Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dun Dun Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun

School starts in two days.  Alex is excited.  I am not.  I have the pit in my stomach I have gotten every single August since I can remember.  Every time I hear a cicada, I get sad.  They come out late in the summer, and it's nature calling an audible that summer is over.  And now this year, my buddy is going to be gone most the day.

I realize there has been many a time this summer that I thought one of us was going to end up in the hospital and the other in jail, but I've gotten very used to having him home with me.  I don't want to go without the random snuggles and I love you's and yes, even the random Nerf gun shots.

Alas, he is excited.  I need to get over it.  And I will, but I'm gonna let myself be sad a little bit.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Little Nutty

Alex and I had to stop at Target super quickly after my eye exam this afternoon.  Alex did not want to go, and the only way I could get him to stop being a jerk was to be silly which then lead to him thinking it was funny to smack my butt.  Continually.  For the entire time we were walking through the store.

I pleasantly told him to stop a bunch of times and when it was clear he had no inclination of listening to me, I stopped both of us in our tracks, got to eye level with him, put on my I'm Serious Now face, and told him to stop.  He begrudgingly obliged.

We got in line to check out and were standing there for a whole 32 seconds before I feel a big ol' smack on my butt.  I spun around to see Travis standing there grinning ear to ear.  He just happened to be in that particular Target for work, saw us in line, and came up and smacked my butt instead of just saying hi.

Talk about some acorn and tree shit right there.

Suzie Homemaker

I am not a good housekeeper.  Like at all.  Like this is what I found when I tipped a chair up to move it:
Yes, I did say, "That's where that nail clipper went!"  And no, Sam hasn't recently been teething...it's been about a year since he's needed that blue phone teething thingy.  Whatever.

The other hint that I might need to clean?  Last night while taking a bath, Alex asked what the specs on the tub were.  Yeah, those were specs of stain from when I let him help me stain the play set...in June.  Whoops!  So yeah, when the 7 year old who consistently doesn't flush the toilet is noticing things are dirty, perhaps cleaning is a bit overdue.  Or maybe if he's noticing it means he should pick up a sponge!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


At bedtime last night, Alex jumped up on my bed to say goodnight to Aiden and he noticed her nose was dry.  I laid his concern to rest (I thought), and he headed to his room.  While getting into bed, he reminded me that he wishes Aiden could live forever.  And then he went on to say he just didn't understand why things and people and animals have to die (aside from the immortal jellyfish thankyouverymuch Wild Kratts).  I told him I didn't get it either, and that it is sad and hard to understand but we would work through it when the time came.  Then he asked if I thought Aiden was going to live until Alex's 10th birthday.  I said I didn't know, but I didn't think so.  While quietly crying, he settled into bed.

A couple beats later, this happened:
Alex:  Mom?  When Aiden does die...can we like...keep her around?
Me:  How do you mean?
Alex:  Well...I mean...can we like, hang her on the wall?
Me (shocked, mortified, trying not to hysterically laugh):  You mean how people sometimes do with deer heads?
Alex:  Yeah!
Me:  Ummm, no.

I did say we could do a plaster paw print that he could keep.  He thought that would be alright and then laid this one one me:  "Can we also please bury her in the yard so I can go be with her any time I need to?"

And then there were two people crying in Alex's bed last night.


Alex loves taking toys apart.  Usually it's because he wants to see how they work, and usually it isn't an issue because we can put them back together.  But not lately.  Lately the taking apart has turned into straight destruction.

He bought an awesome remote control car with the money he earned from the lemonade stand and a gift card he received for his birthday.  It was about $30.  Way more than I would ever spend on a remote control vehicle outside of birthday or Christmas presents.  But it was what he wanted and it was his money, so that's what he got.  And it was great! ... For about a day and a half.

