The Way We do a Hot Valentine’s Date

Very very romantic – that is how we do Valentine’s Day around our house.  From the early morning when we get up, to the minute we shut the lights off, it is all romance, all the time.  True love is like that.

We went about our regular days until about 4 PM when we noticed something strange going on with Lucy the superdog.  Apparently, she had decided to try ice fishing, because we found fishing line dangling from her mouth, and by “we” I mean Curly found it while I was lounging on my bed in fleece, hoping to grab a cat nap before my hot Valentine’s Date.  Ya know, I need more and more of that beauty sleep the older I get.  I have always been a fan of napping.  So anyways, I guess a good pet owner can’t ignore dangling fishing line, so I tried to get her to chill enough for me to tug on it.  She is a spaz.  And I have an injured wrist (more on that later) so it was a no go.  I locked her in her kennel, and did what every good wife does – called Bill.

Me, “Ah, Bill, I think maybe you have to come home.  NOW.  And take a look at your super dog.  Seems she wanted to end her week on a high note again.”

Bill, “Are you flipping kidding me?  Where did she get fishing line?”   No, wait, that is not what he said.  He did not ask that.  Because really, fishing line comes from one place in this house:  Crazy’s room.  He is the fishing line, duct tape, PVC pipe guy.  A man’s man.  I ran down there to see if I could find evidence and low and behold, I found NOTHING.  Not one piece of fishing stuff anywhere.

“Fine, after Xrays, we will be able to pin this one on Crazy,” We thought.

Curly and I busied ourselves folding 17 loads of laundry while we waited for Bill to get home.  We couldn’t think of what a swallowed fish hook might mean.  At 8 1/2 going on about 15, Lucy has run out of heroic efforts.  After the TPLO, we agreed we wouldn’t do anything like that again to her.  Lucy, on the other hand, was sawing logs, happy as can be to grab her cat nap.

Bill got home, and between the two of us, we were able to pin her down, open her mouth, and locate the issue.  Again, not true at all.  Labs are strong!!!!!!!!  So I made a call to the vet, Bill loaded her kennel in the Denali, and Lucy got herself a last minute drink, which must have helped her finish swallowing the whole fishing line, because it had disappeared.  We think she had planned this in advance, because 4:30 on a Friday????  Who does that?  She was so excited to go for a ride, stealing Bill away from our big hot date night plans.

So I went solo to our hot date – a swim meet.  And waited, literally shaking, for news.  They sedated her, they morphine her, they X-rayed her, the excreted her anal glands (can I get a “whoop!” from the stinky dog owners!) and they found…drum roll please…of course, nothing.  Well, nothing that showed up on X-ray.  So we wait to see if fishing line ruins her guts – watching for red eyes, unable to bathroom correctly (although really, dogs don’t “bathroom” so maybe backyard correctly is the better term.)  I guess the Pieper kids get to go follow her poop trail, watching for signs of badness or for fishing line.

They did find, in this X-raying that they did, that she has severe arthritis in her neck, so they asked if she had been chained up a lot or if she pulls when leashed, and we had to tell the truth – the truth is, she has hardly been leashed since the TPLO surgery because she spends most of her day propped on her bed with pillows and blankets and more of her nights on the queen bed with her main man, JP.  She also eats a lot of toast crusts, that is her job around here.   I guess that is why she had also gained a bunch of weight.  Don’t we all gain a little in the winter???

So she is eating 4 meals a day now, smaller amounts – trying to get back into bikini form.  Or, maybe it is because we have to take it easy on her digestive system, watching for the worst thing.

We are not ready to lose our dog, so this fishing line eating better just be another funny story – like the bread dough eating last month was.  Boy, for a dog who has severe arthritis and a fake knee, she still is pretty naughty.

So I sat alone at the swim meet, and Bill stayed home with a drugged dog, who pooped on the floor at the vet’s for the first time and was pretty proud of it.  Clarifying – Lucy pooped on the floor, not Bill – I know some of you will wonder.  And that is our romantic date story.  Brought to you by this dog, who seems to just be suffering from Afluenza today.

