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And that’s how you get kicked out of school.

Refresh.

Hold on, I’ve been refreshing my email since I got home.

I’m waiting on an email from the school principal.

By now, she’s probably been notified about the incident after school.

Refresh.

You know when the class “trouble-maker” does something bad and the whole class gets punished for it? I’m waiting for a new school rule to be announced to punish other families.

Refresh.

No, Emma and Kate are good kids. They don’t listen to Scott and me but they somehow listen to their teachers. But we are the Burtons and I swear this shit only happens to me.

Stella shot up to legend status after school today.

Legend status. Stella, the big black dog that will stand the test of time. New school rules written because of her heroic entrance onto school grounds. She busted out of the car in the name of her friendly breed, the labrador retriever. No dog has come that close to setting a paw inside the school.

She did it. She put a paw inside the school.

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We live far enough away that I drive the kids to and from school.

On the rare occasion, I bring Stella with me to pick up the girls. Today was a rare occasion. I thought she could use the fresh air. The school staff hates me.

Refresh.

The wait in the school car line started out fine. I caught up on some emails, I helped write a rap song for my friend’s baby book, and then I talked to Scott on the phone. Stella waited with her eyes on the prize.

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The school bell rang. Cars inched forward. I made my way to the front of the school. I saw Kate running toward the car with a smile on her face.

Oh, she looks happy today.

“Hi, Kate!”

I waved.

Kate opened the door.

“Oh no, wait!”

Gone. Stella was gone.

A wave of screams pierced the air. Brothers protected their sisters with backpacks. Teachers grabbed their walkie talkies and ran towards Stella. All eyes went to the black blur jumping on kid after kid. Stella’s big tongue crossed over every face she could reach.

I rolled my window down.

“STELL-LAAAAAAAAA! KATE GET STELLA!”

Kids moved in swarms from spot to spot in the grass. Boys dive-bombed Stella. Stella jumped on teachers. Stella knocked down a girl. The girl cried.

“EMMA! GET! STELLA!”

What do I do? I don’t know what to do. Do I get out? Do I…no, I shouldn’t film this.

A teacher walked up and down the sidewalk.

“Whose dog is this?! WHOSE DOG IS THIS!!”

“Oh, um! Hey!”

I slowly lifted my foot off the brake and rolled forward alongside the teacher.

“Mine. She’s mine. I’m sorry! What do I do?! EMMA AND KATE STOP LAUGHING! GET HER! GET HERRRR!! Should I get out?”

“No, stay here and we’ll get her. What’s her name?”

“Stella. I’m so sorry.”

Emma runs by, laughing.

“That’s my dog! STELLL-LAAAAA!”

I could feel the helicopter parents hovering behind me. They had the principal on speed dial.

“Stellaaaa! STELL-LAAAAAA!!”

Oh my God, this is a nightmare. I’m going to get sued for having a dog that loves to play with kids. They’re going to talk about me on News Talk radio tomorrow. They’re going to make a joke about that old movie with the man screaming, “Stella!”

“NOOOOOO! DON’T LET HER IN THE SCHOOL! DO NOT LET HER IN!”

Stella ran towards the open door into the school.

NO! I’m going to have to chase her through the school. They’re going to send my kids to private school after this. We can’t afford that! 

Stella placed one paw inside the door. A teacher grabbed her collar and yanked her back.

Oh, whew. Ok, it’s ok.

Emma hopped in the car. Her face was red and she had the hiccups from laughing so hard. Kate pushed her way in. The teacher dragged Stella back into my car and shut the door.

“Stella wanted to go to school, mom!”

“Please don’t tell your dad.”

The girls called Scott.

Scott knows. I heard the disapproving, “Oh, Julie” over the phone. But it really should be “Oh Stella.”

It crossed my mind that maybe it’s in my head. This probably happens all the time. Many families in the area have friendly labs.

And then Emma’s friend rang our doorbell. Emma asked her if she heard what Stella did after school.

“THAT was STELLA?! Our teacher told us to stay inside because there was a big dog running around!”

And that’s how legends are made.

I’m waiting to read the disapproving email.

Refresh.

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trojan

The Trojan horse shot my Achilles heel.

Hi. Welcome to 2017.

I’m in bed, introverting.

If you look up “introvert” in a dictionary, you will learn that an “introvert” is a noun – a person. Sometimes it’s an adjective – such as, Julie is introverted.

“Introvert” is also a verb. Julie needed to go home after chaperoning the school field trip because she needed to introvert.

It’s my blog and I can write new grammar rules if I want.

Extroverts gain energy by being around other people. Introverts gain energy by being alone. That’s it. That’s the difference.

This doesn’t mean that an extrovert is friendlier than an introvert. Or extroverts are the only ones that stand up for themselves. Rosa Parks was totally an introvert. Jim Carrey, Drew Carey, Audrey Hepburn, Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O’Brian, David Letterman, JK Rowling, Albert Einstein, and Beyonce – oh girl. They’re all introverts. Introverts can make you laugh, make you think, make you dance, make you proud. They can entertain you. And they most likely like you.

