The Happyish Homestead

Friday, February 26, 2010

An Assessment

Today is my parent's anniversary. In honor of that special occasion, I would like to take a moment to reflect on my childhood and my parents.

Most of the kids got spanked, a lot. I was spanked about twice. I was a great kid. Anyway, on one such occasion, we had decided to play kitchen downstairs and the beverage of choice was....Kool-Aid. Brilliant, I know. Well, inevitably that Kool-Aid spilled and we were all lined up for due consequences. This was my first experience of 'physical' punishment. My older brother, I think he knows who he is, told me it wouldn't hurt as much if I laughed. He got way more credit for his intelligence than he deserved. I laughed, I got another swat. Lesson learned.

We worked, probably more than we should have, but that was partly our own fault. At one house we had an apple tree which only produced small, sour apples. They would inevitably fall to the grass and start to rot. The kids' job was to pick up the apples and put them in the garbage. Our take on that task was to chuck the rotten apples over the fence, into the neighbor's yard. My brother's idea was to pick grass and use it to cover the apples. Thus, we created more work for ourselves, but you couldn't tell us that.

Our family had a big lot and a lot of yard and on one occasion my dad thought he would buy a riding lawn mower. We, as kids, thought it was a great idea too, until we were the ones expected to rake and bag the grass clippings. Not such a great idea after all.

Because we had a large family we could support 2 kick ball teams. You know, kick ball, the poor athlete's sport. I remember that being a lot of fun, but what it probably was, was a lot of crying.

We watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman religiously.

Sometimes my parents went out, or tried to runaway, I'm not sure which. And we had babysitters. I don't think those babysitters got paid a lot, and whatever it was, it definitely wasn't enough. My older sisters made up irreverent chants about those saints.

In the summer we lived outside and on the trampoline.

One time, my sister got a tick embedded in her head. That was gross.

I fell out of the tree while my mom was gone from home.

Good times, good times.

Happy Anniversary.

Your favorite daughter,

Monday, February 22, 2010


I'm sorry if this post offends you. I don't normally use this type of language in my house, just about the things in my house. I'll also be sorry if this actually happens.

Speak Gently to Your Plants

By: Carol Ryrie Brink

The young clerk, having been ordered to do so,

Brought the ornamental foliage plants

Out of the ladies' dress shop

And slammed them down on the pavement

In front of the store.

"Get some sunshine, you bastards," she said,

"Green up, damn you, green up!"
The pale and spindly plants,

Suffering too much sun after too much shade,

Listened hopefully for a kind word.

"Nobody loves us," they said at last,

"We'll die in spite of them."

And they did.
(Thanks, Em.)


Things that gross me out:

The lingerie/underwear section at the thrift store.

Throw up, I know, it's a given. Bryce thinks I just make it up, so not true. One time I was watching my younger brother and younger sister, and my brother threw up, and I made my sister clean it up.

Gum on the drinking fountain drain.

Hair in the shower drain.

The fact that someone whose book sold at the dollar store is considered an author.

Cats jumping through a whole in the screen onto the bed, at night, soundlessly.

Spit up in the hair.

The part in the movie Ratatouille when all of the rats fall through the ceiling.

Carpet in bathrooms.

Unflushed (spellcheck says this is not a word, I care to differ) toilets in public places. I know I could go in there and flush them's a matter of principle.

Rotten apples.

People selling used mattresses on Craigslist.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Under the Bus

Some tips, pointers, advice on how to be a good wife:

A good wife is supportive, and only in passing mentions a large weight set in the basement that is used 'sparingly', when her husband approaches her about buying another piece of workout equipment.

A good wife is always game to participate in a marathon watching the extended version of The Lord of the Rings, knowing full well that her husband will fall asleep within the first twenty minutes with the remotes out of reach.

A good wife fixes her husband's favorite meal before he goes out of town, and then expects him to do the dishes.

A good wife does not, in the least, take offense when her husband comes home late in the evening and tells her she's cranky, even though she had a horrible 'walk' experience and the kids had been up since 6:30 am and had not napped well and he had only been around them for 20 minutes....because after all, he did return the books to the library and put gas in the car.

A good wife has a great memory and can often recall a time when her husband was not at his best, like when he fell asleep during her labor, striving to bring their firstborn into the world.

A good wife is aware of her husband and his needs and will often nudge her husband awake when he falls asleep saying prayers.

A good wife is calm and would never kick or nudge her husband when he is snoring but always sedately says, "I love you, would you mind rolling over?"

A good wife does not always get her way, although one could say that her way is always the best way.

A good wife engages in debates at 10 o'clock at night with her husband to talk about how the sides of the mattress are divided up and even offers a courtesy laugh when her husband says that she does have half, the bottom half.

