Category Archives: funnies

buckle up

We are headed south to the Mother Country for the next week.

Texas, I’m comin’ for ya.


Someone please get me this shirt for Christmas.

I’m a medium. 

The last time we were in a vehicle for 20 hours (which, ridiculously, was only two months ago) each way, Curt and I were deciding what we’d like to do over the next few days of “vacation” (P.S. “vacation” is a dumb word when you have 3 young kids… it’s a TRIP, not a vacation). He asked what I wanted MOST and I answered, “Read. By myself. Read by myself alone.”

It was quiet for a moment until he looked over at me and said,

“You are so unpredictably boring!”

Coming from a man who calculates odometer accuracy for a good time, this stung a little.

On the other hand, I certainly never claimed to be the poster child for excitement. I used to be cool. I climbed big rocks with little ropes and I sang on big stages and I travelled the world with a backpack. Now I’m completely content to catch a re-run of M*A*S*H on tv and make homemade popcorn. I know things have changed.

On the OTHER HAND (Fiddler reference there),  I took a naked child to a doctor’s appointment AND recess duty because she puked all over the van, her clothes, and her carseat on the way INTO town, I watched Lazarus the Calf come back from the dead, and I taught Gus Man how to crack eggs for pancakes.

I’m all about adventure, People.

It just looks different now.

All that to say, I’m a little nervous for our upcoming travel conversations. Any question prompts for me? Can you make me more interesting?

And because my life always come back to books, I need to ask you:

Have you read True (…sort of) by Katherine Hannigan?



It is absolutely one of the top 10 books of my life. I would describe it as a modern-day Charlie Brown story: good kid with bad luck changes the/her/my world. It’s Young Adult fiction, but do not assume that means it’s simple or beneath you or childish. It’s amazing and funny and heartbreaking. She has broken characters that are stunning and true. The language and expression took me by complete surprise… I could see every thought and understand every emotion. Hope and Loyalty and Faith all play heavy here… you can see why I am a fan. Do yourself a favor and read it whilst I’m on the road, ok?

I have Someday Someday Maybe and The Eyre Affair on audiobook for my graveyard driving shifts. We have a tractor show on the calendar, a date night in San Antonio, and a cow show in Ft. Worth. There are also a handful of college roommate hugs and one ‘meet me at an exit on the highway as we pass through town’ in the works.

I cannot wait.

I’ll yell when we get there.

Please pray.

inducing the crazy

Amanda over at The Habit of Being wrote earlier this week about things she does that drives her Mister a little batty. I knew as soon as I read her post that I would have to ask Curt… not because I didn’t already know some of his answers, but because I wanted to see his reaction.

It was awesome.

So I say, “Curt. You wanna help me with tomorrow’s essay?”

And he says, “Absolutely.”

And I say, “Ok. I need you to think of a couple of things I do that annoy you.”

And he put up his hands and said calmly but firmly, “I AM NOT DOING THAT. I WILL NOT DO THAT.”

And he ran down the hall to our bedroom and slammed the door behind him.

I followed, of course. 

“Curt,” I said. “It’s ok. It will be fun. I promise I won’t get mad.”

“It’s risky.” he whispered, hiding under our quilt.

“I know. I know it is. But it will be worth it.”

He felt it was safer to write his list down rather than speak it out loud.

I love that man with all my broken heart.

notes[His handwriting. Whoa. I mean… is English his second language? Does he write upside-down? It’s a mystery to me.]

  1. toothpaste cap 1/2 on and it builds up with crusty toothpaste and then the cap will hardly go on at all
  2. shoes stay exactly where they are taken off until all her shoes are out of the closet
  3. packs for vacation on the very last day
  4. drives fast on the gravel road even the day after the van has been washed
  5. weeds the garden and beds and throws the weeds in my nice lawn and lets them lay for 3 days

I’m in a public library right now, and I am laughing (silently) so hard I am crying.

It’s awkward.

I so so so very much want to comment on the list. I want to explain and clarify and say that a couple of things are flat-out lies. But I will not. I WILL NOT. I will let it stand as written. It says so very much about so very much, right?

What’s on your husband’s or wife’s or roommate’s list?


Well, helloooooooo there, Loves! We Mulders are back from the woods… though the oldest 2 kiddos are flying kites with my parents in Pennsylvania right now. They will not even speak to me. It’s ridiculous. And, also, 7 kinds of awesome.

Shall I tell you a story today? From camping amongst nature and strangers and family alike? A story my children (and possibly the stranger in #7) will recite in years of therapy to come?

