We have had some beautiful weather recently. It feels like spring instead of winter and I miss all of our snow play. That being said, with the weather so nice (we don't mind hiking in the rain) I have wanted to get out and do some hikes. Unfortunately, there are a couple of sick family members who are doing a lot of sleeping. This hinders our trekking. :) Hopefully we will be able to get out soon.
Written by Jennifer Haler
So not too long ago I got all call from the school. This particular call was from the school nurse. Seeing as how my daughter had come home early in the day I assumed she was calling to check in. However, the conversation quickly turned to the unexpected.
There are no words to describe the thoughts that run through your head when the school nurse tells you that your child came into contact with someone with head lice and you need to check her head. Being a fairly well educated and articulate person the first words out of my mouth to the nurse were “OH, CRAP!”
I held the phone between ear and shoulder while I started looking through her hair. Finding nothing, thankfully. The nurse told me she would double check the next day at school.
That night I sat my girl in the tub while I washed her hair thoroughly, the whole time looking for the little critters and their nits. Still not finding anything. Phew.
Now, I have worked in schools for many years so I know that lice has nothing to do with being dirty or unsanitary. They are just really hardy little buggers (HA!) and the nits are really difficult to kill. Also, they spread really easily. It does not take much for them to move from one head to another. What I was mostly worried about was the difficulty in getting rid of them.
I have gotten many letters home through the years saying that someone in my child’s class had lice. No big deal. When Nurse called I made the assumption that my girl had been in really close contact. It wasn’t until the next day I was told how close.
Next day. My girly got checked out by Nurse who also did not find any nits or lice. Double Phew! Then I pick the kiddos up from school and find out that the child who had lice was the same child whose house my girl had stayed at during the weekend. “Crap!” came out of my mouth again. Then my daughter tells me that her friend borrowed her hair brush. “AAGGGHHHHHH!”
So now I have the possibility of head lice in the house. I start doing the rundown of what can be washed, what needs to be put in plastic bags, run to the store and buy everyone new hairbrushes, etc. Then my wonderful husband reminds me that the girls had been at our house as well and played hide-n-seek. One of the spots they hid in was closet with all of the clean sheets and blankets. Let me tell you. You don’t realize how much stuff you have and how many things touch other things causing possible contamination until you start having to figure out how to get rid of insects. During all of this my son told me “Mom, you are saying “Crap” a lot.” I told him I was just feeling frustrated and mentally was thinking that there could have been worse things to say.
At this point (thankfully still no lice) part of my brain is thinking the easiest course of action might just be to shave everyone’s head bald, purchase some new clothes and switch into them while bagging up the old stuff, and then moving into a hotel for two weeks.
Realizing that may be a bit extreme since we hadn’t found any lice (I won’t admit to it being extreme if we did have lice) we set to bagging up stuff in big black garbage bags. Where it will sit for the next two weeks. We changed bedding, pick up stuffed toys, bought new brushes, vacuum, etc. I did some research on the internet quickly to figure out if there was anything else to do and found out that basically we are doing all that we can do.
Update: Here it is three weeks later and thankfully no one ended up with lice. I am currently going through and washing the bags of toys and laundry that were sitting in the plastic for the last several weeks. I don’t know how we managed it; knock on wood, cross your fingers, etc., but we didn’t have to go through the process of shampooing and combing and gelling, etc. I hope that we never have to go through that again, let alone the process, if lice is found. So my thoughts are with all of you who have had to deal with it.
Update Two: Months later, we are still all good. :)
Written by Jennifer Haler
January 31, 2014
We finally had some snow fall and stick around. I love having four distinct seasons and I miss the snow when we don’t have it. I can’t tell you how much I was hoping for a snow day to be called. I realize that hoping for a snow day may not the most responsible thing to do but I wanted it anyways. I love hanging out with my kids and we had not had any chance to do any playing in the snow this year. Sadly no snow day was called, so we had to be responsible and send the kids to school.
Once home the kids snacked, did homework as fast as they could and then we geared up. Knowing that we didn't have lot of time since there was still dinner, showers, and a decent bed time to do for school the next day we got down to it.
We had the absolute best, hour long snowball fight in our front yard. There were many tackles, much snow in the face and down the back, tripping over the excited dog, laughter, and fun. We were outside while the sun was low on the horizon until after dark enjoying the fresh crisp air.
While playing I felt a short moment of sadness when I thought of our beloved dog who passed away very recently. We had him before the kids and he went everywhere with us. One of his favorite activities was playing in the snow. He would run with us, catch snowballs, chase people and roll it. I miss him greatly. Although this made me somber for a moment it couldn't take away from the immense joy I felt for being able to spend some good quality time with my family.
