I don’t really do resolutions, but this year I joined the YMCA. I need to exercise and my job pays for part of the membership…if I just go. So I joined and signed up for Thursday Zumba. It was fun, but hard work. The kids went to some active kid program and informed me if I had signed a paper they could have climbed the rock wall and played on scooters. (actual photo of actual wall)


Now I know. My Zumba teacher’s name is Yoko and she did yoga for a cool down. I told her “Namaste” when we were done, but I am not sure she got it.

The house is coming along. Very slowly. I have a fridge in my living room and I have to wade through a couple hundred books to get to my closet, but I have bedroom curtains and a dishwasher, so I am not complaining. If I figure out how to add photos to this blog I will add some. I don’t like change, and I am having a hard time learning WordPress, partially, I am sure, because I don’t try to do anything on it but read other people’s stuff when I do get on it. I put four commas in that last sentence.

This is the reason I started this post.

I have my moments as a mother.

One of my very finest:

I looked at all the crap strewn around the yard one day and wrote a list of it. Then I told the kids what a scavenger hunt was. They happily searched for and picked up all the things on the list. When it was all in one pile Lydia Mae looked at me skeptically and said, “Did we just pick up the yard?”

A more recent moment:

We have approximately 12 feet in our family. (Ed sometimes leaves things here to be washed.) Let’s see, 12 X 7 = 84 plus all the extras, we will say 100. (I try to see the basket as half full when it comes to socks; there are no lost socks, only extras).

Try as I might I cannot get kids to match socks while watching TV. Last weekend we had a ton on laundry so I piled it up in the middle of the floor and sat everyone around the pile. We folded as a group and it all got done. When everyone got their clothes put away we played Socknanza™ as a bonus.

Socknanza™ Rules: Everyone sits in a circle and someone deals the socks out evenly. Note, it is not easy to deal socks, and to shuffle them? Even more difficult, although if they had been line dried it might have worked.

I was picturing Old Maid with socks or Go Fish or maybe Pit. As it was we just kind of traded socks around until we had matched everything. If you are competitive I am sure you can come up with better rules, like person with most pairs wins, or person with no singletons…

The kids had a blast, and asked if we could do it again. We have indeed accumulated enough socks to do it again but I doubt it will be as much fun the second time.

I didn’t realize there was a patron saint of lost socks.

Should we call her Bobbi or maybe Argyle?


Wildflower’s Discipline Primer


Here are my thoughts on discipline.  Of course the idea is that the mom (parent) is on top of her game at all times and can think clearly enough to implement creative solutions rather than losing her temper and going ballistic on the kids.  I try to discipline by non-invasive methods, natural consequences, choices and respect.  When those fail, we can fall back on ballistic and of course the spanking option.


It is difficult to physically “make” somebody do something or stop them from doing something; for example squealing.  When Mae was about 18 months she started squealing.  It made the glassware in the cupboards nervous.  How do you stop this behavior in a toddler?  You can’t.  I designated her bedroom her “squealing room” because it had the best acoustics in the house, especially when the door was closed.  When she started squealing I would walk her down the hall to the squealing room, so she could enjoy the full force of it in the privacy of her room.  It was not punishment; it was a no-pressure solution to a situation we couldn’t control without the use of duct tape.  When we visited Grandma and Papa, we decided the upstairs bathroom had the best acoustics for squealing.  Once when Mae stayed with my folks, mom heard an unearthly screaming coming from the upstairs bathroom.  She rushed up to see what had happened.  Mae said, “It’s the squealing room, I was just squealing.”


Another non-invasive technique came to me in a flash of brilliance.  I was walking through our yard last fall and I noticed toys all over.  We have a large yard and we don’t rake our leaves, so toys are easy to lose that time of the year.  I decided to make a scavenger hunt out of it.  I made a list of the toys I remembered in the yard and added bonus points for things I didn’t remember, like shoes.  After about ten minutes Mae came to me with a suspicious look on her face and said, “Are you just having us pick up our toys?”


