Micah received a gift in the mail from my parents. I wasn’t sure when he was going to get it, but I wanted to tell the girls about it, so I used the old parenting technique of spelling it out.

“Micah got a b-i-g-h-o-r-n from Gramma and Grampa in the mail today.” (A big horn sheep monster truck from the Nickelodeon Blaze cartoon)

Hannah replies with delight, “He is going to be b-o-n-k-i-n-g his cars so much they’ll get scratched!” (Bonking is the primary activity of big horn monster trucks.)

Micah replies, “When we get home, I want to (begins singing) A B C D E F G my cars!”

Absolutely, Buddy, you ABCDEFG your cars all you want.

Did spelling out surprises ever go awry for your family?

Posted in Family Updates, Fun | Leave a comment

Chinese cabbage

Bryan was reading to Micah the other day. It’s a book called “You’re my Little Lovebug.” It plays music and goes through a fairly comprehensive list of silly things parents might call their children. Out of curiosity or possibly boredom, Bryan started leaving out the last word of each line to see how Micah would answer. It was all pretty standard fare until he got to the line “You’re my bowl of cherries.” He starts out, “You’re my bowl of” and Micah finishes “bok choy.” The girls and I start laughing, but Bryan is completely perplexed. How does the 2 year old even know what bok choy is? It’s not really a stand alone dish or even something that I have ever prepared at our house.

I guess I thought he knew.

For a while now, Emma has snuggled Micah up every so often and called him “my boy, my joy, my bowl of bok choy.” It was so fun, the rest of us started saying it, too. Now, my son identifies himself with Chinese cabbage.

Sorry, Micah.

Do you have weird nicknames or terms of endearment for your children?

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How to use a new credit card with a chip

If you’re in the US, you may have gotten a new credit card that has a microchip built into it. With your old credit card, the steps to use it were:

1) Swipe

And you may or may not sign depending on the total amount.

With your new card, the process is enhanced for added security. Now, you’ll be doing:

1) Insert card into reader
2) Wait for cashier to inform you that they don’t support the chip yet
3) Swipe

Man, the advancement of technology is great, isn’t it?

Posted in Family Updates | 1 Comment

Are you OK?

It’s once again time for me to share some pregnancy etiquette tips. Last time I was pregnant, I shared some appropriate questions to ask pregnant women, now I’m sharing when might be an appropriate time to ask the question “Are you OK?” I’ve been asked this twice already when I was shopping and not really showing outward signs of distress, so let’s figure this one out, shall we?

Is the woman clutching her abdomen in pain?

Go ahead! Ask if she’s OK! It could just be round ligament pain or heartburn, but she’ll probably appreciate your concern.

Is the woman taking her children to a dressing room to try on back to school clothes while pushing a shopping cart?

Don’t ask! Of course, she’s not OK. She’s back to school shopping. That kid is probably going to take 25 minutes in the dressing room and either want the most expensive item or hate everything. However, she is probably not in any medical distress or in need of paramedics.

Is the woman slouched over and breathing oddly?

Ask! She may just be out of breath from walking up a flight of stairs or saying a really long sentence (stupid lung capacity), but better safe than sorry.

Is the woman eating ice cream?

Leave her alone! The baby needs that ice cream. Also, she might think you are trying to steal her ice cream and physically injure you. Just don’t make eye contact and step away slowly.

Is there a large puddle under the woman like her water broke?

Ask away! You might even get lucky and get to deliver a baby right there and be on national news. (I hope no one just decided to run away from the pregnant lady in distress)

Is the woman just largely pregnant?

Don’t ask unless you like death stares. And, for the love, don’t ask if she’s having twins or show great disbelief at her due date. It’s rude. And please, don’t tell her she looks like she could go into labor at any minute. Just don’t.

Is she physically unconscious or bleeding?

First Aid and CPR classes teach that asking if she is OK would be a completely appropriate response to this situation. Of course, she could just be really tired and need a nap right in the middle of the floor. But again, better safe than sorry.

