Enter the Dog Poop

It's been a week where I found myself saying many things I never thought I'd say. (Tough week.) But this little exchange sums up the recent events of our lives perfectly:

Caden-3yr comes in the house, carrying somthing I assume is dirt.

Me: Could you leave the dirt outside, please?

Caden-3yr: Oh, it is not dirt Mom, so I'll just put it in my room.


Caden-3yr:  Duke poop.


Caden-3yr: No, it's in the house right now, Mom. (He moves his big blue eyes around slowly, just checking that he is indeed standing in the house with the poop, and wondering why I can't see that)

Me: Riiiiight. It IS inside the house right now, and that's a problem because dog poop SHOULD stay outside, where you DON'T TOUCH IT, and hurry up and put it outside so we can wash your hands.

Caden-3yr: Well, o-hay. (that's how he says 'ok')  But I really think Duke wanted me to flush this poop down the potty for him, and that's all I was going to do.

Me: You said you were going to put it in your room.

Caden-3yr: Oh. Well. O-hay, THEN I was going to flush it. 

I just want the poop to stay off the kids and out of the house.  This week that was SO much to ask.

September Club 17 WinnerS!

And 2 winners among you fantastically grown up health conscious Club 17ers!  LaLa and Emily!!! No, not my sister, LaLa, a different LaLa - who is a master recycler in the making, and who is having a rough week. Emily is of Sassy Lime fame, and was one of the first blogs I ever read.

And pfft. Of course there was no random drawing for a winner this month, you know me too well. If there is a one of you out there who is having that sort of 'oh no, i might have found something' sort of thing, then you are automatically the winner and receive my heartfelt prayers and whatever prize i can send. So, Emily and LaLa, if you will be so brave, please email me your addresses. I will destroy them immediately upon sending you something cute, because that's what I do.

(That sound you hear is the faint laughter of my sister, who knows how impossible I am at keeping track of any addresses for any length of time at all.)

  in Club 17
September Club 17 WinnerS!

And 2 winners among you fantastically grown up health conscious Club 17ers!  LaLa and Emily!!! No, not my sister, LaLa, a different LaLa - who is a master recycler in the making, and who is having a rough week. Emily is of Sassy Lime fame, and was one of the first blogs I ever read.

And pfft. Of course there was no random drawing for a winner this month, you know me too well. If there is a one of you out there who is having that sort of 'oh no, i might have found something' sort of thing, then you are automatically the winner and receive my heartfelt prayers and whatever prize i can send. So, Emily and LaLa, if you will be so brave, please email me your addresses. I will destroy them immediately upon sending you something cute, because that's what I do.

(That sound you hear is the faint laughter of my sister, who knows how impossible I am at keeping track of any addresses for any length of time at all.)

  in Club 17
Club 17, September

It's already been a month since we did this, ladies! Lots of cities are hosting Race for the Cure - are any of you involved?  I haven't signed us up yet, since I was trying to decide on a weekend trip to stalk a friend's booksigning.

It's the 17th, and that means that we all do those beloved self breast exams and then come back here and leave a comment saying yes! did it!  yea me! 

For more information on how or why we do this, click here.

And because y'all ask occasionally, I'm including this (previously posted) explanation of why this matters so much to me personally:

Q: Why do I do these monthly reminder/nag sessions? I mean, why is it SUCH a big deal? Well. I'll tell you.

A: When Caden-3yr was a tiny little 3 month old, I found a lump. I never did self breast exams, and so i had no idea how long it had been there. That one thought nagged at me in the night for weeks afterwards. It was about pea sized, hard, and the edges of it were rough. None of those things were good. There are a lot of lumps and bumps and cysts and things that can be quite harmless - especially for a nursing mom. But rough edges were notably bad.

I had so many doctor's appts over the next weeks. It just dragged on and on. The surgeon I saw knew immediately it wasn't good. After a long conversation, we decided the next step would be an 'ultrasound guided biopsy.' There was already one ultrasound of it, but it had been lost somehow between doctor's offices.

