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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Blur, revisited

Ahem.

My in-laws read my blog. Flattering and frightening all wrapped into one. But my father-in-law decided to enlighten me as to WHY opening Christmas presents with Hubby's family is like setting rabid squirrels onto a 10-lb jar of peanut butter.

I can't do it justice, so in his own words...


In years past we tried the one gift at a time routine. The problem is the math. Time vs people vs opening of said gifts.

Min number people 11 - could be much higher


Gifts given from 1 person to the other 1 (never this low, better average 2.5)


Time to open presents 5 min per person.


Min math 11*11*5=605 min /60 min = 10.08 hours min


Max math 11*27.5(2.5 gifts from each other gift giver) 302.5 min*5 min opening time = 1512.5 /60 min in an hour =25.20 hours 


Needless to say we did not have the time since every one was hungry.


I stand corrected. Bring on the paper cuts.

'Twas the night before the night before Christmas

And I'm hoping Santa takes one good look at my living room and basement and decides my kids don't really need any more toys.

Move along, jolly man... no need for presents here...
Since the birthday/Christmas/present extravaganza began at Thanksgiving, my little man has been gift-greedy and overwhelmed with all of his new stuff.

"Mom, what I play with?"

"Mom, I wanna do somethin" What, my darling, darling son? "I dunno. Sumpin'"

"Mom, what you play with me?"

And on and on and on...

He sincerely loves his new presents, but for somebody who only gets true gifts one month a year, it's a lot to take in. He'll probably get into the groove either a) right before they all break or b) next November. One of the two. I understand why the people who love us want to give him gifts, so I don't discourage the practice, I just grin (cringe) and bear it.

My princess has been amazingly patient through all of brother's gift openings. On Nathaniel's actual birthday, I got her out of bed and told her it was brother's birthday. She looked at me and said in the sweetest voice possible, "Me too?"

I assured her that it would be her birthday soon.

"Otay."

She was a model little sister at his party and he gladly let her play with (most) of his new toys.

But if in a few years I have TWO greedy Guses I may take a page from Nana's book and start threatening to shoot Santa.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ow.

Hubby needs a goal to motivate him to exercise. He gets bored easily, so just running doesn't do it for him. He has to run, bike AND swim. Nut job.

But anyhoo, every year he swears he is not going to fall hopelessly out of shape to start from scratch in the spring. Every year, he falls hopelessly out of shape and starts from scratch in the spring. This winter is extra special since with the whole "trying to finish a master's thesis while working full time and not completely ignoring my wife and kids" he didn't have time to run any this past summer.

So after an exhaustive search of our bookshelves, he pulled out the triathlon training book. (Note: I had to find the darn thing. If something gets put away, he cannot find it. It's like man law #45, and applies to car keys, shoes, dress pants, jackets, toothpaste...)

After one night of stretching and strength training, Hubby decided I needed to join him in the festivities. Me and my creaking shoulders, cracking ankles, weak knees and aching back. Nah, I don't need exercise.

There are no triathlons in my future, I can tell you that. My lungs seize up at the thought of jogging down the block. But I can be a good cheerleader wifey.

So I agreed to his plan. I will regret that decision in the morning when I try to sit up to get out of bed. And walk into the bathroom. And then down the stairs.

Crack. Ow. Crack. Ow.

You get the idea.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Part One, the Blur

Good thing I don't get paid, cuz after five days of no blogging, my butt would be fired. I'm not sure what happened. I blinked. If you are a mom, I'm pretty sure you'll know what I'm talking about. But let's see if I can catch you up...

I cookie swapped like a champ. My roughly 5.5 dozen cookies were gone instantly. I gotta say it felt pretty good to open that first tin and hear, "Oooh, you made pizzelles? I love those!" There were quite a few straggler cookies left on plates. I had crumbs. I wasn't even home before my friend texted me asking for a recipe. Oh yeah, I rock.

We had Christmas part 1 of 3 with the grandparents. My living room looked like Christmas exploded. There was no putting presents under the tree. They would have BURIED poor Doug. It wasn't like the family went super crazy, but a lot of them were just physically large. And I feel like I missed the opening of everything, including my own.

