Mama Diaries

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Window Painting

We have some interesting window paintings on our back French doors.  They were done by our artist in residence:  a German Shepherd named Schultz.

This morning the hairy beast went outside to do his business.  When he came to the door, his nose was covered in mud.  He smeared that dirty thing all over the window.

"Look, Mommy," my son said.  "Schultz drew a picture of himself."

Sure enough, the marks Schultz made looked like a round face with two pointy ears on top.

"Maybe I should take pictures and sell them as fine art," I said.

"Yeah.  Can we put them in a museum?" 

"Sure.  Why not?"

Anybody out there interested in owning a Schultz print?


Friday, December 30, 2011

The End of the Rainbow

Ladies and gentleman, the end of the rainbow is in my backyard.  I kid you not.

We have had some pretty strange weather in Cincinnati.  Today it rained while the sun was shining.  It hailed, too.  My son and I were eating dinner while all of this was going on.

"Mommy, look.  A rainbow!"  my son said.

I looked.  And then I looked again.  The rainbow ended in some bushes by the creek in our back yard.  "Hey.  That's the end of the rainbow.  See?  It goes right into the ground there."

"Does that mean there's a pot of gold and leprechauns?"


"Can we go find the gold?"


So now we're going on a search for gold.  I hope we find it, because after all the holiday expenses, I could really use some!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hauling the Violin

It was not I who was hauling my violin today.  It was my dog.  Yes.  The giant fur ball got in trouble again.

I was washing dishes in the kitchen, when I heard a strange noise coming from the front room.  I dried my hands and went to investigate.  What do you think I saw?

That doggone German Shepherd had the shoulder strap of my violin case in his slobbery jowels and was dragging the case across the floor.  And yes, my violin was inside.

"Schultz!" I bellowed. 

He knew he was in trouble.  He dropped that case and took off like a speeding train.  But I wasn't done with him!

"How dare you mess with my violin!" I hollared at the beast.  "Down!!!!!!!!!!!!"

He knew I was mad.  He ran around in a circle and plopped down on the ground.

Then the daddy came out of the office.  Oh boy!  It's bad when both the mommy and the daddy are mad!

Let's just say that stinkin' varmint probably won't be messing with my violin any time soon! And I'm going to write a letter to Santa telling him that that stupid dog didn't deserve the bone he got in his stocking.  It should've been a dump truck load of coal!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ice Queen

I have notoriously cold hands.  Especially in the winter.  In fact, if you shook my hand, you'd probably think you were shaking an ice cube.  I'm going to be one of those ninety-year-old women who have their apartments cranked up to 102 degrees just to stay comfortable.

Anyway, I had fun with my icy hands.  My husband wanted a back rub.  This was after he told me I needed to do more work (joking, of course). 

"Oh, yeah?" I said.  "How's this?"  I placed my ice-cold mitts on his back.

"Ahhhh!" he hollared.

The kids, who were standing by, thought this was great.  So what did they do?  They went to the sink, turned on the cold water, and made their little hands just like mine.

"Daddy, let me rub your back!" said my son.

"Ahhh!" screamed the Daddy.

"Me, too!" said my daughter.

"Ahhh!" he screamed again.

Poor Daddy!  It's tough living with the Ice Queen and her offspring! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brain Dead Mama

Have you ever had one of those days when your brain just doesn't function?  I had one of those days today.  I think it had something to do with the dog waking us up every hour last night.  I don't know what his problem was.

Anyway, I'll just share one bit of my stupidity of the day.  I was at the grocery store because I needed to get some Motrin for my kids, along with some other miscellaneous things.  I pushed my big old fire engine cart that had my son in it, and parked it near the medicine aisle.  I walked to the aisle and looked for the Motrin.  I found it, put it in my cart, and started wheeling away.  Except it wasn't' my cart.

"Excuse me," a gentleman said. "That's my cart."

"Oops.  Sorry about that.  Here you go."

I handed the cart back to the man, and found my cart that still had my kid in it. How did I not notice that I didn't have a fire engine cart with my son inside? What kind of mom am I?

So then I got home.  I put away my groceries.