I was a wreck. I remember trying to live minute to minute. Constant prayer over the next minute. And I was too scared to really ask God to just fix it. I couldn't even pray that. I focused on what would happen, and the things i should do in case i died and left my daughter and two sons without a mother. I had no peace whatsoever that everything would work out. None. I was numb.

Mike did pray, though. He prayed a lot. And one day he said something that really, really made me angry. He said that he'd prayed and God had answered him that 'it would be good.' GOOD? Excuse me?  HOW? That really ticked me off, and anytime I worried and Mike tried to reassure me with that particular answered prayer, I got even more mad and worried.

Life was so hard those 6 or 8 weeks. Then we went in for that ultrasound guided biopsy.

And it was gone. Magically, completely, utterly... gone.

They had all said it wasn't the sort of lump that would disappear. Certainly not like it did.It hadn't changed at all in any way since it was first detected. And that wasn't good either.

But it did disappear. The doctors were in shock. My surgeon, when she heard about it, was in total disbelief and had her office call me so that she could look for it herself. After all, it just wasn't the sort that would go away. And she would know.

Mike and I cried in the waiting room, hugged, and walked out into the parking lot of the hospital, stunned. And then Mike, with tears streaming down his face, said "Kels, what did God say?"

"That it would be good?"


And I agreed. It was good. But I was missing something.

Mike laughed and said, "But what is today?"

"Friday." I wasn't getting whatever it was he wanted me to see.

"No. It's Good Friday."

And it was. The Friday before Easter, Good Friday, of 2004 was especially good.

(Thank You, God for that answer to Mike's prayer - I didn't understand or appreciate it at all then, but it's pretty special to me now.)

After that I resolved to do those monthly self breast exams. If I ever had to go through that again, i wanted to KNOW how long it had been there. That piece of information would have set my mind at ease. It would have been so much better to be able to think, 'huh. there's a lump. scary, but it's at least i know it is new. let's call a doctor.'  i hope none of you ever find a lump. But more than that, i hope that if you do, you can say, 'at least I know it is very new. I caught this - whatever it is - as early as I possibly could.' 

I know what some of you are thinking. It's the reason I haven't written this before now, to be honest. Compared to so many other stories that end tragically, or involve an actual drawn out fight with cancer, my story might not sound like much. And maybe it isn't. But my point is that it was pretty horrific anyway, and if I can be more proactive, and bug you to be - then i will.

Thanks for letting me. I know I can be obnoxious about it.

  in Club 17
Truck Love

Interesting day. One of those days where suddenly out of nowhere God starts talking in a way you can hear Him on all sorts of topics you've been bugging him about and not getting a response...  ever had that happen?  I want to keep all of that to myself for now, though. Sorry, family, that's why I'm not answering the phone.

Fortunately, there's always something to write about around here.

Yesterday Mike and I took our cars to the Cadillac dealership in another town. We just like them better, so it's always worth the drive.  His truck needed a repair of some sort (due to the last time I kinda wrecked it when I went offroading in it), and I don't even know what was wrong with mine.  The owner of the dealership asked MIke about the mud all over the place. 

So Mike told him I like to go 'mudding.'  Dealership Owner was... stunned.   Not just that of the two of us, I'm the mudder - but that Mike actually lets me take his VERY nice truck to do it in.  He promptly took us to the other end of the lot and started pointing out trucks to me that would be more suitable for such purposes. He pointed to a midnight blue pickup.

"No. Too pretty," I said. 

He pointed to a royal blue Chevy next to the first one.

"No. You don't get it. That's a nice truck! I want a junk-y, dirty, dented, nasty truck with big tires and lights on top. Redneck." 

He nodded slowly, surprised, and then asked someone to bring out a red Silverado that they weren't even going to put on the lot. This particular truck has so many miles and is so ripped and dirty inside that they were just going to have it taken off by a wholesaler.  It isn't dented -- there are grills and bars all around it so that it CAN'T get dented. It's four wheel drive and can definitely handle mud. The inside is filthy with ripped leather upholstery, Bud Light bottlecaps everywhere, and a butt-ugly widemouth bass Christmas ornament hanging from the rearview mirror. The windshield has a bullet hole in it and the back window has a white decal of two bucks locking horns. The engine is ginormous, dual exhaust, and it shakes the ground with the most beautiful loud purr ever. 