I shall.

I actually wrote it all down immediately after it happened so I would not forget… how much do you love me?

Remember that feeling.

journal 1

Here. Let me spell it out for you.

A close up of the map (not to scale):

journal 2

and the fine print (try to keep up):

1. Ry and Gus are put to bed

2. Curt and Kate discuss that Gus and Ry are in bed and waiting for hugs

3. Kate walks to the campfire to see if her parents are there… they are not

4. Kate’s dad arrives at campfire… has not hugged Gus and Ry but has just

5. seen Curt at the potty

6. which leaves no one at the tent… for too long… which causes Ry to panic and begin to scream… causing Gus to scream… causing BOTH to scream for MOM!

7. which causes the lady at #7 to yell out,

“Don’t worry, Honey!

We’ll find your mommy!”


8. at which point Kate and her dad arrive at the tent followed by Curt who is calm and content.

9. Abby slept through it all.


I was 25 yards away and in the perfect storm of neglect.


It’s a wonder we’re allowed to leave the county at all.

There’s so very much more to tell you, but I’ve used up all the pride I have and then some.

See you Thursday.


We leave tomorrow morning for our annual trip to Platte River in the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

My parents are picking up Gus and Ry halfway through the trip and whisking them off to the magical world of Pennsylvania. There are exactly two-hundred-forty-seven things I need to do before our van hits the highway. What does one do when there are 5 people and a kitchen to pack up not to mention bills to pay, emails to send, and a wayward chicken to corral and return to the coop before the house-sitter arrives?

One writes.

I found this post again last night and laughed so hard. Laughing alone at something you wrote is awkward but worth it. I hadn’t thought about that particular trip in a long time and reading about it again made me excited to get on the road. Then I laughed even harder when I couldn’t find last year’s letter to my parents and had to search ‘apache in august’ to get to it. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny. I read the letter to see how things have changed over the past year and I laughed some more.  Oh, my children. So cute. So incredibly high-maintenance.

It was a good night.

gus and ry

Mom and Dad,

I’m sure we won’t have much time when you arrive at the campground to debrief/prep for your trip with Rylie and Gideon. The kids will tackle you and Rylie will launch into the story about the birds (ask me later) and we’ll never be able to get a word in again until someone hurts themselves and or requires discipline… neither of which are great times to talk about  specifics of our child-rearing and safety philosophies. Let me just mention a few things that may save a life:

1. Ry naps. Gus can take it or leave it. I’m so, so sorry. My best advice to you both is take turns. Divide and conquer. Never let them see you cry.

2. I’m keeping Abby with me. This act alone should absolve me from any debt or disturbance I ever caused or will cause you in the future. You’re welcome.

3. Ry’s hair is now short and curly and so is Gus Man’s. The 4-year age difference makes it pretty easy to tell them apart, but just in case: Gus wears a hat 24-7 and Ry still has terrible breath. Also, Gus is usually missing or at the top of something very high.

4. Both Gideon and Ry are potty-trained… all day, all night, all the time. Please remind and encourage both of them to wear undies. At all times. At all times they should be wearing undies and at all times you should be reminding them of this.

5. Beware the phrase ‘Me Got It.’ This translates to ‘I got it.’ or ‘I can do that myself.’ and comes out of Gus’ mouth approximately 18 times per minute. When you hear it, drop what you are doing- immediately– and find him. I said immediately. Do not delay or attempt to talk him down. Get up and find him. It is never a test and it never ends well.

6. Both children will ask for ‘2 minutes’ at bedtime. As in, 2 more minutes, please? Except, 2 minutes is a completely fake number to them. Neither can tell time or count well. It’s a sham, a distraction, a way to break you down. Stand firm.

7. Prayers are said or echoed at bedtime. Meal-time grace prayers are generally discouraged at bedtime, but sometimes make their way in there anyway. It’s ok. Work with what you have.

8. Ry still hates jelly. Gus Man still loves peanut butter. Bagels are called ‘O’s’ and are acceptable at any meal.

9. Ry is now missing 1 more bottom tooth and 2 more top teeth. Still best not to bring up the whole tooth fairy sneaking in to your room at night and stealing things from you, though she digs the money-exchange idea. We’re getting there.

10. I will not be mad NOR ask any questions if you tell me you had to throw some of their clothes away. I will only nod knowingly.

I’ll meet you in Ohio in two weeks. I don’t think my phone rings here in the woods, so if you get stuck or need a translation… in the words of my father,

Good luck with that.