ImageIn all the craziness, I forgot to bring my camera.  I still don’t have pictures of JP’s first swim season.  Any kid who will parade around wearing pretty much nothing, trying a sport that he knows nothing about, just because of a deal he made with a buddy deserves to have pictures and maybe trophies.   I will write all about this some day soon, because I am so proud of him.  Doing what I could, I whipped out my cell phone to get a picture of him on the blocks (is that what they are called in swimming?) and instead, took this awesome Valentine’s date selfie:

ImageWhat was that???  Keeping it real, Pieper Style.  We have one more swim meet to get the perfect picture of him…I will do better next time.   Do you feel the romance around here?


McShort Pants

It started around supper time.  My kids had spent the day on the lake and were famished.  I had packed all the fixings for chicken fajitas and was ready to cook up a delish meal that would be devoured.  It was at that moment that the powers to be decided to draft for our family’s fantasy football league.  Kinda a “What the crap are you thinking?” moment.  Undoubtedly, being a mom outranks kicking FF butt, so I stuck to the skillet and handed my drafting duties over to JP. 

Why JP?  He doesn’t know anything about football and from what I hear, wasn’t even following the draft process because he was deep into a texting conversation with some girl who I have yet to meet.  You should see my team list.  It is very sad and losingly.  I know that isn’t a word, I don’t care.  The one thing he did right was to draft a namesake.  Last year,  team McNutt did pretty well.    This year, team McShorty Short Pants (named after Cecil Shorts) SUCKS.   Sidenote:  JP also drafted Montee Ball for me because he thought that McShort should have balls.  This is how it is going down this season.  I am 0-5.  And he thinks it is very funny.  I have become that girl who doesn’t even change my starters when players have bye weeks.  Don’t care.  FF ‘13 is dead to me.

So on Sundays, instead of watching football, I have gone back to the kitchen where I kinda am a big deal.  Pinterest + me = fun new stuff to feed the little minions.  Easy supper recipes that have been big hits include Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Cajun Chicken Pasta,  and One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole.  I sent these Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bars to a XC team meal and JP said they were good but very rich so they couldn’t inhale them, which I think is a win-win – Yummy and slows down the ravenous teen collection – score.

I am working on a whole new list of recipes to try and will pass them on if they are good enough for the Pieper kids.  Or at least 3 of them.  We all know by now that daughter #2 isn’t about to try anything new.  Except saxophone.  She is blessing our home with the sounds of another reeded instrument. Why not? 

And that is what is going on around here.  Minus Princess’s play, JP and Curly’s running, Crazy Man’s hunting and all the little things in between like football games, pep band, Stampede week at school, bonfires, chili feeds, drum lessons, school meetings, Scout meetings, youth group, and all that makes life worth living.   Loving my kids more and more, even when they draft me completely unworkable FF teams.



Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

Yesterday was one of those days.  The first set back began my day a wee too early.  Bill and JP got up to start their regular days and woke me up.  I couldn’t go back to sleep.  What???  That can’t happen in June.  It was just the way the day was going to go.

My first big job of the day was to mow our lawn.  The grass was pretty much hay bale material, and I knew the job would be horrendous, like scrubbing the latrine.  Although I have never scrubbed an official latrine, I imagine it to not be all too enjoyable.  I made one lap around the yard and clogged the bagging shoot twice.   Made another lap – the bags were already full before 3/4 of the lap around the big estate and I had to unclog again, so I did what every good lawn-mowing, summer-stay-at-home-mom does:  I took the bagger off and just mowed it down.  JP wasn’t home to watch the horror unfold.  Good thing, it wasn’t pretty.  Since it was going to look like garbage when done anyway, I taught Curly the art of the riding mower and let her loose.  I figure with her eye for detail, this might be the job for her.  For now, it is fun, so she might roll with it without noticing she is working.