As it began getting darker I took a minute to lay in the snow (not for too long, we were still playing) but I couldn't help stopping and taking the chance to look up at the beautiful stars glowing in the sky, the moonlight reflecting off the snow in the trees, and smelling that fresh snow smell; l could hear the smile on my children’s faces in their laughter. It was one of those wonderful moments I know will last in my memories forever. I did have to get up quickly to avoid getting dumped with snow but I enjoyed it while I could.
We came in cold and happy with everyone’s cheeks flushed pink. The sight of all the snow gear dripping and drying in front of the fireplace continued to make me smile the rest of the evening.
Written by Jennifer Haler
December 9, 2013
This previous weekend we finally got a chance to put up our Christmas lights. The week before I had purchased some new ones. I had even called my husband to double check on how many feet we would need to string across the front to make sure I bought enough strands. I was trying to plan ahead and prevent any difficulties from arising. One can always try.
So I purchased the lights and a week goes by. We geared up in our snow clothes and headed outside. We began hanging the lights and want to guess what we discovered? Yep, we were a strand short. So I made a dash back to the store, but of course, a week has now gone by and they are out of the lights we had bought. What do I do next?
Check with clerk; none in back.
Call husband; not answering the phone.
I then called the only other store of the same chain in the area. They had some left. I asked them to hold it for me.
Drive to Sprague in Spokane.
Buy two strands just to be on the safe side.
We got back into our gear and then went to finish the lights. By this time it is getting dark and even colder.
Now before I continue, you should know about the lights I bought. They are LED and have various settings. You can have them white, colored, or a variety in-between. I did have the forethought to set all of the strand settings to the same thing before handing them to my husband to install. Score one for me.
While hanging them one of the light covers fell off. So now I am searching on the ground for a clear plastic light cover in the snow; in the dark. Steve finally found it in an area that I figured was out of bounds for bounce range. Score one for Steve.
Remember those controls that I had preset? While they were getting installed the settings got changed on some of them. So, once the lights were all up an on we discovered we had some white strands, some colored strands, some flashing strands, and some rotating back and forth. Soooooo, we did the big sigh and started working the ladder back across the house to the various controls (wouldn’t it be nice if they could have it so that a main strand could control them all).
We decided to set it on just white. We got the first two to white. The third one was a faded white and we realized that the fuse needed to be changed. Decided that it could wait until the next day because it was dark outside, freezing cold, and the one that needed to be changed is on the highest part of the house and difficult to get to. We continued down the line. Number four strand went off without a hitch. Then we hit strand five. My husband is rotating the knob around and it won’t go to the just white setting. He struggles for several minutes. Then I decide to give it a try. I am standing at the very top of the ladder and reaching above my head, gloves off for better grip, holding a flashlight to see the controller and trying to turn the knob at the same time. As it turns out, this controller has some kind of a glitch or sweet spot. No matter what we did we could not get the lights to stay on just white. Several times it had us fooled. It would stay white just long enough for one of us to excitedly say “That’s it!” and then it would change. I tried until I couldn’t move my fingers, Steve tried again and then we said “Forget it!”
We decided to put all the lights to colored and fix them when we take them down later this year.
So, we change strands five and six, and then proceed back down the house to strands four through one changing them AGAIN. This time things went off without a hitch. We got it done with very little grumbling surprisingly and now the house looks festive.
No matter how much I tried to prevent difficulties they just kept happening.
While I was out in the cold I remembered a time from when I was a kid helping with the lights. We were all outside. My dad was up on the roof and I was near the base of the ladder. The lights going up were those old colored bulb lights. The ones that are actually glass that is painted.
My dad put a bulb he had replaced in his back pocket. Can you see where this is going? Sure enough, Dad slipped on the roof in some ice and sat to prevent himself from going over the edge. I found myself in one of those situations where I felt bad for him because I know it had to hurt and he was going to have to climb down the ladder with crushed glass in his back pocket, but I also found it hilariously funny and difficult not to laugh.
Thankfully my dad managed to gingerly climb down and he eventually got all of the glass out.
Often holiday decorating takes way longer than planned on and unforeseen events happen, making it more difficult than it should be, but I still love making the house festive for the holidays. The kids love it too and hopefully we are giving them hilarious anecdotes to hold on to and retell as adults.