"Where's the Motrin?" I asked.

I looked at the receipt.  It wasn't on it.  Then I remembered.  The Motrin was in the man's cart. 

I hope the man has kids!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Roller King

I took my seven-year-old son roller skating at the local skate rink today. It was his first time.  He laced up his skates, got himself in a verticle position, and rolled on to the floor. He did pretty good for his first time.

When he got done, he was all proud of himself.  "Mommy, did you see me?"

"Yep.  You did a great job."

"I was going super fast.  I was the fastest one there."

"Well, I don't know about that," I said.

"And I did a back flip, too!"

"I didn't see any back flips."

"I'm the best roller skater in the family!"

Wow!  This little guy's perception of things certainly exhibits a lot of confidence.

All hail to the king, baby.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Worst Thing for Christmas

Santa left a defective present under the tree last night.  It was one of those cute little pop-up tents with an attachable tunnel.  Santa usually assembles all presents that are left under the tree.  He neglected to assemble this thing.  It was still in the box.  I think it was an omen of what was to come.

"Mommy, can you put my tent together?" my son asked.

"Sure."  I had just woken up, so my brain was a little foggy.  I pulled it out of the box and read the directions.  It seemed easy enough.  Just unfold and insert poles through the loops.  That's what I did.  Except, one set of poles was a little too long.  As I attempted to jam the pole into the holding loop, the loop ripped. Then the fabric on top of the tent began to fray.


"Mommy, you broke my toy from Santa!"

"It wasn't made very well," I said in self-defense.

"That's the worst thing that could ever happen on Christmas - a kid can't play with a toy from Santa!"  He was near tears.

"Look.  I know you're really disappointed.  First thing Monday morning, I'll contact the elf shop and see what we can do about it."

"But that's in the North Pole."

"Mommy has connections."

He looked at me kind of funny.

"Don't worry.  I'll take care of it," I assured him. "Now go play with your other toys."

What can I say? I guess even the elves aren't making quality products these days. 

Merry Christmas everybody!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingerbread Village

Today, I had the brilliant idea to have a gingerbread-house-making party.  I got this nice Winton gingerbread village kit and put the pieces in front of the kids. 

"Have fun building!" I said.

They looked at me kind of funny.

"What do we do with this?"

"Uh, put it together and decorate it."


Okay.  So I guess I wasn't dealing with rocket scientists here.

"I'll put them together.  You decorate them.  Fair enough?"

"Yeah!" they said.

"So we have a couple of traditional houses, a church, an A frame, and, um..., an outhouse." (Well, I didn't know what else to call it.) 

The girls took the traditional ones.  And my son?  He took the outhouse, of course.

"Mama, I'm going to open the door, so the guy can breath in there," my son said.

"What guy?" I asked.

"The gingerbread guy.  He's using the potty."

Of course. 

Two seconds later, the wall fell down.

"Oops.  Mommy, can you fix this?"

I fixed it.

He loaded the roof up with icing and gum drops.  Apparently it was too much for the roof, and it collapsed.  Without thinking twice, my son popped the whole thing in his mouth.

Now that's what I call taking care of business. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kiss Prints

This morning, as I was putting on my makeup, my son came and sat next to me.

"I love you, Mommy!"

I  smiled.  "I love you, too!"

Then he walked over to the bathroom mirror.  He kissed it.  "These kisses are for you!"

So now my mirror is covered with kiss prints. Should I wash my mirror?

Nah.  I'll just leave them there for a few days.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dirty Dog

Didn't I just take that varmint German Shepherd to the spa yesterday?

As I write, that beast is sitting in his crate covered in mud.  How does he do it?  His underbelly is black.  His legs are black.  And his feet are black.  They are covered in at least a half inch of mud. (But he's still wearing his red bandana, and somehow that is clean and shiny.)

The question is, why did we even bother?  He couldn't even stay clean for Christmas.  The second question is, how can I let that beast outside without constant supervision.  He's always getting dirty or in trouble.