Also, thank you. We love you. We trust you. Have a fabulous time.


your favorite first-born,

Mary Kathryn

fresh air

It will not surprise you, if you’ve known me for any length of time, to hear that I once received 2 different shoes in the mail… in the same box. AND- I didn’t realize they were slightly different until after I’d put them on (on the porch… straight out of the box and fresh from the UPS man’s hands) and looked up to see a baby calf loose in the yard.  With no time to lose, I jumped off the porch and chased that rascal all through the yard and through several pastures and piles of poo.  It was not until Baby was safe and secure that I sat down again and realized… LAWD, Kate. They sent you 2 different shoes. And now they’ve been worn outside AND are covered in mess. SO. RAD. Apple pie, anyone?

Y’all are nodding right now because that’s just something that happens in my world. I know.

What’s surprising is that I emailed customer service and explained myself. I explained myself, I apologized for the ridiculous situation, and I asked for a discount. I figured a request for an exchange was going a bit far considering, and I just thought I’d take the long shot and ask for a discount credit.

What could I lose? 

Paul emailed me back the same day.

And he restored my faith in people.

I wish I could buy him dinner.

Wherever you are, Paul, thank you. Thank you for playing along, for making me laugh, for fixing the problem, and for having a good time.  High-five and power to the creativity, Man. There’s an apple pie here on the farm with your name on it.

Here’s his email to me:

Hello Kate!

Thank you for contacting the Customer Loyalty Team. My name is Paul, er, I mean… Captain Anomaly! I will be happy to use my super powers to aid you today!

I am very sorry that you received defective shoes (and for the pesky cows thinking they can just hang out in your yard. Darn teenagers! Er, cows!). Neither of those are a normal occurrence, nor is it indicative of the high quality of service and products we strive to provide our customers. Luckily for you, I was recently in an experimental lab explosion involving a lamp, a giraffe, and an expired pack of Bazooka bubble gum. Now, I have some totally awesome WOWing powers that I can use to take care of this for you!


Whoa! What was that?! Look closely, do you see it? If I use my super vision, it appears to say… 126478842. What does it mean? That, my friend, is the reference number for your new order. Those are the New Balance Classics W574 in Blue/White, size 7.5 Medium. Just like when I am flying, this package is moving with super speed, and should be arriving to you on 5/1! Using one of the plethora of powers in my arsenal, I have transferred the funds over from your original order to this new one, so that you were not charged at all.


Oh gosh! Did you witness what just took place? Quickly, look to the inbox of your e-mail. You should see a few e-mails from us, but one of those will contain a link to your prepaid UPS return label! Just put that first item back into the original packaging and tape that new label on the outside with clear tape. Please be sure to remove the old shipping label, or cover it up entirely with the new one. Then just drop that package off at any UPS store within the next two weeks.


Holy smokes! What could have occurred just now?! I have used my laser vision to vaporize that poor customer service experience and created a coupon for you to help mend your online experience wounds in this troubling time.

That coupon is for $15 and is a one time use, non-refundable coupon that can be used on your next order within 90 days. Please accept this as a further apology for what has happened. The code to use that coupon is below for your convenience.

Hopefully this will help you with your unfortunate shoe situation. I have added some notes to have our warehouse double check that new pair for quality before sending them out to you, and to warn them of the potential cow remnants upon the returning pair, so those will definitely not be sent out to any other customers. Alas, I do not have any immediate solution for the cow predicament, but I will try to think of something and head back down there pronto! Now where did I put my knee pads and cattle prod…

If you need anything else, I would be glad to fly down there and assist you. Permitted that I am not busy fighting the evil Doctor Normality, my bitter adversary. Captain Anomaly, awaaaay!

The inconspicuously clad “Captain Anomaly”,


Customer Loyalty TeamZappos, Inc.

After reading this, Trace said, “We need more of this in the world – lightheartedness – laughter – imagination – giddiness – and superhuman problem solving skills.”

Amen, Sister.


he said


Curt and I have a general rule that we don’t buy big stuff without talking to the other person first… not for permission, but out of respect.  Now, I don’t call when the grocery bill is off the wall and I’ve got a cart full of diapers, laundry detergent, and dog food in there.  But I would call if a jacket went on sale… or maybe if I desperately wanted to go see Brandi at Meijer Garden. Likewise, Curt lets me know when box (AN ENTIRE BOX- like, twelve pair) of work gloves is headed to the house because he found a deal online, and he buys work clothes without a consult.

