Life with Kids

Corn Festival Fun

My husband Tony and I have been together 18 years as of this coming September. Over those years the love of my life has held a respectable day job and has been a working musician. He has been in variety of bands in a variety different genres. When we first started dating in the late 90s he was in a rockabilly band, but has been in rock, country and blues bands as well.

I think it is best to say that my husband is a musician through and through who has a pesky regular job that occupies his days. We have traveled all over Iowa, our home state, and many other midwestern states for gigs. There also many times where things do not work out with other bands and they need someone to fill in the guitarist slot for a show or two. Quite a few times this has happened and Tony will get a call asking if he can play.

That is what happened this last week. Tony got a call from a friend and onetime bandmate asking if he could fill in for two shows because their guitar player had a death in the family. Luckily his regular band was not already booked to play shows at those times so he was free to help out. It is good to help someone in need but it is even better when you get paid! With two days to learn this country bands set list my husband got to work.

10426658_772770716077120_3900609912621251311_nCedar Rapids is a city with a population of around 130,000 people and is about an hour away from our home. It was there that the Saint Judes Sweetcorn Festival was being held and Tony was to play a show. For those of you who do not know Iowa is an agricultural state-corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, etc. One of the best things (in my opinion) is the sweetcorn that is ready towards the end of summer.

I am not the only one who loves the corn 14022284_1177499242270930_6446184124476234210_n.pngbecause for 41 years St. Jude’s has been hosting a sweetcorn festival to raise funds for the catholic church and school. It is a pretty big deal and there is so much more than just eating corn…they have funnel cakes too! As you can see from this years flyer a whole day can be spent having fun for a good cause.

Tony, the two older boys and myself went to Cedar Rapids for the fun and the show. It was hot but not unbearable, and had partly cloudy skies which really helps with the heat-especially when you have a small tolerance for it.

While my husband set up and during most of the time he was playing the boys and I saw all that there was at the festival. We played bingo, ate ice cream, shopped, and of course ate some corn. The day was very pleasant. Later that night I got a message from a family member asking if I saw the news. No I don’t really watch tv at all. Turns out Malcolm, Ian and I was on the news for 2 seconds! Lol, it is like we are famous!


Just goes to show you that when you are hunting for funnel cake you may miss what is happening around you.



Too Busy to Accomplish Anything

I started writing this blog 5 weeks ago and this is is why it is only now posted.

I simply cannot be the only person who feels like they never stop. I am constantly going here or there. Fielding phone calls and scheduling appointments. Taking kids to this or that. Playing chauffeur certain days of the week for my 84 year old grandmother and mother, a stroke victim. The old lady’s usual of getting groceries, going to doctor appointments, picking up meds from the pharmacy.

When I have an occasional morning free I have my water aerobics class, that I miss more often than I care to. That class is one thing that makes me feel good and helps with my stamina. Wednesdays are the church’s chancel choir practice. Weekends are full of teaching Sunday School and traveling to visit various family members who live across the state. My eldest has early morning jazz band rehearsals 3 days a week. There are all of the school activities my boys have throughout the year. There is after school homework and projects to be done. Dishes, laundry, bill paying, budgeting, etc. etc. etc.
There are so many things I want to do but never seem to get to do. I always feel like I’m being pulled into doing one more thing after another. 2016-04-28 15.42.22.jpgFor example…I have this dress I started making 5 weeks ago that is nearly done but has been waiting for 3 1/2 weeks just for the zipper to be put in for completion. I wanted to wear it for Easter but as things usually go there was no time or energy left to get it done. During that time leading up to Easter I had to make pinatas for the Easter egg hunt at church. I was also asked to fill in for a dear lady who was ill for the church choir. That meant Wednesday evening rehearsals to do a cantata for every Sunday service for the month as well as Good Friday.

There is the projects around the house-repairs, exterior painting, yard work, etc.  I have been painting the window trim on the house a couple at a time because there is no way to do them all at once and they still need their second coat. I have been earnestly planning to finish the kitchen remodel job started two years ago, but the crown molding has yet to be put up. I have the moulding and my measurements but haven’t seemed to have the time to cut it and attach it.

Last week I had an order f20160427_151753or 250 light20160427_151847.jpg house cookies for the local elementary school…that wholly encompassed 3 days of my life. Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I am glad to be able to do things when I am well. It makes me happy to be able to help, and I feel really accomplished when I am able to do things for a good cause.