I've determined it's a hopeless cause.  I better go wash the floors now.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Doggy Spa

It was time to spruce the big old German Shepherd up for the holidays.  The animal was just so revolting that something had to be done.  So we signed him up for the doggy spa.  He was to get a shampoo and haircut, a manicure and pedicure, and an ear cleaning job.

I hooked him to his leash, led him to the car, and threw his furry body inside.  Of course, he had muddy paws.  Those muddy prints covered my back seat in about two seconds flat.  I entered the front seat and started the car.

Then I sniffed the air.  "Dog, you stink!  You smell like dirty socks!  And now you're stinking up my car!"

He made a whiney sound.

"Don't worry, big guy.  We'll get you fixed up."

When we arrived at the spa, Schultz was very excited.  I handed him over to the worker, and he promptly dragged her to the back room.

"Have fun with him," I called, knowing they were in for a real treat.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had to completely disinfect my car.  I vacuumed it, steam cleaned it, and got all the nose prints off the windows. It seemed that no sooner had I done that, I got a phone call from the grooming place.  "We're done with Schultz."

Yeah, I bet they were done.

I picked him up.  "He's a wild man," they said.  "It took a few of us to hold him down to do his nails."

I nodded.  "Uh huh.  No surprise there.  But he usually likes baths."

"Yeah," the worker said. "He did a lot of jumping around, though."

I thanked the workers and led the beast to the front doors.  "Sit," I commanded.  He sat.

"Wow!" the worker said.  "I didn't know he could do that."

"Yeah.  He's a son of a gun, isn't he?"

The worker laughed.

Well, at least he's clean, and he has a cute red bandana around his neck for Christmas.  Let's see how long that lasts!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Eating the Crate

Apparently our German Shepherd is getting tired of being banished to his crate.  He has come up with a solution:  eat the crate.

A few days ago, I noticed a metal piece on the ground that looked like it came from his crate.  I tried to see where it came from, but couldn't figure it out.  Not giving it further thought, I went about by business.

Today, I heard a funny sound coming from the kitchen.  I decided to investigate.  I found the giant beast gnawing on his crate.

"Schultz!  What are you doing?"

He stopped and cocked his head.

"Bad boy!"

He chomped on the metal bars of the cage and tugged.

So I don't know what his plan here is.  Perhaps he's trying to eat his crate.  Or maybe he's trying to move his house to a new address.  Either way, the dog is an absolute nut case. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Zombie Mama

My husband discovered the zombie app on his android today. 

"Woman," he said.  "Come here."

"What?" I asked as I walked over.

"Say cheese."

He took my picture with the android.  Then he pressed a few buttons.  A minute later, I heard some weird breathing sounds coming from the device.

"What the heck?" I said.  I looked at the screen of the android.  My face had been transformed into a zombie.  I had blood running down my face, a hideous complexion, and evil eyes.  My husband stuck his finger on the screen next to my "mouth" and I started chomping on his finger.

"It looks just like you."

Last week I was depicted as a fire-breathing dragon.  This week a finger-munching zombie.  What next?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Elephant Toothpaste

"Mommy, we made elephant toothpaste in school, and it exploded all the way across the gym!" my daughter said.

"What?"  I said.  "First of all, what is elephant toothpaste?  And second, why was it explosive?"

"I don't know," she said.  "Mad Science came to school today.  They mixed all this stuff up, and then they brushed a poster elephant's teeth with it.  Then it exploded.  And I helped!"

"Great.  What else did you do?"

"We made this huge fire with chemicals."

"Uh, okay.  Was the fire department notified?"

She shrugged.  "Can we make elephant toothpaste at home?"

"What's in it?"

"I know there's yeast and some other chemicals."

"We're not making elephant tooth paste."

Now I'm going to search the cupboards and make sure I don't have any yeast lying around. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tap Dancing Lessons

"Mama, I'm going to give you a tap dancing lesson," my ten-year-old daughter said.

"Yeah.  This should be good," I replied.

"Let's start with a falap."

"A what?"

"Falap.  It goes like this."  She demonstrated.

"Okay," I said.  "Falap.  Falap.  Falap.  Got it."

"Now you have to learn a shuffle ball change."  She showed me how.

