Tuesday, November 22, 2011

He is his father's son...

And his father is HIS father's son...

Jack. This boy is going to give me more gray hair than I care for. What happened to my sweet boy who aimed to please? He turned 9, that is what happened. The one thing that I still have going for myself is that I have a pretty keen Mommy Spidey Sense that knows then the little angel if up to shenanigans (most of the time). 

In the past 3 weeks he has driving me crazy with Halloween candy stashed in his backpack, contraband snacks from the pantry, throwing away his retainers at Panera, losing his wallet at the school carnival, and the latest was leaving his retainers in his desk at school right before Thanksgiving break.  Bottomline is that the kid is LUCKY!!! Not very smart, but very LUCKY.

  • Remember the movie Parenthood when the kid leaves his retainer at the pizza joint and the mom and dad go searching through garbage for the $400 retainer? Every parents' worst nightmare. Jack is so lucky he threw his retainers away, him mom called the restaurant to have them pull the garbage bag, and upon our return the store manager had already found both retainers and had them soaking in a disinfectant... unbelievable- he didn't even understand what that man had done for him.
  • After being told at least 20 times not to take his wallet FULL of money to school, Jack loses his wallet at the school carnival. Not only does some kid return it to a teacher, the kid returns it to JACK'S TEACHER, who recognizes the wallet as Jack's because he takes it to school all the time. No money missing.
  • On Saturday, Grandma asked him about his retainers. On Sunday, his mom asked him about his retainers. On Monday, his mom finally told his dad that she doesn't think the retainers are at home. Sure enough they weren't, Jack insisted that they were in his desk at school. This morning, as if the school district was paying the custodian to wait for Jack to come back to school to get his missing retainers, she opened the building, and his classroom so that Jack could retrieve his retainers that were safely stored in his desk.
  • The icing on the cake... upon picking up my children from Campus Club at 5:45 PM today, Jack informed me that his glasses were broken. The LAST thing I want to do the Tuesday before Thanksgiving is go to WALMART. You ask why WALMART, because that is where Jack's cheap father insisted on going to get Jack's glasses, they are insured by WALMART, we have used the insurance on these glasses to its fullest... I must go to WALMART. FYI- Lucky Jack. We were in and out of WALMART today in 10 minutes. UNBELIEVABLE.
Jack, his father, and his Papa they all are this lucky, it is freaky. While a normal person's parent should freak out, require that they buy a new retainer, or miss out on wearing them for 9 days, the 3 of them would never have the same consequences as the general public. All I can say is he is the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Remind me to tell you about the 20 checks endorsed and ready to deposit that Steve left on top of his car when we first got married. LUCKY!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Very Pinteresting...

The latest craze in the world of social media is a little website called Pinterest. It is a "virtual inspiration / bulletinboard" covering everything from weddings to food, travel, parenting, inspirations, fashion, health, beauty.... the list is endless. I have introduced several of my closest friends to the phenonomenon that is sweeping the nation. You stalk follow your friends' boards to see what they like or may be thinking is cute or funny.

With about 6 close friends and several "friends of friends" and "friends I would like to know better"   who are active on Pinterest, it was about time that we put our pinning into action. I literally threw the party together in 2 weeks.

I started with a simple Paperless Post invite with the party information and the rules "guidelines" for the party.
1. Make 5 of one craft to share
2. Bring a food item and 15 printed recipes to share.
3. Bring your favorite quote.

*** I loosely made it a holiday theme... but of course there are so many themes- health and wellness, kid crafts, gift giving, happy hour... Valentine's Day, beauty, So Simple, organization...

I also let everyone invite their friends, I was afraid of no one being able to come and I wanted everyone to have someone there that they know. It was great to meet new people and get to know others better.

Here are the results- So amazing!

The gift table- I was so afraid that there would be
duplicates of the same item.
Not so!
Nicole and Chee-
Santa wine glasses
Argyle wreaths
Val made dry erase boards,
all were different and so cute in their own way!
Thumbtack Christmas trees!

Of course, I had to do some Christmas decorating too!
We had a wonderful time. I totally forgot to take pictures of the food and the mimosa and coffee bar. Everything except for my Crockpot egg casserole tasted great. This is my new favorite Christmas tradition.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Mojo. Focus. That is where I am.For the first time in 2 weeks I am done working by 7 pm! 10-12 hour days are energizing and exhausting all at the same time. Medicare season officially opened last Saturday, apps are coming in, agents are selling, I am SELLING, but mostly I am making about 70-100 phone calls everyday setting appointments for agents.