It just seems as if there is simply too much to do and not enough time to do it. Then after you do the things that you cannot neglect, you are so tired there is nothing left for the rest of it. It cannot be right that after a day of running errands, etc. and making supper for your family there is nothing left of ‘you’. The you that wants to talk with them about their day or crawl on the floor to do puzzles. The you that wants to talk with your handsome husband about the day you had. Sometimes even sitting up to watch a movie with your family is beyond you. Often times I am so beat that I can hardly hold my head up.

I know other people have this same issue, but (and I may be wrong) with Multiple Sclerosis it seems like everything is a uphill battle with overwhelming exhaustion. Walking through the store is like trudging through knee deep mud, every step is an exertion. I wake up in the morning with fatigue even after a full night’s rest but unfortunately it doesn’t get better through the day. Copious amounts of coffee and cocktails of prescriptions the doctor gives don’t make much of a difference.

I guess what this rambling all boils down to is this…




Mom Insomnia

This is from Scary Mommy and it rang true to what my brain does every stinking night. Aaaaahhh!

Thoughts That Go Through A Mom’s Head In The Middle Of The Night

Motherhood Meets Insomnia: A Sleepless Mom’s Thoughts

It’s the middle of the night and the rest of the house is asleep—except me. If I get back to sleep right now, I will still be able to piece together something that could pass for a night’s sleep instead of nap.

How is it that Slumbering Hubby can sleep so soundly? I wish I could sleep like that. Why does motherhood so often seem to be synonymous with insomnia? He looks so peaceful, and kinda sexy too. Maybe if I snuggle up close, he’ll wake up. We should cuddle more, and go on a date, for goodness’ sake. We haven’t been on a date in forever.

Maybe we could get a sitter Friday night and see that movie that came out last month. What’s the name of it? Everyone’s been talking about it. Oh, what the hell is the name of that movie? The one starring…oh, what the heck is her name? The girl who’s married to Ryan Reynolds. She was on Gossip Girl…the one with the cool hair. Oh, good grief, what the hell is her name?

I should wake Slumbering Hubby up and ask him. He would know. So would that friend who moved away last year who I haven’t talked to in ages. I wonder how she’s doing. I should email her. Maybe we can plan a girls’ weekend sometime soon.

A girls’ weekend?! Puh-lease! I can’t even manage to talk on the phone with my BFF these days. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard from her in a several days. I hope everything is OK. I hope she’s not mad at me. Why is she mad at me?!

Calm down, she’s probably just busy, or something horrible happened! What if she’s in the hospital or her kid broke his arm and I had no idea?! I’m a horrible friend. I should call her. I’ll text her now.

Oh, what the hell is the name of the actress?! I used to know this stuff. I used to be able to tell you about the latest celebrity couples and which ones were about to get divorced. I used to know fun things and do fun things too, like go to movies and eat at fancy restaurants and dance at hip nightclubs. Now, I can’t manage to see a movie before it goes to DVD, and I can’t remember the name of the actress with the gorgeous hair.

Maybe I should grow my hair out again, or go blonde.

Or maybe I should go au natural. You know, embrace the grey. Why do women need to fit some kind of societal ideal of beauty anyway, for heaven’s sake? We’re beautiful just as we are. Didn’t Julia Roberts stop shaving for a while? Okay, too much—that’s where I draw the line. Come to think of it, I’m due for a waxing so I might as well get a quick color touch-up while I’m at it.

The dog sure does feel cozy nestled up against me. But—my God!—what is that smell? Did he fart? Or did he shit in the corner again?

Ugh, I wish the damn dog would get off me. He smells and now I have cramp in my leg. I should stretch more. I should do yoga. Everybody does yoga. All I hear is down-dog this and sun-salutation that. Blah, blah, blah. Then again, maybe if I did yoga, I wouldn’t have middle-of-the-night leg cramps. Maybe if I did yoga like Slumbering Hubby (even he does yoga!), I’d be blissfully snoring away. Yes, yoga. That is the answer to all of my problems. Yoga.

Ahek-huck! Ahek-huck!

What’s that noise? Is one of the kids coughing? Oh, great. He’ll probably wake up with a fever, all snotty, coughing up phlegm, and have to stay home from school. Shit, I have so much work to do tomorrow. I can’t afford to stay home with a sick kid. Come to think of it, my throat has been feeling a little scratchy lately. I hope I’m not coming down with something too. Is it too late to get the flu shot?