In my family, we dragged out the opening of presents. Everyone got their turn to be the center of attention, to ooh and aaah appropriately so that the giver and the receiver could both rate their gifting experience. (Watch out for the Russian judge... always critical) The youngest always went first, and in my years, I guess it was to keep my head from exploding in anticipation. I was the baby. I never had to wait for anyone. Explains a lot, don't it?

Hubby's family gets everything over with in one giant cluster. One person plays Santa and passes out gifts, and once everyone has a box or bag in front of them, it's all over but the cryin'. Even with only my fam of 4 opening I felt like I had no idea who got what for whom. I checked all my tags, but before I could commit the name to the present under the paper, my attention was drawn to one of my offspring tearing into the new favorite toy of the last 30 seconds.

Sorry, I've had two kids. My brain can only handle so much at once. Christmas last year with the WHOLE family about did me in. That's a whole lotta wrapping paper flying... eek... paper cuts...

So kinda glad the rest of our Christmases should be low-key. Besides our family Wii, Craig and I will only have stockings to open on Christmas Day. And if we're feeling left out, I'll break out the iPod and he can go to the garage and stare at the Other Woman (his boat, if you're just tuning in).

On the 26th, we'll head to PA to visit my family, which will be the one-at-a-time deal with my Nana, aunt and uncle. Aaah... I can hear the almost silence now.

I'm a mom. Silence is golden.

So are Starbucks gift cards, Santa. Hint, hint.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful

I think I understand why my grandmother's freezer was always packed with baked goodies. How else do you keep warm? This is my baking week. It's also the coldest week so far. That is a fortunate coincidence.

My freezer was dangerously low on banana bread, so I made 2 loaves Monday and an experimental loaf yesterday afternoon. I follow my Nana's recipe to a T normally, so I tried to healthify the bread a little with wheat flour and applesauce instead of oil.

Lesson learned? Don't mess with a good thing. At least Nathaniel seems to be going through a growth spurt and is eating everything we put in front of him. Even if it tastes like banana cardboard.

I have to take 4 dozen cookies to a swap tomorrow night. I couldn't narrow it down to just one kind, so my plan is to make 2 dozen of each. One is a new recipe, one is an old/new recipe.

I found Pumpkin Creme Pies online a few months ago and have been itching to try them. A little labor-intensive, but still classified as "easy," so I can do it, right? Gosh I hope so...

The other is pizzelles. When Nana moved out of the house I grew up in, I made sure to grab the pizzelle iron my mom and I used to make Christmas cookies. The original manual is gone, so I'm using a new recipe I found online and I've never made them solo. I was always Mom's sous chef. Sous baker? Whatever...

Of course I just discovered I am low on a few ingredients, so until Hubby takes a detour to Wally World on his way home, I will be at a standstill. Not that I really want help from my kids, who are currently chasing each other around the living room.

ANYWAYS...

Since we are ahead on the whole gift-buying-card-sending-other-random-task extravaganza that is Christmas, I thought I might make a few homemade gifts for friends. And when my plans for yesterday afternoon and evening got cancelled, I decided a little baking therapy was in order.

Enter the cinnamon rolls.

And because I felt like I needed to go a step farther, Orange Marmalade Rolls. Oh yes, I went there.

I think I like them better than P Dub's Original Cinnamon Rolls. Which are still kick-butt. Hubby, who professes to dislike both maple flavoring (in everything but syrup) and coffee (I know, I don't understand it either...), still went back for seconds on my first attempt at her rolls. That should tell you all you need to know.

So I have six trays of rolls in my freezer, waiting for a new home. Since I'm still learning how to make them, the gnarly, misshapen ones went into their own pan and the kids and I put a dent in them for breakfast this morning. Oh darn.

In fact, I'm drooling now just thinking about them.

But the plus side to baking like a crazy person is that my kitchen is nice and toasty warm when the oven is on AND I'm running around the kitchen like a chicken with her head cut off. It will also delay the formation of a Bridget-sized lump on the couch.

The downside, of course, is my waistline. I don't think I'm doing enough running in the kitchen to quite counteract the calories in all these goodies. Maybe I should start racing the kids around the house.

Nah.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brrr

If only it weren't so gosh-darn-cold...

...I would not be close to wearing two layers to sleep and defying the Hubby by putting flannel sheets on our bed.

...I would insist my family become nudists because I am really, really sick of laundry.

...I would go outside to investigate the dryer vent to see why I feel a blast of cold air every time I open my dryer.
I can't put my arms down!

