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Diaries of a Grumpy Grateful Mom

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'd NEVER Do That as a Mom!

My wise self in 2004
I remember visiting some friends when I was pregnant with my first child.  The mom had a young daughter.  The little girl was climbing all over her mom while the mom was trying to talk to my husband and me.

Finally, the mom grabbed the daughter's arm, gave her a gentle push away, and said in an exasperated tone, "Get off!"

I didn't say anything, but I could not believe my ears!  How could she treat her precious child that way!  I would NEVER be that kind of mom.

Four kids later I say to my old self--HA!

So here are:
  Things I'd NEVER Do as a Mom

I would NEVER snap at my kids.  "Go to your room!  Pick up your shoes!  In the car, now!  Beeeee niiiiice!" Ya, I morph into that mom too often.  Not actually yelling, just snappy. 

I would NEVER let my kids eat junk food.  For my daughter's first birthday I called everywhere (with no success) to find a healthier birthday cake.   My second daughter's first clear word? "Candy!"

I would NEVER bribe my children.   This one didn't even occur to me.  I wouldn't need to bribe my kids.  They would be angels because I would be an exceptional mom.  I should have succeeded, but after a couple months of consistent crying from my newborn, I was burnt out.  Giving her a few extra milk feedings made her blissfully silent, at least while she was drinking.  And so the bribes began.  I thought her extra baby fat rolls were adorable. 

I would NEVER raise messy kids.  Cleanliness hasn't always been my strength, but I was planning to change my ways.  I was going to be a pristine example to my children.  They would, in turn, keep a perfectly clean room and even do chores without being asked.  Huh.

I would NEVER use the TV as a babysitter.  Yes, I think I've put on, and even watched, every kid's show known to man.

I would NEVER ever have to break up fights with my kids.
  Please.  They wouldn't have them.  Or if they did, I would quickly intervene and educate them on how to get along. Sure, I fought with my brothers all the time growing up, but I would just explain to my children how to be nice and they would obey.  Surprisingly, they are not so fond of listening to my lengthy monologues on kindness...unless I bribe them.

I would NEVER take my child-filled life for granted.  I was 28 when I had my first child.  I was mature.  I had waited a long time to find the right guy and have a little one.  I love my kids and I endeavor to be a better mom every day.  But!  Occasionally I still lose sight of my sweet motherly attitude.  Please refer to my paragraph on snapping.

So, in closing, whoops.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal:  I will attempt to reserve my motherly judgements.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Dangers of Grocery Shopping

I've been feeling good about my shopping trips.  Last month, I lugged my gaggle of four: Dani (7), Evie (5), Mase (3), and Dax (1), to the grocery store several times, with no major incidents.

This week was different.

Dani brought her new friend Moppy with us. There was a Moppy scuffle in the parking lot.  Mase wanted to hold Moppy.   After not getting his way, Mase did his usual tantrum face plant.  This didn't work so well on the hard parking lot cement.  Mase cried for a while, but didn't hurt himself too badly.

Moppy was not so lucky.  She lost an eye.

Then, there was Dax.  He decided his luxury seat in the shopping cart was not good enough.  He kept wriggling out of his buckle and attempting to stand!

It was too risky to let him out; he's a bolter.  I ended up holding him down with one hand and pushing the cart with the other, while he wailed in protest!

Meanwhile, Mase was practicing his ninja turns.  In an un-ninja-like fashion he tripped and fell.  I then, accidentally, ran over his finger with the cart.  Only one finger.

He finally calmed down.  I was still pushing the cart with one hand, while holding a crying Dax down.  I ran over Dani's toe next.  After this injury, I was more careful.  I kept hollering out, "Stay away from the cart.  Keep all fingers and toes far away from the cart."

We still had more things to get!  I thought my fellow customers (and myself!) could use a crying break.   I ripped open a package of string cheese to appease Dax, then some cookies, and finished off his shopping meal with a piece of bread.

We made it out!  