I need to remember to get oranges, Airborne, and anything with 500-percent vitamin C from the store tomorrow. I should probably throw in some vegetables, too. Maybe if we ate healthier, we wouldn’t be plagued with flu germs. When was the last time we had vegetables with dinner? Last night was pizza with a side of pizza. The night before that was subs. Wait, there was some lettuce on the subs. That counts as a vegetable, right?

Great, an hour has passed. I’m still awake, and I still can’t think of that actress’s name. What the hell is her name? I think she just had baby. She probably fits right back into her size 0 jeans though. I bet she does yoga.

I need to close my eyes and relax. Take a few deep breaths. If I get to sleep right now, I’ll get enough sleep to qualify as a long nap. I should try that meditation trick I read about a few months ago. What was it again? Something about inhaling to the count of 7, holding for a count of 7, and exhaling to the count of 7.

Inhale, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Hold, one, two, three, four. Gasp! Shit, I can’t hold my breath for seven seconds. Who can hold their breath for seven seconds? That’s witchcraft.

Maybe I should start meditating. That way when the kids are bickering and whining, I can just look at them with a regally serene look on my face instead of screaming at the top of my lungs. They might say, Mom, why do you have that weird look on your face? But I’ll just smile and think, I’m meditating. I’m fucking meditating.

Breathe in. Fuck this shit. Breathe out. Fuck this shit. Now that’s a meditation I could get on board with. Maybe that would help me deal with that difficult client pestering me to finish her project. She’s never going to be happy, and she’ll complain to my boss, and I’m totally going to get fired. And then we’re probably going to lose our house and car and have to move back in with my parents. Oh my God, we’re going to have to move in with my parents!

Well, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. The kids would see their grandparents more often. I wonder how my dad is feeling. I should call him. I wonder how my mom is doing. I should call her. I don’t call home enough. I’m a horrible daughter. I should tell them I love them more.

My kids probably won’t call me either when they’re grown up. I should tell them I love them more.

Blake Lively! That’s who it is! I wonder if she calls her parents. I wonder if…

That’s it! I know how to finish the client’s project. It’s brilliant! The client is going to love me. My boss is going to love me. My troubles are over.

If only I could just get a little sleep. Maybe I should just get up and start my day. The alarm will go off in 30 minutes anyway. I’ll just close my eyes for a couple minutes and then I’ll get up.

27 minutes later…

“Momma! Time to wake up! You are such a sleepyhead.”

Sigh…how many hours until I can go to sleep?

And what was that great idea I had in the middle of the night? Something about Blake Lively?


No More Petting Zoo

Why we stopped going to the petting zoo.

Being that my husband Tony was at work and I was at home with [at that point] two boys, ages 3 and 4, we needed to get out and do something. I called up Nana, the boy’s great-grandma, to see if she wanted to go with us. As is often true Nana was stir-crazy and game to do anything. It was a wonderful warm sunny summer day, the kind that is perfect for being outside. I decided to ask if they wanted to go see the animals at the local petting zoo. Nana a farm girl through and through enjoyed the petting zoo as well so away we went.

We had been to this particular petting zoo a couple of times and the boys always enjoyed feeding the donkey carrots and tossing ice cream cones of seed to the ducks and chickens. Nana loved the lazy old sow and my favorite had always been the goats.
This petting zoo is not huge but has a lot of varied animals. Kittens from the animal shelter, a cow, a couple llama, a pony, as well as the fore mentioned animals. When we arrive my boys were so excited they ran ahead of us and nearly trod on some chicks that had escaped through the chain-link fencing of the poultry area.

We had a routine that we went through each time. First and foremost we had to buy the bird seed cones and go to the poultry enclosure. The closure was of a decent size with a shallow cement pond in the center, a roosting house off to one side and a chain-link fence around it with a latching gate to enter and exit. After they had good hold of their bird feed I opened the gate and all of us went in. Being well accustomed to people and the ways of the zoo the birds all recognized what the little boys had in their grasp. The chickens, ducks and that friendly old turkey with a bad foot came upon them like a clucking quacking beady-eyed feathered flood.

Ian my three year old took it all in stride, never the least bit unsettled by the fowl around him. Then there was my poor four year old Malcolm. He started out with a beaming smile until he realized the birds were really insistent on getting the food. One particularly determined white duck hopped up and took a piece of the cone he was holding.