And, like me and Beyonce, we need to re-charge alone. We need to introvert.

The in-law family Christmas rolled into town two weeks ago. They came from all over – Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Florida, Washington (state), Tennessee, and California. Kansas City became home for the holidays.

A Trojan horse showed up in my house and all 30 of them busted out in front of me. And you know what they did? They took over. 30 people need to, like, eat. Scott’s family eats. Oh, do they eat. We observed “Christmas dinner” for seven nights in a row. Seven Christmas dinners. The big meal of the year, times seven. I mean, they rolled out pre-appetizers, appetizers, first course salads, main courses, sides, and desserts. And this wasn’t a scoop out of the ice cream container for dessert. Pies. Scott’s grandma baked pies. And homemade fudge. And breads. Plates of sin offered every night for seven nights.

Traditional. That’s the word. Scott’s family is traditional. They even say things like, “good grief.” And if they’re really shocked – like watching me down two bottles of wine only to make a George Michael video for Instagram – they’ll exclaim, “did she really? GOOD NIGHT!” and they’ll fall over in laughter. Scott’s family is a Peanuts comic strip. It comes out adorable and funny when you try to explain them.

“We’re normal.”

“Knock it off, Scott. I’m half Mexican. Throwing an enchilada and couple tamales on a plate is my normal.”

I’m sorry, I got off topic. The food distracted me. The Trojan horse rolled into my house, aimed and fired at my Achilles heel and now I’m dead. I totally screwed up that metaphor, didn’t I? 

The reason I’m starting off 2017 introverting in bed is because people, so many people. I’m re-charging. I’m trying to get back to normal, my normal with a freezer full of tamales from my mom. I’m trying to find my creative rhythm, my focus.

No, I didn’t start yoga.

Although, I should get my ass in the gym because that was a lot of food.

___________

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ohemmaohkate

Oh Emma, Oh Kate.

Oh Emma, Oh Kate is a series of funny things my kids say. Emma is 10 and Kate is 7. 

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Scott and Kate got in an argument before bed. I checked on Kate before she fell asleep.

Me: Good night, Kate!

Kate: Tell daddy to come in here.

Me: Really? I thought you were mad at him?

Kate: I have words with him.

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I picked up the girls from school. Emma slammed the door, mad.

Me: What happened?

Emma: KATE. She brought me my water this morning.

Me: She did? I gave you your waters before school?

Emma: You switched water bottles. She walked into my class and said, “Emma! You switched water bottles and now there’s your slobber all over this.” And she LICKS MY WATER BOTTLE IN HER HAND. The whole class starts laughing and now they know our family is weird.

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Me: Your purse is so full.

Kate: I come to life prepared.

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Me: It’s snowing!

Kate: I want to eat yellow snow.

Me: What?

Kate: I want to eat (puts up air quotes) YELLOW. SNOW.

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Kate watched Fuller House on Netflix. Scott was next to her, watching football on TV.

Kate: Watch this part, dad.

Scott: Hold on.

Kate: No, you really need to watch this.

Scott: Wait. What is it?

Kate: It’s her first kiss.

Scott: WHAT?!

Kate: Watch it!! They’re kissing. It’s my favorite part.

__________

I talked to Kate before putting her in bed.

Me: Mmmm. You smell like daddy. Like his soap.

Kate: I used his soap in the shower.

Me: Really? His bar soap?

Kate: I like putting it up my butt then I laugh because I know daddy gets to use it next.

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Kate and I play a game called Panda Pop on my phone and Kate’s iPod.

Me: Guess what, Kate? Panda Pop gave us unlimited lives today! I played it the whole time you were at school! Ha!

Kate: UGH! Oh yeah? You’re just jealous of my summer birthday.

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Kate: Why do you wear makeup?

Me: Um, I don’t know. I like it?

Kate: I think you just want to look pretty.

__________

Kate dropped her pen.

Kate: Oh, you mother.

Me: What did you say?

Kate: Nothing.

Later that night, Scott dropped his phone.

Scott: Oh, you mother.

__________

I have my own column in Simply KC magazine (starting in January’s issue). The column is about my life. The magazine needed a few photos of me with the kids so they sent a photographer to my house.

Me: Don’t forget we have a photoshoot after school today. Tell your teachers you’re going to be in a magazine!

Kate: Like, totally. (flips hair) I’m totally going to be in a magazine. Like, gorgeous. (laughs)

Emma: (makes an ugly face with buck teeth and crosses eyes) Hey teacher? You think I’m real pretty? You think I’m pretty enough for a magazine?

__________

Text message from our neighbor, Chris: Does anyone have some Kraft yellow cheese? I’m too lazy to go out and buy some.

Me: If it’s unhealthy, we have it. I’ll send Kate down.