Dax cried in the car, but quickly fell asleep on the way home and slept for a delightful, cry-free, three hours!  

The rest of us had ice cream.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Year: Do more shopping when my husband can stay home with the kids.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Mysterious Missing Beaver

I had a true best friend when I was young.
Beaver Cleaver.

He was a unique combination, half terrier and half miniature dachshund.  Very hyper, but gentle.

Poor Beaver had a rough time over his first 4th of July.  We left Beaver home alone during the day. When we got back, he was shaking, scared to death from the fireworks.   He had also nearly chewed and clawed through our wooden kitchen door.

Another time when the family left him home alone,  he ripped open some bags of potting soil and covered our back room with it.  My mom gave him a stern reprimand, "Beaver."  Beaver lowered his head and left the room.  We found him hiding under a blanket.  

Beaver loved to escape.  He would race around our neighborhood, occasionally making some new dog  friends.  Still, no dog could ever compare to his true love, the kitchen rug.  I caught them "together" on several occasions.

Sadly, my dear friend made me sick.  After numerous emergency room trips with my Beaver-induced asthma, I know my parents didn't want to keep him around.    One day Beaver escaped again, just before a thunderstorm and never came back...or that's the story I was told.

I've always suspected foul play, but my parents vehemently deny any wrongdoing.

And on another random dog note,  we've had three different dog break-ins this year!   I think they must sense the plethora of crumbs under our kitchen table.  Dani and Mase are ecstatic with the visits, but my redhead, Evie, screams for her life whenever the smallest dog comes near.

 Here was last Saturday's barking intruder.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day:  Clean up the crumbs. 

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Message for My Daughters: Fitting In

My seven-year-old daughter, Dani, wanted to talk to me after school yesterday.  Dani told me she asked some girls if she could play with them at recess and they wouldn't let her.  They asked her to do a gymnastics trick to get into their group, which she did, and they still didn't want to play with her.

While Dani can be quite a willful child herself, this story just made me sad.  She wanted me to fix it and I couldn't.  I know she'll be OK.  She even made another friend yesterday.

But, I also know it will not get easier in the years to come.  There will be more groups.  More popularity contests.  More peer pressure to be a certain way.

What I Want my Daughters to Know:

Be confident.  You are beautiful!  You're amazing!  I love you and will always love you, unconditionally.  Never give away who you are to be accepted.  It's better not to fit in.

Other girls won't always be nice.  Don't waste your days wondering why.  Don't become one of them.  Be kind to others.  Be considerate and helpful.  Pray to find good friends.  Seek out the girl who is sitting alone at the lunch table.  Sit by her.  Include her.

Be nice to each other.  A sister is a gift.  I so wanted a sister when I was your age.  But now I've been blessed with you.  Cherish each other.  Become best friends.  Tell secrets.  Laugh and cry together.  Don't get offended. 

Always remember you are of infinite worth.   

Your Mom

Now quit fighting, clean your room, and stay away from boys.

Grateful Mom Goal:  Teach my girls confidence and kindness.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Talented Children

My kids are progressing with lightening speed.  They've come a long way, just this week!

Dax, for instance, has developed a new-found passion for books.

Then there's Mase.  He has become an expert strawberry picker.  Those green ones can be tricky to find!
And Evie didn't want to get left out.  She has been working on her acting skills:
I decided to stay home from church with a sickish baby this past Sunday.  Evie was laying on the couch and told me in her most feeble voice, "I'm too sick to go to church."  I had her stay home with us. 
After the rest of our family left for church, Evie jumps off the couch and says with a smile,  "You know what's funny Mom?  I am home sick from church today and I don't like church.  Isn't that weird?" 

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day:  I will be grateful that Dani isn't progressing as quickly as my other three kids.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Parade

I feel it my parental duty to endure take my children to one parade a year.  So, this weekend my husband and I packed up the posse and headed to the local parade.