...I would not preheat my side of the bed with a heating pad.

...I would send my wild monkeys outside to run off some of their energy. But the amount of clothing they would need to survive the elements makes Leah look like a little purple Stay Puft Marshmallow girl. And the drifts next to the house are up to Nathaniel's knees. But I can still see grass in the middle of the yard.

...I would not drink my body volume in coffee and chai throughout the day to stave off hypothermia.

...I would take my new toy (iPod) outside to calibrate the nifty Nike app on a run. HA HA! Okay, maybe a walk. A stroll. A mosey down the street.

OK, well, the rest of those things are true.

Dreaming of a white Christmas and a 75 degree and sunny Dec. 26.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If anything happens to our tree star...

My mommy friend B talked about finding a mooning Santa for their family Christmas tree. She couldn't find a topper, but I'd say she came close. 

Apparently I had a very witty comment for her, but I have no memory of when/where I said it. 

I have two kids. It happens. A LOT. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

An early Christmas

Another cake win... Go Diego Go
Sometimes it takes random days and actions to remind me how lucky I am. Where family is gone or far away, my life and my family's lives are filled with amazing people that create an extended "family." My living room was filled with non-relatives who took time to help celebrate a 4-year-old's birthday. I'm pretty sure a few were there for the cake.

I think every mom has a laundry list of people who have offered, at one time or another, to watch their kids. There are some that you actually believe, a few in the gray area, and always ones that are saying it to be polite. I very rarely consult that list. Not because I don't trust any of those people, but just because I feel like it should be for an emergency or at least a really good reason. I'm not sure why. Maybe a control issue? Or just knowing it's hard to repay the favor, so I better make it worth it.

Earlier this week, I had to run down that mental list not once, but twice. Weeks where we have concerts are always dicey, especially when our list of paid babysitters is practically non-existent. I called on one friend who loves my kids (and loves taking their pictures, consequently), but who I knew would not let me repay her in any way. I know. I've tried. I asked anyway. I'm not sure why, as an empty-nester, she had nothing better to do on a Friday night than hang out with a 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old, but...

Nathaniel and Leah didn't even notice when I left and when I returned home a few hours later, they were tucked in bed and my kitchen was cleaner than when I left. I had to do a double take to make sure I was in the right house.

You see, "Snefanie" is practicing to be a grandma (in a few years, she says. Hope her girls are on the same timetable). I'd say she's off to a good start, but practice makes perfect, as they say. I think it should my job to make sure she's good and prepared...

Friday, December 10, 2010

But I shy!

I had to check my phone when I dropped my FOUR year old at preschool yesterday to make sure I had the right day. An unfamiliar teacher walked out to the first car in line. I've been a little scattered lately, but really? Would I try to take him to school on the wrong DAY? That would be a new low.

After my dear phone told me it was in fact Thursday, I saw his second (normal) teacher come out to greet the kiddos too. Whew. My phone and I were not losing it.

Nathaniel was less than excited to have this new person. See, my boy, he fears change.

"I going to be shy to her." He informed me.

When I passed that information along, his second teacher laughed.

"Oh that's okay, I'm here. You can be shy to her, she won't mind."

That is why his teachers are awesome. They think he is hilarious and know that in his heart, he doesn't want to be shy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No good can come from this...

I got a little bit of Christmas early yesterday. I mean, it was half Christmas, half "thanks for letting me buy a sailboat, honey." 

I now have an iPod touch. 

I feel like I've jumped several levels of the dark side to the REALLY dark side, since I am going from unlimited texting with my full keyboard phone (which Hubby gave me grief about) to app-mania and every addicting Internet device at my fingertips.

See, we don't want to bite the bullet and get Crackberries (or their equivalent) because we're cheap and don't want to fork over more money for a data plan. I'm home a lot, where we have wireless, and if McDonald's has free Wi-Fi, the rest of the world isn't far behind. I talked to a friend who was raving about her iTouch, and when she told me she download iBooks, I was sold. Books, Facebook, games, other random useless crap that seems really cool at the time - what's not to love? Oh and it plays music too, right?

iPhones aren't options because a) I live in a cornfield and AT&T service bites and b) Hubby is morally and ethically against Apple. I have no idea how I convinced him I "needed" one. My guess? He's really happy I green-lighted the boat, people.

