true love between my sis & her guy in this series.... in the end she ditched him for the fun slide down the slope. Atta girl!

True Love -Kaleechee Style

Thursday, December 01, 2005

If you are planning a trip to Montana.....

This is a very important slice of a travel planning itinerary. If you should find yourself in Montana and in need of some pie (because, as my friend Jon-Jon says, "There's always room for Pie!") check these places out. I can personally vouch for the Log Cabin Family Restaurant in Choteau.... they have great mashed potatoes too.

The most photogenic horse in the world.

It doesn't matter what you are doing.... get out a camera and Sunny will turn towards it and pose.

Of course, my sister is her usual glamorous self.

And Sweet Boy? Well, who doesn't love a guy who wears his hat like that??