My kids and I took a seat on the curb in anticipation. You'd think we would have noticed all of the ants as we sat down.

 One bit Dani and the ants didn't stand a chance.

As the parade commenced, I expected Mase to be giddy with excitement.  Instead he was focused, determined to beat his older sisters to the parade candy.   My children have their priorities.

Dani had a successful strategy this year, "Hi," she would say with a smile and wave, hoping to get an extra candy toss.   "You're beautiful!" she would call out to all of the princesses on the royalty floats.

I got all teary-eyed as the first marching band walked by.  I was having a flashback of my marching band days.  The kids at this parade sounded great, but I think the tears must have derived from gratitude that I was not still marching!

I attempted to keep Dax in his stroller but he wasn't having it.  As you would expect, he became obsessed with diving into the street.

Once Dax realized that his siblings had treasure in their bags, his obsession quickly changed: candy! 

He loomed over my other children and kept hitting their bags, hoping for some candy compassion.  His efforts were rewarded. 

After the parade, as her overflowed with treats, Dani declared, "This must be Candy Love Day.  This is the best day ever!" 

I'm glad we took the time to go to the parade.
My joyful parade face

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  I'll be making all of the leftover parade candy disappear.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Ultimate Summer Recipe!

Baked Cinnamon Crisps with Fabulous Fruit Salsa
 Must Try!
Really.  Truthfully.  I have never made this without rave reviews.  I first discovered this recipe here and have been making numerous versions ever since.  It is very easy and oh so delicious! 

Baked Cinnamon Crisps
16 medium-sized flour tortillas
Butter-flavored cooking spray
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Coat both sides of tortillas with cooking spray, then cut into triangles with a pizza cutter.  (I cut four at a time). Combine cinnamon and sugar in bowl.  Dip coated triangles in cinnamon-sugar.  Place triangles on parchment or foil-covered baking sheet and bake until gold brown, about 12 minutes.  These can be made even weeks ahead.

Fabulous Fruit Salsa
1 lb. fresh strawberries
8 ounces raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 peach or nectarine
2 kiwis
2 apples (I used 1 Fuji and 1 Golden Delicious)
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons peach fruit preserves (adjust amount to desired sweetness)
a bit of lime juice

Chop all fruit, saving apples for last to prevent browning. (I usually use my Black and Decker Food Chopper).  Combine fruit with sugar, preserves, and lime juice.  Keep refrigerated and enjoy with crisps!

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Appreciating the day and salsa with my family.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dating Evolution

My husband and I used to date: restaurants, movies, dancing, hiking, skiing--we did it!  I remember those days, a little.  Dating is more sporadic now.  We do embark on a dating adventure a couple times a year, usually when my parents come to visit.  I know the husband would like to get out a little more.

It's my fault.  Using a babysitter scares me.  I'm not afraid of what she'd do to my children.  I'm worried about what my children would do to her!  I can't even handle my kids, so a teenager???

Last Saturday, I was in and out of the house gardening.  My husband was also working outside.  I sensed my kids were up to no good.  I heard them talking about a tea party and noticed they were lurking around the kitchen.

Dani, the ringleader, finally came up to the two of us, just begging to show us what she, Evie, and Mase had put together.  I dragged my feet a little, afraid of the damage.  Sometimes I have to prepare myself first.

We slowly opened the door to our bedroom.  Dani yelled, "Surprise!" while all of the kids started giddily jumping up and down!  They had planned a date for us.
The food spread was quite extensive: fruit, marshmallows, graham crackers, torn-up bread, and watered-down orange juice.  They had  even filled some salt and pepper shakers with brown sugar to sprinkle in our drinks.  My mommy heart just melted. 

Then my children did something truly touching.  They left, only to the backyard, but it was still so sweet.

I made sure to give my husband a big kiss in front of Evie on their way out.  Apparently we don't do this enough.  She is always fascinated.  "Oh, Dani!!! Did you see that!?!  Mom and Dad kissed!  On the lips!"