Chris: Thanks for the cheese. Kate said, “here’s the cheese and my mom isn’t going to return that Halloween trophy you won. She’s keeping it at her house.”

__________

We were celebrating Christmas with extended family.

Emma: What’s everyone talking about?

Me: This. I’m one of the funniest parents on the Today Show again!

Emma: What does it say?

Me: This.

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Emma: UGH! Mom! I’m funny too! Write what I say. Don’t listen to Kate!

__________

 

Kate was sliding on a sheet of ice on our patio.

Me: KATE! Be careful! You’re making me nervous!

Kate: No, mom! It’s fun!

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Emma: One time, I was in the car with dad and we saw a truck driving on snow in a parking lot, making huge circles.

Me: It’s called making donuts.

Kate: Probably a truth or dare.

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Me: Life lesson, girls. When someone farts on your face, you jab your finger up their butt like this. (I push my finger up Scott’s butt)

Kate: That’s disgusting!

Emma: So if someone farts on  your face, you have the fart on your face AND you have it on your finger too? Gross, mom.

__________

Me: Kate, what color do you want me to paint your nails?

Kate: Check my Pinterest board.

__________

Kate asked me to braid her hair in my bathroom.

Scott: Kate, do you want to go coyote hunting with me?

Kate: Nope! I’m gettin’ fancy today.

__________

Kate: Daddy, sometimes I love you. Sometimes I don’t.

__________

We were having Christmas dinner with family.

Me: Are you going to sit at the kids’ table?

Kate: Something like that.

Me: What does that mean?

Papa: She told me she’s sitting at the dessert table alone so she can sneak desserts on her plate.

__________

Our Christmas tree fell in the night. I was busy helping Scott the next morning while Kate had my phone. Emma was at a friend’s house. I found these text messages on my phone:

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__________

I played “Baby Got Back” on my Bose speaker.

Me: “Oh my God, Becky. Look at her butt. It is so big.”

Scott: Will you turn that off? The kids are listening.

Me: They’ve heard it before.

Scott: Don’t let them listen to that!

Me: Ugh. Oh my God, Becky. Fine. (I turn off the song)

Kate: Oh my God, Becky. Look at mom’s butt. It is so flat. Like flatter than a pancake.

__________

Emma: Papa called us.

Me: He did?

Emma: I tricked him.

Me: What do you mean?

Emma: I answered and I said, “9-1-1 what’s your emergency.”

Me: What did Papa say?

Emma: He said he has explosive diarrhea.

__________

 

Kate: What are you writing about?

Me: Well, it’s a blank screen right now. What should I write. Here. I’ll type what you say.

Kate: Hmmmm. For the people. By Kate Burton.

Me: Ok, got it. A by-line. Good. Now what?

Kate: One time my mom wasn’t watching me closely and I fell down the stairs and broke my leg. I was one. It hurt.

Me: I’m not writing that.

Kate: Then tell the people about the staples pushed on my top of my head.

Me: No.

Kate: I’m done writing for the day.

___________

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woman-cold

(wo)man cold.

Call me the Grinch. Call me Ebenezer Scrooge. Call me Tiny Tim, dying on the floor from rickets and tuberculosis. Yes, I looked it up.

Christmas lost its fun, its magic. Christmas became a survival rather than a celebration. Hand me the 2016 Christmas ornament and let’s get this over with.

I have news for you. The ones close to me know this little secret. It’s minor, really. You can forget I ever mentioned it. I am a man. Not a man with a penis but a man with a cold.

I have man-cold syndrome.

I’ve heard the jokes. A bunch of girlfriends get together to complain about their husbands. The topic falls on a man getting sick and BOOM – the insults fly and I avoid all eye contact. He’s so whiny, lazy, and pathetic when he’s sick. He’s a complete momma’s boy and he doesn’t even have a fever. He wants us to finish the will, he thinks he’s that bad. Crying. Weak. Oh, and that in sickness and in health bullshit. Men are the weaker sex – truly. A cold – he has THE COMMON COLD.

Scott is the woman and I am the man. I am your fetal-position, violently ill husband without a fever. I have a cold. I have a bad cold. I have a really, really bad cold and I’m dying. My death by cold with no fever has been dragging on for two weeksScott has put up with my moaning bullshit for 14 days. Not that kind of moaning.

The time spent in my deathbed got me thinking of a list. It’s not a naughty list or a nice list. In fact, the next Santa I see is getting a kick in the giant red nut sack.

I’m sorry. That was inappropriate.

I have nothing against Santa. And really, the jolly ‘ole elf would probably be quick to stuff his black boot up the ass of some crazy woman dying of rickets and tuberculosis charging at him.

I made a list. It’s more of a Clark Griswold meltdown sort of list.