Is she sitting and or leaning and resting?

Stop! Recognize that this is a sacred moment. Soon, all resting will have to be coordinated with a tiny adorable dictator who needs her ALL. THE. TIME. Let the woman rest!

So, there’s your etiquette lesson for the day. Now, I know there are those who will just say that pregnant women need to stop being so sensitive and just let all these remarks roll off of them, but honestly, do you want to trust a possibly quite uncomfortable and hormonal pregnant woman to exercise extra self control because of careless small talk? I mean, do you feel lucky, Punk? Do ya?

Give me your (or someone you know’s) best/oddest pregnancy comment or comeback.

Posted in Fun, Pregnancy | 2 Comments

Marrying Young

It was our 15th anniversary yesterday! Bryan and I got married when I was 19 and he was 20. There’s no regrets here. We think it’s pretty awesome, but there are some things that are different when you marry younger. So, I thought I’d make a little list.

1. Your friends are all about 5 years older than you. After college, when you find people to hang out with, the people who are in your stage of life are all several years older than you. This bothers some of them.

2. You get to be poor, really poor together. Unless you’re a wunderkind who started a successful company or who is really sweeping it up in the real estate market, you are going to be poor at first. Then, you can say things like, “Hey babe, remember when we only made $10,000 that one year?” Plus, you know that if things go bad, you can always live in a small apartment and eat Pasta Roni together with love. (From Bryan: How bad was it? We applied for FAFSA once after we were married. The Financial Aid office requested we bring in our tax forms because they couldn’t believe we were that poor. We brought them in and they requested we bring in our W-2’s because they couldn’t believe our tax forms. We knew we couldn’t make enough money for our expenses, but we did make sure our “burn rate” would keep us with enough money until we got real jobs).

3. People will ask you strange and or inappropriate questions at first. “Are you getting married because you’re pregnant?” “Don’t you feel like you’ll be missing out?” Questions about marital intimacy. Maybe that’s because they’re college kids with underformed prefrontal cortices or just bad manners, but I’m guessing it happens less to people who are over 25.

4. As you get older, you’ll meet 19-year-olds and wonder if you were just so much different from them and if not, how did you ever make it work?

5. People will unintentionally insult you by saying that getting married to your high school sweetheart or getting married young is dumb (when talking about other people).

6. You will scare parents of teenagers. “I started dating Bryan when I was 14, almost 15 and we’ve been married for 15 years now.” After you say that, they get this look in their eye, and you know they are probably secretly plotting about how to get rid of their teenager’s significant other.

7. You have to learn a lot together. 19 and 20 year olds have a lot to learn about conflict management, money management, home care and repair, insurance, organization. Going from your parents’ house to living with your spouse with no in between means you have quite a learning curve. But the benefit is that you learn together, so you develop your own system without having to figure out how to mesh your existing systems.

8. You party less and differently. You have social supports at your home. You don’t really need to go out, and when you do, you may prefer smaller gatherings.

I think the biggest problem people have with marrying young is that they don’t believe that 18, 19, 20, 21 year olds are adults. Why is that? Why have we stopped expecting people who are legally adults to act like adults? Young adults should be able to pay their bills, work hard, figure out relationships, and take on adult responsibilities.

But what about establishing your career and finishing your education and travelling? Being married doesn’t really prevent any of these things. Kids, maybe, but I wouldn’t trade my husband or kids for backpacking in Europe or becoming a CEO. Europe probably isn’t going to care if I’m sick or dying, my people will.

Really, all I’m asking is that young adults exercise good judgment and make good relationship choices. You can’t imagine being married to your boyfriend at 19 because he’s immature or lacking ambition? Then, why are you dating him? Stop it! Do better!

But, I’m getting off my soap box now. What age do you think is a good age to get married?