Funny thing about college...
I spent 4 years working relatively hard to become a teacher, but the best training for what I do know was while telemarketing for Mitt Romney during his campaign for Congress in 1994. Yes, I was a "liberal" college student in Iowa from California, making campaign phone calls for a Massachusetts Republican Congressman. Strange, Medicare sales calls is where I find myself now. I guess it was my calling.

Sell. Sell. Sell.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Time Has Come...

Unless you want to hear all about Medicare (or better yet buy a plan), the time has come for Rachel. Steve. And the rest of the Kuhtz Diehl staff to go off the social grid. 2011 plan booklets went in the garbage today, boxes are arriving daily. 45 days of selling this is what I have worked toward for the last 9 months. Can you handle it?

Things that I most likely will participate in-
1. Going  to the gym. I have to! No Medicare 15 for me this year!!!
2. Tailgates and football games. I can't work ALL the time!
3. Cheer competitions. Plays. School functions. Christmas programs. The swim practice drop off lane.
4. Rushed trips to the grocery store and Target. Don't hate me if I ignore you.
5. And obviously WORK!

I apologize ahead of time if-
1. I forget to send your a thank you.
2. I I flake on RSVPing like I usually do.
3. My Christmas card is late and there are typos on my letter.
4.  My blog ends up on the bottom of your blogroll.
5. You see me and I look tired, overworked, and I act cranky.
6. I complain about work AND my diet.
7. Instead of attending your birthday party, I (we) decide to stay home and take a nap. It isn't you, it is us.

It may seem foreign to most, but we really are THAT busy! See you December 8th!

Monday, September 5, 2011


Friday night Steve took the kids to Red Rock State Park for a little overnight adventure sans Mom. They had a great time in the great outdoors- eating all the junk food they could stomach and staying up really late (a treat that they miss now that school has started again).

Steve discovered something new about both kids-
  • Jack- "Nature scared me."
  • Abby- "I love nature."

I LOVE Cartwheels!!!

Cartwheel mastered!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


While vacationing this summer with friends, the mom-friend mentioned that her daughter had recently started earning an allowance. She also mentioned that she saw on Oprah (or an Oprahesqe show) that the appropriate amount of allowance was the exact grade that your child is in, for me this was in one ear and out the other- chores mean a task that I can't just do on my own and I would have to go through the painful process of training, reminding and supervising the chores... I rather do it myself.

Upon returning my loving and caring husband took it upon himself to sit Jack (the child who can barely brush his own teeth) down and to tell him that he would from now on be responsible for doing certain things around the house. The first job would be to load and unload the dishwasher.
*** FYI- my kitchen was built for me (all 5'11'' of me) while I don't have to stand on step stool or even my tippee toes most would consider my kitchen giant sized and impossible.
So the task was given, a job that usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to complete now takes about 30. My good knives have the oxidized dishwasher look. I am never sure if my fork is clean or dirty because he load and unloads at the same time. The icing on the cake is $10 weekly allowance... no my son is not in the tenth grade.

For about a week now Abby (the messmaker) has been requesting that she also be give some chores ( I know it is because she is hoping for the $10 payday like her brother's). She has requested dusting and vacuuming, the problem is we never have made it to the point where she can do those things because she ALWAYS has a mess in at least 2 rooms of the house. Here is the evidence-

Room #1- The Kitchen-
How many times does a mom have to trip over backpack?

Room #2- The Game Room-
This was created in the 25 minutes I was working out this afternoon. 

Room #3- The Princesses domain-
A poor illustration of the mess that is usually Abby's room.
Lord help me. I JUST cleaned the house yesterday! I can't wait to see the allowance that this child negotiates. Am I the only parent whose kids gets ridiculous amounts of money for stressing out their mother?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Miss Vacation...



Being silly.

Favorite places.

Waking to this every morning.

I wish summer would last forever!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day of School...

Yesterday was the first day of school. The first day of school has reminded me of "Finding Nemo" since the first time I saw the movie. Nemo jumping up and down on Marlin excited about his first day in Mr. Ray's class. While Marlin would be happy if school didn't start for another year.

Even more so yesterday...

One has Nemo's enthusiasm and other the understated
fear of what the fourth grade {or the ocean} may bring, just like Marlin.

Thank you to Jamielyn at I {heart} Nap Time for the
adorable Back to School printables

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sleep In...

Two words that basically will guarantee that your children will be up before the crack of dawn. Why don't I remember this on school days?
June 2009-
This sleeping in each others beds behavior has resumed.
Fight all day and then can't be without the other at bed time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Worst Fears...