Written by Jennifer Haler
November 30, 2013
I was thinking back the other day to a couple of summers ago. It was a gorgeous, bright, hot summer day. The kiddos and I decided to drive around various spots near CDA Lake to get out of the house and find something to do. We drove around the dike road and then decided to head out towards Higgins Point. At the top most parking area we found a spot and decided to get out and walk to the water.
I love watching the kids playing around near the edge of the water and getting their feet wet. It was so hot outside. So even though no one had any swim clothing or towels of any kind I told them to just hop on in and swim. The kids were unsure at first, but I figured that we could go home right afterwards. They might be uncomfortable for the short ride home, but they would have a blast playing, the car would dry out, and it really wasn’t going to hurt anything.
So, I got to enjoy the sight of my children playing and swimming in the water in their shorts and t-shirts. The day became memorable. It is not often you jump in the lake in all of your clothing. It was such a fun experience.
Currently I am lounging on the sofa, reminiscing about our summer outing and typing out this blog; I am also listening to my husband and kids playing the Wii. There is a lot of laughter, smack talk, bodies flying about, and good times. Again, I find myself just enjoying the moment. Letting the kids stay up later than usual just to let them have one or two more games and to let me hear their laughter a moment longer; letting go and just taking it all in.
Sometimes in the chaos of life it can be difficult to just let things go, relax, and enjoy the present. But every time I do, it is worth it. Beyond words, it is worth it.
Written by Jennifer Haler
November 29, 2013
I have never been much of a shopper. It is just not my cup of tea. My kids and I have it all worked out for school shopping every year. I am as patient as I possibly can be for as long as I can be. Then I give them some forewarning when I am getting close to being done and they conclude as quickly as they can. This means that they get to shop for what they want and I get to stop shopping before I hit the end of my rope. Nobody winds up frustrated or upset because we have found a compromise. The system works.
So you can imagine what the idea of shopping on Black Friday does to me. Simply said, there is no possible way you are going to get me into a store.
So we have started a family tradition. We have transformed Black Friday into Green Friday. We take the opportunity to go out into nature while everyone else is busy indoors. This means that we get the hiking trails to ourselves for the most part.
We headed out to a local trail, and it was absolutely beautiful. We decided to do a short route since one of my kiddos and I are still recovering from strep throat. It had begun snowing before we got under way which made us all very excited. Hiking in the snow is awesome.
The trail was so peaceful. The snow dampened much of the surrounding sounds making a quietness that was very serene. It was beautiful to watch the snow fall through the trees; our footprints being the first to break the trail. We occasionally heard squirrels, chipmunks and birds but for the most part it was very still.
I love this tradition. We love to be outdoors anyways and this is a pleasant way to spend some time together as a family on a day that is often filled with chaos.
Written by Jennifer Haler
The other day this was the text message I sent to my husband, “Uuuuuggggghhhhh, this day is just uuuuuggggghhhhh.” Did you ever just have one of those days?
I have had enough of those lately that I feel like the saying should be “Did you ever just have one of those months?” We have had a lot of things going on lately. Some is draining mentally, some emotionally, some financially and some draining physically. It would be easy to let it drag me down, and sometimes it does, but I find that when things like this happen I always think back to when my oldest, now 12, was around the age of 2-3. (Holy smokes! That was an entire decade ago.)
Like all little toddlers she was learning to deal with frustration in appropriate and inappropriate ways. One of the techniques she developed to deal with feeling aggravated is, to this day, my absolute favorite. Whenever she did it I felt like life would be so much simpler if adults were allowed to deal with irritations in the same way. If adults were allowed to be this free with expressing their annoyance and then be able to move on, it would be a wonderful thing. This technique worked every time. Unfortunately, only children are allowed to express themselves so freely.
What is this master plan? What is this amazing technique for releasing pent up energy? It is a very easy three step method and takes very little time to learn.
Here is the tried and true Toddler Frustration Release Method.
1. Become annoyed, irritated, vexed, etc. at someone or something.
2. Stick out your tongue and give a nice big raspberry. (This is the most important step.)
3. Continue about your day as normal since nothing is bothering you anymore.
Note: For those of you who are unsure of what a raspberry is, I will explain. It is when you stick out your tongue and make the “ttttthhhhhhbbbbttttt” sound.
Now, you may laugh but give it a try. It totally works. It releases all that irritation and lets you move on to other things. It is truly freeing. I have done it, on a few occasions, although I always wait until I am alone. As I said, only toddlers can get away with this in public. But sometimes if feels really good to just let out a nice big raspberry and then move on with your day.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the next time the car breaks, the pipes leak, the traffic is crazy, you get parked in at the store, someone yells at you for no reason, you wake in the middle of the night to the sound of your dog vomiting (yeah, that happened recently too) or any of the other multitude of things in life that could cause you to become annoyed, you could just give a nice big raspberry and then continue on with your day?