It was a wonderful date.  We talked, we laughed, we attempted to drink the "orange juice".   Then, our five minutes of date time were up.  The kids stormed back in, devouring all of the marshmallows, bread, and graham crackers.  The fruit wasn't as big of a hit, so my husband threw it into the blender and made smoothies for the kids, which they also devoured.

With those results, I'm sure we can expect another child-planned date any day now.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Month:  My parents are visiting soon, but I want to plan a night out before then.  Maybe I'll hire two babysitters.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Top Ten Smells of Motherhood

Since having children, my house is filled with smells.  Wonderful smells like cinnamon rolls and strawberry shortcake dolls.  Then, there are the not so good smells!   I do what I can to keep it tolerable, but the odds are stacked against me.  So, here are...

The Top Ten Smells of Motherhood 
(for me)

#10 Our toilets! My toilets tend to overflow often, so I teach my children NOT to flush.  We're getting new toilets soon, hopefully. 

#9 No, I haven't showered yet today! 

#8 There was that banana peel one of my kids left in the baby's room.  This would also explain my last fruit fly invasion.  Luckily, the fruit flies were odorless.

#7 As if the banana peel wasn't enough, we discovered a hidden bag of rotten potatoes.  They were overpowering and very elusive!  I bought the potatoes, but I suspect one of my kids knocked them into the corner of the pantry.  I will never misplace potatoes again! 

#6 Laundry.  Piles and piles, and piles of it can add up!

#5 Gas, from the stove that is!  My gas burner was fiddled with and turned on by an unknown culprit recently.  There was no flame so my kitchen just started filling up with gas. Yikes!  Are there locks for those?

#4 Dinner. I've been attempting to cook more since becoming a mom.  You would think this would be a positive.

#3 My baby (now one-year-old).  Still so sweet smelling, but his terrible reflux left him with a continually covered in sour milk. Gratefully, for him, this stage is mostly over. 

#2 Carsickness.  Much worse than sour milk.  My girls are notorious!  I made a huge slip-up on the way to my daughter's dance performance this spring.  I forget the spit-up bucket!   By the time we got there, Dani's white dance top had a lovely orange tint and and an extra lovely smell to go with it. 

And the #1 smell: My three-year-old son!  Mase has become the potty accident KING, but is a jester when is comes to telling me the location of his accident. 

I'm thankful for all of my smells or at least the kids that come with them, but visitors may want to KEEP AWAY until this last smell is over.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Week:  I plan to steam-vac my carpets.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Meal Trauma

An exciting development happened a few years back.  A McDonald's was built just minutes from my house!  I was pregnant at the time and wanting to inhale McMuffins, so I was giddy to have closer access to my craving.  

We still go through the drive-thru at least once a week occasionally.  I always make the kids get apple dippers and usually white milk. That makes it healthy, right? 

It's the toys that cause our trauma.  Here are the last two adventures:
Incident #1
My three-year-old, Mase, and my five-year-old, Evie, got these flapping bird Happy Meal toys.  They weren't the most impressive prizes I'd seen.

After lunch I was cleaning up.  My one-year-old, Dax, was demanding my full attention, crying at my feet.  I noticed one of the birds laying on the counter, still in it's package.  So, of course, I opened it and gave the  bird to the baby.  Worse mistake ever!

I suddenly hear a large bird-like squawk from the corner of the room.  It was my stasher, Evie. "Mom!!! You opened my bird.  Why did you do that?!?  You know I didn't want you to do that!" she cries.

"Sorry.  You didn't put it away.  I didn't know it was yours."

"It was on the counter. Why did you open it?  Why!?!"  At this point I normally would have had her calm down or go to her room, but we had to go pick up her sister from school.

I was trapped with my daughter's wrath.  "You need to go to your room because you opened my toy and you used my reindeer cup last week."

"Oh, definitely.  I will go to my room.  You just need to make sure to change the baby's diaper and put him down for a nap, and help Dani with her homework, and you need to read some books to Mase."