As a mother of four kids, two of whom think they are fashion models, I used to do nine loads of laundry a week.  That is a lot for our 23 year-old washing machine, and a lot of folding too.  Plan A was me doing all of the laundry from the collecting off the floor to the depositing in dresser drawers.  Someone was always upset because “You put her stuff in my drawer!” As the ladies got to be pre-school age and in Kindergarten I implemented Plan B, having them put their own clothes away.  I folded the clothes, put them in a basket and they sorted them, wadded them up and put them in their dressers.  I moved to Plan C several months later.  I piled their clean clothes in a basket for them to sort, wad up and put in their dressers as they pleased, saving me the pointless chore of folding. Then I started finding matched socks in the dirty laundry, folded shirts and even clean swimming suits.  I was also hearing a lot of, “I don’t have any clean pants!” (Or socks, or shirts, or underwear.)  At this time I implemented Plan D.  This involves them being responsible for their own laundry from washing to drying to folding (or wadding up) and putting away.  I showed my 7 and 6 year-old girls where the washing machine was and made a little chart on which cycles they would likely need.  I told them I am available for consultations as needed but I am no longer responsible for their clean clothes.  I will put their clothes in the drier and start it as needed.  Just this morning, Mae was crying because she didn’t have any clean socks.  I was sympathetic but not guilt ridden.  The ladies are washing a load of laundry as I type.


I really like Parenting With Love and Logic.  They are big on giving kids choices, like do you want to clean your room before snack time or after?  I have found that when my kids are edging towards naughtiness I just need to overwhelm them with choices and they start concentrating on what they want to choose rather than stalling at bedtime.  My kids sleep at the “silly” end of their beds rather than the “boring” end about half the time, but they are choosing to get into bed and not being told to do so. 


I didn’t nag the ladies to clean their room this afternoon when they got out of school early (12:30).  I told them they could come out when it was clean.  It is now 6:15 and they are still cleaning their room because they got distracted and played instead.  The gentlemen and I are done with supper, and nobody has done their homework.  The ladies might have to get up early to do homework because I am not going to budge on bedtime. 


We stress treating others with respect.  I don’t really do time out, I ask what happened.  I do not ask who started it.  When I learn what happened, (one person is rarely at fault, it takes two to fight) we figure out what is fair and what will prevent this from happening again.  Sometimes it means playing in separate rooms.


The gentlemen like to help me cook.  Paul was on the chair helping when I asked him to wash his hands.  While he was doing this, Leo climbed on the chair.  When Paul saw Leo in his spot he poked Leo and made him cry.  When I asked what had happened, Leo (nearly 4) told me with surprising insight what had happened and why.  Paul (2 ½) looked at me and told me, “I have go time out.”  Leo interrupted and told him, “We do that at Miss Tami’s; at home we have to apologize.”  Paul gave Leo a hug and told him he was sorry.  Leo moved over and Paul climbed onto the chair.


When I lose it, and I am not gonna lie to you, I do lose it, I try to inject humor.  For example I will stomp down the hall and say, “What in the wild, wild world of sports is a-going on around here?” (surely you have seen Blazing Saddles)  Another favorite movie is Annie! “Do I hear happiness in here?” or “I’ll step on your freckles!”


The Love and Logic guys stress letting consequences happen instead of enforcing punishments which don’t fit the crime.  However, some “crimes” defy all logic and as parents we have to do something…


Jane got her first hair cut; it was a cute bob that highlighted the gentle curls in her hair.  Mae was probably three-and-a-half.  She got the scissors and…000_0022 well she did this to Jane’s hair.  I spanked her.  I spanked her in anger and I spanked her when I was done being angry.  She has never lifted a pair of scissors to anyone’s hair again.  She came to understand quickly that she had done something very wrong.  All the crying I did probably helped her come to that conclusion too.  We found a beautician who “fixed” it with the shortest wedge ever.Watergun 3


It was about a year and a half ago that Nebraska scandalized the nation by implementing a safe haven law allowing parents to drop their children off at a hospital, no matter what age.  After about 30 days and nearly 20 children (none babies) later they altered the law to change child to infant.  Lately I have noticed billboards and TV advertisements about where families can get help.  Parenting is the toughest job ever; your mistakes can be passed on for generations.  Unfortunately you can’t always be on top of your game, and kids can sense that.  If I am functioning at a less than optimal level I try to inject humor, but it doesn’t always happen.  If I need to get away, I go outside.

Weekend Update


I wore my Wyoming Cowboys sweatshirt Saturday.  By accident.  Friday night GD and I filled out a pool picking teams in the upcoming bowl games.  We didn’t have to pay any money, I am not sure what the prize is, maybe just the honor of the best picks.  Of course I picked my alma mater.  Mom said she chose Fresno St (because she had been watching them play) but was going to cheer for the Pokes.  The Cowboys won after two overtimes!  Mom said I was probably the only one in the pool who picked Wyoming.  I am nothing if not a loyal fan.  I also picked Idaho, where my nephew is the quarterback (his brother is running the pool, so I am probably in good company there).  They play right before Nebraska, in Boise of all places. 