We got it all set up and calibrated, and he took it outside to play.  I warned him the instructions said to avoid grass and gravel.  He did great with that, but came back in holding one side view mirror and the rear spoiler in his hand.  Apparently those break off when your buddy tries to throw a ball at the car while you're driving it.  Who knew, right?!  So, we had another discussion about being careful with the car and how much money it cost.

The next day, he had it in the playroom and I walked through to see he had removed all four tires.  S.O.P. for Alex.  I shook my head and said, "Ya know what?  It's your money."  Dumb dumb dumb Mama.  Later that evening I found him holding the car by the wire that transmits the remote signal (which he had pulled from the car), while two of his buddies whacked the car with plastic golf clubs.  I frustratedly asked just what he thought he was doing and was answered with, "Well, it is my money."  My face almost exploded with rage, but instead I walked away and waited for the eventual fit when the car no longer worked.

That fit was delayed a bit because he and his buddies decided the plastic golf clubs weren't the proper tools for the job, so they graduated to pillow armor for body protection while they smashed the car with an aluminum baseball bat.  Yeah.  That happened.

That night, the regret sank in for Mr. Alex.  He started crying that he wanted a new one and I said no and that he wasn't going to get any new toys until he could show me that he can treat our current toys and belongings with respect.  I didn't yell, I didn't take away other privileges, I didn't make him sit in his room.  Just treat current toys with respect.

That was kinda working.  More working than not, but still needing reminders.  Until yesterday.

We were having a great day until I noticed two blue gems on the kitchen table.  I asked where they came from, and Alex sheepishly told him he pulled them out of a sun catcher he made for me for Mothers' Day last year.  Yep.  For no discernible reason, he plucked two of the gems from a gift he made for me.  When he saw how upset I was, he quickly assured me he could make a new one.  I told him I didn't want a new one, I wanted that one.  It was mine and he ruined it.  My feelings were hurt and I didn't want to talk about it anymore.

I had just finished making lunch so we sat down to eat through quivering chins.  He looked up with tears in his eyes, and told me he knew what he should lose as a consequence for ruining my sun catcher.  And I said no.  I told him he wasn't losing anything because that clearly doesn't make a difference for him.  Nothing was being taken away, but he was gaining something.  He now got my disappointment in the choice he made.  That opened the waterworks floodgate, and we had a tear stained lunch.

I think I solidly earned the Guilt Trip badge of motherhood with that one.

We moved on from that and everything was going smoothly.  Then Sam came up to tattle that Alex pushed him.  Alex quickly said, "Weeeeeeeell, I didn't push him...I just kinda shook him a little."  So I replied, "Weeeeeeeeeeeell, put on your shoes and run three laps around the house."  He just stood there blankly looking at me, so I repeated myself, and sent him outside.

A new day of consequences is dawning in the Julius house.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Be Still My Beating Heart

You guys!  It happened!  I can't believe it, but it actually happened.  I asked Alex to clean up the play room, and...and he did it.  All of it.  And he did it the first time I asked him.  And he didn't complain about it while he was doing it.  And as I'm typing this, I just heard him put his dishes in the dishwasher.

What. Is. Happening.


From time to time I get antsy and feeling boring.  This usually leads to me putting some unnatural color in my hair.  Not yesterday though.  Yesterday that led to me allowing my hairdresser to bust out the shears.

Regular beautiful haircut:
 And then BAM!  Funky undercut:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Not Fair!

I've been trying really hard to not fall asleep with Alex at night.  I started this horrible habit years ago where I lay down with him to put him to bed.  And inevitably I fall asleep.  I figure it's a bit healthier for my marriage if we have some non-kid time each day.  And obviously that is impossible when I am falling asleep with one of said kids.  It hasn't been too awful during the summer since we've been letting him stay up a bit later and in turn sleeping in each morning.  But that just means that I'm not falling asleep at 8:30pm.

All this being said, you can bet your sweet bippy I'm gonna stay in bed with Alex when he says, "Mom?  Can we just hold hands while we sleep tonight?"