Now I just have to figure out how to use the darn thing. I'd like to do so without handing it over to my enginerd hubby every 30 seconds, but considering how electronically-challenged I am, that's not bloody likely. My 4-year-old has better luck operating the DVD player than I do. 

So I had the thing for about 8 hours and what did I do? Blogged while Hubby tried to figure out what happened to the free apps I thought I downloaded. 

Yeah, this is gonna take some time...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Little Man

Four years and one day ago, Hubby and I were on my way home from a concert in Fort Wayne, the day before my due date (because I'm that crazy). I had the next day off at work, and I was bound and determined not to waddle back in in another day still very pregnant.

Turns out, while time and deadlines sometimes escape me, my little man decided he needed to try to make his appearance right when he was supposed to - but he missed by about 3 hours. Nathaniel James came into this world at 3:16 a.m. Dec. 7, 2006 after 17 hours of labor, four games of darts while we waited to go to the hospital, two tries at the epidural, and one trip to Walmart to get something with a second hand to time my contractions.

You'd think we would've thought of that one in the previous nine months.

So today, I went to preschool with him to watch him enjoy his "leader day" and help with his snack. I watched him do his own thing, help his teachers, and proudly declare to everyone that he is now four. He showed a picture of himself, only days old, next to a teddy bear that was bigger than he was.



That was then. This is now.


What happened? Where did my little peanut go?

He is so big now... and my baby girl turns two in a few weeks. I don't think my nerves can take this.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I love/hate Christmas

I have developed a love/hate relationship with Christmas. It has nothing to do with the commercialization of the holiday, the over-emphasis on gifts or any other cynical curmudgeony rants.

You see, my mom loved Christmas. I mean LOVED it. So as we start establishing traditions and enjoying the season with our children, I am reminded of what I learned growing up. And there is no quick call home to say, "Oh Mom, you remember this," laugh and move on. I am alone in my reminiscing. I can tell Hubby the stories, and he willingly listens every year, but it's not the same.

And the end of the Christmas season brings back even more painful memories when Dec. 31 rolls around. I remember the frantic call at 3 a.m., mere hours before we were planning to leave for PA for an emergency visit. We were too late.

This week, when we piled into the van as a family to pick our tree, I was excited, but I still felt as though a weight was being pressed down onto my chest. That feeling will come and go for the next month. It resurfaced this morning as we dug through the ornament boxes and hung some of the same ornaments I did as a child.

It will hit me again when I pull out Mom's pizzelle iron to make cookies for an exchange in a few weeks. And again Christmas morning, because she will never enjoy seeing her grandchildren wake at the crack of dawn to tear down the stairs to see what Santa brought.

But I can't pull a Grinch and bury my head in the sand to wait for Jan. 1. It would dishonor her memory and deny my children the same joy I used to have every December. Because I too used to adore Christmas: the music, the snow, the tree, the decorations, everything.

So when I want to cry, I glue a smile on my face because I don't know what else to do. I hope someday the glue isn't necessary.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

O Doug the Tree


Christmas tree stand, Christmas tree stand, wherefore art thou Christmas tree stand?

The wind chill has been in the single digits lately, so that meant tonight was the PERFECT night to go pick our Christmas tree. Too bad it wasn't snowing. Or freezing rain. That would've made it even better.

I took a year off the great tree hunt last year and sent my boys, mostly because I didn't want to deal with Baby Godzilla while we did it. For the crap I took tonight, I may take next year off too.

Picking a Christmas tree is a big deal. At least, it always was to my mom. Everything about Christmas was a huge ritual, to be followed, shared and very rarely improved upon, year after year. We would pace the lot at the local farmer's market, eyeing trees for size, shape, fullness and star placement ease. She never made any decision easily, even one that seemed as trivial as a Christmas tree. We would remember a few front runners, make a final lap and settle on the best one. It was almost always a mutual decision, except for the year I chose the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. But that's a story for another time. The family still laughs about that one.

I had no such support tonight. Hubby rolled his eyes when one of the guys working pointed out where the cheaper trees were.

"Oh she won't go for those," he said.