Somehow I did it without falling on my face.

"Now you're ready for a Buffalo."

"A what?"

"A buffalo."

"Is this a burger or a giant hairy animal?"

"Neither.  Look." She showed me.  I did it.

"Now you get to do a combo."  She whipped through something really fast.

"Right," I said.  "I'll just take a side of fries and a diet coke with that buffalo burger combo thing."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dressing Like a Tween

Today I decided to get a little funky with my clothes.  I dressed up in a cute tween Christmas shirt that had big-eyed animals on it with sayings like, "All I want for Christmas is the cutest puppy ever, the coolest friends ever, the sweetest candy ever," etc.  I topped it off with borrowed candy cane earings from my daughter.

I actually went to a Christmas cookie exchange dressed like this. 

When my daughter came home from school she said,  "Awww.  I love that shirt!  Can I have it for Christmas?"  Then she noticed my earings.  "Did you take my earings?"

"Borrowed them."

"You look like me!"

Later that evening, a young lady came to the door with some kind of fundraiser.  I answered the door.  She looked at me.  "Hi,"  she said.  "Can I talk to your mother?"

She couldn't believe it when I grinned and said, "I am the mother!"


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wrapping Presents Doggy Style

Tis the season for wrapping Christmas presents.  Usually I do this job in the basement, away from all furry creatures that could reek havock on the operation.  This year, I decided to wrap some presents on the kitchen table.  Let's just say that this went about as well as me not hiding the Christmas cookies from my family.

My giant bundle of trouble, AKA a German Shepherd named Schultz, decided he would like to help.  The beast easily gets his head over the top of table just by standing normally.  He's about as tall as me when he stands on his hind legs.  The point is, it's very easy for him to grab anything he wants that might be sitting on top of that table.

He watched me intently as I wrapped the presents.

"Schultz, don't even think about doing anything stupid."

He thought about doing something stupid.  He jumped up and grabbed a roll of wrapping paper. 

"Drop it!" I ordered.

He complied, but the paper was all slobbery.

"Oh well,"  I thought. "Nobody will mind a little drool with their gift."

Once I wrapped the presents, Schultz had to give them a good sniff.  Then he gave them his seal of approval with his big pink tongue.

So if anyone gets a suspect present from me, you'll know exactly what happened.

Ho Ho Ho.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Milk Dudding the Tooth

Okay, well, I'm not sure that "milk dudding" is a word, but I don't know what else to call it. So I'm using a little artistic license here.

My daughter has had this loose tooth that refuses to come out.  Normally, I'd say, who cares.  It'll come out when it's ready.  But this one is causing some trouble because the adult tooth has already come in, in front of it.

My husband took a look at it.  In his manly style, he said, "Just yank it out and quit being a drama queen!"

"But, Daddy, I tried."

"Try harder."

It didn't work.  My husband threatened to send her to the dentist to get it pulled.

"No!" she cried.  Then she turned to me.  "Mama, can you get me some Milk Duds?  I know those will work."

I made a face at her.  "Seriously?"

"Please, Mom.  I don't want to go to the dentist!"

I sighed.  "Come on.  Let's go find some."

So now she's in the bathroom, chewing on Milk Duds, trying to get that darn tooth out.  So far, no luck.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Portrait of the Mama

My family and I went to IHOP for breakfast this morning.  While we waited for our food, my kids doodled on the back of their paper menus.

"I'm going to draw a picture of Mommy," my son announced.

"This should be good," I said.

It started out all right.  It was a circle for the face.  But then I got worried when he drew the mouth.  It was this big gaping hole. I got really worried when he added pointy teeth.

"Dude, that looks monstrous," I commented.

"I'm not finished," he said.  Next he drew eyeballs that resembled a snake's eyes.  Then he put horns on top of the head.

My husband took a look.  "I think she needs a forked tongue and a tail."

I glared at him.  "Thanks."

My son added the tongue and the tail, along with some red fire coming out of the mouth.  "There, Mommy.  It looks just like you!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cookie Monsters

It's that time of year when I bake a lot of cookies.  I give a lot away to family and friends during the holidays.