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Good morning!

It's a good thing Alex took it upon himself to fill up the Popsicle maker thingy.  Because if he hadn't, he wouldn't have spilled raspberry lemonade all over the floor and freezer and he wouldn't have called for help and I wouldn't have seen the damn dog outside with no collar or leash.  It's super fun that she has figured out how to open the sliding screen door.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Paint. So. Much. Paint

A while back, Alex said he wanted to paint his room.  It was still the same color as when we moved in, which admittedly was not very great.  I would show you a picture of the weird pastel aqua color it was, but I can't...because I painted over that shit yo!  Here's a Google image of what that color is though:

Not so good.

Anywho, Alex's idea for color was to have alternating orange and red walls with a red ceiling.  Ok, Satan, let's try again.  I told him we could use those colors, but not covering the whole wall, and I definitely was not painting the ceiling anything but white.  I had him pick out colors and we got the paint...about 5 months ago.  I felt bad not doing it right away, but the thought of trying to paint while corraling both him and Sam was just too much.

But now?  Now I'm working from home.  And this week?  This week Alex is gone camping all week.  So I am home without a ton of work to do and Sam is at day care and Alex is in the woods somewhere in western Wisconsin.

It took way longer than anticipated, but I (with a whole bunch of taping help from my neighbor) did it!

And I didn't tell him I was going to do it this week, so I get to surprise him when he gets home!  It's not full wall orange and red, but I think he's gonna like it.

A Tractor!

There is a community resale page on Facebook for our town where you can buy and sell stuff...kinda like a garage sale without the garage.  I had a puzzle posted for sale and was checking my post when I came across a different sale post for this bad boy.

I was hesitant because it wasn't exactly the $5 fare I am used to perusing.  But then I showed it to Travis.  He response?  "Ummmm..YES!"  So I contacted the people, and they were even nice enough to deliver it to us.  When they were on their way over, I told Travis we should just put it in the garage and cover until we could get it to my parents' house to store until Christmas.  He looked at me like I had 9 heads and said, "No.  He's getting it tonight.  We'll call it an early Christmas present.  He won't know the difference come December."

Y'all should have heard the squealing coming out of that little boy's mouth last night.  Maybe you did.  I'm guesing anyone in a 2 mile radius heard it.  He was so excited when he first saw it and then it just blew his toddler mind when he figured out the gas pedal.

If you look really closely, you might be able to see the excited scrunch in his nose!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


If you are at the store and they have a big sale on paint, you can buy as many as you want and bring them back later to have them tinted once you figure out what colors you want.  But!  If you buy tintable paint?  Do not be foolish like yours truly over here and think you can just use it without tinting it.  It won't be just like regular white paint.  It will look just like regular white paint in the jug.  It will go on the walls just like regular white paint.  But it sure as hell doesn't dry just like regular white paint and then you find yourself asking the Google machine why the room you just painted looks like shit.  And the Google machine tells you you are an idiot.

Monday, August 8, 2016


You guys.  I am fairly confident when I say Alex is just a warm up for what Sam is going to dish out.  Yes, I am saying the kid that intentionally pushes me to the very brink of sanity on a daily basis is a quick first course to what his brother is no doubt going to serve up for a main course.  He is cute, but holy shit Sam is naughty.

Perfect example:
We were getting ready to head out of the house yesterday and Sam requested Apple Jacks.  Since we were leaving, I gave him some in a bag to take with.  He sat down on the floor across the room from me and promptly began feeding them to the dog.  I said, "Sam!  Do NOT feed Apple Jacks to the dog!"  He looked up and saw me coming toward him, so he immediately turned the bag upside down and started flailing it wildly so as to speed feed the Apple Jacks to the dog before I got to him.

Add that to the slow sideways crab walk he does while smiling and never breaking eye contact any time he is going for something I have told him not to touch, and the fact that he is a full on drawonanthingotherthanpaper kid and I'm gettin' a little scared.