He, in an instant freaked out and in one spastic motion flipped the remained of the cone and seed straight up into the air. This boy was heavily surrounded by birds and now he was being pelted with the seed falling from above. The raining bird seed drew the attention of the flock that Ian was feeding and now they too swarmed near Malcolm. He was definitely off put by it but I figured probably not scarred for life.

When I opened the gate to leave the area Malcolm had one thing to say,
“I think they were really hungry…too…hungry”.

I did my best to brush the seed out of the boy’s hair and we went on to the step of our outing. The larger livestock was to the side of the poultry area. With their carrots the boys eagerly headed to the miniature horse and mule with Nana in tow. That visit was short lived because Ian saw some of the other children walking around holding cute little kittens and we just HAD TO go see them right away.

While the boys pet the kittens Nana walked over to see the sow. She was away only a moment when the boys hurriedly handed me the two fluff balls they were holding to chase after her. After I got the kittens back where they belonged the other three were already moving on to the next thing, the llamas. They were apparently not very interesting and we ambled on to the goat enclosure.

The goats had a nice sized area with things to climb on and it was fenced in with chain-link. Getting into this area was a bit like passing through a lock and dam system. First you enter a latched gate walk a few paces and there lies another latched gate which lets into the realm of the goats. Once within this enclosure you can feed and pet around 15 goats of varying ages and sizes. I for some unknown reason do like goats. They always have seemed to me that they have personalities.

It was after about 8 to 10 minutes that my grandmother had enough and left the enclosure to sit on the bench just outside under a tree. While telling my eldest something about a nanny goat he was petting, unbeknownst to me 3 year old decided to join his Nana. Ian was always been a good-sized boy taller and stronger that his peers, despite that he he has never been supremely fast. He managed the first gate fine on his own.

It was at this time that I caught sight of him out of my peripheral. He had opened the first gate and not closed it behind him. He was opening the second gate with 5 goats in tow as I ran and yelled for him to stop. Too late. By the time I reached him (mind you it was probably about 3.7 seconds) one goat fully escaped. I managed to block one smaller goat with my leg and grab another by it’s horns before they breached the threshold.

So I hollered at Nana to keep an eye on the boys while I wrestled the goats back through the second gate, no easy task let me tell you. By this point my hair was a bit awry and I was sweating, but I needed to find the escaped goat. I didn’t see any of the people who attended theses animals anywhers but I did catch a glimpse of the four legged jail-breaker climbing up a half wall and going behind the small barn.

I take after it hoping that it would not leave the petting zoo and go marauding about town. With very little grace but a lot of determination I clambered up the half wall and wound around the barn. There I found the impertinent goat eating some flowering weeds that managed to grow back there. Not sure how I was going to get him back where he belonged I tried grabbing hold of him so that I may be able to steer him the proper direction.

The stubborn goat was enjoying his ill-gotten freedom too much to have any of that and maneuvered away. I attempted four more feeble attempts to get the goat to go where I wanted. For a fleeting moment I was considering letting him have his freedom. I mean he must really want it otherwise why would he have left his home in the first place.

No, I couldn’t just let this happen. I got closer and secured my footing, leaned in and picked the thing up. He wasn’t that big but he sure weighed a lot. By the time I got my self and the lead weighted billy back down and out from behind the barn. I looked like I went through war. I know because my dear sweet Nana told me so as I grunted by her carrying the goat. With the last bit of energy I had I plopped the goat over the fence. That whole goat fiasco took about 2o-25 minutes.

Now, from out of nowhere appeared an employee and wanted to know what was going on. I was tempted to tell her that we were trying to steal livestock but realized they wouldn’t fit in the trunk so we brought them back.  I did the reasonable and sane thing and let them know one got out and that it was back in. They thanked me and once again disappeared.

I turned around and there sitting on the bench swinging their feet was Malcolm, Nana, and Ian eating ice cream. Oh what a wonderfully sweet image, almost picture postcard perfect. That was it. I was done. I had grassy stuff in my hair, goat hair clung to the sweat on my body and I had a distinctive barnyard smell to me. We were going home.

I love my children but when one of them asked me on the way home, “Can we go there again tomorrow?” I almost questioned it.

They say when you look back on things they are seen in a different light? Well that is true I can see the humor in that day now, but you know we didn’t go back for a looooong time.