A good wife does not get upset when her husband would rather get rid of a piece of furniture than let his wife paint it.

A good wife does not remind her husband that he had previously agreed that he would not make lame comments about posts when he encouraged her to start a blog.

A good wife is not in the least bit annoyed when most of her conversation with her husband over the past couple of days has consisted of his saying "Aren't you finished with that book yet? I thought for sure you would be done by now. When are going to finish that book? Why isn't that book finished?"

Have a good trip Bryce, I'll miss you.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Sometimes I am a great mom.
Sometimes I am a good mom.
And sometimes I am a horrible mom.

When am I a horrible mom? Every time I decide to go on a walk. I know this sounds crazy, but it's true. I get this notion in my head every time it's nice outside. I justify my plan by telling myself it's exercise, that it's good to get out in the sunshine, and it's even better to get out of the house. Now I don't exercise. Even I know that going up and down the stairs with a bit more energy on laundry day doesn't count.

I had this idea to go on a walk yesterday. I should have put it out of my mind.

Reason #1 - Adeline had taken a nap that was only a bit over an hour.
Reason #2 - Elizabeth had cried multiple times through out the day.
Reason #3 - Elizabeth and Adeline had started a shoving, pushing match over closing the refrigerator door.
Reason #4 - Adeline had taken a nap that was only a bit over an hour.

We get on sweaters and shoes and Elizabeth decides that instead of riding her bike, she wants to push her baby in the stroller. Then Adeline wants to push her baby in the stroller instead of wanting to ride in the double stroller with Meg.

When Adeline decides to bring her baby in the stroller it never.goes.well. And by that, I mean, it always ends in tears.

We're all out the door and all respective babies in strollers, Elizabeth decides she wants to bring a purse, fine. Adeline decides that she wants to bring a purse, fine, she comes out with two. Elizabeth comes out with a bottle in a diaper bag...I could have killed her. Adeline wanted to have a bottle too. I had already shut and locked the door. I could have opened it, but it was a matter of principle.

Adeline is bawling. Snot, tears, red face, incomprehensible dialogue, the whole works. Elizabeth gives Meg the bottle because she doesn't want it anymore.

I then begin threatening Adeline...I begin to say ridiculous things like 'you're being completely unreasonable', I start giving commands in my most firm voice, and then I take the bottle away from Meg and give it to Adeline. Parenting at its finest. In case you were wondering, there was also lots of crying along the way. And then we walked by some people out in their yard and they had the gall to say how cute the whole procession was.

The evening finished along the same lines, I begged Bryce not to go to his meeting, I had like five pieces of fudge, and all kids were in bed by 7pm, no story, no song.

Here's to a better today. Not likely, though, the girls woke up an hour earlier than normal.


Monday, February 15, 2010


A quick update on things over here:

My blow dryer died. I would like to personally thank anyone who has seen me since the 'incident' and have politely refused to take notice or comment about how things are looking.

We have recently instituted Adeline taking a time-out for even thinking of touching Meg while Meg is on the floor. Desperate times, desperate measures.

Meg is crawling. This may not seem like big news to a lot of you, but over here, it's revolutionary (not in a French-guillotine kind of way). Who knew kids could learn to crawl before they walk, instead of the other way around?

The lime (or lemon) plant, you know the one that had more than two leaves, is.not.doing.well.

I made a sewing table from an old, red, salvaged door. In case you are wondering, I will not be posting a tutorial on that.

I was a great mom over the past two days and helped the girls make burp cloths and blankets for their baby dolls, which I'm sure will never get used. I didn't cry, I didn't make the girls cry, Child Protection Services wasn't called....

I'm tired of wiping snotty noses. Where does it all come from?

Bryce hasn't really said, but I think he's getting tired of losing to me when we play Dominion, which is understandable.

I'm working on a quilt, and as soon as I get it done, I'm going to have a quilt-tying party, and by party I mean, the-kids-destroy-the-house-while-the-moms-tie-the-quilts-and-I-provide-lunch.

I'm excited that next year it's Bryce's turn to plan Valentine's Day.

Does anyone know when Glee starts again?

Bryce and I have rented three really lame movies in a row, I think we're due.

If you follow my blog, I post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a long drought over the weekend. My agent says I have to manage my genius.

Till then,


Friday, February 12, 2010


Things I am not proud of:

I forgot my mom's birthday one year. And I wasn't a kid, I was 21. What's worse, I had even talked to her that day, and I didn't even mention it. Disgraceful.