The drawing on non-paper things I realize is normal, but it still sucks.  He got ahold of a box of markers while his brother was supposedly watching him for me for a minute.  And now we have a big ol' brown marker stripe on the carpet.  And, he and Alex were playing in Alex's room when this happened:
It's not super visible since the artist chose pencil as his medium, but I am quite happy I am painting that room this week.

Now I realize both instances happened when I wasn't being an overly attentive parent, but come on man!

Camping 2016

Alex left yesterday for the annual camping trip with Travis's parents.  His attitude the last couple of days made me think that maybe he and I needed a little breather from each other, but the second I watched him leave, the ridiculousness of that thought hit me.

I know he will have so much fun.  And I know these trips will make up stories and he and his cousins will share forever.  And I know he loves the time he gets to spend with his cousins and grandparents away from mean old Mom.  But hoooooly buckets I miss him already.  The house is so quiet.

Travis's dad sent us this picture within a half hour of Alex arriving at the campsite:

Pretty sure he's ok with being gone!

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Lake

Every summer we are lucky enough to be able to hang out with Travis's brother and his family at Lake Red Stone.  We get to fish and ski and tube and float and have campfires and play Kick the Can and just do fun stuff.  This year was no different.

Alex tried skiing and was thiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to getting up...but it was kinda cold that day and according to him his "muscles and brain were just starting to get too cold to function," so we decided to try again a different day.
Alex also tubed.  And tubed.  And tubed.  And then tubed some more.  I think he went by himself a couple of times, but mostly he was with one or three of his cousins.
Sam hung out/ate a metric ton of snacks on the boat.
He even tubed too!  This picture is right before we took off and the excited squealing started.
And all that squealing and tubing wore the poor kid out....

Workin' for a Living

Every summer there is a "Neighborhood Garage Sale" week/weekend, and we are currently in it.  Yesterday was the first day, so Alex and his buddies decided to set up a lemonade stand.  They did pretty well.  Well enough that Alex decided to do it again today on his own at our house.

He made $6.50 in just about an hour and a half.  Not too shabby I'd say!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Who's Ready for a Swim?

Quick Learner

When my niece Abby was a toddler, she found it hilarious to lick people.  Mostly when you were holding her.  You'd be sitting there holding this sweet little angel, and as soon as you looked away, she would drag her tongue across your cheek.  And then laugh and laugh.

The little sassy pants still thinks this is beyond funny, but now that she's a teenager it's a bit more inappropriate to be licking people's faces.  Not mention, she isn't getting carried around or held on any one's hip much anymore.  So what's a girl to do?  Well, teach her youngest cousin the tricks of the Drive Aunt Jackie Crazy trade of course!

I present to you her student:

Come on Baby, Light My Fire

For our 10 year anniversary, Travis got me a chiminea fire place for our deck.  Only problem there?  I had mentioned, kinda specifically, that I wanted a gas fire place for our deck.  After a bunch of gentle conversations about actually listening to each other, he decided to get a gas fire place.  But he didn't like any of the ones for sale from any store anywhere, ever.  They were all to ugly, or too cheap looking, or too small.  So he decided to build one.  This was all about 3 or 4 months ago.

There were a colossal number of tweaks and adjustments and changes...one of which ending with him getting a 120MBH burner.  You read that correcly, ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THOUSAND BTU.  Just for a frame of reference here, the average gas fire place you would see in the store is 40.  40MBH.  One third of the burner we ended up with.

Then I went ahead and decided I wanted a penny mosiac for the top.  Cue a ridiculous amount of time spent trying to mass clean pennies followed by giving up on that plan and just taking an absurd amount of trips to the bank to get rolls of pennies to sort through to find the shiny ones.  And putting the word out to all people in my vicinity to save their shiny pennies.  Good thing I have some good shiny penny hunters like my Illinios nephews, because after many trials and a zillion errors, it turned out awesome.