We filled out this pool after coming home from the winery.  Oh, my, I haven’t had a buzz like that for years.  We had an excellent prime rib and the best bread ever.  A friend ordered a piece of pumpkin cheesecake and two spoons for dessert.  I told the waitress I would take a loaf of bread and two knives.  They are supposed to send me the recipe.  I really hope they do, but they would be smart not to send it. If that were my recipe I would keep a copy of it in a fireproof box at least 50 feet from my other lesser recipes.

This morning I noticed that the freezer was lukewarm, as in completely thawed.  Fortunately I keep the leftovers and opened packages of food in there, so the only stuff that was unopened was a package of hashbrowns and a pkg of ravioli.  The chickens and dog are going to be eating like kings.  I cleaned that out and vacuumed the back off (and cleaned the floor under it).  I found a treasure trove of things under there.

K, L, T, E, Z, J, and N as well as a golf ball, a clove of garlic, a princess magnet, a truck and trailer, 2 beads, a bouncy ball, a mirror, a clothes pin, Ariel’s head, half a duck and half a sheep, three gear magnets and a pencil sharpener.  Excellent items for a scavenger hunt.  Then, as I was getting ready to make soup with the thawed hamburger and vegetables, I noticed the fridge was warm as well.  It was not warm this morning.  I put everything in the garage fridge.  The repair guy is scheduled for 1-5 tomorrow.  I am so glad this happened now and not, say Thursday.

It is a good thing I am not pregnant, I craved icewater all four times, and I regret not insisting that GD install an icemaker in our bathroom in 2002.

I better go be a parent.  Who knows what havoc the children have wreaked as I typed this.

Booty Call

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The phone call came when I was 10 minutes from home.

“When are you coming home?”

“I’m on my way now.  Why?”

“Where are you?”

“I am going past the elevator; do you need me to get something?”

“No, Leo pooped and I wondered how long it would be before you came home.”



What is it with guys and poopy diapers?  It isn’t like cow manure bothers him, or pig or horse or chicken manure, heck pig poop doesn’t even wash out!  This man has had his arm (up to the armpit) in a cow’s rectum and he balks at changing diapers on his own flesh and blood?  Sure he will do it, but only if there is no alternative. 


In my seven years of researching poopy diapers, I have found three anomalies.


1.  While my step-dad won’t go out of his way to change one of my kids, he has good naturedly offered to watch the kids with the understanding that there was a good likelihood of a poopy diaper.


2.  When Leo was about three-weeks-old we visited a friend.  Leo pooped loudly, like three-week-old babies do.  I got up to take him from my friend Don to change him when Don said, “That’s okay, I can change him.”

“Don, he pooped, I’ll get it.”

“No prob, I got it.”

And I sat there with my jaw in my lap and watched a guy I used to work with change a poopy diaper on my baby.


3.  My college freshman (step) nephew offered to watch Leo when he was a baby.  I was a little nervous leaving my six-month-old with my 228-month-old nephew, but Mom assured me he would be in good hands.  We would be just across town at the ice-skating rink, so I could rescue either one if he needed it.  Little did I know.  When we went back to pick him up, Derek had not only changed his diaper a couple of times but he had fed him applesauce and his bottle then changed his outfit.  (Leo was a puker by nature.)  The poor kid barely had time for his nap (Leo not Derek)!


Quote of the Day.

Men should always change diapers.  It’s a very rewarding experience.  It’s mentally cleansing.  It’s like washing dishes, but imagine if the dishes were your kids, so you really love the dishes.”  Chris Martin, Coldplay.


It sounds like that guy has some issues.  My husband did not get the diaper gene, however we have hammered out an unspoken deal.  I handle poop and puke and he handles snakes.  Thank God I am busier than he is.  Does your hubby change diapers?

Feb/March Edition, Useless Information



   This picture came from a 4000 year-old tomb in Egypt. As you can see, women have been juggling for a long time.  The art of juggling is also recorded in early civilizations as far flung as China, India, Greece, Mexico and Polynesia. Early jugglers were healers and fortune tellers, only later did juggling become entertainment.  After the fall of the Roman Empire, juggling was discouraged as witchcraft, but it made a comeback  in the late 1700s, with the first circuses. 