But sometimes, sometimes, there is a kink in the line.

When the box arrived with Gus’ new little swimmie trunks, I put them in his drawer with a smile. The dress I *ahem* hid immediately in the closet. It was an impulse buy… a celebration of a great week and a complete and total out-of-bounds purchase. He would love it, and would have said yes had I mentioned it… but I didn’t and now it was too late and the Irish guilt in me was in overdrive.

Yesterday I put it on with my magic boots and walked out ready for church… and confession.


I clicked around the hardwood floors, adding snacks to the bag and refilling Abby’s water bottle.


Finally, I could stand the guilt no longer. I placed myself directly in front of him and raised my eyebrows.

“Your boots look nice. Do you still like your boots?” he asked automatically.

“I love my boots.”

“Good. Me, too.”



“Aren’t you going to ask me where this dress came from?”

“You’re dress? Is new? Ok. Well…”

[takes a good look as I back up and twirl]



Not from Goodwill,Love. Not from Goodwill. But it is the most perfect dress ever. Vintage vibe. Heavy jersey. Looks great with boots, looks fabulous with flip-flops. Certainly out of character for me to buy on a whim AND for it to fit, no less… but a winner. The world’s most perfect dress… for me.

And the world’s most perfect husband… for me.

God bless you, Curt, for your innocence and trust in me. Hurray for happy endings.

This post is rated R for language.

Hang on to your hats. 

Language is a fickle, changing, growing, living thing in this family. We have studied words and meanings and mechanics since Rylie was 2, trying to coax the giant out of its sleep… trying to welcome it in.

It is tentative, language. But it comes. In its own time.

Gideon James, nearly four years younger, is up to his sister’s level in word-count and certainly beyond in expression. He has voices and inflections and a cadence that slays me. I could talk to him all day.

We have the same conversation every day.

Mom? Me? Outside?

You may absolutely go outside… but, you need to put your coat on. And socks. And shoes. And a shirt.

Me no coat on.

Yep, bud. It’s 20 degrees out. You hafta wear a coat.

NO. COAT. (Familiar, no?)

You may get ready, and you may take your time, but you will be dressed. If you go outside without socks, shoes, a shirt, and a coat you will get a spankin’.

Me no spankin’.

No spankin’… but get dressed.


Get dressed.

Me outside.


So it goes, and he obeys.  Mostly.

The second he comes in, we have another conversation- every day.

Shirt off?

You can take your shirt off.

Pant off?

Let’s leave your pants on.

Tay. Sock off?

You may take your socks off.

One sock off, Mom. Two sock off.

And he does, and he is happy.  He’s just the sweetest thing, really. Ornery as all get-out, but so sweet.

The problem is not in the conversation or even the expression… it’s in the pronunciation.  The boy switches his r’s for w’s (Wylie! Wylie? Pway? Outside?), which is super cute. And, of course, his s’s for f’s (No fankin’, Mom! No fankin!). So, let’s revisit the above conversation… but, this time I’ll write what I HEAR.

Firt off?

You can take your shirt off.

Pant off?

Let’s leave your pants on.

Tay. Fock off?


You may take your socks off.

One fock off, Mom. Two fock off.

I won’t lie. It’s hilarious.

Until you go to the bank.

At the drive-through, I always roll the back windows down so the kids can watch the tube go up the shoot.  They think it’s magic. It is, really.  The money goes up and a receipt- often with candy for cute children- comes back down.  God bless America.

Except for this one particular day, when the kind lady forgot to put the candy in the tube. I tried to ignore it. Make quick conversation in the car, roll up the windows, be gone before the short people in the back noticed the violation of goodwill and started wailing…

but my son was on to all of us.

As I rolled up our windows but before it was even half-way, he let out  a piercing yell directly into the microphone.



Mom, pwease.

Focker, pwease.


The volume you’re hearing in your head? Double it. This child is LOUD. Loud.  It’s possible God stopped time at that moment. That’s what it felt like. There was no wind. No radio. No nothing. Just my son… and his sweet little mouth of fire.

The boy wanted his SUCKER and he would not be silenced.

I took a deep breath and rolled the windows back down.

The teller was shaking with laughter as I squeaked,

“I suppose there IS something else you can do for me today. If you have a candy, a sucker, anywhere in that building… if you have one, I have a little boy who desperately wants one. Please. And, thank you.”

And so she did.

And we left.

And I have never been back.

Language is a fickle, changing, growing, living thing in this family.

Gus Man