The next time you become upset; don’t hold in your frustration. Find a quiet spot and let it go with a resounding “ttthhhhbbbbtttt.” You’ll feel better, I promise.
As they say, “Out of the mouths of babes.”
So have your kids taught you any unique habits? I would love to hear about it. Write a comment down below.
Written by Jennifer Haler
Be warned…….I will be discussing icky things.
My kids have an amazing ability to clog up a bathroom sink no matter how much we talk about ways to avoid it. Needless to say, I have become quite adept at pulling apart a sink to unclog the drains. It’s not that tricky to do once you know how.
For a while my kiddos were clogging the drain frequently so, the last time they clogged the drain up I showed them all of the (prepare to get grossed out) hair, toothpaste, and fungus growing on the hair that I had pulled out of the drain. They were sufficiently disgusted. I informed them that the next time it got clogged they would be cleaning it out. Suffice it to say, the sink did not get clogged for a very long time.
Which brings us to today. Yup, the sink is clogged. So badly that it took a couple of hours for some water to drain down the pipe. I have decided that I am definitely going to show the kids how to unclog a drain and have them help. I figure this does two things. One, maybe if they get grossed out enough again the sink won’t get jammed up as quickly. Two, when the sink does get jammed up they will know how to fix it. I will be there every step of the way and will help them as many times as it takes for them to learn how to do it on their own.
The funny thing is that cleaning out the drains doesn’t bother me that much. I mean, it is not my go to activity when I have free time, but it doesn’t totally disgust me. However, my husband feels like gagging whenever he sees me doing it. If he walks in while I am pulling out all of the hair etc. from the pipes he will turn right around and walk back out.
On the other hand, I cannot bring myself to stick my hand down into the disposal if something falls in. I realize that this is similar to unblocking sinks but I personally find it very different. When I am cleaning out the sink I can wear gloves and use tools to help pull the goop out. I can also see what I am getting myself into. The thought of sticking my hand into the unknown slime and glop of the disposal makes me want to vomit. I have literally dropped a utensil down there and decided that since I was the only one home and no one would be accidentally turning it on it could wait until Steve got home. And sure enough, when he got home I told him about the utensil and he fished it out for me. I am pretty sure that this is what a modern day knight in shining armor does. Fixes things that I am perfectly capable of doing on my own but don’t want to.
Now you would think that with Steve being squeamish about the clogged pipes he would not want to stick his hand down the drain, but he has absolutely no problem doing it. He will reach right in and pull out or fix whatever needs to be fixed.
I just decide to go with it and figure it makes us a good team. He will stick his hand into the abyss of the gunky disposal and I will pull apart the sink and tub drains.
I did have the kids help me unclog the drain. I started by showing them how to take out the stopper and make sure all the water was drained through first. Then we got some needle nose pliers and some paper towels to throw the goop on. We began pulling the crud out and the kids were totally disgusted. It was kind of funny to watch them. Two of them felt close to throwing up and the girls immediately began planning to brush their hair elsewhere so none of it would go down the drain. They pulled through though and then helped me reassemble the sink and make sure it was all put together correctly.
I have a feeling that sucker won’t get clogged up for a very long time and when it does, I will get to act as supervisor. Although, my oldest informed me that she is pretty sure she will “forget” how to fix it the next time it is in need.
I would love to hear about your gross outs. What are the things that you find repellent? Write a comment down below.
Written by Jennifer Haler
So recently my husband was out of town. He usually does all the dishes but when he is away this falls to me to do. One day I was really tired and didn’t feel like doing the dishes for the night.
I should rephrase that since I never feel like doing the dishes.
One day I decided to skip the dishes for the night because I was tired.
During the night the dishes had taken the opportunity to multiply so instead of one load to do I somehow had three. It took me a little bit to get caught up but the best motivator was that my kids were having friends over to the house and I needed to make sure that when the kids came over it didn’t look like a tornado had hit the kitchen. Also kids eat a lot, and as anyone who has hosted a slumber party knows, there needs to be plenty of plates, bowls and utensils to feed them on.
So as I am standing at the sink scrubbing away I recalled a time that I couldn’t manage to get it all finished. Some friends were coming over to our house and I had managed to get everything except the dishes done. We got down to the last minute and I had a pile of things that needed to be washed by hand sitting on the counters. What’s a girl to do?