Posted in Random | 2 Comments

Toddler+Baking=NO or how I almost lost my sanity

We have so much to tell you as we’ve been absent for a while, but as usual, life’s been busy, and we’re just tired. Sorry blog, you’re just so much more effort than YouTube. But, tonight, I have a need to write as a memorial to myself. Dear future self, do not, I repeat DO NOT attempt to bake cookies while the toddler is awake when no one over the age of 11 is available to take charge of said toddler. Bake them during nap, go buy some Oreos, but for the love, DO NOT attempt to bake cookies with the toddler.

Before our story begins, you need some background. You need to know that Emma has been in town but staying at the church since Sunday for a mission trip. Bryan has been spending his 9-5 working (sometimes from home) and his 5pm-8am at the church helping with the mission trip and helping Emma avoid the sadness of being away from everyone for 6 nights. Because food is love at our house, I readily, but perhaps somewhat foolishly, agreed to bake some cookies for the kids. I agreed on Sunday to have them there Tuesday night as they wanted baked goods to go in the kids’ lunches. Monday, we went to the library and grocery shopping. Hannah spent most of the rest of the day doing school because school is much harder to do by yourself than if your other sibling is suffering with you. Today, we had a meet-up at the park with our homeschool group. We came home. Bryan came home for lunch, too, so I made an elaborate pasta bar lunch (because food is love). Then, Micah went down for nap, and Hannah started school again. All of these things and being responsible for the whole dinner/evening routine with the kiddos means that I completely spaced the cookies until about 5:30 pm which is the true beginning of our story. So, I realize my mistake and think, “Well, this won’t be a big deal because I found a bag of frozen chicken nuggets in the freezer, and I can just mix up the cookies while I make an easy dinner of frozen nuggets, boxed potatoes, and frozen veggies.” The oven is preheated, so I stick in the nuggets while I try valiantly to mix the cookies and not have this irritating song stuck in my head. Meanwhile, the kitchen is kind of a mess because I’m not used to having Bryan and Emma gone and every night I have great intentions but no actual energy to do much of anything, so I press Hannah into service putting away food items while I begin mixing. Micah decided to pull up a stool and try to get into the sugar. I finish with the sugar and put that away. I ask Hannah to put away the eggs after I finish with those. Micah manages to get a grip on those and try to wrench them away from Hannah. I stop those shenanigans, then while I continue mixing and gathering ingredients, I turn to see Micah grabbing handfuls of flour from the bag for consumption. I remove the bag from his reach and dole out the rest of the ingredients between Hannah and I. Hannah finds out that even though 3 tsp = 1 Tbsp, the tablespoon doesn’t fit very well in the cream of tartar container and causes a lot of spillage. We forget the baking soda, but even though I’m baffled by the cookies not terrible but not quite right appearance this will not occur to me until the last pan is in the oven. Dinner is almost done, I have Hannah start to make the veggies. Veggies go in the microwave as I mix the potatoes and take out the nuggets. I adjust the oven temp, we set the table and get ready to eat.

After a dinner, I start panning cookies to bake. While I’m getting the first pan in, Micah has popped down from his seat and is making a noise, that noise, while he’s wearing underwear. Super, it’s #2. Hannah is awesome, and starts helping him get cleaned up while I finish getting that pan ready. I go and get him all wiped. We wash our hands surgical style, and get back to work. I have Hannah start loading the dishwasher while I get pan #2 ready to go. Micah tries to climb up where I’m working. I say “no” for what feels like the millionth time that night because I don’t want him near the hot pans that will be coming out momentarily. So, he finds a mop that Bryan had bought for downstairs to help get rid of construction dust, and he begins swinging it above his shoulders. Once he’s distracted, I instruct Hannah to take the mop downstairs where it belongs. She hesitates too long and Micah corners her. After a brief struggle where she tries to convince him he cannot go downstairs with her, I just tell her to throw it through the pet door (our downstairs storage room has a pet door that was used by a previous owner, I think for cat box purposes). She throws the mop down. I ask her to keep cleaning up, and start another pan of cookies. By this time, I see that the cookies aren’t quite right, but I’m fairly certain it is just too much flour. Micah tries climbing up again. I tell him “no” again. I suggest that he go and drink his milk. He does this. Sometime between pans 3 and 4, he comes over again, and has a potty accident. This Hannah handles on her own, bless her, so I can get these cookies done before the mission trip is done. After getting fresh pants once again, Micah decides that he needs another stick to wave around and heads for the broom. I finally do what I should have done earlier and send them both upstairs to play with toys. Once I get the last pan in, I work on bagging the cookies for lunches. Then, it occurs to me. I didn’t use baking soda. In a testament to the grace of God, I didn’t just start weeping hysterically right then and there. Instead, I have the kids taste test the cookies. They approve, so I decide to let it roll, and send Hannah to the shower to get ready for bed so that once we return home, we can just put everyone to bed. When the final pan comes out, I bathe Micah and get him ready. Then, we load up and head to the church. Unfortunately, Emma is bowling, so we don’t get to see her or Bryan, but we drop off our testament of love and head for home again.