What I want for Christmas:

I want Scott to teach me how to use his shotgun. My first thought was to ask Amazon to screw off. But Amazon allows me to not talk to people. One reason I don’t like to shop is because I don’t like people. It’s not Amazon’s fault. I live in Suburbia, Kansas – home of criminals that follow UPS, FedEX and the USPS trucks to steal packages from front doors. I want to use a shotgun on them. I want to be wheeled out to our front porch, sit, and wait while I spit giant chunks of green phlegm on the ground. Anyone running away with one of my neighbors’ packages gets a bullet to the leg or arm or big toe. I want saline power-sprayed into every crevice of my body. Water is flowing out of my eyes, my nose, and my mouth.  I probably peed the bed last night and I’m sitting in my own urine. Everything is soaked and I’m dying in my own fluids. I want all homework to come with a parent-guide. The hell if I know common core. The hell if I even remember “my way” of math. I tried to learn math as a kid. At best, I peaked as a B-student. Now, I’m just peaking, falling, and it’s giving me a headache because I’m 35 now. World peace. Let’s just throw it out there and see what happens. I want to go back in time and remove “Elf on the Shelf” on Emma’s Christmas list. It’s the same thing every night – climb into bed, inhale the Vick’s Vapor Rub, close my eyes and DAMNIT YOU POINTLESS ASS ELF. When Emma and Kate come home from college, Buddy the Elf will come back from the sorority house every night, drunk off his ass, and spooning Barbie. The Elf on the Shelf is really more of a toy for future-college-mom-me. I want Scott to stop rolling his eyes at me after I tell him my specific request for LUDEN’s wild cherry cough drops. No, I’m not a child. Menthol cough drops don’t work and they make me smell like sickness. To the font maker of the Target’s Archer Farms coffee beans – SCREW YOU, KIND SIR. I can feel caffeine in my soul. I tried to drink a fresh cup of coffee to soothe my sore throat and you know what I felt? I felt hot crap water. I felt decaf. Next time you’re at your computer designing coffee bean packaging, try displaying DECAF in extra large letters with a surgeon general warning symbol on the front. I want my kids and Scott (once he brings me Luden’s cough drops) to be happy for the rest of their lives. If this is what death feels like, just let me waste away with the Ghost of Christmas Past. He probably wears black boots with a giant red sack.

I am a man with a cold and no fever. Merry Christmas. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where’s the Tylenol.

___________

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emmakatetree

The Christmas with the giant tree.

There was the White Christmas Christmas of 2009. Fresh snow fell down on Kansas City. It was Kate’s first Christmas.

There was the Christmas of 2014.  Emma informed us on Christmas Eve that she asked for an American Girl doll from Santa. Santa traveled through the slums of Wichita, Kansas to purchase an American Girl doll from the basement of a nice lady with a Craigslist account and buried cocaine in her couch.

And there was the Christmas with the giant tree of 2016.

There wasn’t supposed to be a tree this year. Real trees are messy. A real tree comes with a list of chores: lighting the tree, decorating the tree, watering the tree, vacuuming pine needles, and bopping the dogs away with an empty wrapping paper roll.

There wasn’t supposed to be a tree this year because trees cost money. The money spent on a tree could go towards something else – like a bowl of Ramen Noodles for dinner.

Scott lost his job in August.

Emma asked if Santa’s bag would be lighter this year. That’s when I knew she knew. This Christmas is different.

I’m not writing to pull on your heartstrings.

I’m writing about the Christmas with the giant tree.

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Scott went on an unsupervised, an un-wifed, Christmas tree shopping trip. Scott insisted we have a Christmas with a Christmas tree. Instead of buying a small tree, Clark Griswold bought a 14-foot one.

The tree needed to thaw out before we could decorate it. As the tree warmed up, the branches expanded. It became a giant monster in the room. It towers well past our reach to the untouched corners of a ceiling full of cobwebs.

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I went to bed with Clark that night.

I told him how we’re going to blow a fuse on the block with the amount of lights needed for the tree. And we don’t need candles anymore because our house smells like a brand new pine car freshener. I asked him if we should invite the mayor to help turn the lights on because that would be funny. I wondered if Clark considered there might be a squirrel in the giant tree. A tree that size is prime real estate for squeaking animals.

Clark ignored my jokes as his hands got stuck to a People magazine. We turned the light off and went to bed.

4:00 AM. **CRASH**

“Scott! Scott, wake up!”

“Ugh!”

“I heard something. It sounded like something fell upstairs. It’s loud.”

“I don’t hear anything.”

“But what if someone is breaking in? Are the kids ok?”

“Scott? Scott! Clark!?”

“It’s fine.”

We fell back asleep.

8:30 AM.

“MOMMY! THE TREE FELL!”

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Aunt Bethany’s cat knocked down the giant tree.

Clark grabbed a chainsaw, fixed the newel post, and uprighted the tree. Clark Sr. came over with sand bags. I offered to help steady the tree but the tips of my fingers could barely touch the trunk, even with my arm fully extended.

The tree, in all of its 14 feet of thawed out glory, was ready to make a couple kids smile.

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The Christmas with the giant tree. There’s a little bit of merry in a tree of this size, even if it has multicolored lights. Damnit, Clark. Twinkle lights should be white.