Even worse, however, were the dandelions smiling at me as I mowed them down.  Seems they are undaunted by swirling blades.  The back 1/2 of our lawn is an embarrassment.  Princess and I dug those precious dandelions out by hand for quite some time and estimate that we cleared out about 12 gallons of them, which doesn’t sound like much, but was a major undertaking.  My goal is to dig every day this summer until they are gone and once again I can hear someone mention that the Pieper lawn doesn’t have a single weed in it – I miss those days, and how has it come to this?  Princess doesn’t understand why in the world dandelions are weeds.



After working on the lawn all morning, the girls and I treated ourselves to hair cuts and styles.  It was relaxing as we bonded over eye brow waxing.  And that last sentence was the beginnings of a poem.  Feel free to run with it.



But as soon as we hopped back in my hot mini-van to get ourselves home, we realized we weren’t going anywhere.  Van dead.  Completely dead.  We tried mouth to mouth.


No luck.  So we, for the first time, had our trusty van towed in to the fixin’ guys this morning.  I was secretly, well, maybe not-so-secretly, hoping for a total failure of all systems so I could be all like, “I drove that thing till she died because I am all content to drive a mini-van forever.”  Bill was hoping for “all she needs is a new battery.”  (I know my van is a she-mom because she has logged countless hours of child care without being a glamorous and worried about herself while the Denali is a guy because it sucks down the gas being all super strong and manly.)   Well, the verdict came back more like “She needs a new computer.”  to which Bill probably was super pumped (he does love getting new computers!) and agreed to fix her so I can once again be blessed by her ability to drive me all over looking all washed-up-momish.   It isn’t a clear win for either of us.  I am out a van for 3 – 5 days, however, so that makes it a lose for JP because I am now driving his car.  HA!  (I have yet to determine the gender of Goldie.)

So today is half over already and I haven’t accomplished much, so I better get my butt out of the pink blogging chair and get to the dandelion detail.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

“Remember that the very best things in life can’t be captured in status updates.” – quoted from this great article, which in a funny kind of way, I found on a friend’s facebook wall. 

This is a great article about the one thing I struggle with – ok, I struggle with multiple things, but one thing I really struggle with: comparing myself to others.  I know I am not alone in this struggle.  I am not skinny enough, I am not involved enough, I am not wife enough, mother enough, cooking enough, cleaning enough, serving enough, relaxing enough, stylin’ enough, trusting God enough, homeschooling enough, helicopter-parenting enough, etc.  It is a daily struggle. 

The title of the article is Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life.  Well, thank God I don’t Instagram.  I am safe on this one.  But, obviously, I do blog, which some people think is insane, or a cry for more attention, or an overshare of the worst variety, but I do it because I love to “write” and it captures real life for my kids to look back at some day. 

I hope I don’t make our life out to be perfect.  I like to be real.  Once I was real on my blog and was pretty much chastised, beheaded, belittled, and sometimes, because of that, I am afraid to post real life stuff. 

This weekend, we celebrated the girls’ birthday.  Crazy Man celebrated his share of their birthday earlier at a hockey game, so this party was all girl.  We had a really nice time with the girls, and we had moments of struggle too.  Sometimes, it was too loud and too much for one sweet girl who has a hard time filtering.  Sometimes, the party she had pictured perfectly in her head didn’t happen like she had planned and she struggled to deal with it. 


20130405_163355_8831  20130405_163357_8832

20130405_164345_8846  20130405_164855_8853

Life is like that for her.  It is at times unpredictable and unfixable in the moment.  So we cover for her, punt, and try to learn how to prevent future struggles, or how to use her “tools” to calm when it does happen again.  And sometimes, I am good at helping her, and sometimes, I don’t know how.  And it is hard to be the not-knowing-how mom. 