Well, I admit. Since these were adults and not kids coming over to play, I had my kids help me gather it all up and I stuffed it in one of my daughter’s room. Yep, you read that correctly. We then shut the door to her room and told them not to open it until company had left. At the end of the evening we pulled them all back out so I could clean them.
There is a reason I have a sign hanging in my kitchen that says “I see the screw-up fairy was here again!”
My house is not disgustingly dirty, but it does get cluttered and I can fall behind on things. It is easy to do with three kids, two cats and two dogs. And the fact that I would rather be doing just about anything with my family than cleaning or cooking.
I would love to hear your stories of a time you fell behind on cleaning or a weird way you solved a household problem. We have all been there. What are your techniques for getting done in a hurry?
Written by Jennifer Haler
So let’s talk about quirks. Those little things that everyone has. Those small peculiarities that annoy the heck out of you but don’t seem to bother most others. And I am sure I am not the only person to tease others when I have the knowledge of what their quirks are. :)
I was thinking about this while watching my kids pester each other.
Before starting I would like to give a big thanks to my family for letting me share all of our personal info. I am hoping that no one out there takes this info. and uses it against us… well, don’t use it against me anyways. :)
My son cannot stand to have other people’s feet touching him so of course the girls try to stick their feet in his face whenever they can. One of my girls hates spiders and my son has a super large radio controlled spider he uses against her frequently. She gives quite a good squeal when it comes towards her. My other girl cannot stand the sound of a utensil scraping against a pan so having her scrape the remnants of food out of the pot is not a good idea.
Now for my husband and me. We both have a few small quirks. For instance, I need to have sheets, blankets and towels folded a certain way. If they are folded the “wrong” way I have a strong desire to fix it. I don’t know why, but it really bugs me. The item should be held on the short end and folded in half with the hands coming together. Now it is narrow and long so you fold it in half down. If it is small like a towel, you can hang it perfectly on a rack this way or fold it in half down again to fit in the closet. If it is larger like a blanket you continue the pattern of across and down folding until it is small enough to store. I realize that this sounds a bit OCD, but in my brain it’s the way things are supposed to be folded.
My husband cannot stand to have a gap left in-between the curtains when they are pulled shut. It bothers him enough that he will need to get up and fix it. This is minor but still annoys him.
These are small things but the more fun ones are the big quirks. Here is where it gets interesting with the goofier peculiarities that make each of us unique. What you may very well find to be a small mess another man may feel is the bane of his existence.
We’ll start with my husband first.
A little back story.
My husband comes from a big gaming family. And they take their games seriously. You are never allowed to quit a game. If you need to stop in the middle and are unable to come back, then this is considered a loss. They don’t mind losing if it is in a fair game but a loss from giving up is unacceptable. Needless to say, I have seen many a person continue a game well beyond when they had to leave, go to bed, meet spouses, etc. all because you are not allowed to just stop in the middle. (Isn’t it amazing they all managed to find spouses even though they are consistently late because they were playing a game?)
So what do I do to my poor husband for some personal entertainment? Yep, start up a game online like texttwist, zuma or any others and then leave it unfinished. He will find it there on the computer, just waiting for him. And often can’t do whatever it was he was going to do in the first place until the game is concluded. This always give me a good chuckle.
Of course, he is not the only one with quirks. I have a thing about eyebrow hair. For some reason it really bothers me when eyebrow hair goes the wrong way. Which basically means any way that is not lying flat in with the others. It gives me (as my daughter says) the jiggs. I get a feeling similar to that of fingernails on a chalkboard all because I feel as if the hair is going the wrong way. I don’t care if your eyebrows are bushy, thin or just one long line, but the hair needs to be lying flat. Wanna take a wild guess about what my husband enjoys doing to torture me? Yep, rubs the hair the wrong way. If he can manage it, he will do it to my eyebrows which really gives me the jiggs. Otherwise he settles for messing up the kids’ or his own and laughs gleefully the whole time.
These are some fun little ways we pester each other (I mean, come on, we are too old for pulling pig tails now, right?). But it is all done with love and we make sure to never cross the line with it.
Despite these quirks I am happy to say that I love my husband even when he is annoying the heck out of me by rubbing my eyebrows the wrong way. He loves me despite the fact I have no problem stopping a game in the middle and just declaring whoever is the closest the winner. And I know my kids love each other even when they are beyond annoyed with their siblings.
I love spending time with my family doing all the wonderful activities in the Inland Northwest.