Category Archives: Adventures

E-I-E-I-O Duet

Both kids fuss and whine loudly from the back seat.  I stretch to grab their portable DVD player, insert a disk, and fast forward through what feels like twenty-seven previews.  All the while, I’m attempting to hush and comfort them, “I know.  I know.  We’re almost home. “

It’s hour thirteen of a fourteen-hour car trip.  “The last hour is always the worse,” I complain quietly to Mister as the kids settle into watching Disney’s Baby McDonald video.

“Are you ready to switch yet?  I’m more than happy to drive now!”  I tease.  Mister laughs.  No one wants the taxing job of entertaining the kids in the back seat from the passenger’s seat.

The song Old MacDonald starts to play from the DVD’s speaker.  Bunder joins in, followed by Kiki.  As so often happens with young children, a tense moment spontaneously becomes joyful.

See for yourself.  Pardon the raw footage.  I grabbed the closest device, my iPhone.  Oh, and don’t worry.  Kiki’s wearing frosting on her nose.  I swear it’s not boogers.

Just Write


Pooping in Public

Kiki pretends to bite Bunder who sits next to her in the shopping cart.  Bunder screams hysterically, “She’s going to bite me!  She’s going to bite me!”

Sometimes Kiki does bite Bunder, but only when she deems necessary (e.g. he takes her toy away, bonks her on the head, pushes her down, etc.)  In the shopping cart, she’s doing it to experience Bunder’s fun reaction.

I distract them with snacks, mini Nilla wafers and yogurt raisins.  They eat quietly, while I attempt to find juice with the least amount of arsenic in it.  “Did Consumer Reports recommend Mott’s or was it Juicy Juice?  They didn’t test the H.E.B. brand.”  Bunder distracts my thoughts with the one sentence all moms in public places dread to hear…

“Mommy, I have to go poop.”

Because I’m trying for the mom-of-the-year award, I attempt to talk him out of it. “Are you sure?  We’re almost done shopping.  Don’t you think you can wait?”

He refuses.  I sigh and ask the closest sales associate for directions to the restrooms.  Of course, they’re on the exact opposite side of the store.

Approaching the restrooms, I look for a family room.  “This will work,” I talk to myself.  “I’ll just push the cart with Kiki into the bathroom like I do our stroller.”

Oh, wait.  My cart is full of food and my options are “Men” or “Women.”  (Recently, in my foggy Mommy state, I took Bunder into Men’s room thinking, “Okay.  He’s a boy.  Gotta go in the boys’ room.”  I saw the urinals and snapped out of my daze).

I throw my huge diaper bag over my shoulder, because I don’t dare leave my wallet, iPhone, and snot rags in the middle of the supermarket aisle.  I unstrap and heft Bunder out of his seat.  Then I do the same for Kiki hoisting her on my hip while balancing the diaper bag and holding Bunder’s hand.

“Don’t touch ANYTHING,” I hiss at both of them.

Inside the restroom, I gag at the smell.  Bunder instantly drags his fingers across the metal stall doors.

“Don’t touch!  Don’t touch!”  I scream.

I choose the largest stall and try not to retch at the sight of the less-than-clean toilet.  I glance around at my options for placing Kiki.  I can’t hold her and hold Bunder on top of the four-foot high toilet at the same time.

I cringe as I set Kiki standing on the ground next to me.  “Don’t touch anything,” I warn for the umpteenth time.

She instantly walks to the door and grabs for the latch.  “No!  No!”  I scream, “Don’t touch!”

I wipe off the toilet and examine Bunder.  “I guess I have to remove at least one shoe.  Otherwise he won’t be able to straddle the toilet,” I think.

“Okay, Bunder, Mommy’s going to take off your shoe.  No!  No!  Don’t sit down!  The floor’s dirty.  No!  No!  Don’t grab the toilet.  Hold onto me for balance.”

I set Bunder on top of the toilet in an awkward position.  It looks as if he’s doing the splits over the toilet and about to topple into it head first.  I squat next to him holding his torso to steady him, but he grabs the toilet in between the toilet seat where I didn’t wipe.  “No!  No!  Don’t grab that!  Put your hands up here,” I move his hands to the seat.

“Uh-uh!  What’s Kiki doing?”  I think as I glance behind me.

“No, Kiki!  Don’t touch the floor!  What’s in your mouth?”

We finish, and I take turns holding each of them up to the sink.  I try to balance them on my knee while scrubbing their little hands.