I have three squirrels in my yard that are almost completely domesticated. It's the world's fault, if I didn't feel so much pressure to compost - you know, go green - this never would have happened. It's so bad, that I just throw my scraps out the kitchen window and they don't even flinch, but instead come racing over. And they're snobs, they don't eat things like broccoli stalks. (Nor does the rabbit that is also, let's face it, slightly domesticated that lives under our deck.)

Adeline didn't get dressed yesterday. There wasn't even a pretense of getting dressed. She just went from pajamas to leotard to pajamas.

My kids drink their own bath water and it doesn't even faze me.

I've spanked both Elizabeth and Adeline once, each.

I've let Elizabeth watch Mamma Mia, twice.

You know that submarine movie that came out like 8 years ago...U571 or something like that? I laughed when they shot the dead guy out the torpedo shoot. I'm a callous brute.

I'm slightly addicted to DIY/makeover blogs.

At one point I convinced one of my college professor to cancel finals, and he did.

I played with Barbies till I was 12.

I used to drop my green beans down the heat register at dinner time when I was a kid.

I outed my brother to a girl he liked, in 4th grade.

Wendy's gave me an extra JBC one time and I didn't turn around to return it or pay for it.

I was shameless in my efforts to get Bryce to build a new deck.

I've told other people that their kids are cute, even when they're not.

Hope you enjoy a chocolate filled weekend.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stating the Obvious

I'm not funny. I just found out, and to say the truth, it's kind of a blow. It's like I lost a part of myself. You know when you get a really horrible hair cut, you feel a bit less like yourself? That's what this is like.

I got the idea to try and be funny about the fourth grade. I had an amazing teacher named Mrs. Brokaw, no relation to the news anchor, as if I knew who he was back then. And she was F.U.N. She let us wear just our socks to the cafeteria if it had been wet and yucky outside. She read to us from West Side Stories and inserted students names. When she found something really funny, her shoulders just shook and no sound came out. I idolized her. This is also before I knew about the ten commandments. I now know this is wrong and have since come clean.

Anyway, that's how it began. I also realized another thing about this time....I had a twin sister. Obviously I have ALWAYS had a twin sister, but I just now realized how this impacted me. A bit about my sister....she's pretty, the kind of pretty that makes me look less pretty, no matter how hard I try. She's nice, horribly, painfully nice. She used to be a boy magnet. I hope this has changed since she is now married with three kids. She's a school teacher, the cool one who all the boys have a crush on. Do you see where I'm going with this?

SO I had a revelation. I would never be pretty. BUT I could be funny.

That's it, end of story.

All this time, I've thought 'I'm funny.' And then I started blogging. Apparently I've only just NOW become funny. People talk to me about my blog, which is flattering, don't get me wrong, but they seem genuinely surprised that it's so amusing. And these are people I've known for a while, I've watched their kids, they've watched mine, I've talked to them, invited them over for scones, taken them dinner, set up play dates with their kids.....

There you have it. I have been duly humbled.


Monday, February 8, 2010

THE Fabulous Monday Post

In honor of LOVE month, some things that I love:

I love:

  • to be right. Now some you may be thinking, 'that's not the Katie I know', but it's true.
  • clean kids, and then putting them in their warm, flannel sheets for bed, in the evening of course....sometimes I want to do it in the morning though.
  • to read. I'm starting this new idea where I try to know as little about a book as I can before I start it. It's really fun.
  • surprises. However, I find it's even MORE fun, if that's possible, to successfully pull off a surprise for someone else.
  • to eat. And I'm good at it, darn it.
  • meeting new people.
  • hot chocolate.
  • back rubs....if there's a certain someone reading this, this is what's called a hint.
  • when people say funny things. You know, those people who say things like, 'I hate bad drivers', like they've just shaken the foundation of a belief system. The only people who like bad drivers are their mothers.
  • commercials where people dance, especially the dorky, I-hope-no-one-is-looking dancing.
  • beating someone out of the blocks at a stop light. And trust me, I look really cool doing it in my dirty mini-van with three kids in the back seat listening to Old McDonald.
  • that my kids love ABBA.
  • a clean house. (By the way, this is one of those funny things people say, I mean, who really loves a dirty house, or is only neutral about a clean house?)
  • new clothes that I bought on sale and I look fabulous wearing, that last part goes with out saying, I'm sure.

Happy February!


Friday, February 5, 2010

A post about a post

So, when I was thinking last night, which my English teacher sister says is called pre-write (all writers pre-write, am I really considered a writer though?) I couldn't decide what to post about.

I was thinking about doing an opinion post about all the things I have opinions about, like American Idol and how they should just quit the show after Simon leaves because, let's face it, it's going to fail miserably anyway.