So in conclusion, food=love, toddler+baking=no, and without Hannah I may have gone completely off the edge.

How do you cook with small people around?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

Return of the Sock Nemesis

A while ago, I shared some of my sock woes. Well, I have more. A while back, Bryan received some black socks, for Christmas, I think. I was folding the socks one day while doing laundry, and I noticed a little orange-red mark on them.


It was an “L” or and “R”. The socks have a left and right. I went directly to Bryan to ensure that surely this was a cruel, cruel joke, but NO! He assured me that the socks actually fit better when placed on the correct foot. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

I cannot emphasize enough my extreme anger, disgust, and actual thoughts of strangling someone with socks that they designed to have a left and a right. This is a crime against laundry. I actually fold socks. I shouldn’t be penalized for this.

Down with sock fascism! Do you fold socks?

Posted in Fun, Random | 2 Comments

Yeah, I guess

The number one comment in regard to Micah is how much he talks. Usually, he’s excitedly telling you about his toys, his friends, or big trucks, but lately he’s been amusing me when he uses his new favorite affirmative phrase “Yeah, I guess.” He stops sounding like a sweet, happy toddler and starts sounding more like a world weary, ambivalent adolescent.

“Do you want Mommy to go get you some milk?” “Yeah, I guess.” You expect him to continue with, but nothing will satisfy this deep thirst of my soul. I’m going to go listen to my music.

“Should Daddy tickle you?” “Yeah, I guess.” but really, the laughter is gone from my soul.

“Do you want to go vrooming in the big truck?” “Yeah, I guess.” I mean, I probably should because soon the truck that I love will just be rust and memories like everything else. (Cue angst filled teenage music about the futility of life)

But now, I need to stop my mind wanderings because we need to go say hi to some bunnies in our yard.

What phrases have your toddlers used that seemed a bit out of place?

Posted in Family Updates | 3 Comments


What did you call your baby in utero?

Usually, we’ve just called it “the baby”. I know, you’re all taken aback with our originality and creativity. I’ve heard of people calling baby Jelly Bean or Gummy Bear or the bean. (We pregnant mommies are a hungry lot.) I know someone on Facebook who refers to hers as Zombie. I’ve just never resonated with any of these, so we usually call the baby, the baby.

This time, after we told the girls and Micah, Bryan started teasing about what we were going to call new baby. All our names end in the “uh” sound. Emma, Hannah, Micah. What could we name new baby that would follow our rule*? So Bryan started throwing out “uh” names and Obadiah is what stuck. Now odds are exceedingly low that this is our final name, but this what we’ve been calling baby this time around.

Catchy, no?

*Not an actual rule, we reserve the right to call this one whatever we can agree on.

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

The shorts rule

It’s “spring” in Minnesota which means that we’ve been outside more, and I’ve started fielding the question “Can I wear shorts today?” In the past, I would look at the weather, make a judgement call, hand down the verdict, and if I said “no”, proceed to explain and justify my decision to loud protests. And in the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.” So, we made an arbitrary rule. Our rule is, the children may not wear shorts unless the high temperature will be 65 or higher. I know, harsh, right?

Do you have a shorts rule?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments