Monday, January 31, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

This Week's List

Tuesday's List:

Reason's I love My Chef.
(Try not to puke)

1. He's teaching the big one how to use the mixer.
This can benefit me for years to come.

2. He's teaching the little one how to take messages.
This is a key skill to learn early on.

3. He's pretty good at story time.

4. Someone needs to teach them how to drive, and it most definitely won't be me.
5. He's instilling in them a love for camping.

6. No matter how many times he gets karate chopped in the man-parts by our offspring,
he still has a smile for me.

But most of all:

I love the way he loves her:

(ewww. gross.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Next up, dumpster diving

I have been reading a blog that a friend of mine does. She rehabs furniture into really cute stuff.  ( This has awakened my inner carpenter. Paired with that, I have been feeling the need to create something. Something that doesn't need to be fed, or cleaned up after, or molded into a nice human being. 

Last night I dreamt that I created shabby chic children's bedroom furniture. So today, when I drove by a house down the street from ours and saw a pile of stuff on the curbside; I had visions of salvaging some unwanted gem into an item worthy of Pottery Barn Kids.

I've never done this before.  That is, picked up a curbside item. Ok, ok, that's not entirely true. Once my roommate and I picked up a green couch off the side of the road. But it was in front of a second hand store and had a "free" sign posted on it's cushions.  And I was with her, and not by myself and we were living in a house that had sub floors and our living room furniture was two lawn chairs someone left at her housewarming party. So, my rummaging through items left on the curb of someones house, was a totally new experience.

I took Maggie for a walk past the house to kind of case the joint. From across the street, I spied a large wooden block that looked like it had potential. I felt pretty savvy taking Maggie in the wagon in case we needed to haul our gem back. Just as we were approaching the house on our return trip, I saw a truck slow down in front of the pile. Luckily, it kept going and I was left alone with to rummage. The closer we got, the the more excited I got.

The wooden block was not damaged. And it had hinges on it. It's a little toy box. Now we're talking. Shabby Chic Children's Furniture here I come. I barely slowed enough to look if there was anything else. Also, there was a woman coming out of the garage! AHH! Caught! I chucked the block in the wagon and peeled out.

Now, back in the safety of our home, I have been staring at the block box for three hours wondering what in the world to do with it. Paint it? Leave it? Let the girls play with it until it is demolished and ends up back on the curb? I don't know. Somehow I think it may end up like Maggie's bangs. A really good idea until I got involved. But really, I don't care as long as I don't have to clean it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Detective Handeland

Three things happened yesterday that made me wish I were a detective. Or at least a PI with credentials. Those things are as follows:

1. As I was pulling out of our development, there were ten jugs of milk on the side of the road. They were not all together, but spread out about the length of a short turn lane. None of them were overturned. Not all of them were full, at the same time, there was no milk on the road. It was very curious and I found myself wanting answers.

2. Eight minutes later, I spotted a dead kitty on the side of the road. The thought crossed my mind that it was fortuitous that the carcass was at least a block before the daycare entrance. Let's spare an entire preschool full of children nightmares about fluffy. But then, as I was nearing the entrance to the school, I spied two women in scrubs. One was holding a shovel. The other was holding a big black trash occupied black trash bag. They were heading toward the animal hospital located next door to the school.  Hmmm. Two dead animals in a one block radius of an animal hospital, one of which is being "cleaned up" by the professionals. As you can imagine, I had a lot of questions.

3. As I was showering at the gym, I heard a woman talking in Spanish on her cell phone while she stood in the sauna. I am sure that PI credentials would come with bilingual skills. From what I remembered from 9th grade Spanish class, she was picking something up at 4pm. It could have been kids, but not likely since the location of her call was so cloak and dagger-ish.

If I had a badger, I could have been questioning people in any of these scenarios.

I just re-read that last sentence. I meant to say badge, not badger. That gave me the giggles, so I'm just gonna end on that note.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Triple Threat

I got served the triple threat by my three year old tonight. It went like this:

(As she lay in bed, me sitting on the floor next to her)

Her: Momma, can I see your jewelry box?

Me: Maybe tomorrow. Shhsss. It's time to sleep.

Her: HEY! You said "shhsss" That's not very nice!

Me: Ok. but I said it nicely. Time to quiet down.

Fast forward three seconds-

Her: (with hands clasped) Dear Lord, Please help Momma sleep and be quiet. Mom, I just prayed that you would sleep good so you could be nicer.

Me: Thank you.

Fast forward three more seconds-

Her: (singing) Momma your not very nice, but you are nice, you just shss'd me.  I hope you sleep good and not in a pile of rocks.

Me: Sing it sister.

Another three seconds later-

Her: (opening her imaginary cell phone) I'm calling my Momma's Momma. Hello? Yes. Momma just shsss'd me. I know. I told her that was not very nice. Ok. I'll see you tomorrow."

It's after conversations like this that I realize that I may just be along for the ride and no longer Co-captain of this ship.

Friday, January 21, 2011

And I was runnnnnning

I like to describe people in terms of dogs. I don't know why. An example: if I were a dog, I would be the type of dog that would follow you where ever you went, as long as you had bacon in your pocket...or cinnamon rolls...or a one pound bag of peanut M&M's.  I digress.

For the past few weeks I have been doing my workout a few treadmills down from this "machine" of a woman. She's focused. She's fast. And even though she's a foot shorter and I probably outweigh her by 50 pounds, there is no doubt in my mind that I would lose any kind of match to her. If she were a dog, she'd totally be a greyhound. Graceful, no fat and not even out of breath after 3 miles of full on running.

Today was a busy morning at the Y. There was only one treadmill open and you guessed it, right next to her.  Normally I do not like to workout so close to her as it could adversely affect my ego. But having overcome a bit of a sinus infection and eating peanut butter for breakfast (Spinach to Popeye = Peanut Butter to Nikki) I feel up to the challenge. She is on my right. To my left is Mighty Aphrodite. She has me beat by a foot, but she is running like the Greyhound.

I get on the treadmill and stretch out. I normally don't like to stretch out in public (for fear my shirt my rise up and my ponch fall out, unless of course I am on the dance floor, but then again, I haven't been on a dance floor since the creation of the ponch, so ... I digress...again).  I exaggerate my stretching so they know I mean business. The Black Eyed Peas start singing something about "runnin' runnin' and runnin' runnin'" so I do as they say.

A big stupid grin crosses my face as I am a minute into my run and I am keeping pace with the Greyhound and the Great Dane. I am feeling great. I am an actual competitor! I puff my chest out and start to run with a limp. A pimp limp that is!  I get the giggles about how I tried to run a 10k last year with absolutely no training whatsoever and "ran" for approximately one minute of the 122 minutes that I was on the road.  Look at me now! I am runnnning with real runners! I could feel the endorphins start to course through my elbows (I know, what a weird place).   I started to think that I should sign up for a fun run this year. That was about the same time a Dunkin' Donuts commercial came on the t.v. hanging overhead. Ahh, the big chocolaty, glazed, deep fried voice of reason.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday's List


Tuesday's List:

Reason's I took it upon myself to cut Maggie's bangs.

1. I was running short on ideas for my book titled Apologies to Maggie.

2. I would hate for Rylee to think Maggie got preferential treatment or was somehow special because her first haircut was from a professional.

(One of Ry's first hair cuts before Troy took over)

3. She was sitting really really still.

4. I'm a bit of a dreamer and tend to think I am capable of anything- even masterful haircuts with no training.

5. There's the potential that she could get a big ego with all the "you're soooo pretty and sooooo smart" comments. So giving her a dumb haircut is a good way to keep that in check.

6. Would you let anything get in the way of looking at those big beautiful blue eyes?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Finger

I am becoming my mother. It's not really a bad thing. She's got excellent organizational skills and a love for food that I can admire. But I am becoming increasingly aware that even though we haven't lived in the same zip code in over sixteen a lot of years, I find her mannerisms coming out in my expressions, my stance, and even when I just say "hmmph."  This was brought to my attention last weekend at the park.

My little family and I were at the toddler park down the street from our house. It's surrounded by a cute faux wrought iron fence. (Strong enough to keep the gators out and the wee ones in.)  There were 6 bikes and one pink hot wheels scattered on the grass by the fence.  In the small field between the park and the next house, the owners of the bikes were playing and running. I was happy to see them playing away from the jungle gym since they were older and playing a little rough.

After about 20 minutes I spy the Schwinn Bike Gang throwing rocks at each other. I decide to keep my eye on them because my little brood were in tow and I am nothing if not a fierce protector of my Cub and Taz. One of the gang broke off and started toward the fenced area. He was not wielding any rocks or sticks or mulch, so I kept my eye on the blond kid who was following him.

Sure enough, Blondy rockets something toward his friend.  I bark out something about rocks and little kids. He yells something about it being harmless mulch. I yell something back about not being blind. Then I turn to the weaponless kid and start barking at him. Protective momma fire burning from my eyes. He claims innocence and I say something about warning his friends.

Shortly thereafter, the SB Gang hopped on their bikes and rode off to the next park. On their way into the sunset, I saw Blondy spit on the wee-est one peddling the hot wheels. I vowed to never allow The Taz to run with bikers, Schwinn or otherwise. When they were finally gone, My Chef came up to me and said something about me being a mother hen and his being impressed with my giving them "the finger."

Suddenly I had flashbacks to my brother and I getting scolded by our mother. She could be halfway across the house and WHAM her finger was shaking right in your face. It was millimeters away from poking us in the chest or nose or forehead. It was there punctuating the seriousness of her words. And man, was it long. It may have just appeared longer than the average pointer finger because it was like looking down the barrel of a loaded gun when it was pointing at you.  Either way, you knew you were in real trouble if you got the finger.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I must say that I started my day out with a bang. I ate a healthy breakfast. On the way to school, The Taz made up a song that went "Momma you're a real stinker and I love you stinker." After that I RAN on the treadmill (take that you delicious batch of homemade cookies) for 8 whole minutes AND THEN I donated blood.

I was full of the love this morning. Feeling good about myself. Feeling like I was doing something in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. by blindly giving part of myself to someone in need. As a side note I was extremely pleased to learn that my donation could help up to THREE people.  And boy are those three people in for a real treat, because I took my fish oil vitamin and three ecinacea this morning.

Then the day wore on.  Then tub time rolled around. Then the bathroom was covered in water. Then I was covered in water. The more I said "stop," the worse it got. The two of them were laughing at me. I had no control.  And I lost it.

I knew I had to remove myself from the situation, so I took Bear Cub's diaper to the genie. It was full, so I emptied it. In the hallway I could hear The Taz conspiring "hurry before she gets back."  As I type this, I realize how stupid it was, but I kicked the bag full of diapers. And by "kicked" I mean I drew my leg back in the hopes of kicking it, only to bend my naked toe down because at the last minute it dawned on me that I wasn't wearing shoes and my toenails were overdue for a trimming. Wanting to avoid puncturing that particular bag, I ended up skidding my big toe on the carpet and cracking my toe-knuckle on what can be compared to a FEMA sandbag.

My Chef heard my rantings, and came to the rescue. He was looking at my feet and asking why my toe was bleeding. "Rug burn" was all I could muster. This was really not how I wanted to end my day. Thankfully, My Chef had made a huge batch of "puppy chow" and relieved me of my night on bedtime duty. Whew.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What If...Part Duex

What if:

Adam Sandler


John Larroquette

had a son?

Do you think that son would look like this?

I do.

Meet Benny.
He's growing his hair for the next 5 months,
only to have it ALL shaved off,
to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The event is called
Shave to Save

I love that he is doing this.
I don't know a single person not affected by cancer.
Our own father fought and lost his battle to cancer over 15 years ago.
I'm proud that he is doing a small part to help give others
a fighting chance.

I can't wait to see how big he can get that Irish Afro.

If you'd like to, here's the link to Benny's fundraising page:

Much Love Friends.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pet Peeves

Tuesday's List:
Things The Taz and Bear Cub do that would be pet peeves if anyone else in the
world did them, except when they do them I am totally in love.

(also- I realize that today may not be Tuesday to the rest of the world, but in Casa de la Crazy, it's List Day)

1. Breathe really hot breath in my face in the morning.

2. Touch food on my plate.

3. Chew with their mouths open / make really loud slurpy smacky noises when eating.

4. Invade my personal space and speak to me with our noses touching.

5. "Break wind" while sitting on my lap (on purpose) and then get the giggles.

6. Talk on and on and on and on with no regard to any of my input to the conversation.

7. Sneeze right on my very clean shirt first thing in the morning, and then get the giggles.

8. Fake Hug. (I'll take any hug from those two. Fake or Not)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The Handeland's have had company for the last week. So I have been busy entertaining and whatnot. Now that we are back to business, I just have one thing to say:

I can't wait until ravioli for lunch doesn't mean a wardrobe change for both my wee friend AND myself.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Laughing Game

Yesterday, and by "yesterday" I mean the last time I wrote, I mentioned the game My Mudda and I invented.  I'm not entirely sure whose idea it was. Nor do I remember the first time we played it. All I remember was sitting on our patio, side by side, and I was in a funk. Then in the quiet and without even turning to look at me, My Mudda starts making this low, staccato, nerdy noise. It was the most moronic laugh I've ever heard. In my head I was thinking "man, she is sooo dumb."  For about 6 seconds, I was too cool, too freshman-in-college-sophisticated and too much in a funk to play with her. But then, because I fancy myself a pretty good fake laugher, joined in to show her up.

It wasn't a minute later that the two of us were wiping tears off our cheeks, and all was right with the world again.  It's not surprising that we would solve our problems with laughter. We come from a long line of jovial folk. I remember one of the last times I saw my grandmother. She was about 92 and was in her bed for the night. My cousin and I went to tuck her in and chat a bit before we hit the town. One of us said something that struck my granny's funny bone and she started rolling around and said "oh, I just laughed so hard, I farted."

The rules of the game are as follows: Two or more people start to fake laugh and try to out-do each other until the first person is crying (or not breathing). That's it.

Once, my friend Tracy of Breezy Point, MN and I might have hit the town a little too hard. We were young, and had nothing better to spend our money on but red paint. I had the feeling that she was probably miserable at work, and probably mad at me for talking her into "just one more" when I knew I would have a nice day off to nurse myself back to "health" on the couch. So I called her at work to cheer her up. The ringing phone probably made her head explode, so she did not answer and I got her voicemail.

The message I left was four to six minutes long. I said "let's play the laughing game." I laughed the entire time. It was a loud, cackling, borderline annoying, could she really STILL be laughing laugh. The only break I took was half way through to quote my granny "I just laughed so hard I farted."   Pleased with my message, I hung up and went back to bed.

The next morning, I pulled into work. Tracy of Breezy Point and I worked at the same resort. I was excited to see her and recount the good times we had a few nights before. I got out of my car, and the mustached guy from accounting yells across the parking lot "Hey Nikki, nice laugh."  I take the compliment and find it curious. I couldn't recount having a conversation with Mustache Guy from Accounting, little lone laughing enough with him to receive such a fine compliment. Oh well. I continue on my way. I get to my desk and settle in. First things first. I pick up my phone to dial voicemail. The first one was from The Chief, the top dog of the resort. It goes like this:

In a not very humored voice - "Nikki, do you need more things to do with your time?" followed by the sounds of some deranged crazy person saying "let's play the laughing game."

No way!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tracy of Breezy Point, MN had forwarded my voicemail to EVERY SINGLE PERSON that worked at the resort. All 150 of them.  I replayed the message. 150 people just heard something about laughing so hard she what????  There's only one thing to do at this point. Hold your head up high and own it. Bear the pain or bear the shame. That's what My Mudda always says. I don't know if that applies here, but it's fun to say while shaking your head side to side like you're full of wisdom.

So the moral of the story is this: When your friend is in a funk, you should play the laughing game with them but not on voicemail.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sea World

I'm one of those people who cry when they laugh. Real tears. The waterworks also start to flow when I am super excited. This is a real detriment when playing The Laughing Game. My Mudda and I invented it. The rules are to fake laugh with someone until there are tears because you are laughing so hard. It was originally designed to bring a person out of their funk. I tried this tactic on my good friend Tracy of Breezy Point once. That's a completely different story though, so I will save it for tomorrow.