   Bruce Sarafian holds the record for juggling 12 beanbags at a time.  “Stubby” Jones is credited  with first attempting chainsaw juggling.

   If you are making summer travel plans, this year’s European Juggling Convention will be held July 4-12 in Spain.


Did you know?

March 21 was corn-dog day?  Our nation celebrates it on the first Saturday of the NCAA basketball tournament each year. 

  The origins of this delicacy have become obscured over the years.  Corndog stands operated in New York City as early as 1941, but a 1929 catalog listed a Krusty Korn Dog baker.  Corny Dogs hit the Texas State Fair between 1938 and 1942 but Minnesota claims the Pronto Pup started there in 1941.  Locations in both Illinois and California claim to have added the ever practical stick in 1946.   

  You can order me a Korn Dog, a Corny Dog, or a Pronto Pup, but I want mine with extra mustard.

Corn Dog Muffins               

2 pkgs Jiffy Corn Bread Mix

2 T Brown Sugar

2 Eggs  

1 Can Corn, drained

5 Chopped Hotdogs

Combine ingredients and drop into greased muffin tins.  Cook at 400 for 14-18 minutes. I will be honest, I got this from a magazine, but I forgot which one.



Overheard at the Wildflower house…


WF:  Why didn’t you clean up that toy horse like I asked you to?

Mae:  You didn’t give us any elbow grease!


Leo:  Mama, I am always going to poop in my diaper!


WF:  What does a kitty say?



Jane:  Mom, I have been coughing since I was a little baby.

WF:  Yes, and you have been hiccupping longer than that.



Team Meeting

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 A friend of mine has been asked to teach a parenting class, focusing on discipline, to our local homeless shelter.  Tonight I was reminded of my biggest triumph as a parent.

We were at my grandmother’s house, she was 90.  My entire family was there, my brother (who has no kids) my dad and his friend, my uncle and his four kids and their spouses.  My kids had toys scattered from Hell to breakfast and it was time to go.  I called a meeting.  The kids sat down on the floor in a semi-circle around me.  I called roll.  The kids love roll call.  If the baby is asleep I call for him then I determine we have enough for a quorum and we continue the meeting.  He was present this time.  We discussed the fact that we were leaving to go to Grandma and Papa’s house and we needed to pick up the toys so Great Grandma wouldn’t fall over them.  * My family is a little amazed that I have four kids, and sometimes I think they wonder if I am up to it.  I often feel exactly the same way.*   My children agreed that the toys should be picked up.  They all got up and proceeded to pick up all of the toys, no whining, or stalling or anything.  They just picked up the toys in an orderly fashion.  When I got my jaw out of my lap I looked around the room and saw my cousins admiring the way my children behaved and my brother standing there with his eyebrow raised.  My children couldn’t have picked a better time to be angelic.  I am still proud. 

Team meetings make people feel they are part of a bigger thing, a team, rather than just four kids running amok. 

I just got done reading The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen and my, oh my, can that woman write.  I love to read a book that has me asking, “Now where is this going?”  I should not check any more of her books out for a while, since I got nothing else done while I was reading it.


Another unsolved mystery

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We broke through a wall today.  We have been pushing against it for over a month.  Leo is potty training.  We have learned that if he is naked from the waist down, he uses the potty.  If he is wearing cotton training pants, Bob the Builder big-boy underwear, a pull-up or even just pants, he will tinkle in them.  When a guy stopped to ask if he could hunt on the place across the road from us, Leo was running around in the livingroom with just a tee-shirt and socks on. 


I decided to give up on diapers entirely this weekend, so I have been traveling with a spare pair of training pants, socks, pants and plastic bag.  Today, Leo came to me and announced that he had to tinkle, and sure enough, he pulled down his training pants and proceeded to pee all over the underside of the toilet seat.  Seriously, how do they tinkle up when the darn thing is pointed down?  We even had a floating Cheerio for a target!  We will have to get some training on aiming.


Okay, as I was looking for a funny book to put on my Xangazon thing, (and I did find one…although I am left wondering what exactly is under the flaps) I noted that they have 408 books on potty training.  *Note to self, don’t try to publish a potty training book any time soon.





