The Difference Between Mothers and Sons

This is what I do with hydrangeas from the yard.

Cute, right?

Get it?  It is an ice cream cone.  

Even cooler is that they are all from the same bush is our yard.

The boys brought the stalk you see below, into the house yesterday and asked me if they can cut more of them off of the bush.

I am perplexed as there aren’t any fresh blossoms.  I also don’t cut them back this far because they will bloom next year off of this years growth.

They wanted the long spent hydrangea branches from the yard to sharpen them into spears and arrows.

Perfect.

This is the difference between Moms and Sons.

Time to get out of the house.

Apple camp today!

Learning to make movies!  Peter would rather be sharpening hydrangeas.

 

(Just realized you can see our white suburban in the window)

Creek Tips

 

I love it when I come across something my boys have done that I didn’t know about.

Here is a video our Peter shot at one of his special critter catching locations.

The walk to the creek the time prior revealed a snake.  It looks like he went back with our big black rubber snake to leave out in hopes it would scare away any snakes that were venomous, while he could look for newts.

Thought you might enjoys…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv8uMqmdYGs&feature=youtu.be

My story, just yesterday, about same black snake and one of its evil doings.

How To Tell Your Lawn Guy You Are Very Sorry

-Abbie, allthatmakesyou.com

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How To Tell Your Lawn Guy You’re Very Sorry

I was pulling out of my driveway yesterday when I saw one of our yard guys running up the hill from the backyard.  He was screaming and waving his arms for my attention.

I stopped and rolled down my window.  This man was a mess.  He was out of breath and talking fast and I am nearly certain I could see his heart beating through his shirt.

He came running up at me like he was getting away from a gunman.

“SNAKE!!!!”  He was yelling it in the voice and mannerism of a fourteen-year-old girl.

I quickly replied, “Oh, no…no, no…”

He interrupted me and said, “It’s a big one! Ahhhhhh!!!  It’s the biggest snake I have ever seen!”  He is still running at me.

I cannot help it.  I am smiling and pulling my eyebrows down, (the best you can with a wee-bit of Botox) but my nostrils flaring was giving my laughter away.

I begin again, “Noooo!  No. No.  Was it by the deck?  That’s not…”

He now feels like he has gotten away from the big bad snake and is running in front of my suburban across my driveway with a high step as if he had just made a touchdown.

He runs over to my side of the car and yells, “It’s out back!  It’s the biggest, (he has his arms stretched out as far as they will go) snake I have ever seen!”

I tell him that it isn’t real and that my kids leave it around to scare each other and us and he wasn’t the intended victim person, (but anyone will do.)

He threw himself on his back and rolled around screaming and laughing.

I continued into the road smiling again wondering how long before he realized he was rolling around where our dog does her “business.”

Can you send your lawn guy flowers?

I think he has had a bad day.

-Abbie, allthatmakesyou.com

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What is a Wordless Wednesday?

I took this photo yesterday at my father in-laws house.
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Ok, so I get the wordless Wednesday thing but I have been without any consistent technology and I’m breaking! So until I finish writing, (ON MY PHONE) a post for tomorrow I will leave you with a photo I took yesterday, and a few words.

We are wrapping up a trip to our rural hometown, out of state, and I cannot stop daydreaming about making out with my washer and dryer the moment I walk in the door to our home.

If my washer and dryer had legs and arms we would be running through a field of wildflowers towards one another, arms outstretched. When we get within a few feet of each other my washer would throw its door open and I would toss all of our dirty clothes in and possibly our three boys and definitely our dog.

Thanks for letting me share,
Abbie
allthatmakesyou.com All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

Ikea and Dragons

For months I have had to pry my laptop out of my youngest hands when I wanted to use it and he isn’t playing video games.

He is reading about lizards, reptiles, amphibians, and every other hairless creature that makes the average person scream.  He is reading about authors who write about lizards.  Nic Bishop is an author and photographer that is his hero.  I tried to find Mr. Bishop at a book signing.  I was willing to drive a great distance for Peter to meet his idol, but no luck.

He is shopping for books to buy about lizards and ultimately he is shopping for lizards.

Every time he asks I remind him we have a dog and hermit crabs.  He keeps asking and so I now say, “sure, as soon as your wife agrees, one day.”

He then began catching all sort of critters in the pond and creek in our backyard







All I could imagine was him

catching flesh-eating bacteria.

Then summer vacation came and I just wanted to go to Ikea.

I am the last person on the planet that hasn’t been to one, (well, not last but last of the people that probably WANT to go.)