We make our way toward the back of the store, as I daydream about showering them with disinfectant.

When will I learn to quit grocery shopping?

Just Write

Wood or Silverware

Wood or silverware, those are my options for fifth wedding anniversary gifts.  I didn’t like either, so I made a video for the love of my life.  It’s totally sappy, sentimental, and personal; therefore I’ll do what everyone else does – make it public.  If you’re not in the mood for something over the top romantic and gushy, don’t hit play.  If you’re curious or bored on this in-between Christmas and New Year’s week, turn up the volume before you play it.  The song makes it.

P.S.  If you’re a family member or friend discontented with your appearance in the video, please let me know by sending an e-mail to “It’”.  🙂

Turkey Trot Race Report

When Kiki, Bunder, and I walk around the neighborhood or at the park, Bunder loves to run.  I know he’s ran/walked over two miles at times.  So naturally, when Mister and I signed up for the Turkey Trot in Austin on Thanksgiving Day, we decided to enter Bunder in the children’s 1K race.  “It’ll be our new family tradition.”  “He’ll love it!” we said.  “He’ll have so much fun!”

The only fun he had was driving home watching Toy Story in the car.  21,000 people entered the race and I swear half of them had children in the kids’ race.

On the drive into the city, Mister agreed to run with Bunder while I held Kiki and videotaped.  After finding a parking spot, we quickly unloaded the car and took off for the kids’ starting line.  Mister and Bunder found a spot in the starting chute, while Kiki and I set up camp in between the start and finish lines.  The racecourse looked like a horseshoe.

From my vantage point, everything looked great.  Bunder smiled at the start as he trotted past and had a determined expression as he approached the finish.

Once at home, we called many family members to wish them a “Happy Thanksgiving.”  Bunder, being two and a half, had to talk to everyone and tell them about his race.  His story went something like this, “I ran a race.  Yeah, I cried a lot.”

Mister and I kept whisking the phone away, “No, he had fun.  Really, Grandma.  I’m not sure why he said he cried.”

I’ll let you see for yourselves.  Bunder’s first ever Turkey Trot.

Caramel Corn from a Stranger

I lost my cell phone today (again).  When the doctor took out my ten-pound baby, I swear she took out half my brain.  Geesh!  Of course, it wasn’t until the end of my seven-mile run that I realized I no longer carried a mobile in my pocket.  At least I still had my car key.  I turned around and ran back a couple hundred yards before my slow and small – now half the size of a normal- brain realized I would not find my phone in the last 1/100th of my run.   Ugh!

Periodically throughout the morning, I tried calling my cell phone from our house phone.  After a few tries, a very sweet woman named Dora with a southern accent answered, “Oh, honey.  Don’t you worry.   I’ve got your phone, sweetheart.  Where are you?  I’ll bring it to you, darling.”

I stammered and stuttered.  I didn’t know how to talk to someone who called me honey, sweetheart, and darling.  I blushed and assured her I wouldn’t inconvenience her anymore than I already had.  I’d swing by and pick it up as soon as the baby woke up from her morning nap.

Well, “swing by” turned out to be a thirty-minute drive with Kiki screaming almost the entire way.  (She hates the car.  I know, I know, your child loves the car – puh-lease – don’t rub it in.)  She’s going through this phase where she wants a binky, but once she has it, she whips it out of her mouth and launches it into the abyss of the car.

Finally, we arrive at Dora’s house.  She’s waiting in the front yard for me.  I want to jump out of the car, run around to Kiki’s side, and find her a binky, but Dora’s waiting.  Therefore, I close the car door behind me to hide the screams from inside and thank her profusely.  She hands over my cell phone AND two large bags of her homemade caramel corn.

“A little treat for you, darling” she says.

Again with the stammering and blushing.  “I should be giving you something for finding my phone not vice versa,” I manage to say.

Once in the car, the deafening cries remind me of the missing binkies.  I run around the outside and open Kiki’s door.  Ten toys fall out along with a sucker, six Cheerios, a sock, a book, a mitten, four animal crackers, and two raisins.  BUT NO BINKY!!!  I rummage through the mess of a back seat until I find one.  Aha!  At last, I’m saved!  I plug in the binky and dash back to my seat.

Just as I’m about to put the car in reverse, I think, “Where’s my cell phone?”