Today, I was getting ready to make another tray of cookies for a party.  I opened a tupperware container that supposedly had a lot of chocolate chip cookies.  Guess how many cookies were in there?  Three.

I walked into the office where my husband was sitting.  I had the container in my hands.  "Why are there only three cookies in here?"

"I didn't do it." 

"Then who did?"

He shrugged.  "The kids?"

"I thought you guys told me you were going to have a little self discipline this year.  That's why I didn't hide the cookies.  Now I have to bake a whole new batch, on top of all the other cookies I have to bake!"

My husband got up and grabbed the last three cookies from the container.  "Well, in that case, I'll just eat these so you have more room in the container for the new ones." He shoved them into his mouth.

I'm definitely hiding the cookies next year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Inedible Concoction

This evening, when  I walked into the kitchen, I found a paste of yellow bumpy stuff covering a Dora the Explorer plate.  I also found my two kids wielding a kid knife, hard at work slicing fruit.

"What are you doing?' I asked.

"Cooking class," my daughter explained. 

"What's that yellow stuff?"

"Banana puree."

I stood back and watched the two chefs in action.  My son pulled out a bottle of squeezable grape jelly and proceeded to squirt it over the banana puree.  Then my daughter arranged some clemetines in a fancy circle on top of berry yogurt which she scooped onto the jelly.  Chopped apples followed.  The finishing touch was crumbs from a few of my homemade chocolate chip cookies.

"Ta-dah!" said my son.

"Well, that's quite a masterpiece!" I said.  "Who's going to eat it?"  I was really hoping that this time I would not be the guinea pig.

"Me!"  my daughter volunteered.

She took one scoop of that stuff, made a face, and promptly threw it in the garbage.

"You just wasted all that fruit and yogurt!" I complained.

"Sorry, Mom, but experimentation is how we learn."

"Well, I'm giving that experiment a big fat F.  Now let's see if you can get an A in clean-up."

I gave them a B.  I guess they better take a few more classes.        

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Feeling the Music

There have been moments in my teaching career that really stand out. (For anyone who doesn't know, I'm a violin, viola, and piano teacher.)  These are times when I feel that I have made a profound difference in a student's life.  This evening I had such an experience.

When I teach, I try to play with a lot of feeling and emotion, because that's what music is all about.  It's not just notes on a page.  I always hope that a student will feel the music in his or her soul, and that it will evoke some kind of emotion.  Usually that doesn't happen.  A student may play things loud and soft and with correct phrasing, but not always feel it.

Tonight, I was teaching a young piano student a piece that he had been working on for a couple of weeks.  It was a very beautiful piece of music.  When I looked at him, I noticed a few tears rolling down his cheeks. 

"Are you okay?" I asked.

He nodded.  "It's just.. the music is hard on me."

"You're playing it beautifully, though," I said.  Then I paused.  "What you're saying is that the music makes you sad?"

He nodded again.

I thought I was going to cry - out of sheer joy . Why?  This student is autistic.  He has trouble expressing feelings and emotions.  Yet, through music, he is able to feel and express what's inside.  What a tremendous gift!  I feel so blessed that I have been able to share this gift with him.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saint Nicholas

Last night Saint Nicholas was supposed to visit our house and fill shoes with candy.  He screwed up.

"Mama!" my seven-year-old son said.  "Saint Nicholas didn't come."  He was very disappointed.  Especially since he went through a lot of trouble to put the shoes out and tell me about fifty times that he was coming.

"Well, maybe Schultz (our dog) scared him away.  He was sleeping by the fireplace last time I looked."

My son made a face.

"Or maybe Saint Nicholas was worried that Schultz would eat the chocolate and get sick."

My son made another face.  "Mama, are you Saint Nicholas?"

"Of course I am."

"I don't believe you."

I shrugged.  "Okay.  Well then, maybe Saint Nicholas had gum surgery and wasn't feeling up to traveling around the world."

My son just shook his head.

See, even when I tell the truth, nobody believes me.     