1. Drowning. I consider myself a highly trained professional swimmer. While I am not on the level of Michael Phelps or Janet Evans, it is highly unlikely that I will be in a situation that would cause me to die from drowning. Even so I am deathly afraid of drowning.

2. Having my butt featured on a nightly news feature about obesity in America. You know the video footage I am talking about people walking down the street with a street vendor hot dog in one hand and a King sized Snickers bar in the other, which usually is only shot from mid shoulder to upper butt range or if the camera guy is especially vicious it include a partial profile with neck rolls. Lately I have not watched the news, please don't tell me if you see me.

3. Cheerleaders. hey! Some people are afraid of clowns or snakes. Me just "harmless" cheerleaders and mice.

Addendum to 3-  A Cheerleader in my house... I fought tooth and nail to prevent this from happening and against my better judgement it has happened. Last week Abby started cheerleading two nights a week. She loves it!

Addendum to the Addendum 3- Cheer Moms- is there anyone woman who is more annoying then the woman who was once a cheerleader and who is now a cheer mom? Oh yes! The woman who was never a cheerleader who is now living all her childhood hopes and dreams through her child.

4. My child being a brat. I would like to say that my kids while I like to complain about their behavior are fairly well behaved nice people. Sometimes you get a glimpse of what your kid has the potential to be and it is not pretty. Case in point-
Today in the car (while waiting for cheer to start, in an attempt to avoid the crowd of cheer moms), Abby pointed out the car window at a little girl going into the building and said "Mom, that girl is not in my cheer group." "Oh really, how do you know that Abby?" I said unsure of why this was even coming up. "Because Mom! We don't have any fat girls in our group." Stunned, mortified, embarrassed- the list could go on and on. "Well Abby, I don't think that that is a very nice thing to say and that would really hurt that girls feelings if she heard you say such a mean thing." Without missing a beat Abby retorted "Well Mom sometimes people look different and that is OK, we should talk about it." Hmmm!
Emotions are still mixed over this one. I hope that my kids would accept everyone for who they are and not what they are, I guess I am in need of a little lesson myself. I will have to open my mind to mice, start working out more, and cheerleaders (and yes, cheer moms) but you can forget it when it comes to drowning- on that I am not budging!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best Birthday Ever...

Years ago a friend of mine celebrated her 3rd Anniversary of being her daughter's mother (also known as her kid's 3rd birthday party) she is funny like that. My 6th Anniversary of being Abby's mom was a lot of fun to plan, and luckily the birthday girl has already requested a repeat performance next year (as did her boy cousins, who will always appreciate a party that does not include a Disney Princess or a neighbor dressed as Hello Kitty).

The Best Birthday ever started with a Luau / Hawaiian Theme. Lots of cool theme items from the Dollar Store, a luau-esque menu (that was super yummy and was not photographed) and an amazing 20 foot water slide in the backyard that was also known as Paradise.

Crazy Uncles doing tricks!
Cousins who can now swim in the DEEP END!
Hawaiian Punch, of course!
Totally nostalgic and gross- all at the same time.
Lots of aerial tricks in the pool.
The BEST dress up shoes EVER!
A Birthday Girl
The Best Birthday EVER!
Happy 6th Anniversary of being Abby's Mom to Me!
So worth celebrating!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Going Pro...

This summer we are going pro... professional traveller that is. Last week we spend an eventful 26 hours flying across the county and sleeping in an airport. This week with after only 5 days home we are heading "off the grid", 45 minutes up the mountain to Shaver Lake where T-Mobile has failed to tap into a cell tower close enough to even give us 1 bar of service coverage. This is all practice for a yet to be planned vacation to parts unknown, the kids are quite the troopers. Here is the evidence ... 
On the floor in the Denver airport...
 passed out just like they were home in bed...
Going Pro!

Note from my Sponsor- Part 2...

Have you checked out 2 Sweet Tees yet? Have you checked out GroopDealz? Today my friend is pedalling her wares on GroopDealz- super cute boy and girl birthday tees.

You know you need one... or two!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Best Day According to a 9 year old Boy...

According to Jack yesterday was the best day, maybe even the greatest day of his life...

Vacation Bible School
A Doctor Appointment
Hanging out with Grandpa without his sister and cousins in tow.
Cub Scout Camp in a million degree heat... but he got to shoot a bow and arrow, play with his buddies for hours without the watchful eyes of Mom and Dad, and eat dinner at the Rodeo Fairgrounds.

The best part about the BEST day... Getting his braces off!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer...