Remember that half a brain thing – well, amazingly enough, I’ve lost my cell phone.  AGAIN!  After having it in my possession for what – a mere thirty seconds.  I dig through the front seat of the car.  I jump out and run around to Kiki’s side.  I look on the ground, under the car.  I look in the back seat.  I mumble to myself under my breath.  Kiki starts to cry.  Bunder starts to fall asleep.  Sweet, sweet, Dora stands in her front yard wondering what brand of crazy I am.  I open the passenger side door and look in all the minute hiding places of the car.

Just when I’m ready to cry, I spot a glimpse of it between the passenger’s seat and armrest.  I dig my arm into the tight, teeny slot only to push it farther to the ground.  I try to reach it under the seat only to be blocked by the metal underbelly of the seat.  I try moving the seat back.  I try moving it forward.  I try pleading with it, “Please, please come out.”

With some sort of shot of adrenaline, I press my arm through the diminutive space and latch onto it.

Relief.  Now onto the crying baby.

Hey, I’m not a newbie at this whole mom-thing.  I have my own little tricks.  Is it a special song on the stereo?  A favorite DVD?  A sip of juice?  Heck, no!  None of that works!  I pull through Mickey D’s and order fries for my little rascals.  It solves a multitude of problems.  It keeps one child happy, one child awake, and one mother sane for another thirty-minute drive home.

Happy, happy Kiki showing off her french fries

Peace.  Serenity.  We ride blissfully along munching DELICIOUS homemade caramel corn, french fries, and singing along to the World of Animals DVD.

What’s that?  A police car on our off ramp?  Our exit is suddenly blocked?

Another inconvenience!  Ah!  When will it end?

Traffic slows to a crawl as we drive past the accident on the frontage road.  Everyone is gawking, staring at the scene.  I see a number of police cars, an ambulance, workers in orange vests with trash bags in the grass between the highway and frontage road, two trucks stopped in the middle of the road, and then …

a man lying in the road wearing an orange vest.  I glimpse his face just as two police officers cover his body with a white sheet.  Quickly, I cross myself and say prayers for the man and his family.  How small and petty I feel.  What a perspective changer.

Dear God, Thank you for reminding me of my many blessings.  Help me always to keep joy in my heart amidst the day’s small, insignificant troubles.  Amen.

Mad-Mom Minivans

The Village People

I can’t believe it’s Thursday night!  I started this post on Monday, on Halloween – where has the week gone?  I know the answer: Halloween, trick or treating, Mister’s birthday including a special dinner, pumpkin pie, pumpkin eggnog, and brown butter pumpkin cupcakes (seriously, he has an obsession), and then laundry.  I hate to admit it – clean underwear and socks take priority over this blog, but whatever.

As you read this, allow yourself to time travel to the past (three days into the past to be exact). 

It’s Halloween and I just experienced the scariest event in my life!  And let me tell you, I’ve toured my fair share of haunted houses.  I’ve traveled plenty of ghost-filled hayrides.  I’ve been lost in a corn maze in the country at night (talk about dark).  I’ve even been buried alive (albeit by plastic balls, but still in the shadows, in a haunted house, it’s pretty terrifying).

None of those occurrences comes close to the terror I endured this morning.  To think about it, gives me goose bumps.  You know what’s really bloodcurdling, daunting, forbidding, and menacing?  …

Stay at home moms with toddlers attending a FREE Halloween event.

In a community close to us, the Parks and Recreation department hosts a FREE Fall Festival for toddlers.  I attended last year, and had three meltdowns in the crowd of hundreds of moms and toddlers (not to mention Bunder’s numerous tantrums- he was 18 months at the time and had a new baby sister – he had a lot to cry about).  I knew this year I was going balls to the wall (this is an aviation term – I Googled it) or I wasn’t going at all.

Therefore, I strapped poor Kiki in her car seat at naptime (8:15 a.m.) and drove slowly to allow a short nap before the 9 a.m. start.  At 8:55 a.m., I turned off the highway into the park feeling mellow and accomplished with Kiki asleep, lullabies playing, and Bunder content.  Suddenly, I noticed all around me, surrounding our car were minivans -not just any minivans, but minivans with moms on a mission.  The road we drove on had four lanes across.

What – why four lanes on a road into a park?  I don’t remember this from last year – wait – uh-oh – the four lanes are becoming two.  Which lane is ending?  Do I slow down?  Do I change lanes?  I can’t – I’M SORROUNDED BY MINIVANS!  Oh, good!  It’s the other lane that’s ending – not mine.  All I have to do is hold on tight – no, I can’t let you in – don’t you see the mad-mom minivan behind me?  She’ll surely rear-end me if I let you in this lane!