We went to Unglued where we decorated and devoured delicious Bake-ol-o-gy cupcakes of the grasshopper and pumpkin chocolate chip variety.  YUM!!!  We were graciously hosted in the back room of Unglued, where we learned how to sketch glass, bringing home treasured mugs.  Late night homemade pizza, early morning pancakes, very very little sleep.  It was a wonderful time with beautiful girls.  And I was spent when it was over.  And maybe the take away from this event was that big sleep overs are too much at our home.  How is that for real?  The mom who loves to host children, who has an open door policy, who will make homemade strawberry syrup for the homemade pancakes to make my kids’ day, also has a limit on how much I can filter- and filtering for two was more than I could accomplish successfully this weekend.

My status update this weekend would have been:  Eyes + Contacts < No sleep.  Apparently, trying to learn how to put in contacts isn’t highly successful after your birthday sleepover leads to no sleep.  Even the best chocolate ganache can’t overcome that truth.

Today was Friday

I love Fridays.  I really really do.  I love them in the summer, I love them during the school year.  I like me some family time.  I like wearing my jammies by 6:30 PM.  I love how the girls are holed up in their rooms, JP has a friend over, Bill is studying in his dungeon, and Crazy Man is baking cookies.  Mostly because he must be swinging like a monkey on the blood sugar pendulum and this would be a fun way to get his fix.  I figure it is a good way to get him some bonus math work.

Math – Crazy Man has decided that after his brilliant start this year, he is done with school.  Well, that means an F.  Yep,  summer school may be a deterrent to his little summer-loving self.  So might be his lack of freedom to go to drum lessons and hockey.  Oh yeah, and playing with neighbors – nope, and playing Xbox, nope.  And his life sure stunk this week.  Piepers don’t quit 7th grade half way through.  We finish.   He would like me to add, after I made sure I could blog about this development in our lives, that he is technically not failing anymore after this week’s assignments, which brought him up to a ‘D’.  Woop.

Curly graced our home with an abundance of Girl Scout cookies, after a little shopping fiasco.  She hid them very well after we told her that we (meaning the grown ups) couldn’t eat them no matter how much we begged.  We are not allowed to consume the calories.

I hit the 10 pound loss since Christmas mark – we are celebrating that by eating chocolate chips from the bulk bag from Costco.  Oh the shame.  Maybe it isn’t the chocolate chips that brought the shame, maybe it was the movie popcorn.

Movie?  Yep.  I went to Safe Haven with 10 of my co-workers today.  What I need to say the most is that I work with some super great people who have become extremely good friends and I am so very blessed to be able to work with them.  Second, the movie was pretty good.  We all had read the book, because of course since I work at a school, we emphasis reading.  We agreed that it wasn’t as good as the book, but was a pretty good movie.  Third, popcorn – uh, 200 calories per cup?  Remember that next time you plow through a large bucket of that stuff.  HOLY COW!!  And rinse it down with a mega pop too.  And free refills?  YES!  But, NO!

(Curly just talked on the phone, so now she is putting on hand sanitizer.  That is for you, Cousin J!)

Ok, so my favorite food of the week was fajitas in lettuce leaves rather than shells.  Think of the low-cal move that is.  I always make fajitas heavy on the veggies, so wowsa – a yummy, healthy choice.  Plop on a dollop of  plain Greek Yogurt in place of sour cream and call it awesome.  (Be ready for more juice to roll down your arms without that shell to soak it up!)  One cup of Chicken Fajita filling is 178 calories, according to myfitnesspal, so thinking lettuce really has none and the Greek Yogurt has about 10 calories per tablespoon, if you use the right stuff, you have an under 200 calorie super healthy satisfying meal.


Curly was selected to play the bass clarinet at school – well, at least to try getting air through it.  I also had the privilege of playing the bass when I was in high school and I loved the experience.  I hope she does too, because it is a monster thing for her little self to haul around.

Princess was selected to take place in the MathCounts Tri-City Math Contest.  WHOOHOOOO for pretty and smart! 

