Montanan writes ‘disgusting’ new parenting book

A while back, the Missoulian featured a regular columnist from Dillon named Joe Barnhart, who offered a humorous take on … a lot of different topics.

Barnhart has spent the past several months focusing on the topic of parenting. Specifically, he’s been working on a parenting book for those of us who could use an escape from the overly serious how-to-raise-a-perfect-child tomes parents are usually subjected to.

The result of his hard work: “Parenting Made Disgustingly Easy.”

Barnhart book

I was lucky enough to get to get a signed copy for helping to edit this “practically worthless guide for raising little people,” as the cover describes its contents. While I tried to focus on misplaced commas and misspelled words, I have to admit that I kept breaking into fits of giggles.

Chapter titles like “Taming the Beast” and “Grandparents: Choose Wisely!” give readers a good idea of what they’re in store for.

Looking for a daycare? Make sure the facility teaches “A foreign language such as Spanish, Metric, or sign gestures appropriate for customers who bellyache about the cost of repairs.”

Considering your discipline options? You’ll want to learn about “time out,” “reverse time out” and my favorite, “double reverse time out.”

If you can’t find a copy of “Parenting Made Disgustingly Easy” at your local book store, go to Barnhart’s website,, and order one there.

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Operation Earthworm Rescue

My favorite rainy day activity:

First thing in the morning, I run up to the kids and exclaim, “The worms! They need our help!” Then run to the front door and throw my shoes on.

The kids invariably stampede with me out to the road, which, after any amount of spring rain, is invariably strewn with long lines of earthworms, many of them still slowly sliming their way across the pavement.

Willow and Landon immediately set to work transferring the wriggling (or sometimes, completely limp) earthworms from the road and sidewalk to the grassy field. I stand watch for traffic.

“We have to save them!”

“Before the cars come!”

“Before the birds see them!”

“They could drown! Worms are not good swimmers!”

It takes about 20 minutes to free the earthworms on our block from their rainy fates. Although, once you start it’s hard not to keep going. I once experienced a major warp in the time-space continuum as we were biking to school, stopping every few feet to move more worms out of the road. We must have saved a thousand worms that day. Yet somehow, we were not late to school.

I love it. I love that my kids want to help as many worms as possible, even knowing that they can’t possibly save them all. And knowing that they won’t get any kind of a reward for it. Not even a thank-you.

It’s important to know that no matter how small you are, there is always someone smaller you could help.

And besides, picking up big, slithery, slimy worms is fun.



My kid called me a ‘puke’ on Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day. We’re waiting in line on the school playground before the first bell rings. I tell my daughter that I think she is strong and flexible like the tree she is named after, and I love her.

“I love you too, mom. You’re like a puke.”

A what now?

“You know, how it feels to puke. How sometimes you feel bad, like in your stomach, and then you puke and the bad feelings are gone. And then you feel all better again, all OK again.”

Which just may be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Fire Monster Garbage Can

That’s what Landon says he wants to name his first child. Boy or girl? Doesn’t matter.

Good thing that’s a loooooooooong ways away.

Willow says she doesn’t intend to have any HUMAN children, ever. But she is undoubtedly going to have lots of kitten babies, in which case, she will wait to see what the kittens look like before she names them.

Isn’t she a sensible soul?

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Not THAT president

Willow: Landon, did you know that today is the day somebody SHOT the PRESIDENT?

Me: That happened 50 years ago, honey.

Landon: Did he die?

Willow: Yup.

Landon: So the PRESIDENT is a ZOMBIE?!

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A (truly) missing tooth

So this is a new one in our family: Landon swallowed his front tooth yesterday.

The thing had been loose for a while, as you might imagine, but I pulled and pulled on it (at Landon’s urging) and it wouldn’t come out.

Just an hour later, he’s happily eating his goulash at lunchtime when his eyes suddenly go big and round. He puts his fork down and just sits there.

Then Landon smiles at me. And places one hand on his belly.

Despite Willow’s best assurances (she came dangerously close to disclosing her super-secret knowledge of the Tooth Fairy’s true identity), Landon worried that without a tooth to give, the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t come. He asked me to write a note explaining that he accidentally ingested his tooth and politely asking if he could still have “something” anyway.

Happily, the Tooth Fairy did indeed pay him a visit last night. Left him a nice note and two dollars, which, if you ask me, is a bit out of line – especially considering that the tooth is still working its way through Landon’s digestive system.

But you know Tooth Fairies. Always going over the top.

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Missing the punchline

Me: Knock, knock.

Landon: Who’s there?

Me: Canoe.

Landon: Canoe who?

Me: Canoe guess my name?

Landon: Is it Martha?

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One more day to see the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in Missoula

I swear we weren’t even trying, and my family has sighted the 27-foot Oscar Mayer Wienermobile all over town these past couple of days.

How do I know the exact dimensions of this giant food-shaped vehicle? Because, working in the news business, and especially since I started this mom blog gig, I get sent all kinds of announcements and press releases, including this one from the folks at Oscar Mayer themselves.

I’ve posted it below for those of who you enjoy a good pun or five. Take special note that there’s only one day left to see the thing before it leaves Missoula, so if you or your kids are really, REALLY into hot dogs … well, you know where you should be this Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. – at the Walmart located at 3555 Mullan Road.

The Oscar Mayer WIENERMOBILE, a 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels, will be visiting Missoula April 8-10. The Wienermobile is an American icon that has been spreading miles of smiles across the country since 1936.

At our events this week, visitors can take photos with the famous vehicle. Hotdoggers, the drivers of the Wienermobile, will have limited-edition Wienermobile postcards that visitors can send to family and friends for FREE.

I think the readers of the Missoula Mom blog would relish the chance to see the Wienermobile.

Seeing the Wienermobile is a bunderful opportunity to have some fun with the family.

Please let me know if you would like to ketchup and get more information.

Franks a lot,

Kylie Nellis,
Oscar Mayer Hotdogger

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Superhero preschoolers give lesson on community kindness


Hands down the most adorable story I’ve read in a long time – let alone read in a NEWSPAPER – is today’s front-page report on the young caped crusaders of Missoula Community School and their super acts of community kindness.

Hard to be a grump – even on a cold, gray January day – after reading a story like this.

Missoula Editor read the story and was reminded about how awesome Missoula is and why we choose to live here.

It’s a lesson in kindness for the children, sure, but I think there’s a lesson here for us adults, too. A lesson about how sometimes, even the smallest, seemingly insignificant actions can have a big impact on another person’s life. About how we don’t have to do big things or be big people in order to make our world a better place.

Here’s hoping these small heroes’ small acts of kindness continue to ripple throughout the community.

– MM

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A Mommy Rhapsody for all you rock star moms

This video actually came out on Mother’s Day, 2010, way back in May. But I find in the January lull filled with nothing but gray skies and piles of white snow after all the chaos of the last weeks of December, that I sometimes need a little extra lift, laughs and mom camaraderie.

And rock music.

– MM

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