I followed the flagmen directing me to a spot in a field and couldn’t help but gawk at an angry flagman storming up to a mad-mom minivan who obviously didn’t follow his directions.  Wow!  At that point, I realized, this is no ordinary Halloween event.

Anxiously, I watched one of the flagmen direct a minivan to park directly behind me and hoped that mad-mom minivan would allow enough room for me to unload the double stroller from the trunk.  Without a second to lose, I jumped out of the car and was startled by the music blaring in the minivan next to me.

Way to rock out at nine in the morning with a vanload of kids!

Now the real race began!  Everywhere I looked moms were dashing out of their minivans, unloading strollers or wagons, strapping kids into them, grabbing their diaper bags and coats and sprinting (as well as one can sprint when pushing a double stroller with multiple children) to the entrance line.

By the time I crossed the field (a.k.a. temporary parking lot), the line moved steadily.  I picked up Bunder and Kiki’s treat bags, which included a book (is the $2 book worth the mad-mom minivan dash?) and surveyed the area.  Lines formed quickly for the games nearest the entrance, but as far as I could see, no one was in line for neither the hayride nor the games on the far end.

Bunder enjoyed a few games, collected candy, scarfed down a cookie and an orange drink (only after spilling some on my dry-clean only coat.  What was I thinking wearing a dry-clean only coat.  I guess, I was so excited to wear a coat, I grabbed my favorite one).  Kiki played with her free balloon and ate the candy Bunder won.  The three of us rode the short hayride, petted the police dog, and played at the playground.  I visited with a few moms from my mom’s group, and we left by 10:15 – just as moms and children flocked to the park.

Whew!  We made it!  What a great success and a big THANK YOU to the Round Rock Parks and Recreation for such a fabulous, fun event!  Next year, I’m borrowing a minivan.

The Call of the Pumpkin

I awoke this morning to the pumpkin patch calling my name.  “What is that like?”  you ask. When the pumpkin patch calls my name?

Is it some sort of deep, emotional longing for crisp, cool, autumn days spent on the farm amongst the smell of cut hay and drying corn?

Not exactly.  Though, I do miss the vibrant colors of the leaves, the golden corn, and the green grass of the Midwest.

Is it fond childhood memories of climbing hay bales in the field and running through rustling leaves, while chasing a kitten?

Not quite.  Nonetheless, I did enjoy watching Bunder do those very things while visiting the farm in October.

No.  The pumpkin patch call sounds something like this…

“Mommy, let’s go to the pumpkin patch today.  Okay, Mommy?”

Two hours, two meals, one nap, three diaper changes, three potty breaks later, Kiki, Bunder, and I loaded the car for a grand adventure to the pumpkin patch.  (When I say, we loaded the car, you know I really mean I made multiple trips to the car with the diaper bag, snacks, drinks, children, and potty-chair.  No way am I taking Bunder into a port-a-potty!  Not to mention -what would I do with Kiki while we were in there?  Ask a stranger to watch her?)

The hour-long drive seemed to fly by, especially with Bunder’s excitement and constant chatter, “We’re going to a pumpkin patch, Mommy!  We’re gonna eat pumpkins.  I’m so excited!”

I have no idea where he got the whole – eating pumpkins thing.  I guess adventures are more fun with food.

Pumpkins as far as the eye can see.  (Notice the lack of crowds – glorious, glorious Tuesday morning at the pumpkin patch!)

Bunder wasted no time.  He started work immediately.

Don’t you know picking up pumpkins, carrying them, dropping them near your sister, and scaring your mom are very important jobs!

Notice the fish lips.  He’s in deep concentration.  I’m telling you it’s hard work!

I know you’re all thinking – what kind of fall outfits are these?  Well, it’s tricky to find fall clothing suitable for  76 degree weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining!  It was a gorgeous day.

Kiki’s sophiscated over-the-shoulder pumpkin pose.

That’s right, Bunder!  You have a whole truck of pumpkins to unload.

I like goats and all, but SERIOUSLY what’s with the overabundance of goats in Texas?

Of course, no pumpkin patch would be complete without a 16-day-old baby donkey.

It’s hard to see, but that’s Kiki licking the baby donkey’s nose.  She just loves to give open-mouth kisses.

What’s the point of being a stay-at-home mom if once in awhile I can’t blow an entire day with a fun outing like this?  Maybe next time, I’ll figure out how I can use the bathroom.

My two pumpkins.

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