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final-insider-logo-hi-res

Bookworms.

I’ve always called myself a bookworm.

But why? Why do we call book lovers bookworms? Maybe it has to do with teachers and an apple and a worm? Or maybe book lovers bury themselves in a book like a worm buries itself in the earth?

Wrong.

I searched the depths of google.

“The bookworm expression stems from years ago when books were destroyed by moths, beetles, silverfish, and other insects. Books today do not have this problem. The type of glue has changed to deter an insect’s destruction. Books are also kept in better conditions, such as air-conditioned and heated homes.”

Gross.

And welcome to Bug Bytes.

I’m not here to talk about what we can learn from google. I’m here to talk about what kids can learn from books – National Geographic Kids books.

I got the opportunity to speak with Jennifer Emmett, VP of Kids Content and Erica Green, VP and Editorial Director of Kids Books at National Geographic Kids.

Jennifer and Erica are bookworms too. They gave my fellow National Geographic Kids Insiders and me an overview of their favorite books for our future generations of book lovers. *

* I say future generations of book lovers but I totally mean me. I steal these books from my kids’ backpacks. Come on, it’s National Geographic. A place where nature becomes a story. King of photography. King of videography. King of the Jungle.

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Tales from the Arabian Nights by Donna Jo Napoli Ages 8-12. Hardcover. This book helps kids understand a culture rich with history – the Middle East. Tales of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad the Sailor, and Aladdin show kids there’s more to the world than a Disney movie. Pretend-riding a magic carpet is still acceptable.

Ultimate Oceanpedia by Christina Wilson Ages 7-10. Hardcover. National Geographic has access to parts of the world you and I will never see. The oceans cover 70% of earth yet there’s a lot that hasn’t been explored. National Geographic Kids dives deep with the best underwater photographers in the world. This “oceanpedia” focuses on preserving the health of the ocean “land” and what kids can do to help. Even if those kids live in Kansas.

2017 Almanac Ages 8-12 Hardcover and softcover. This book is one of National Geographic’s best-selling books. It covers everything – games, wonders of the world, history, culture, discoveries, and explorers. Kids can read about scientists dressing up as polar bears to study them. Or learn about the real species of spiders named sparkle muffin.

Weird But True 8 Ages 8-12 Softcover. Ah, Weird But True. “Mom, did you know..” Spoiler: you’ll most likely not know, question the fact, and go to google to confirm. It’s always confirmed. This is the 8th installment of the series. Kids forget they are learning when they read that death metal music attracts sharks or Kansas produces enough wheat every year to make 35 billions loaves of bread. Kansas smells like home, kids.

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If your kids love these books, make sure they watch the new Weird But True television show every Saturday morning.

Famous Fails! by Crispin Boyer Ages 8-12 Softcover. This book is my personal favorite because I fail a lot. Failing is a learning process and this book shows kids failing is ok. Michael Jordan was cut from the basketball team. The Leaning Tower of Piza was not supposed to lean. Einstein was told he wasn’t smart. The book itself is printed with mistakes. Emma Burton even fails.

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The Ultimate Dinopedia by “Dino” Don Lessem Ages 7-10. Hardcover. If you have a kid that loves dinosaurs, this is the only kids book that lists every dinosaur ever discovered. And 125 species are explained in detail. Fun tidbit: the illustrations had to be carefully considered because the editors didn’t want them to be too gory. Dining with a dino is not served on a plate.

Little Kids First Big Book of Animals Ages 4-8. Hardcover. Ok, littles! Here’s a book for you! Big, small, slimy, furry, rough, cold-blooded, warm-blooded, brown, blue, polka dots, all the animals are here! This book can be read by an adult to a small child. It answers questions little kids want to know- how do they eat? What do they eat? Are they fast? What do the babies look like? Let’s find out, kids!

Edible Science by Jodi Wheeler Ages 8-12. Softcover. My question to Jennifer and Erica: My kids love to cook. They also love making up their own recipes and a giant mess in the kitchen they leave me to clean. Is there a book out for Emma and Kate that mixes recipes with the science behind cooking? This book was the first book to pop in their mind. Cooking is chemistry and this book turns the kitchen into a science experiment you can eat. I still have to clean the mess though.

National Geographic Kids Cookbook by Barton Seaver Ages 8-12. Softcover. This cookbook is for kids to bake from year-round. It’s not a normal cookbook because Nat Geo is never normal – there are crafts, activities and challenges within the pages. Host a dinner party, pack a school lunch, bake a holiday dessert, family cooking competitions, snow day recipes, and the kids get permission to play with their food. I give permission to clean up your own mess.

Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet by Buzz Aldrin Ages 8-12. Hardcover. Yeah, that Buzz Aldrin. The Buzz Aldrin that went to the moon on Apollo 11. Going to the moon is so 1969. Kids today imagine going to Mars. Could Mars be colonized? Well, we’re moving closer to the possibility. This book explains what a real life would be like on the red planet.