There was a long pause.  A hint of a smile.  "Yes."

She had forgotten about the bird by the time we got home.  He is now "missing".

Incident #2
Mase had Evie's most precious zooble (round bird-like creature) Happy Meal toy and wouldn't give it back.  Evie attempted to make a trade with a muscle guy.  Mase took the muscle guy, but decided to keep Evie's toy also and ran.  

Squawking Evie was chasing Mase around the living room.  I started chasing Evie.  It was quite a spectacle, over a Happy Meal toy?

Sadly, this toy is also no longer with us.

I've heard that some people are petitioning to have McDonald's get rid of their Happy Meal toys.  And miss out on these memories???  Never.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Week:  No McDonald's this week.  Maybe Chick-fil-A.  Their toys are not so coveted.

 An extra note:  My little red-headed Evie is one of the sweetest squawking girls you will ever find. 

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Marshmallow Wars!

I've always wanted a marshmallow shooter. Who wouldn't!?!  But, $15 on Amazon--no way!  So, after seeing this idea, I got a little crazy.  I bought some 1/2-inch PVC pipe and connectors, then put my family to work.

I had my husband sawing, while the kids helped put the shooters together and colored.  We finished five guns for about $7 total!  Here are a few of our impressive creations.  

The war commenced.  Marshmallows were flying everywhere!  My three-year-old, Mase, started to figure it out, but his shooter kept jamming.  I suppose his spit method was not working so well.

Without a functioning gun, Mase quickly became an easy target and even got injured, taking a marshmallow near the eye.

Let me first say, I love to sympathize and give hugs when my children are hurt, but his "injury" was nothing.  I  don't want to raise a bunch of wimpy children.   "Oh, you're OK.  It's only a marshmallow."

After Mase was "injured" for a second time, I decided to stop aiming at the kids and went for my husband.  I conquered, pelting him with at least twenty direct hits.   But!  I moved in too close!  He started an all-out, close range, marshmallow assault!  "Ouch!  Hey!  That hurt!"

I suddenly had more sympathy for injured son, "Sorry Mase."

Evidently, I am the wimpy one, and a little mean too.

It was still a fun and memorable night.

And, no cleanup was required.  Mase and Dax took care of that for us.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goals of the Week:  Lots of hugs for Mase and marshmallow revenge for my husband.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Disturbing Dishwasher Discovery

Just as Princess Davis was found this week, another pet went missing.  Snail.  I was not enthusiastic about a snail being on the loose in my house. 

When unloading the dishwasher, I made the gruesome discovery.
The dishes had seemed a little slimy. 

"I found Snail." I said, "He went to heaven."

I did not expect much of a reaction.

Dani rushed over and peered at the overcooked escargot.  "Snail!  Oh Snail!  I love you Snail!  I love you!" she tearfully cried, and cried.


We had a burial.  Dani spoke.

"I loved Snail as much as I love you Mom.  I would rather have Snail than every type of candy in the world."

In retrospect, I probably should have snuck Snail into the garbage and not said a word.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Plan of the Day:  Taking a pet break.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Top 10 Loves of my One-Year-Old

If you already have or know a one-year-old, then you may understand what I'm talking about.  If you're planning to acquire one in the near future--watch out!

Love #1 Diaper cream
This picture of my 15-month-man was taken just yesterday.  I must tell you, it pales in comparison to the Desitin incident of '07.  I had two tiny giggling girls (and half of my couch!) completely covered in diaper cream, BUT, why do they love it so?  It will remain a mystery.

#2 Water
  I understand this love, it's just a little extreme.  I took my kids to a lake park this week.  I didn't see the "no swimming or wading" sign until after this shot. 

 Still, Dax just needed to be near that water.  I kept carrying him far far away and he kept marching right back!  Notice the tiny spec of baby, heading toward the lake. 

And there he goes again.

 Here he is after my final capture.