I took it for a test drive with the same guy who sold us our two other cars.  He directed me to the nearest dirt road, and raised his eyebrows slightly when I complained that it was riding 'too smooth.'  He tried to find some mud, but there wasn't any to be found.  He showed me the four wheel drive options, and I played with them while getting in and out of a ditch.

Maybe it was the bass, mouth wide open, dangling from the mirror. Or the bullet casings on the floorboards... or the carefully centered deer decal.... but it was truck-love at its best. 

We got it. 

Very fun. I got it stuck last night, but only after thoroughly testing it out on muddy farmroads and incorrectly concluding that it was so tough there was no way i COULD get it stuck. Oops. 

This morning it wouldn't start.  Totally dead battery.  (I'd forgotten that part of having an old truck with lots of miles.)  Since my usual car is still at the dealership getting who knows what fixed, I called Mike. He asked his friend (who has kindly assisted in my stuck in the mud escapades before) to come help. He breathed new life into the battery while Seth-1yr and Caden-3yr managed to get into a spitting war in the backseat. Caden-3yr was outspitting, so Seth-1yr got him back by taking the lid off his sippie cup and sloshing its entire milky contents across the seat at Caden-3yr.  It was, as Helpful Friend pointed out, the PERFECT truck for that to happen in. The truck had a distinct Dirty Dog smell before, but now there's some old milk fragrance to mask that.

Helpful Friend said he had a name for my truck. "Mutter's Mutter!" He said proudly.  I blinked a couple of times. Smiled.  Said, "Ummm. I like it if you like it, but I really don't get it..."

"But it's a play on words.."

"Yeah, I figured, but... I still don't get it..."

He's a patient guy. He then explained it and I caught that he was actually saying "Mudder's Mudder."  As in Mother's Mudder.  AHA!  Much funnier.  He sooo nicely followed us to preschool just to make sure that it would start again.  (It did)

And Mudder's Mudder is far better than what Caden-3yr calls it. He tries to say Mommy's Monster Truck, but he doesn't really have the 'tr' sound down yet, and he substitutes with an "f" instead.  It's... attention getting. And yes, he IS at that age where he has to yell everything. Uh HUH.

So I took Caden-3yr in to preschool, who was appalled at the indignity of having to arrive late, and I stuck my head in the door to talk to his teacher. "Sorry we're late! Got an old truck to go mudding in, and it just wouldn't start this morning!"

She laughed and said, "What...? I don't see you doing that at all! You're so TINY and so FEMININE!" 

I snorted in such an unfortunate manner that spit sailed into the preschool classroom. i intentionally did not check to see Caden-3yr's reaction to this. It was soooo feminine though. I thought she was kidding, but she actually wasn't.  It was an effective way to erase a misconception, at least.

Well, that and a big red dirty truck with its own signature smell.


I'm Fiiiiiiiiiine.

Thank you, sweet family and friends and virtual strangers, and online friends alike.  Sorry to have worried you.  I mentioned, in passing, that food isn't really doing a lot for me lately. And that I've given up most chocolate.  You're perfectly wonderful, proactive, caring individuals to start calling and emailing me about eating disorders. Really! I appreciate it! Now please let me explain a little, be reassured, and then stop, 'kay?

I could hardly eat anything for awhile. My jaw hurt way too much. Plain m&ms were the first thing to go, followed by anything else crunchy, then anything solid.  I CAN eat solid food now, and do - but I never went back to the m&ms.  During that whole OW, MY JAW phase, it was the perfect time to evaluate what and how I was eating. I gave up all emotional/recreational eating.  I had no idea I was such an emotional eater!  Soooo not going back to that!

I think I'm more physically healthy than I have been in years and am working quite hard at continuing in that direction. Lots of exercise, and I'm back to the free weights. I just love a good barbell.  To keep up with all that exerise, I try to eat enough. It isn't easy for some reason, but I'm hanging in there with protein bars and icky  shakes and lots of grilled chicken.