The big boys balked at the idea of making a pilgrimage to a store so big you have to follow arrows on the ground, even with meatballs promised.

I convinced Peter to go with me as we needed dog food and this would mean a trip to the pet store on the way.  He asked the employees at the pet store if he could hold some of the critters.

I don’t know how it happened but we both fell in love with the Bearded Dragon hatchling.

I told him we would talk about it but we were on our way to Ikea now.

He called my husband at the office and lobbied for the Lizard for the hour it took to get to Ikea.  My husband discussed it with me.

Frankly, he has been so obsessed that I was getting worried he was getting a little OCD about them.  I was beginning to think it might be a good idea.  After all, I have boys and owning a reptile was inevitable, right?

During the drive I finally told him we agreed to let him get one.

Four hours at Ikea and all he talked about was when we were going to get his new pet and all the ways he would introduce people to his new best friend.

I gave up and at 8:50pm we ran into a pet shop and bought a cute little guy.

We bought most of the the reptile aisle as well.

This includes live crickets, a cricket home, and cricket food, (shoot me.)

This also includes live meal worms that must be kept in the fridge, (shoot me again.)

 Our little dragon is going

to grow to be two feet long!

We will need a larger terrarium and even more heat

lamps and Peter tells me he can walk him on a leash.

I keep telling Peter he wont be walking him on a leash if he doesn’t stop “loving” on him so much.  I told him that the little guy is adjusting to his new home and needs to stay in his cage but I found Peter asleep like this…I should have bought a secret “back-up dragon” just in case.

He is in LOVE.

Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing

allthatmakesyou.com

The Father I Used to Have (and Sea Monkeys)

My dad is Simon Cowell, not really, but that is how I often describe his demeanor.  I get that from him.  It is far less attractive on a woman, I am told. He is part of who made me and I like myself, even if I tend to “talk like a man.”

He is straight forward in business and in raising two girls.  He is Simon Cowel if Simon were raised in the midwest and literally worked his fingers to the bone.  But he isn’t the strong silent type that daughters often describe their dads as.

He is the kind of man that when a microphone needs to be passed to someone who is good with words he can step up and rustle up an instant speech that will make you laugh and cry.

Everyone will be looking at him with a smile, head tilt and with a tear.

My dad in Michigan is a funny mix of sarcasm, tough as nails, strong as an ox and as anal retentive about cleanliness as Monk and with an extra heaping of smart ass.

He never used my expression, “act like a butt and people will think your a butt” but he taught it to me.

He would call you out if you needed it and when I needed a summer job in college I wasn’t sent to the steel mill’s office to file, he sent me out with a blowtorch and steel toe boots to cut samples over the “cooling beds” of red hot rebar.  He sent me to the noisy “shear” to catch samples of steel bars to grind down for seam allowance tests and to the “yard” to find bundles of rebar to cut and bring back on a fork lift to the lab and inspect.

The guys who worked for him for 20 years would say, “He is about the meanest man I have ever met but he knows what he is doing and I respect him.”  They would also say, “Your dad sent little old you to do THIS job?”

I am sure that the 98 pounds of me with three layers of flame retardant clothing, steel toed boots, protective ear gear and face mask had to look a little funny on me.

He also never said another of my favorite phrases but he taught it to me, “for the love of God, I figure if a man can do it, I surely can.”

When family emergencies arise and you have to be in a hospital waiting room you have to find the humor in this 6′ 3″ man who wont touch the arm rests on the chairs.   Yes, he is that “Monk” from the TV show who doesn’t like germs.

When I was a teenager I came home and discovered my shower head was missing from my bathtub.  I went to tell him thinking we’d been robbed of plumbing fixtures.  He informed me I was “grounded from showers” for not “squeeging” the ceramic tile after I showered to keep water spots from forming…INSIDE THE SHOWER.

He is the kind of man that really does sleep three to four hours a night and carries a bottle of bleach around with him in case anything needs a good scrubbing.

This is why this story will never get old to tell. I

may have been eight years-old. My dad had just mowed the yard and he is hot and thirsty.

My sea monkeys that I mailed away for, that took six weeks to arrive because there was not internet ordering back then, were on our kitchen table.

These were going to be my new pets.  I couldn’t be allergic to sea monkeys, right?  They are underwater and they are cute and the cartoons on the box show them smiling and waiting to be my petsll!  

I am going to be the luckiest girl in town with my own little Sea Monkey Circus.

Photo from “the yeti speaks” here.