More things that I love about summer...
  • Sonic Ice Tea at Happy Hour. Only a $1.25 for 44 oz!
  • Long days...
  • Sleeping with the ceiling fan on. While most home improvement shows love to bash on the contraptions... you CANNOT live in Fresno without one in every room.
  • Sweet corn.
  • Ice cream.
  • Big Brother (the show)- YAY!
  • Sitting in the sun at swim practice every afternoon for 2 hours- much needed tanning time.
  • Cold beer and warm fruit. Our fruit trees are stocked full this summer, only a few more days of heat and the fruit will be perfect!
  • Nightly swims with the family and going to bed slightly wet- the best!
Happy First Day of Summer 2011! The longest day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

All- American Weekend...

There is no better way to start Summer but with an All-American Weekend. Jack and Steve spend Thursday and Friday night at Boy Scout Camp at Shaver Lake. Jack's first real sleep over camp experience! He even had good things to say about the food (Steve did not)!

On Saturday morning they rushed home to collect the RV, Jack's "redesigned" soapbox derby car, Abby, and myself to head to Tuolumne for the Northern California Soapbox Derby Championship. We traveled to Tuoloumne last year for the same race. Tuolumne is a great little town with an awesome grocery store (which allows us to park there for the weekend), a Logger's Jamboree (the perfect small town festival complete with carnies, sno-cones, loggers, and almost as many exposed tattoos as a NASCAR race) and of course, the soapbox race. Jack did really well and finished 6th place AND received "Best in Show" for his new red car with yellow flames- named "Jack in Black".
What a FUN weekend!
Let SUMMER begin!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kindergarten Was Great!!!

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions, the last two days I have not been able to even talk about Jack or his teacher without tearing up EVERY. STINKING. TIME. Clearly the Kindergarten "Celebration" (in Clovis you don't get to graduate until you are in high school, it is the rule) was going to cause me to well up and choke on my emotions AGAIN. I spent the year going to Kindergarten every Monday morning, tagging along on field trips and class activities. While the ceremonies were fun and demonstrated the progress that 110 five and six year olds had made in the last 9 months... no tears. Progress in Kindergarten is to be expected, if there is no improvement there is something wrong. Progress in the 3rd grade is monumental, especially when the "experts" say that it can't be done. My baby is growing up... not that one...
The one who went from "Below" and "Far Below Basic" at the beginning of the year to "Proficient" and "Advanced".
The one who is no longer a "lower grader" and who is now an upper grader at Webelo sleep away camp.
The one who will learn about California missions, chemistry, and geometry next year.
The one who said good-bye and good luck to the only kid that he has gone to school with every year since he was 3 years old yesterday.
The one who is growing up faster than a blink of an eye, Wasn't it just yesterday that he turned one or would sit and watch "The Lion King" over and over again?
I will never forget the last days of school as a kid- report cards, yearbooks, parties, and the endless potential that only summer can bring to a kid- an ending and a beginning all at the same time. While kids see summer for its potential, as a parent you see it as the transition to the next stage of life changes that we can't protect children from. I can't believe I have a 4th grader... Needless to say, Kindergarten was GREAT!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Last week, Jack almost made me drive off the road, not because he was fighting with his sister but because of what he said. He told me "Mom, when I was in the second grade I felt like a failure." As I safely steered the car back on the road and regain my composer, I asked why. "Mom, I was in trouble everyday and I was not very smart." Good thing I have been in training for the last 20 years for this kind of distracted driving, in fact, my friend warned me about the "backseat confessional almost" accidents that her children subjected her to. "Jack, no one thinks that you are a bad kid or not smart, believe me they don't, I don't." As the words came out of my mouth, I began to wonder if he believed me or if this a case of "your Mom thinks that you are beautiful." Jack is the kid who has never won anything (not really- but I am just saying), he has never been recognized for his achievements at school, he is not the kid who has ever read to the Principal, been a Character that Counts, or until this year, high enough on the roll to get honored or even a letter in the mail. We think he is the best, but does anyone else?
Jack was to receive the reading medallion, and award for kids who read and earn a certain amount of points according to their grade level. Steve and I joke that it is really our award, because half way through the year Jack lost interest in taking the required tests, but we continued to "encourage" him to work at it. Halfway through the assembly, the Principal described the Student of the Quarter award. Each class has two, a student who has character, who works hard, and who is a friend to all (totally my kid everyone thinks). As kids' names were called all of the kids coming forward were kids who had already gotten High Honor Roll or Principal's Honor Roll (predictable), until Mrs. Nixon's class... Jack K. Lump in my throat, tear in my eye my kid was being recognized! Someone besides me thinks that he is great! We are so proud.