#3  Bark
  We were at a potluck and I initially thought he was chewing on a brownie.  In his defense, it was covered in muffin crumbs.

More bark.

#4 Climbing EVERYTHING!  
Dax just discovered he could scale the table last week.  He's been practicing ever since.

Here he is attempting a dangerous crevasse.

There's an infinite supply of these death-defying pictures.  Maybe I should invest in a helmet.

#5 Helping
All day long!  My one-year-old's spidey senses go off every time I am loading or unloading the dishwasher.  He rushes to my aid without fail.

There Dax is cleaning out the pantry.

#6 Sand
  . Check out his head.  My three-year-old son gave Dax a sand shower and my little guy still wasn't deterred from the sandbox.   He also enjoys an occasional sand tasting.

#7 Tantrums  
This one had to do with his appreciation of the great outdoors.  After over an hour of (intensely supervised) play outside, he couldn't fathom why I would make him come in.

 #8 Inflicting Pain
Do you see the look of joy on his face?  I know I was smiling too, but he can do some serious damage with those pinchers.

And finally, #9 and #10  Food and MESSES! 
I think these two go together.  Here are my most recent collisions: 

Peanut Butter 
(Quite similar to Desitin, but more tasty.)


Then, pretzels.

And I wouldn't have him any other way...mostly.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Appreciating every minute!

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Rockin' Baby Announcement

I have an announcement today!  We've been waiting for the right moment to tell everyone.  I hope you all will be as excited as we are.

My daughter's dear friend has been missing for awhile.  Now I know why!  Twenty-two precious babies magically arrived at our house last week.  Yes, Evie informed me that her pet rock, Princess Davis, (now Miss Davis, according to Evie) is a mommy!

For the record, I've been told their names are: Daxton, Kaitlyn, Kaylynn, Katie, Brittany, Janette, Elanore, Simon, Theodore, Alvin, Ilie, Gussie, Mikey, Mungie, Lolly, Hello Kitty, Barbie, Barry Contact, Nae Nae, Beezy, Bitee, and Rocky Rockerson.

Please, no gifts.  Apparently, baby rocks are quite self-sufficient.
Grateful Mom Goal of the Day: I will help draw faces on our new arrivals.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

The Big Blue Neighborhood Blight

Do you have any of those neighbors?  You know the ones.  They don't pull their foot-tall weeds, or they always leave a bunch of junk out in their yard, or maybe they keep a big ugly blue cargo van out front and never move it!

I have a terrible thing to admit.  We are those neighbors.  Let me clarify.  We are the neighbors with the big ugly blue van.  To make matters worse, we are on the outer end of a cul-de-sac, so everyone gets to see that rusty old van numerous times, everyday, as they drive by.

My husband uses it for work, sometimes.  Our driveway is too steep to park vehicles.  And, it could fit in our garage (it's been there before), but we have too much junk!   So, it got planted out front.  I was OK with that.  A big ugly blight for a short period of time is no big deal.  But, my husband lost the keys!  We searched seemingly everywhere...nothing.

So, there it stayed, for one month, two months.   One of our neighbors in the cul-de-sac was trying to sell their house.  I could just imagine their daily joy over having all prospective buyers pass that van.

Finally!  I was cleaning out my closet and found those elusive keys in a coat pocket.  I called my husband to tell him the glorious news.  "I have a key!" my husband yelps.  Very randomly, a spare key had been discovered at his work, at the approximate time of my discovery. 

I kindly demanded requested van removal, but my husband didn't seem as concerned about our neighborhood eyesore.  He was planning to get something fixed on it soon and would move it then.

This Tuesday was the special day.   The van was moved!  I could just imagine the cheers of celebration as my neighbors arrived home to see the big blue blight missing.   I suspect there were numerous parties thrown in honor of the occasion.

So, it's gone, at least for a few days.  Now it's time to pull those foot-high weeds.
Not actual van.  If only ours were so lovely.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Year: Try not to be one of those neighbors.

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