I thought about doing a hair-cut post. We all got hair-cuts yesterday, not Meg of course, and Adeline looks a bit like Scout from To Kill A Mocking Bird.

Or about how I'm pregnant. Just kidding. Some of you will be more amused by that than others.

The thought about doing a list about my favorite things crossed my mind. Creamy Poppyseed Dressing from Kraft. We've been having a lot of salad lately thanks to that little gem.

I thought about doing a give-away post. Wouldn't that be fun! I have a couple of quilts over here looking for a good home. Neither of them are COMPLETELY finished as it were, but they're almost done.

I could post about this book I just finished reading - Shiver. It was really good. There's four hours of my life well spent.

I thought about talking about ONE of my favorite books, The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I'm pretty sure Alex is the exception to the Writers-Are-Never-Hunks rule. And by the way, one of the worst books-turned-into-movies E.V.E.R.

I was also thinking about posting a picture about the other plant in my house that is thriving, thank you very much.

I thought about doing a post about sisters, and how someday I would have to tell Meg, that in fact she DID have sisters, and that would lead into a whole discussion about gypsies.....

Or talking about this really neat bag/purse that I made from a pattern, and I didn't cry once and I only had to call my mom twice.

Or a shout-out post. Like a big shout-out to the officer who didn't give me a ticket even though my tags on my van were three months old. And a big shout-out to Meg who was crying at the time which I'm sure totally aided my crazy-lady-driving-a-dirty-mini-van-with-three-kids-in-the-back-and-the-baby-wearing-a-make-shift-burp-cloth-diaper cause.

I'll give it some more thought and come up with something fabulous for Monday.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

a confession

my name is katie, and i'm a murderer, almost.

you know those great ideas you have? the ones that pretty much take care of themselves and are worry free? i had such an idea about 10 months ago. this idea cost about $50. an investment, but nothing an accountant's salary couldn't take care of.

then i left and something happened between leaving there and getting home and nothing's been the same since.

there were moments of optimism, when i thought, i can do this. but, honestly, i don't think i can. i'm a college-educated, mostly-capable person - this is not working out for me. i blame myself and i blame the 'illusion' that i was filled with. where was the reality check that so often occurs?

what's worse, i've helped others. i'm really ashamed. i came across someone just the other day with this same idea AND I DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING. how could i? it's bad enough bringing one person down, but to not stop another?

you know that picture at the top....that's the idea. fresh lemons and limes. brilliant, right? that one bush, the one on the left, it's had two leaves for about four months now. it's showing no signs of blooming E.V.E.R. A.G.A.I.N. and the other one, has bloomed about three times now. total number of fruit maybe they're having an identity crisis, because, i honestly don't know which is the lime and which is the lemon.

i've tried, people, i've tried. i've given them nutrients, i've googled their problems, i've monitored, i've watered.

and that other person? the one i was telling you about? she was going to buy lemon and lime bushes and give them out for Christmas presents. she thought it was an easy, clever idea. i didn't tell her then but i'm telling her now, and all of you, it's a bad idea.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Things I say to Adeline:

"Good morning."

"Let's go potty."

"Did you wash your hands?"

"You have to stay on your own couch cushion."

"Stop going onto Elizabeth's side."

"Thank you, I don't think Meg wants anymore hugs."

"Stop poking Meg."

"You don't have to take out Meg's pacifer to talk to her."

"Finish your breakfast."

"No, you can't push your baby in the stroller for our walk, that takes five hours and we only have thirty minutes."

"You better stop by the time I count to five. One...two...three...."

"Where did you put Meg's pacifier?"

"You want to watch Peter Pan, AGAIN?"

"If you want to talk to Dad on the phone, you need to stop crying."

"We don't hit."


"Please don't put Elizabeth in a choke hold."

"Hurry up."

"Do you want to hold my hand?"

"Go put your coat and shoes on."

"Go put your coat and shoes on."

"Go put your coat and shoes on."

"If you do a good job putting on your coat and shoes you can have a fruit snack."

"I love you."

"Why are you so crazy?"

"No, I just got all of the coloring stuff out for you and you colored for a total of 2 minutes. You'll have to wait or go color."

"Adeline, Elizabeth can sing in the car, too."

"No, you're not done eating."

"If you do a good job eating you can have a treat."

"Yes, I can color with you."

"I don't know when Dad's going to get home, but I hope it's soon."

"You threw up because you drank your own bath water and I had already told you to get out."

"Adeline, you need to find Meg's pacifier."

"What did you give Meg to eat?"

"What's in Meg's mouth?"

"Yes, you can put on your pjamas for nap time."

"I love you, good night."

"You need to take a four hour nap, okay?"

"Yes, I can read you a book."

"Put that down."

"Don't cut that."