And so a friend of ours blogged this week about how she is not perfect – as if.   So guess what?  I think it is obvious that neither am I.  I am mouthy, lippy, and tend to say everything I think.  That is the way I am made.  I like to mutter and complain under my breath.  “In everything give thanks,” the Bible says.  I am working on that.    I am not a perfect wife by any stretch of the imagination.  I am lazy beyond lazy some times.  I surf the internet a lot and waste a lot of time doing so – time I should be doing better house-wifey things.  I like to shop and spend money.  I get jealous easily, but think I am making strides at being happy for others. 

(I just asked Bill to name one of my short comings and his reply: your height.  HAHAHA so very funny.)

I am stir crazy both with life in general (still ponder on going back to school some day) and also because I am SICK of winter.  This time of year pretty much kills my spirits.  I am sick of wearing 100 levels of bundling just to stay warm and taking baths every night to keep the blood flow in the toes going.  My skin is like that of a snake.  And I am allergic to something I am eating (I think) because I have an awesome collection of little bumps all over my arms and legs (ok, and maybe my stomach too) generally called a rash. I blame the wheatgrass.

How is that for transparent.  Also, I need gas in my van – I dreamt that I ran out and it is possible that I have driven it down to fumes.  Bill hates when I do that.

Second Bizzard Monday in a Row

We don’t have school today – not because of weather, but because of Presidents.  I love those two guys who got me the day off.  We are under a blizzard warning – really, we didn’t get any snow, how can that happen?  Snow on ground + ND wind = no driving a minivan through drifts.

I really need to get to Costco.  I had big plans for today – plans to bake and cook and plans to head into the rest of the week on autopilot.  Plans to eat super healthy and lose 2 or 3 pounds.  I also have a headache for the second day in a row, but I digress.

Obviously, we didn’t get to Costco yesterday as planned, but we did:

1.)  Rescue Zack from the strike, which is kinda a big deal because he was a wanted man – I had to keep my eyes on him the whole time and steal him back from quite a few girls…


2.) Attend an Eagle Scout Ceremony – Lookin’ sharp, Pieper Scouts, all those badges are well-sewn on just in the nick of time!!


3.) Changed out of Scout uniforms in a bathroom and headed to Crazy Man’s Rock Concert.   (If you have a rocker in your family, check out Elevate Rock School.)

Photo: Andy's a rock star...and we have almost completed our Sunday "day of rest"

4.) Sent two kids home and dropped one off at the Cast Party – pity the parents who hosted 60+ middle school kids in their home last night.  The report is that they all sang at the top of their lungs – imagine that – singing from a bunch of theater kids.  I guess that is better than listening to a football team sing at the top of their lungs.  So there’s that…

5.) Went to Crazy Man’s rec hockey – you know, hockey for parents who didn’t want to sell their souls to the hockey machine.  We go once a week, we don’t travel to games, we still have a life outside of ice rinks – you know, for our other three children who also have outside interests.


6.) Came home at 8:30 to find out we still need yet ANOTHER different part to fix the girls’ sink.  Still no faucet.

Multi-event day, mom and dad very, very tired, but blessed that we are able to have our children involved in so many things that feed who they each are as individuals, even if they can’t wash their hands after they use the bathroom.

Curly isn’t doing much outside our home right now.  She has a new love  – Minecraft.  These two blizzard Mondays have really allowed her time to develop her gaming skills while snuggled up with Lucy.  Track season is coming when she will again put on her fancy shoes and wow us with her running efforts but until then, she is a slug on my living room floor.  Her big news is that I am only about an inch taller than she is.  She checks daily.


So I guess I better get out of my PJ’s and cook with what I have.  Kids need to eat.  And I predict that today is going to be the day I finally catch my much needed nap.

Reality and Fantasy

Today began with a beautiful fog lifting in the neighborhood leaving the trees painted a glistening white, shimmering under the sun.  It was beautiful to stare out the patio door at all that was perfect and clean.  Except that my patio window is smeared with dog snot and ahead of me was a day of dusting, laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and the much dreaded hands-and-knees variety of mopping the floors.