The View


The view from behind the Wildflower pew at church.  I know, don’t quit my day job.  Sometimes it just seems like everyone is moving and rustling around and it is all I can do to keep them semi contained.  They aren’t really fighting, just constantly in motion.  I always sit in the same spot so people can avoid me if they want to hear what is going on.  I know I sure don’t hear what is going on!



Good Mother? Bad Mother?


  • I fed my kids cookies for a snack, then made peanut butter celery sticks for myself. Pretty soon the kids were eyeing my snack wanting some.
  • I organized a home circus complete with elephant, tightrope walker etc.
  • I made the ladies pack for themselves when we went on vacation – with photos from catalogs telling them what they needed and how many.
  • I lock my kids out of kitchen so I can cook supper and watch Friends in peace, except lately I have been having one of the ladies “help” me cook. It is so hard to get them to play apart from each other, and I can’t cook with three or four kids in the kitchen.
  • I labeled several objects throughout the kitchen by name, so Mae could work on her reading. Then I moved them a week later so the door says fish and the fridge says chair.
  • I took the kids to the sitter so I could take a three hour nap.
  • I can be talked into reading to them for hours on end.
  • I’m pretty lax with sunscreen, because our lawn is so well shaded.
  • I let my kids dress themselves nearly all the time.
  • I keep driving past the water park with vague promises that we will go this summer, but I have only taken them to the wading pool once, and it is free.
  • I admitted in front of witnesses that the bathroom is my favorite room of the house, because the door locks.
  • I recently found myself resisting sharing an avocado. I mean seriously, I have a kid who wants to eat a healthy vegetable and I won’t share it with him?
  • We have flashlight safaris in the living room.
  • I drink pop and don’t share it.
  • I rent Looney Tunes from Netflix to distract my kids so I can clean the kitchen.
  • The kids are used to being hustled out of the house because I usually try to do one too many last things before leaving.

If my parenting was a weather forecast it would be “Mostly benign negligence with brief periods of intense creativity.”

Time for a reality check


Every once in a while my kids give me a reality check. I stay at home with my them and since my husband is gone often in the evenings as well as all day, I have a huge influence on how my kids will turn out. That is a lot of responsibility for little old me. We don’t watch TV much, so they have unstructured play most of the day. Actually, Mae structures the play, but that is another blog.

Lately the ladies have been playing a dress-up game that involves taking every blanket, towel and pillow they can find to the living room, then laying waste to the rest of the house behind them. I will be off in another part of the house sorting laundry (I wash about nine loads a week, and fold about six… make that four). I will go check on them, to find they are trying on their Sunday dresses (yet another thing to pick up) and I will tell them they need to start putting things away before lunch. After several checks, and some supervision I will find myself yelling at them quit playing and to pick things up. That is where Leo comes in with the reality check. He can’t talk much yet, but he has mastered my tone and volume. He’ll come in their room, flapping his arms and making screechy “Yah yah yah” noises, then he will look at me with a smile waiting for approval. This is not something I am proud to have taught my son. Why couldn’t I have taught him ‘high five’?

I admit, I don’t do a good job having them pick up every day, although these last few weeks have been better, up until a couple of days ago. I don’t have strict standards, but it is dismaying to watch a manageable mess become insurmountable in a small amount of time. I absolutely refuse to pick it all up myself, they are old enough to clean up their messes, although I do help some. I use the Love and Logic choice thing and I hear “none” from Jane. I instigate races, I tell them to work on colors, I make up songs, I tell them we will do something fun when they are done cleaning, I make a pile of the stuff in the middle of a room, I send different kids to different rooms. Nothing works very well, and all of it is exhausting. If I have them do it themselves, they will start, then will not know what to pick up next, or they will flat out get sidetracked as Mae makes some sort of game for Jane to follow and off they go. If I take things away, we are talking blankets and pillows here. If I take away Jane’s pillow she will scream for two hours, and I can’t take that. Mom was not good at creative manipulation (don’t take it personally Mom), and neither am I. Maybe this is something you have to learn a the knee of a master. Is there something I am missing? How do you get your kids to pick up after themselves?

Factoid about me. I have actually gone into the living room, lost it on the kids about the state of the room then turned around, marched into the kitchen and popped my Wellbutrin. Not an extra one mind you, but I have realized mid-tirade that I forgot my happy chemicals for the day. In other news, I wonder if I need to adjust things. I cried at Clifford’s Puppy Days today, it was the one about the latkes, and it wasn’t the first time I had seen it.

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