I'm sorry, I'm the one who's putting most of the ornaments on and my hands are not giant calluses like SOME people. I like the softer needles. Mom's fav was always Frasier Fir. Pretty sure that's what we got this year, but in my haste to pick a tree and stop the ribbing, I didn't get the tree's name. It could be Frasier or Douglas. So let's call him Doug. Doug the Christmas tree.

Nathaniel was busy making boot print circles in the snow around the trees on stands and Leah was yelling at him, utterly convinced he had to be doing something wrong. Hubby was trying to keep one eye on them and one eye on me, so he could stand up whatever tree I was sizing up to get the full effect.

As I started the second lap (only the second!), one of the workers asked if we needed help.

"Oh no, she's got one picked out but she's got to check the others to be sure," Hubby said.

The guy just kinda looked at me.

"Picking a Christmas tree is a big deal!" I said in retort.

"Oh I know," the guy said. But there was no smile, no knowing look. I wasn't convinced. They were mocking me. I can sense these things. Reporter's instinct, ya know.

He did try to point out a few other trees once Hubby said how tall we needed the tree to be. But my feathers had been ruffled enough, so I sent Hubby back to Doug and took the kids to the car.

The plan was to get home and for me to get the kids ready for bed while Hubby got the tree stuff out of the attic and put Doug into his stand in the garage. Then the kids could see Doug come in and go right up to bed.

Good plan, right?

Except for the fact that last year in a fit of anger at our 5-year-old cheap-o tree stand, Hubby threw said tree stand away. AND FORGOT ABOUT IT. When I told Nathaniel, he almost started crying.

"You mean the garbage truck came and just took it?"

Uh, well, the truck took it because Daddy WANTED it to, but uh...

Yeah. So we all piled back into the car, took Doug out and left him in the garage and headed off to Walmart 30 minutes before bedtime. To make another quality investment in a $7 tree stand. And window clings, detangler, instant coffee, Mt. Dew and Diet Dr. Pepper.

So we put the kids to bed as soon as we got home and told them Doug the tree would be waiting for them in the morning. Doug is now settled into his new stand, complete with Hubby's funnel and tubing system that eliminates the need to crawl under the tree with a cup of water or watering can that we don't have that would inevitably leak. Did I mention I married an engineer? You'd think he'd remember things like the darn tree stand.

I guess if I'm not careful he'll make me get the tree alone next year. Which might not be a bad idea...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Kids and I broke out the Christmas movies, so it is officially Christmastime. We watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer snuggled in PJs and under blankets after early baths tonight. Leah was her usual wiggly self, but actually was still for at least 60 percent of it. Nathaniel waited until the second sighting of Bumble before declaring "I don't like that monster," but there were no tears. He told me he liked the movie, so I see a lot more movie nights in our future.

It's also Dec. 1, so I guess I could work on addressing cards too. But Hubby left me for a guys' night, so once I got the kiddos in bed, my butt was planted firmly on the couch with control of the remote. Don't get me wrong, I am not so girly that I don't enjoy some of his testosterone-laden shows (Mythbusters, Deadliest Catch, Stormchasers), but every once in awhile I need a dose of some good car-accident TV. You know, on the networks that when he walks into the room he looks at the lower right corner, looks at me, looks back at the TV and shakes his head. 

So the cards can wait until tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just call me Alexander

I had an awesome math teacher in middle school and as my homeroom teacher in 8th grade. Ms. Camden encouraged us to still be a little silly when we were all trying so hard to be grown up NOW.

There were duck-shaped candles on her window ledge, one for each of her students. She reminded any of us that were a little off the mark to "Get your ducks in a row!" We sang "Must be Santa" every Christmas and memorized crazy poems that helped us learn math (Madam I'm Adam), at least I think they did. She was a grandma and told us wonderful stories about her red-headed grandson Ted. She wore skirts every day, which were normally covered with chalk by lunch.

She wasn't a pushover. We were convinced she had X-ray vision because no wad of gum ever survived being noticed in her room. Everyone got called to the board to work out problems and if you didn't have your ducks in a row, she'd let you know it. Nobody acted up in Ms. Camden's class.

But one of the most important thing she did every year was take a break from the real stuff to read "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."

Some days I feel like Alexander - when nothing goes right. And then a few of them string together, and I'm ready to yell and scream and stomp my feet. But Ms. Camden and Alexander taught me that I get what I expect, so if I think my day will be bad, it will be.