And there you have it, from the National  Geographic Kids headquarters in Washington, D.C. Go turn your kids into a bookworm!

But not that kind of bookworm. The cute human bookworm from 2016.

___________

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ohemmaohkate

Oh Emma, Oh Kate.

Oh Emma, Oh Kate is a series of funny things my kids say. Emma is 10 and Kate is 7. 

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Scott: True or False?

Kate: I love this game!

Scott: One day, in college, mommy showed her boobs to people at a bar.

Me: SCOTT.

Kate: Hmm. False.

Scott: Correct. Because if mommy were to do that, she would go to jail.

Kate: No, she wouldn’t.

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Emma: So Donald Trump will be the new President?

Me: Yeah.

Emma: So he has to move into the White House?

Me: Yep.

Emma: He probably won’t like that too much?

Me: Really? Why do you think?

Emma: That must be much smaller than his other houses.

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Emma: Mom, I saw Kate today at school.

Me: Aw, you did? You guys never see each other.

Emma: Our lines crossed in the hallway.

Me: That’s cute.

Emma: Yeah, Kate pushed me against the wall and then she goes back into her line and waves at the rest of my class and says, “oh! Hello, everyone!” And the class is like, “oh your sister is soooo cute!”

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I waited in the school office for Emma. I had to take her to an orthodontist appointment. The school office has all glass walls. I see Kate’s class walking down the hallway. I looked for Kate and found her.

Kate sees me and does a double look.

Me: (waving) Hi Kate!

Kate: (makes an angry face, points at me, and continues walking)

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Kate: Did you know Siri doesn’t know everything?

Me: She’s a computer.

Kate: Google knows everything.

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Kate’s friends came over and asked if Kate could spend the night. I said that was fine. Kate brought down her overnight bag and headed towards the door.

Me: Wait! Kate! Give me a hug! I’m going to miss you!

Kate: I’ll miss you too, mommy.

Me: You can stay here if you want.

Kate: When I’m packed, I’m gone. Bye!

__________

Me: Here’s my birthday list, girls. I’m going to send daddy and you all over town!

Emma: Mom. Don’t treat us like slaves. I’m learning about slaves now. Don’t treat us like that.

__________

Kate: How much was your tattoo, daddy?

Scott: About $1500.

Kate: Ha! Well, that’s a waste.

Me: A waste?

Kate: Yeah, that’s a lot of money, honey. (snaps)

__________

Scott was putting our Christmas lights up on the house. Kate and her friend stood on the driveway, watching.

Friend: My dad would never do that. He’s scared to be on the roof.

Kate: My dad is scared of Alice in Wonderland and NOT Game of Thrones.

__________

Kate: Why does your middle name only have two letters?

Me: Ann has three? A-n-n.

Kate: Oh, I thought it was A-n. Like the word.

__________

The girls were watching Full House. It was the episode when Rebecca and Jesse get married.

During the middle of the wedding…

Kate: Man! This is horrible!

__________

In the car.

Kate: Can I play with your phone?

Me: No. When I was a kid, we didn’t have phones or iPods to play with in the car. Look out the window.

Emma: When I have kids, I’m going to say we didn’t have whatever new invention they have.

Me: Probably.

Kate: When I have kids I’m going to tell them we had iPods that went dead and when they died we couldn’t use them in the car.

Emma: Yeah, and that GRANDMA wouldn’t let us use her phone.

__________

Kate: How do you say meatloaf in Spanish?

__________

Me: Let Stella outside. She needs to go pee.

Kate: No.

Me: Please, it’s my birthday.

Kate: You’re not the queen of me.

Me: I’m asking nicely.

Kate: SCOTT! LET YOUR DOG OUT! SHE HAS TO PEE!

__________

Me: Kate, before you go upstairs, will you put my glass in the sink?

Kate: I’m not your wine maid.

__________

Emma: Mom, there’s only two ice cream bars left. Kate has one and I have one. You can have mine if you want. I can find another snack. I know they’re your favorite.

Me: Oh, can I? I’ll take it if you want to eat something else.

(I look at Kate, holding her ice cream bar)

Kate: They’re so gooood! You can’t have mine!

__________

Me: Where’s my pillow?

Scott: Oh. Forgot to tell you. Kate came in here and took your pillow.

Me: So now I have this dink kid pillow?

Scott: She said you could have hers. Yours is much better so she’s taking it.

__________

Text message from Kate.

Kate: Mommy, will you get me and Emma Dunkin Donuts?

Me: Yes, when I wake up.

Kate: Go now.

__________

I was reading “Weird But True” facts from a National Geographic Kids book with Emma.

Me: Ha! Listen to this – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has the world record for amount of selfies taken in one minute.

Emma: Why is that funny?

Me: Your dad loves him.

Emma: Why? Because dad’s middle name is Duane?

__________

Still reading the Weird But True book with Emma.