I'm WORKING at eating - not wasting away, I promise. Drinking lots of water, giving up Diet Coke (why not? if M&Ms are gone, I can do anything), taking calcium, and doing a few other big things for my health that I can't tell you about for perfectly funny reasons.  But I wish that I could, becuase Oh! the posts!   

Workout Barbie is on my case about food, protein, weight and muscle mass at least twice a week. She has a scale and these awful pinch-y things that measure muscle mass and tickle the crap out of me, and she will nag me on your behalf whenever she thinks it is necessary - she already does. 

So. I'm fiiiiine.  Thank you so much. I usually think about how things I write here will be interpreted, and have gotten fairly good at guessing. I missed it this time, and I'm sorry.

And Jeff is nowhere to be found today. Yea!

Just for Jeff

For Jeff, 

in Naperville,

Who Is Really Getting on my Nerves And You Better STOPITRIGHTNOW:

When you started leaving comments on various (old) posts, they didn't make much sense to me.  I figured you were a spammer, and deleted them.  Now I realize that wasn't your intention at all - but I like your true intentions even less, and  i have lost all patience with you.

You never noticed the 'email me' link, and resorted to leaving many, many comments. I get that.  I'm actually glad of that and have no desire to be emailing you either. I'm abandoning the "ignore the weird man" policy I usually stick to since you don't fit into the usual 'blogcrush' molds. I think convincing is the best way to go with you. And since you peppered this entire website with your totally unwelcome (yet sadly sincere) comments, I will respond publicly as well:

In short, NO.  I AM NOT HER.  I happen to have one of those very common faces and people frequently mistake me for someone they know.  My mother says I get that from her.

So. It wasn't me.  I've never been to Naperville. The closest I came was Chicago once, a long time ago, and I wasn't at a bar. 

The romance writer in me thoroughly appreciates your adoration of this woman. You are so into her that you can't believe you didn't get her name and number.  I can't either, since apparently you got so very much more. Your descriptions of her, I notice, are purely... physical.  And written in terms that are perhaps intended to sound flattering, but really aren't. 

The mother in me is appalled.  Yes, Jeff, I am a married mother of FOUR, and that is yet another reason you can safely believe me when i say it was NOT ME.  (not to mention, I do not resemble those physical descriptions and that's all I'm going to say about that.) I encourage you, in the future, to 1) ask the girl her name 2) remember it 3) get to know her 4) decide you like her 5) remind yourself of her name frequently, 6) THEN move on to further courtship practices. 

If you'd followed this basic formula, you would not be in this predicament. Your formula, I gather, was more like 1) see girl 2) have sex 3) one week later realize she was great and you have no idea who she was and then frantically google search for her, find someone and then bother that lady, just in case it's her.

And I KNOW. I checked, and you really did find me by googling 'blue green eyes plain m&ms hot panties.' How disturbing that I came up as #1 on that particular search.  How much more disturbing that you can sleep with a girl, only know those three things about her, and think Google will know her name!

Anyway, I gave up m&ms and almost all chocolate and never updated that page. yet another reason, Jeff, I'M NOT HER.

You were right when you noticed that I was not writing on this site around the dates that you and she - not me - were in Naperville.  There are a thousand possible reasons for that.  I might have been out of town. NOT IN NAPERVILLE. I might have just not felt like blogging (that has happened a lot lately for reasons that have nothing to do with you). Maybe I was busy.

If you saw the photo on this post and got excited about finding her, then i can safely assure you: she was probably as drunk as you were and has no memory of your name either. 

Move on, Jeff. Like I said, there are countless women with  faces like mine. You'll drive yourself nuts trying to sort through us all. Just go meet someone nice, and ask her name. Maybe write it down. Take it slow.  Have fun.  (Not too much fun.)

I wish you well, but don't come back here, okay?


- Not her, ever in a million years, and I'm never going to Naperville

If You Came To a Baby Shower At My House...

then PLEASE don't read this. It'll sick you out, especially if you ate the food.

The food that one of the women brought? SOO good. She can cook and arrange flowers like nobody's business. 

But let's back up to the night before the shower.  I've cleaned. I've wrapped gifts, arranged flowers (not very well), and have much to cook. 