So I'm done moping about spreading the plague at Thanksgiving and the other plans I've made that have gone awry. Tomorrow is going to be better.

But if it's not, I think I'll move to Australia.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Turkey Day to remember... or not

 I'm going to try to remember only this about this Thanksgiving.


My adorable children with their equally adorable cousin. Alex thinks his big cousins are the coolest, most interesting things in the world. Nathaniel's pretty enamored with him too. Has been from the beginning.


There is no way either of them were ever that little. Nathaniel would love to still be able to hold Alex like this, but since he's now 8 months and 20 lbs of crawling, cruising, climbing boy, that's a little difficult.

But I digress...

So my kiddos were running around their great-aunt and uncle's home, enjoying the attention of a houseful of people they don't see all the time and I was enjoying the fact they didn't have to be watched like hawks. And they played with EVERYONE.

Which is what came back to bite us.

You did what on my holiday?!
He certainly wasn't acting sick, except that he didn't have much appetite. Who would've thought what he had Wednesday was anymore than a 24-hour bug?

Oh I am never gonna live this holiday down... Of course I paid for it in a way, since I had planned a family birthday party for Nathaniel Saturday afternoon. Only half of the family was up for dinner, or food of any kind, for that matter.

Wow I suck.

Luckily Nathaniel still had a great time and eventually we'll be invited back to family functions.

I am sure in the grand scheme of things this is not the worst Thanksgiving possible, but my ego could sure use some boosting. What's your worst holiday story? Do you have one that takes the cake of infecting no less than 10 people with the yaks?

Please say yes. Not sure I can stand any other answer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Somebody hates me...

Right when Hubby and I should have been drifting off to a tryptophan-induced sleep last night, there was an internal revolt.

Yes, the bug that started my pie-making day spread and ruined the end of my turkey day. And my Black Friday. Not that we were going to be among the crazies out at the crack of dawn, but anytime we have achance to holiday shop sans kiddos, we're gonna jump on it.

Instead, Granny kept Leah out of trouble while Nathaniel, Hubby and I rotated nap positions. Little man is finally on the mend - I think - but his parents are left with fevers and just general crappiness.

So I'm gonna change my Thanksgiving Day wish, if I could please... I'd be happy if no one ELSE gets sick from this lovely bug and that we can survive a family birthday party tomorrow. That I'm in charge of. Where I have to make ziti for 16 people. And haven't gotten my groceries yet.

Surely I can get a break, here, right?!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Near pie-tastrophy

Another victory for my holiday conquering rampage.

I woke up at 6 this morning to Nathaniel hollering. When I went to his room, he told me he wanted water. I grumbled and got him a drink, but told him not to yell again, he could get his own water.

I had just taken a deep sigh to settle back into bed when I heard The Sound. It's the sound that makes any parent freeze with dread. That Sound that means many, many levels of yuck and turns my stomach.The Sound that makes Lysol, bleach wipes and all things germ-killing my BFFs.

I kicked Hubby on my way out of bed and told him Nathaniel was getting sick. My day began cleaning the bathroom, his clothes and sanitizing any surface I could find. And since I was up and running the washer, and knew I'd never get back to sleep, I decided to start my day.

Hubby ushered Nathaniel back to bed until he left for work and I spent the morning trying to make 2 pies and a 3rd crust, alternating following one child to the bathroom, pulling the other out of whatever she was into and buying her off with snacks. And washing my hands every 30 seconds because as soon as I'd start a food-prep related task, something would pull me away.

But I did it. I made apple and pumpkin pies from scratch and when we arrived at the in-laws', I finished the peanut butter cream in the graham cracker crust. I licked the spatula. It's gooood. Worth the headaches.

I still need lots of practice with Nana's recipes, but I am certain she will be proud of my efforts today. My crusts do not look perfect. I prefer "rustic" or "made with love" or "if you want to criticize, make your own darn pie."

We made the 3-hour-drive with a Tupperware bucket next to Nathaniel's seat that thankfully we didn't need, but he's still not 100 percent yet. Here is hoping he is better in the morning and no one else gets sick too.

For that, I would be truly thankful.

Happy Turkey Day Everyone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Master of the House

Well it's official. Hubby is smarter than me.

As of bright and early Monday morning, he has a Master of Science in mechanical engineering from a pretty decent school. You may have heard of it - the University of Notre Dame?