What?  On closing day of Princess’s big play, we are cleaning?  Shouldn’t we be at the spa getting hair and nails done?  Sure, in the fantasy world that is High School Musical, we would be.  But we live in Reality Town, Midwest America, where the dust is thick enough to write our names.  We have bars to bake for the after-show party and have run out of butter. We have a broken bathroom faucet and not the right supplies to fix it, all of this leading to an awesome pile of under the bathroom sink stuff all over the bathroom and little hope of getting it cleaned before my mother-in-law comes.  Bill is in town picking up supplies.  And oranges, cuz he wanted oranges.

I know my mother-in-law doesn’t care.  I really truly know that.  I want to pretend it is ok with me to have her see the filth we live in every day, but I can’t – so out comes the bleach, out comes the Lysol, out comes the laminate floor cleaner.  Holy Moly, we can see the floor in Princess’s room – it has gotten that crazy around here.

Ok, I will report back in later today.

Mid day reality check-in.  I scrubbed two bathrooms.  Why do I wait so long in between?  The worst stuff is the dust bunnies behind the toilets.  You can’t use a wet rag back there, the dust bunnies become killer spider webs that wont let go of the rag.  Instead, you get some TP and wipe it up first, but then, crap, you took the garbage can out so you could mop and the toilet bowl has blue stuff in it so where do you put that TP?  Ah, I hate cleaning bathrooms.  But they are done.  And that is why my hands are dry as sandpaper.  And my eyes burn, and I need a nap.

I just want to be Lucy.  She gets to lay around all day.  And snore.  Lucky dog.

So as it sits, most of my to-do list is done and what isn’t done isn’t going to get done because I am done.  For now.  The mess will return.    As soon as we all come home, it will return.  But I am sick of cleaning – about 6 hours of it is about 5 too many.  Lysol spray with bleach eats brain cells.  I think I am high.

One more thing – before you have your son rip off all his Scout uniform badges so that you can sew them onto a bigger Scout uniform, be sure you locate all the thread.  Yes, badges come in about 8 obscure outline colors that I now have to go locate so Bill can sew them all on his new uniform before a ceremony that is tomorrow.  Oh, PS.  Especially on a day when none of you will be back home until about 10:00 to start the sewing project.  Just a little bit of advice.

The sink didn’t get fixed before Bill had to leave for the day.  This is all working out perfectly.

Time for a nap.

Sunday morning recap of how it all actually went down:

Didn’t get the nap – life was a little ahead of me.  We went into town to get thread and run errands – and forgot the capri’s we needed to take to the mall.  So we skipped the mall.  Good thing, I think, town was nuts.   We decided to eat at Applebees as our last show dinner.  So did everyone else.  We ate at Culvers instead.  Which is good too.  Why would anything go according to plan?  We got ourselves to the play on time and had a good time watching all the middle school kids cry because it was over – one of the highlights for Curly (who revels in others’ pain, remember) was seeing boys with running mascara due to tears.  HAHAHAHA – so funny when you are 12.  I didn’t cry.  Princess didn’t cry.  This is middle school, she has to go back to reality on Tuesday (no school Monday) and be reminded that a few of the kids who sang and danced to lyrics all about how if you work together and accept each other, you all win – turn back into their normal middle school selves in the dog eat dog world of Cheney Middle School.  Come on, Wildcats!!


So after the play and post play-party, we got home and watched Bill sew badges on Scout uniforms until 12:30 AM when we all called it a day.  He finished this morning.  We didn’t get to church – the faucet is still broken, requiring trip #3 to the store – and we are still in PJ’s.  We are now out of Dawn dish detergent.  We will try to fit a Costco run in in between Princess’s set strike at 1:00 (where I will attempt to bring home the bedazzled picture of Zach Effron so I can put it in Jen’s locker at work), JP and Crazy Man needing to be at Eagle Ceremony at 1:15, the rest of us needing to be there at 3:00, Crazy Man’s rock band concert at 5:15, and then Princess’s cast party at 6:00, oh yeah, and Crazy Man’s hockey at 7:00.  That is how we roll today.


I better hit the shower and lace up some shoes, this day is about to go nuts.

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