My dad had just come in from mowing the yard and grabbed the closest glass of water to the door. He began drinking and I began the phenomenon that occurs when you cannot speak because you are so mortified.

I did the action movie arm outstretched with a slow motion face of “AAoooowwwwaaa!!!!” then “Noooooo!…!…!”

He is downing the glass with his eyes closed and enjoying the cool, refreshing glass of water while sweating and visibly tired from yard work. As he opens his eyes and sets the empty glass down I finally reach him and am sobbing while tugging at his arm.

I am looking to be consoled.

He is looking at me like I have gone mad.

I finally am able to inhale enough to exhale a sentence from my hypervenhilating…

“YOU DRANK MY PET SEA MONKEYS!”

His face.

My God…his face.

His eyes were huge and his head led his body into the kitchen sink.

Turning knob for water. 

Face, mouth, and eyes looking up at ceiling, allowing water to run in and out.

Other hand’s desperate blind feel for the little black levered sprayer.

He is now spraying the water directly into his teeth.

I am silent as he begins the rabid gurgling and spitting.

My tears of horror and sadness are now tears of laughter as this grown man is using his fingernails to pick between each and every tooth.

Will telling this story ever get old?

Nope.  

Me laughing 30 years later…

Once, when I was in college, he asked me NOT to park my dirty car, (boyfriend lived on a dirt road) in his driveway.  He owned a couple of car washes and he said it was as if he were a barber and I was walking around town with a bad haircut.  BTW, I never got a free carwash.

He taught me to work, and that too, I am grateful for.

He also taught me to love unconditionally my children, because in the end, he didn’t. In the end, when my mother died and he remarried he decided he wasn’t my father anymore.  He adopted me when I was three, when my mother married him.  He was the only father I knew for 21 years and I have always loved him.

Even with the rift between my dad that has now spanned 18 years I am still grateful for the gifts he gave me that made me who I am.

I am also grateful that I know to tell my boys that I will love them forever and that they will always be my children.

Happy Father’s Day to my husband Jim and thank you for being the best dad to our boys.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there and to both of mine.  Happy Father’s Day to all of the people that don’t have their dads anymore or may have never had one and may you, too, find the blessings of the father figures you have had in your life and be thankful for them.

Abbie,  All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing. allthatmakesyou.com

Wants to be a (Fill in the Blank)

    Peter       wants to be a     BEE     because they are not allergic to pollen.”

– Peter’s school paper he brought home.

I love the drawing of the bee stinging the guy in the head and the guy screaming.  Well, that is what they get for insisting he draw a picture.  Please note the use of one crayon color.   This is what I get when I ask him to stop drawing pictures at school of guns, knives and blood.  

As much as he hates pollen, all of our boys love the flowers around the yard.  Peter likes to check what colors are on this hydrangea this week.

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-Abbie, All that makes you…   allthatmakesyou.com

Sometimes You Have To Be Bad To Remind Yourself You Are A Dog

Sometimes you just have to let “bad” happen.  Not only did I watch it.  I encouraged it.  I took pictures and I videotaped it.

(I VIDEOTAPED AND EDITED MY FIRST MOVIE.  IT IS BELOW AND ITS ROUGH)

Our mutt Lilly has never done anything that has ever resembled being an animal.

She doesn’t scratch herself, she uses a pillow under her head to sleep and she doesn’t even lick her butt.

She is telling me with her eyes to “go get her boys from school.”

She has NEVER dug a hole or even wanted to play with another dog.

Then the chipmunk ran under our lamp-post yesterday.  I knew she would never get it and if she did she would just want to cuddle with it.  Here she is stealing a cuddle from an unsuspecting soul.  Oh, it’s me but the one of Jim spooning her is better but I am afraid he will shoot my laptop.

She is a chicken dog.  Look here at her a couple of weeks ago hiding from a baby goose from behind a chair.

It must have run up into the post.  I even recorded it.  The boys were at school and I knew they would be shocked at our dog…well…acting like a dog?

http://youtu.be/A1d01a3qy_Q

I slapped this thing up here a few different ways since I am new to this.  They are all the same video.  I couldn’t get the first one to play so I added the Youtube version.

I cannot wait to play the funny video for the boys.

I even replanted the pansies and fixed it all up pretty again.

I had sleeping kids in the room and so I couldn’t have the sound on and so…We will see when it posts how it looks.  I don’t think I will ever be a movie maker.  Ha ha!

Jim Thinks it is hilarious how she sneaks up and sleeps on me.