Me: Aw, kids that grow up with a dog have a less chance of developing asthma in their lifetimes.

Emma: Did you also know that kids with dogs have a higher rate of being late to school?

Me: What?

Emma: Can’t blame me for being late to school now.

__________

Me: It’s 8:30, girls! Bedtime!

Emma: Nope.

Me: Uh, yes. School night.

Kate: Nina told us you didn’t go to bed until 9:00 on school nights.

Emma: New bedtime!

__________

Scott and I were getting the kids’ school things ready in the morning while the girls looked for Buddy, the elf. They left the kitchen but we could still hear them.

Kate: Where is he, Emma?

Emma: I don’t know.

Kate: Where’d they hide him?

__________

 

Are your kids hilarious? Of course they are!

If you have any kid sayings that you would like to see here, please email me at: jbugbytes@gmail.com

Or friend me on Facebook and I’ll pull quotes from statuses. You and your child’s name will be kept anonymous, if you wish.

___________

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Hello, November 30.

Well, I didn’t write a novel.

That’s ok. It wasn’t my intention. I wrote for 30 straight days. It’s something I’ve never done before.

I don’t know why I agreed to the challenge. 30 consecutive days of writing, or anything really, takes a lot of discipline. This discipline happens to fall in November. November is not a care-free month like sexy July over there. Thank you, Pilgrims.

I finished Nano Poblano. I finished the damn thing.

Whether it made me a better writer, I don’t know. I didn’t go into 30 days with a plan. I didn’t use pre-written posts in the draft folder. I wrote every post on that day, at that moment. I learned it’s possible to find a story every day. I can write when I don’t feel like writing.

I also learned there are people that will read anything I write. You guys showed up for 30 consecutive days to read, spy on my family, laugh, cry, drool at Brett, glare at me in fury, or just escape your life for a minute or two. You shared my blog. You commented. You let me know you were listening. I gained readers.

After 30 days, I realized this is why I write. You.

There’s nothing special about me other than I write about my family. I’m not paid to do this. It’s not easy writing to an audience that includes my parents, ex-boyfriends, old elementary school friends, my kids’ teachers, Avatars, haters, my friend that shaves her face with me, and people I don’t know.

The people I don’t know are the easiest to write to.

Writing to every one of you in the same voice is, well, brave. It’s brave. I rarely speak to my parents about my sex life but I definitely speak to the friend that shaves her face with me about my sex life. My family and close friends see me when I’m sad or angry. Opening my door for everyone to see that puts me in a vulnerable spot. A joke is only a good joke if it’s told right. Maybe that’s why I’m good at making fun of myself.

Writing to a room full of people is a balance. You’re all watching.

I’ve been blogging for almost eight years. In those eight years, I never posted three days in a row. 30 days in a row pushed my writing limits. This is the real me. This is what goes on inside my head.

Thank you for letting me share my family and parts of my life with you.

You are so very loved.

___________

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favoritethings

These are a few of my favorite things.

I don’t want to write.

I’m tired. I’m stressed. I have a headache. I need to get my hair dyed. I look like I’m 80-years-old.

I have an idea! Let’s pretend I’m Oprah!

Here are a few of my favorite things…Or wait, maybe that’s Julie Andrews.

“Here are a few of …” (I’m singing.) “Here are a few of my favorite books.” Don’t even think about it Scott, this is not a cheat sheet. I already have these books. I’m helping others.

I love almost all books but my favorite genre is historical fiction. In order for me to classify which books are my favorite, they usually leave an impression on me years later. These books all get a 5/5 star rating from me.

  • Ursula, Under by Ingrid Hill – this story is about a little girl that falls down a mine shaft. The story then goes backwards, through her family lines, to tell you how she came into existence. If you have any interest in family history, you would love this story.
  • 11/22/1963: A Novel by Stephen King – This is a time travel book. A high school teacher discovers a way to slip into the past. He tries to stop the JFK assassination. I won’t tell you the rest. This is written under the assumption that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy. I have doubts about that. Yes, I’m a conspiracy theorist.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Gotta love a classic. Go Set a Watchman is not as good. It’s not horrible; go give it try. You can’t really top your one and only classic, Harper Lee. You probably knew that and that’s why it wasn’t released until after your death.
  • Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffery Eugenides – Every time a pregnant woman wants to know the sex of her baby before a sonographer or blood test tells her, I think of this book. Cal was born a baby girl but is actually a boy. The book is a little uncomfortable. But it’s uncomfortable like looking at car wreck as you drive by. You can’t help but look and send a prayer.
  • Timebound by Rysa Walker – I did not want this book to end. This is another time travel book. A girl realizes her grandmother and grandfather are time travelers and she discovers she has the gift to travel back in time too. And OH MY GOD, AMAZON. Kindle. Who’s in charge of telling me this information? IT’S A TRILOGY. No wonder I wanted more. Ok, Scott. You still reading?  You can add Time’s Edge and the Time’s Divide. Thank you.
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – I’m not a smart person. I’m not a smart reader either. This book made me feel smart. It’s about a woman discovering a family secret. She sets out to solve the secret – to find the real Dracula that hasn’t died in thousands of years.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – Clearly, I have a time travel book problem. I know this is a movie with Rachel McAdams but the book is better. This is a love story. The husband time travels to his past and his future. He doesn’t get a choice when he travels, he just disappears. He knows his future before it happens but he has to put the pieces together like a puzzle because he doesn’t travel in order.
  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls – This is not a time travel book. It’s a true story. Jeannette Walls writes about growing up poor, living a nomad life with her mom, dad and siblings. Today, she is a news writer for MSNBC.com. She hid her flawed upbringing until she wrote this book.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – This book reminds me of Game of Thrones but uh oh. Time travel. I need a new book genre.