I've gotten so off point that I don't even know how to work my way back to my original story. So, I will just say this: We took the wee ones to Sea World last weekend and took in a dolphin show. I had tears in my eyes from the minute we sat down.

 Look at him down there. I think we may get wet.

He's so huge, that I have to pronounce Huge without the H.

 Seriously. How many times did she try this before she got it right?

This is what she was riding. AHhhhh!

Here come the waterworks. 8 majestic animals soaring through the air!

And the finale.
I was so glad everyone was taking pictures or eyes looking in the at the trapeze artists and flying parrots.
Because I was busy drying my stupid leaky eyes.

We are getting a season pass.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How the Handelands Rang in the New Year

I used to work for a fella who fancied himself a good whistler. That's debatable, and not at all of any importance to this story.  When I first started working for him, I thought that he was a kinda, well you know "melba toast."  Dorky, finance smarts, farm kid. He had his wedding picture on the ledge of his window and it completely baffled me how this guy snagged such a hot wife. It took six months, but finally The Whistler started cracking jokes, and then it all made sense. He was funny.

One cold winter day, as I was loitering in The Whistler's office, I brought up the topic of cold weather. It was most likely a means to get sent home early. I don't remember if it worked or not, but what I do remember was one thing he said. "The cold keeps the riff raff out."  I didn't give that comment too much thought, until we moved to Florida. You don't see gators in the water there? Riff Raff = Gators. Which totally makes sense right?

But then, because I have plenty of time on my hands to let thoughts whirl around in my head, I thought of some college class I took. The lesson was about the difference between Correlated and Related. The professor used the example of how an increase in ice cream sales correlated to an increase in burglaries. They were not related to each other, but to a separate cause (being an increase in temperature.).  So after these thoughts were swirling in my head, of course I was thinking about ice cream.

Next thing you know, I am eating ice cream and watching the news. They are televising the news about a gruesome home invasion. Now I've got a different vision of Riff Raff in my head. And I am eating ice cream, therefore there will be an increase in burglaries. We're bound to be next. AHHHH. I had words with My Chef and our security system was activated by the end of the week. (I should add that it didn't help that and ADT man came to our door to sell security systems and used scare tactics. They worked, but My Chef was so peeved with their tactics, that we went with another company- ah ha! take that.)

Our system has been working great since, and I sleep well knowing the growling, thumping, snorting sounds outside my door are actually the sounds of my babies peacefully sleeping. I also like that it chimes when the doors open so if I don't see little Bear Cub sneak out the back door, a little chime sounds so I know she's headed to the pond to hunt gators.

The night of New Year's Eve was nothing spectacular. We were excited to hear that Disney was going to set off two fireworks displays. One at 8:30pm, and one at 11:30pm. Perfect. We could watch the early show from our upstairs bathroom window, do a pretend countdown and call it a year. My Chef buttoned up the house and headed to our cheap seats while I stayed downstairs to fix a little snack for the show.

I was just about the pick up our snacks when a noise started that can only be compared to prison siren's during a riot. It took two seconds to realize it was our security alarm. 62 thoughts went through my head, one of which was that the burglar must have thought the fireworks would be good cover for breaking in. I dropped my snacks and bolted up the stairs to protect/calm my babies. My feet hit three of the 18 steps. My Chef is at the top yelling at me "Is someone down there?"  over and over. How else would the alarm be going off? So I tell him "YES!"  To which he bellows "GET OUT NOW!!" in a voice I've never heard before.

He asks me again if someone is down there or if I set it off. No! We listen and only hear the shrieks of the alarm. Then it hits him. He set it off when he opened the bathroom window to see the fireworks. It was my second near heart attack of the week. (I nearly had one during a spin cycle class a few days earlier.)  We calmed ourselves and started laughing at our defense plan. Run and Yell. Run and Yell. And then we sat in wonderment at how our two little one's didn't even make a peep through the whole ordeal.

In the end we didn't even end up watching the fireworks. We just checked our blood pressure, did a fake countdown, kissed and called it a night. And that's how the Handelands rang in New Years.