For two years she lived
only in our kitchen and for four years she never went in a bed.

One day the kids were watching a movie laughing and she jumped up and we all FROZE!

Two Broke(n) Girls…

Nine years ago we moved our family south.  The day we moved in, another family was moving in just across the street from us.  “She” was a mom with two little girls with bows in their hair that matched their dresses and their dresses had monogrammed little initials on the front. The family went to church every week, never yelled and they attended “play dates.”  “She” drove a white Volvo station wagon, (uh-huh, one of those.)

“She” was going to hate me.

The first time we met it was dark outside and I was walking down the street.  I was pregnant with our youngest.  I will translate that since you don’t know me well enough yet…

I was crazy, loud, screaming at my twin four year-olds to stay out of the road and I had my own moons orbiting me, (If you read my story about giving birth to farm animals and how my bellybutton is now a cup holder you understand and if you didn’t I will put a link below.)

“She” was, thin and blond and she had her front door open and the glass storm door closed.  Who does that at night AND with the lights on?  Sure, I have done it but I have threatened my husbands life if he turns a light on.

So, “She” has two small children AND her house is clean.

I hated her.

Due to proximity and the fact that I would NEVER schedule a “play date”, (what is that about) we exchanged phone numbers.  It doesn’t mean that my kids don’t “play.”  We just play with kids when play happens.

Our kids would often hang out in the driveways together.  They were a great match.  My boys don’t have sisters and her girls don’t have brothers.  My boy’s mom is a fast blinker and her girl’s mom is a slow blinker.

Blinker Definition: I define people that I come into contact with as either slow blinkers or fast blinkers.  You have to have something to size people up by.  You do it too!  You can “blink both ways” but you are mostly one or the other.  I know I am a fast blinker because when I talk, slow blinkers look out of the top of their eyes at me.  I am sure “Conservative, Connecticut, Catholic, Cathy” found me a bit overwhelming.  This was never going to work.

One day I called Cathy regarding a neighborhood issue.  I asked the rhetorical question, “How are you?”

She replied, “You know, I am trying to figure out what to do about a little girl at school that is being mean to Chloe.  Chloe came home from school crying.   This girl wont stop calling her names.  I tried telling their teacher before that this little girl is mean to Chloe but the teacher keeps saying the girls have to work things out on their own.”

“Do you know where this girl lives?  I will go straighten her out.  Come on, you and me!  We’ll show her what it’s like to have someone bullying you.” Yeah, it was me that said it.  I was threatening to go shake down a preschooler.  I wasn’t really going to.

Guess what?  She decided, at that moment…

“She” liked a little crazy.  

Cathy laughed at me.  I then pretended that I was joking and I laughed back.

At that moment we became friends.

I have NO IDEA why we are friends.

Have you seen the television show “Two Broke Girls?”

That is us.  

We even look like the characters, (a little older, you didn’t have to point it out!)  She is so polite and mindful of what she says at all times.  She says “yes” to being a “scissor mom” when the teacher stares down the classroom of new parents and I am dunking behind someone snickering.

When my husband was done with training we bought a larger house in a neighboring town.    Within a year a lot went up for sale around the corner from us and I called her as the guy was pushing the “For Sale” sign into the ground.  They bought it it that week and built their new home.  She has been as close as a sister and her husband has been my husbands partner in crime.  Our kids go to the same school, we belong to the same club and we have spent Christmas with their families.  They are ours, without the family tree.

We are yin and yang.

We have laughed for years, before we even knew what a “sister wife” was, that if we could just share our work it would be so much easier.  I like to cook the savory dishes and she likes desserts.  I like to play in the dirt and she likes to clean dirt.  I like to wash and she likes to iron, well we don’t “like” to but someone has to do it.  She does the homework help and I do the shopping, (mostly because I didn’t do homework when I was a kid and I’m not starting now.)  If we could work it out with separate houses and husbands and beds and it would be _____ amazing!

Then her husband was offered an awesome new job.  In another city.  It is too far to commute. He has been trying for a year to drive 2 1/2 hours each way or stay in an apartment a couple nights a week.  I cannot complain.  I keep telling myself, I cannot complain.  I know she is torn up about moving from a place and a community that they all love.  I know she is a good wife and wants her husband to be happy.  I know he is a good husband because he tried to make it work.  I know it is wrong of me to think about ways to make him “disappear.”  I am kidding people!

We have five gloomy kids between us and now it is my turn to be happy and supportive.  I am finding all the reasons they should move, because I know it is best for their family, and because they need to be together more.