And there you go. These are just at the top of my head. I’m sure I’ll think of 20 more time traveling books I forgot to tell you about.

There. Done writing for today. Now I just want to read. You should read too.

___________

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gump1

What if.

Scott is out of town and he took my computer. He left me with his computer to use tonight. I swear on my life there’s a dead tick under the “j” key.

jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

MORE DEAD.

Wow. November 28th. It’s my 28th day writing in a row. Am I spiraling downhill yet?

Story time!

Do you ever think about how the smallest decisions can turn your life down a whole new path? Maybe you forgot your wallet at home while going to work. You turn around, only you turned away from an accident that would have left you with life-threatening injuries. Or maybe you agreed to make sweet, sweet love to your husband and for the next two years you don’t get one full night’s sleep because there’s a tiny human hanging on your teet, calling you mama.

I’m not complaining, I’m just making a point.

Small decisions can turn into huge decisions. The built-in huge decisions are definite road-turners. What will your major be in college? Are you ready to sign on the dotted line for your new house? Do you take this woman to be your wife? Or are you sure you want to make sweet, sweet love tonight because you know what happened last time.

gump1

Thank you, Forrest Gump. This is the point I’m trying to make.

I can’t seem to put the words together because it’s day 28 of the November writing challenge.

It was all Scott. He’s the one that got me thinking.

Scott: Do you know how much money I’d have if I never got married or had kids?

Me: Well, I know you wouldn’t be living in this 4 bedroom house.

Scott: I’d be on a farm.

Me: That sounds lonely. I guess anywhere would be lonely if you didn’t have a family? Maybe? Would you be a farmer?

Scott: No. Maybe. I don’t know.

Me: I don’t see you by yourself on a farm.

Scott: I’d probably be roommates with Brett and Kitt down in Florida.

Me: Hm, your wives.

Scott: Bachelor pad.

Me: Wait a minute! You would be living in South Florida with Brett and Kitt? And you won’t move your real family to Florida?? Come on! I thought you hated living in Florida!

Scott: Florida is good for bachelors.

Me: That’s bullshit. I wonder where I would be?

Scott: Your ass definitely wouldn’t be living here.

Me: No, probably not. If we never met, and I never got married and never had kids all these years…hmmm…

Scott: Not in Kansas.

Me: Yeah, I’d hightail it out of here. I’d be in a tiny apartment in New York City. YES! Maybe Chicago. I’d be in a big city. Well, maybe. It’s hard finding friends in a new city. I think it would be harder if I didn’t have kids and other moms to meet. I don’t know. I’m not good at making friends.

Scott: You would make friends.

Me: Maybe I’d move, like, way far away. Like England. Can I just get up and leave the United States and move to England? Would that make me unAmerican? I bet it’s easier to make friends there. I’d have an American accent and that’s always a good conversation starter.

Scott: England.

Me: Too cold? Wait, I guess so is New York and Chicago. You’re lucky you can live in Florida and have built-in friends there. I don’t have a city where I have built-in friends. Where do you think single-me would go? Which city?

Scott: Florida.

Me: Ohmygosh! I’d meet you at a bar! Awww! We would have K-State in common. And I’d tell my new friends that you look like Prince Harry. And that’d be your nickname – Prince Harry. 35-year-old us would get married! And you could take me fishing! And we’d have two daughters, named Emma and Kate. Maybe. My eggs went bad yesterday.

Scott: What?

Me: Advanced maternal age. 35. You know, I get the check mark if I ever get pregnant. It’s just harder to get pregnant. Starting yesterday. OH GOD. We’d have twin girls. Emma and Kate twins.

Scott: Huh?

Me: Eggs start dying off and they start shooting doubles and triples. But I’d get my wish of living in Florida with you and the girls. That’d be nice. The kids would be tan. And they’d cuss at us in Spanish.

Scott: Nope. Moving back to Kansas.

What if Scott and I never met? That means Emma and Kate wouldn’t exist. That means I would have never started a blog with a mommy group in 2009. That means I wouldn’t be sitting in front of this computer, trying to avoid hitting the “j” key. 

Gross. It crunched.

___________

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