I guess I need to take the "My underachiever can swim faster than your overachiever" bumper sticker off the back of my car- I kid! It is hard to imagine what this year would have been like if it hadn't been for Jack's amazing teacher. She is patient, kind, intelligent, funny, and just the person to make Jack feel smart and important. Thank you, Mrs. Nixon for everything! This morning a different kid woke up at our house. A kid excited to go to school and do things (it may have something to do with today being "Video Game "Day, but a different kid none the less).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mama's sick...

A Type A Mom's worst nightmare. But while Mama's sick the kiddos and hubby shall play... Sunday was spent completely indoors (a sin considering that it was Memorial Day weekend, but understandable due to the fact that it was about 30 degrees outside, which should be another sin). More cartoons, than I care to know about were viewed. The only person who go out of their pajamas was Daddy-O, because he couldn't handle the thought of living in his pjs all day. No one ate a single fruit or vegetable, in fact Mama has NO CLUE what was consumed during that day. I am not so proud to admit that I let my 5 year old watch New Moon with me (PG-13- YIKES) and that we both kind of liked it. Daddy (the germ phobe) disappeared for a couple hours as have 'time to himself"- aka- not catch whatever I had. Dishes didn't get put away. Garbage was barely picked up. At bedtime, Abby told me that it had been "the best day" because she got to do whatever she wanted and stay in her pjs all day. I think it was my worst.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy Anniversary...

11 years! That is like the new 25, right?
Steve is a hard one to shop for. He is the guy that buys himself whatever he needs, unless it is sock and underwear, which do not seem like very thoughtful, sexy or loving gift ideas for a wife to give her husband as an anniversary gift. Socks and underwear are birthday gifts- DuH!
With my renewed blog-stalking addiction, I found a cute idea for a simple and kind of cheap anniversary gift from A Toddler and A Teenager blog. I have found my new favorite thing! We both used Leo Reynold's flicker website to cut and paste the letters and numbers that I needed and applied them to a PowerPoint slide. When you are done instead of saving it as a PowerPoint you save as a jpeg. Now you are ready to upload to wherever you print your photos (I sent mine to Costco), I printed a 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14 (I wasn't sure what size would look the best). Ultimately, I used the 11x14 which actually measure 9x12.
I think it came out pretty great! I think Steve was impressed with my talent.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Derby Days...

Something that we look forward to all you is the Fresno Firefighters Box Cart Race.
Who wouldn't?
When your morning starts with DONUTS...
Some as BIG as you face!
Making kids cry...
Making kids try new things...
Seeing old friends...
Making kids smile...
Box cart races... simply the best!
Be patient as I attempt to learn my new favorite thing... Picnik- photo editing.

Friday, May 20, 2011


We live in a place that is freezing in the winter and hot, hOT, HOT in the summer. I love where we live even if it is hot, it isn't a big city (there is no Nordstroms- not that I know how to spell it, nor to I wish to shop there) and it isn't such a little town... (fortunately I am not 2nd cousins with everyone in my neighborhood). While most people who live in the northern portion of the US would never dream of travelling here, I love it! Mostly because of the Hot Hot Hot.
I {heart} summer!
The reasons I love summer-
1. a new reason- Kindle. My Mother's Day gift. I can read any book that I download within seconds without a trip to Costco or Target.
2. Pools. I lived in Fresno for most of my life without a pool- CRAZY! 3 years ago we finished our pool build project. I love the sound of the water falling on the rocks.
3. My life is complete when I am tan... my dermatologist is going to hate me next week for my tan lines but my whole persona changes when I have a tan. Oh well!
4. I like to get my hands dirty... from March 15 to August 1, I spend my evenings planting flowers, pulling weeds, and waging combat on backyard pests, specifically SNAILs! AGH!
5. Cigar smoke. On a good night Steve smokes one cigar in the backyard, my oncologist will curse me for this one day but for now it is one of the smells of summer.
6. Tequila! YUM!
7. Parties! Suddenly everyone is ready to come out for a party in the summer. We love to entertain, it is my hobby.
8. XX. Dos Equis. our favorite beer to drink while sitting around the bar on a summer evening.
9. Happy Hour... at Sonic. Half priced drinks with the best ice in the World!
10. 12 ft of blow up entertainment! I am looking forward to my newest piece of summer fun... an outdoor movie screen. My kids will never know about drive in movies... they don't exist anymore! What they will know along with text messages, cell phones, and instant books, movies, and music, is movies projected on their very own movie screen in their backyard.
By the way, the kids have been informed that their mom and dad will be "snow" birds after they leave the nest.