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bad Monday

When the alarm clock wakes you up with an ominous "Bum Bum Bum Ba - Dum" from the basses and cellos, you know it's going to be a bad day.  That's exactly what happened this morning.  We always awaken to classical music.  It's usually such a pleasant way to start the day. Not today. 

"Seriously?' my husband said after he heard it.

"You've got to be kidding!"  I exclaimed.

So as I sit here with bloody guazes shoved in my mouth, let me tell you about the bad Monday.

First of all, it is raining.  Our backyard is a flooded mess.

Then I took the dog out and discovered he has a nice case of diarhea.  First thing in the morning he's leaving disgusting piles of feces on our grass.  (That smelled good.)  And of course his feet got all muddy.  Muddy floors are never fun to clean.

Then it was time to take the cat to the vet. He's an outside cat, so first I had to catch him.  In the rain.  Then I had to listen to him cry in his crate.  Then he peed himself.  And I had to clean that up. 

Next project was to wash and put away a new dish set my husband had gotten from Pottery Barn yesterday.  But guess what?  The dinner plates were so big, they didn't fit in the cupboard.  I discovered this after I had washed the soup bowls and mugs, and unpacked the salad plates.  And do you know what else?  My husband lost the receipt.  Hopefully they'll take the whole $200 set back.

And then I discovered a blew a fuse with my great Christmas light display.  It took two hours to discover which outlet had popped.  In the meantime, I had to re-route the seweage pump, or our house would have smelled like something awful.

Finally, I had surgery on my gums.  It was planned, so I knew it was coming.  But it's never fun to have your gums cut up.

So now I'm looking at the clock counting down the minutes to when this fine day will be over.  Oy!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sticky Hair

I don't know what my seven-year-old son was thinking when he put his peanut butter and jelly sandwich on his head this afternoon.

"Uh, dude," I said.  "There's jelly in your hair."

He laughed as he attempted to wipe it out. 

I shook my head.  "I think you'd better wash it out."

"Nah.  I'll just leave it in.."

"You'd better hope there are no bubblebees out there, because bumblebees like jam."

"Mama, it's winter.  Don't be so silly."

A little later, I took my kids to the Cincinnati Museum Center.  As is our normal tradition, we had to stop at Rook's Ice Cream Parlor.  My son ordered a scoop of Superman ice cream -you know, the blue stuff.  The next thing I knew, was he was dabbing it on his nose and cheeks.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Making myself look like a clown."

Then he touched his hair.  And guess what?  He still had ice cream on his fingers. Which meant, he got ice cream in his hair - on top of the jelly.

"Mama, why is my hair so sticky?" he asked as we walked back to the car.  "Is there something in it?"  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Helpful Kitty

I was stringing up more Christmas lights outside when my cat decided to get in on the action.  As I untangled a strand of Martha Stewart snowflake lights, the little kitty pounced - right on top of the lights. 

"Hey, what are you doing, Bootsy?"


"Really?  Well, you just busted one of the snowflakes."


Obviously, the cat didn't care.  The lights just looked like a funny kind of string.

"Well, are you going to make yourself useful, or are you going to be in my way?"


"Is that all you know how to say?"

"Meow."  The cat sat down and watched me work.

I did a little experimenting with the lights.  After I set them up one way, I stood back and took a look.  "What do you think, Bootsy?"

Bootsy scratched the dirt and didn't say anything.

"Hmm.  Not so good?  Okay.  Let me try this."  I rearranged the lights.  "Now what do you think?"

"Meow."  He liked it. 

It's so nice to have a second opinion, even if it's from a cat.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bubba's Milk Shake

"Mama, I'm going to make a milk shake," my seven-year-old son said.

"Okay," I said.  I couldn't wait to see how he'd make one.  I sat back and watched. 

First he got out a can of Reddiwip.  He sprayed a generous amount into a tall glass.  Then he put in a little ice water followed by some ice cubes.

"Ta-da!  Here'e the milk shake!"

"Are you seriously going to drink that?"

"Yeah.  Can you get me a straw?"

I pulled out a nice one with blue stripes.  He stuck it in the concoction and slurped it up. 

"Mmmm.  Yummy."

Nothing like a glass of Reddiwip and ice!