I should say that I am greatly at odds with food lately. It just doesn't do much for me. I don't get excited about it. It usually grosses me out, and since I've somehow lost that sensation of getting hungry like normal people do, i just forget to eat.  (I know. Sorry. Nothing can incite a mommyblogger revolt faster than that pathetic story. But it isn't great, and no you don't wish you had that problem, and it's fine -you'll lose any appetite you have if you keep reading this. promise.)

So, it's the night before the baby shower for 'Dear Friend I'd Do Anything For, Even Touch Fruit.'  For some reason I decided to make banana bread, zucchini bread, sausage balls, and a sausage cream cheese crescent casserole thing. And touch/arrange/smell a lot of fruit.

Huh?  I don't really cook.  And

a) banana bread?  I have to mouth-breathe to even handle bananas, and wash vigorously, surgical style after touching them.  I'm pretty sure banana bread actually means smooshing the bananas, therefore making them smell even more banana-y. 

b) zucchini bread? I like zucchini, but OH MY GOSH the fatty fat stuff in that recipe. No idea what I was thinking. I was apparently NOT thinking 'this needs eggs' because I forgot them and Mike had to go to the store at 9 to get them for me. Then he wisely disappeared before I could ask him to help make a diaper cake.

c) sausage balls.  Y'all.  Doesn't that phrase make you just GAG?  Sausage BALLS.  SAUSAGE balls.  Oh. my. gosh. 

I made the sausage the day before.

Now, I had a country cooking grandmother who could do some amazing things with sausage. I ate sausage as a kid. As an adult even. But not in a loooong time, due to the weird food aversion thing I've had going on. (it started with a long TMJ problem, and it's a long boring story) 

Seeing the sausage 'browned' really icked me out.  It was SWIMMING in thick grease. No, it was drowning.  So I spent twenty minutes draining, blotting, and removing ALL traces of the icky grease and fat.  Great. One less thing to do the next day. 

Sausage balls (oh! that nasty phrase!). They require only 3 ingredients, which is probably the only reason i decided to make them in the first place. Or I was feeling very 70s, I don't know, I have NO idea when that bizarre little decision came to be. Anyway, those 3 ingredients are sharp cheddar, sausage, and dry Bisquick.  Can I get an 'ew?' 

So you're supposed to mix those things with your hands and form into balls. I did NOT read that part of the recipe before deciding on these, otherwise it never woulda happened. I don't know how I thought they were going to magically form themselves into balls, but squishing meat in my fingers was really not on my to do list.

It didn't work anyway. Picture the sausage, the grated cheese, the dry BIsquick.  Yep, those are the 3 ingredients, and yet there is NO way those things are smooshing together into balls.  I stare into the bowl, wondering what I did wrong. 
Aha.  It was the UNLISTED FOURTH INGREDIENT that I had painstakingly removed.  Fat.  Those things were supposed to hold together with FAT. 

Mike walked in. I told him what happened.  He looked in the bowl, and said, "There's olive oil behind you."  (Yuh huh. Rachael RAY olive oil, that he purchased, and displays on the COUNTERTOP and not in the cabinet because somebody has a bit of an 'admiration' for her and her pretty face is on the label.)

"ADD the FAT BACK?! NoooO!"  I gagged over the bowl.

Rachel Ray is not going anywhere near my nasty sausage balls.


"Apple sauce," he suggested.

I checked. None without cinnamon.

"Water," he said. 

And that worked.  I still had to squish meat between my fingers, but whatever. It worked.

I ended up skipping the banana smooshing headache, since I didn't have butter.  (how can you not know you don't have butter and eggs in your house, kels? why, EASILY, thank you for asking! i usually do have eggs, but not butter.) 

The morning of the shower I spent much time arranging fruit.  The fruit fumes were overwhelming.  My hands got fruity. I kept telling myself that for this particular friend, I'd do anything, even touch a lot of fruit.