They might have an offer on their house and I am saying prayers for them because I know this past year has been hard.  The reality is hitting home and I realize they will be moving away.  I count my blessings to have met her and know they will always be a part of our lives.  I think I will write a personal reference letter for her to give to any of her new neighbors in case any of them are fast blinkers.

Dear Fellow Fast Blinker,

I am writing this letter as a person that has known Cathy for nearly nine years.  Please give her a second chance as a friend.  I know that when you met her you thought she was a “Hard Right” republican and that she doesn’t know how to have a good time.  You probably figured she has a blog about cleaning tips.  She is none of those things.

She can drink you under the table and she drinks scotch on the rocks.  When you have had too many cocktails and are trying to take off your saggy tights she will get down on the floor and yank them off by the toes, (and then display them in your house for you to find the next day.)  That is a good friend that can be both helpful and bad at the same time.

When your boys catch something really gross and they want to go show her she will rustle up a scream to make your kids proud.  She bakes gourmet desserts but keeps Little Debbies in her pantry because she knows the neighbor moms wont buy them for their kids, (because  I  the mom’s will eat the entire box before the kids get home from school.)

She will cry if someone hurt you or your family but first she will comfort you.  Don’t expect her to come to your football parties, she is a snob like that.  She cannot stand football parties because all the women talk and she can’t watch the game.  She will send a dish to pass at the football party with her husband but she will stay home and watch the game, uninterrupted.  Do not be offended.

So if she gives you this letter, you just won the neighbor lottery.  Be good to her but not too good.  She will be a little homesick and will need some attention.  She takes harassment well.  She hates Halloween so do things like leave fake body parts in meat packs in grocery bags on her front porch.  A simple bloody handprint on her front door does double duty as scary and dirty.  She will thank you later.

Abbie

PS.  If you aren’t nice to her, I know where you live.

Abbie at  allthatmakesyou.com

(I totally fuzzed her out so she doesn’t get kicked out of church)

Taking applications for a “new” local BFF.   Big shoes to fill and must be willing to move. 😉
Which friend would you be?  
Are your closest friends more like you than different?
My bellybutton is a cup holder stories…

Best Field Trip Answer, Ever…

Our first grade field trip to the farm this week…

Peter would run away to be a bee keeper.  

This was the highlight of his trip to the farm. 

That is him in the ball cap.

I love the personality of goats.  

My “animal personality” might be a goat.

The “goat me” gets to hang with friends.  You make me mad and I bump you in the butt with my horns.  I have to feed everyone, all the time.  I get to “slow blink” at you if you annoy me.  Frankly, I think that I sound like a goat nagging my kids all the time to do things like, get their socks out of the trees or reminding them we have five bathrooms and peeing in the sink is NEVER acceptable.  Baaaaa….baaaaaa……baaaaaaa!!!!!

This cow will be having a calf in a couple of months.

SInce I give birth to “farm animals” myself, (I have never given birth to less than double digits) I wanted to hug the poor cow in the 91 degree heat.

Having grown up on a farm myself and having had visited many “farms” for field trips, this was by far the best.  It was not a petting zoo.  The animals were brought in by each REAL farm that raised cattle, chickens, horses…  The people talking to the kids for the most part were 4-H kids.  Each “station” lasted seven minutes and then they rang a bell and the kids rotated.  They even brought in a vet to show the equipment they use.  They brought in a bee keeper who explained why bees are so important to us all and shouldn’t be feared.  They had stations for each type of farm animal as well as planting and harvesting and a station for byproducts of farming.  This is fascinating to a county of first graders.    We live in a rural area so these animals, (like the cattle) were brought in from farms right next to the school.  The majority of the children that attend our school though come from two golf course communities that are nestled in farm country.  For many of these kids this is their first experience with being up front and personal with the smells of a farm.

Best response to a question asked…

Question

“What parts of the animals do we NOT eat?”

Answer

“The private parts.”

If it’s my kid I will laugh until I fall over, but I can’t when it’s someone else’s kid.

I hid behind a combine because inside of me lives a 12 year old.

What would be your animal avatar personality?

Abbie, allthatmakesyou.com

Follow me by clicking the button.

If you want a story about another field trip I took our older boys on that ends with a naked lady then go here…

https://allthatmakesyou.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/chaperoning-boys-school-field-trip-and-the-unthinkable/

Second half.

https://allthatmakesyou.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/i-may-be-on-the-no-chaperone-list-after-this-field-trip/