We've known each other forever. Well, ten years at least. We couldn't stand one another at first. I thought she was so snotty. She thought the same about me. Then we became friends and it's been a lasting bond I don't always understand, but I treasure.  She was on the phone with me when the pregnancy test was in the bathroom and I was too afraid to go see if I was indeed expecting Ethan-7yr. We spent many an afternoon wondering where in the world her God-given appointed husband was, and what was keeping him from showing up already. He did show up, eventually, of course, and I got to be her Matron of Honor. She came and stayed with my kids when I was SURE I was in labor and spent the night in the hospital a few weeks before Caden-3yr finally showed up.  And she was with me at a Beth Moore Bible study the morning I got more violently sick than I've ever been, just before Seth-1yr was born.

For this dear friend, I told myself, I can touch cantaloupe. So I did. Even though cantaloupe is cold and slimy, and it smells like cantaloupe.  For love of the right person, I can conquer fruit. It was a big realization.  (No, of course i didn't eat it - that would just be insanity)

So dear friend:  I love you more than I hate fruit.  Thank you for who you are, and who you've always been.  This probably doesn't make a bit of sense to anyone else, but that's okay.  And everyone else is probably wondering if you'll even read it since the first line says not to read it if you were at the shower, and you clearly would have been there... but I knew you'd ignore that anyway.  Love you.

Crazy Lady in my Driveway

This morning I got Caden-3yr and Seth-1yr in the car, started the ignition, and went about loading up with gym bag, purse, etc.  An unfamiliar song was on the radio. I listened as I backed down the driveway. And then I had to put the car in park, fall over gasping for air onto the center console and try to keep my laughter quiet enough so that I could still hear the hysterical lyrics.  It was, for some reason, THAT funny. 

My head hurt when I finally sat up and tears were running down my face. Seth-1yr was clearly alarmed, looking back and forth between me and Caden-3yr.  Caden-3yr watched all of this from the backseat before sighing loudly and saying, "If you are DONE NOW, I think I need to get to PRESCHOOL." Long pause, and then just the word, "MOTHER."

And of course that just started me off again, much to his disgust.

It was a fantastic, if not terribly inconvenient laugh. It might work for you, too. Click here for lyrics.

An Important Morning Meeting in the Hall

This morning is a quiet, overcast day. No errands. Just the honor of stay at home mothering two little ones for a few hours. The peace is worth noticing. Caden-3yr and Seth-1yr are getting along, playing in the living room. I'm cleaning the kitchen and refilling sippie cups - again - when the thought hits me.  It's a beautiful thought.  For the first time in a long time, I might be able to slip into the bathroom for a few minutes all by myself. Nevermind that I don't know what I'll do in there. Maybe I'll find a lost lip gloss. I definitely won't clean. Those few minutes beckon. It's a huge luxury, waiting.

I step out of my shoes, leaving them in the kitchen.  I tiptoe off to the bathroom, shut the door silently, and don't turn on the light just in case that tips them off. I lock the door.  Then, with nothing else to do, I lie on the bathmat, close my eyes, and smile at the ceiling and thank God that the littlest ones are getting big enough for this to even begin to happen. 

It's not much. Two minutes, maybe three, but they are glorious minutes.  Then, Caden-3yr knocks on the door and says it's important. 

"What's important? What's wrong?" I ask from the bathmat.

"Umm.... someone needs to talk to you."

"So talk. I can hear you." I really didn't want to get up yet.

"It's not me.  It's... it's.... FARLO."  That's how Caden-3yr pronounces Charlo. And Charlo, y'all, is the cat.

"Charlo needs to talk to me?" 

"Yes. And it's important," Caden-3yr says.

Charlo rarely 'talks' unless it's first thing in the morning, so I doubt he's really needing to talk, but I get up anyway. I'm almost to the door when I hear the cat give a squeak. When I open the door, Caden-3yr is about to give him another little squeeze, just to ensure Charlo's compliance with the plan. 

"See Mom? It is important."

And it was. I sat on the floor outside the bathroom and Caden-3yr and I asked Charlo about his day and how he was doing and if he needed to talk anything over.  He didn't, of course, but seemed glad to have been asked.

Seth-1yr was dancing on the dining room table, and forcefully swinging the light fixture overhead back and forth. Very soon he'll be tall enough to hold on while he swings with it, if his brothers past examples are to be believed. 

Peace. A few years ago a description of this morning would have sounded like a headache, but not today.

And as Caden-3yr says, "it is important."