Yeah. That's alright.

It's been a long four years. He started right after Nathaniel was born. Now we have a preschooler and an-almost-terrible-two'er. He has a lot more gray hair. I should have more too. *knock on wood*

I have no idea what it will be like to have a husband who's not leaving work for 6+ hours a week and trying to make up for it to meet 50 hours a week all while studying like a madman. The stress level in my house should go down a smidge.

Last weekend, after he had finished his thesis and submitted it to his advisor and review committee we did something unheard of - we watched a movie. Not on TV with commercials while he flipped between other things with a computer on his lap with a paper/work/report/whatever in one window and Facebook in the other. An. Actual. Movie.

And what else? We played board games. Yes, I said board games. He kicked my butt at Sequence (which he always does, even though he swears it's all luck), and I countered with a Scrabble beatdown.

Conclusion from all that? We need new games.

Oh, and I am going to love the next few months.

But of course, this means he's officially smarter than me. Not sure how I feel about that. The whole "I'm not working 'outside the home' and my brain is shriveling up to the size of a raisin" and all... I mean, he makes more than I ever did (or would) AND he's got extra letters to add to his title?

It's a crock, I tell ya. I know he could never survive a week being me, but still...

I guess it's not official official until he walks in May and has that piece of paper in his hand. Until then, I will have to keep beating him at Scrabble. After that, I may be in trouble.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I blinked. What happened?

Wow. I really haven't posted since Wednesday? Eek. Somebody should fire me.

But that's what happens during a concert week. We had two nights of rehearsal and then a concert, so I was just trying to get everyone from point A to point B. No worries - we made it.

Something about those 3 days must've made me think I could conquer the world, because my to-do list has grown exponentially.

I have finished the majority of my Christmas shopping, wrapped almost all of the gifts, gone to the grocery store for what I need to make for Thanksgiving and made another grocery list for Nathaniel's family birthday part Saturday. Oh, and we already have all his birthday presents too.

Whew. That made me tired just typing it. I did all that?!

Before you think, "oh, she makes me sick," I am talking about this because it NEVER HAPPENS. I am a master procrastinator (see Queen of Procrastination), unless I have a hard, fast deadline. Must be a reporter thing. Or a lazy thing. Or a lazy reporter thing.

Just ask the treasurer of our community band. He needed a copy of my driver's license so when I take office as president in January, I would have signing power on our accounts. He asked for it right after nobody else wanted to run I was elected in September, but made the mistake of telling me he wouldn't make the change until December.

I gave it to him last week. Sorry Bill.

So for all intents and purposes I should be a wait-until-Christmas-Eve-and-buy-for-everyone kind of person. But since I have to buy for people in four states (including my own), plus celebrate two birthdays, there is no way I would survive. And neither would our checking account.

Hubby and I started shopping a few weeks ago for Nathaniel's birthday. When I realized I could shop sales early, save money, AND take presents with me at Thanksgiving for family we might not see at Christmas, the organizing began. We still have one big gift for our Christmas plus Leah's birthday to shop for and a few odds and ends for the parents and my aunt, but the grandparents and anyone younger than 6 is done.

I have to admit it feels pretty darn good. Maybe this is the way to survive December. I probably shouldn't say that, because something will explode and send my brilliant plan to the moon.

Until then, I'll start practicing my "I'm ready for Christmas" jig.

I've got time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A funny


What does this picture say to you?

To me, it's another example of the wild stories yet to come from my creative almost-4-year-old (I'm saying his new age over and over so as to try to wrap my brain around the fact he's getting so big).

One Saturday morning, when the little monsters who live in my house were up with the sun, Nathaniel decided to break out his sister from captivity (oh, how I'll rue the day she learns to open doors). But instead of stampeding into our room, they went into his room and played somewhat quietly. It was awesome. Hubby and I just lay in bed in semi-conscious state and enjoyed their little display of independence.

It was short-lived. Soon we could hear what we thought was the toilet lid slamming over and over. Time for some supervision.

Fast-forward to that night at bed. I notice Nathaniel's toothbrush had something extra. I asked him why he felt the need to put a toothbrush cover on his toothbrush.

He told us very mater-of-factly that if the window was open and a bug got in the house, it would fly into the bathroom and eat his toothbrush.

"So that why I did."

Blink. Wow. I had no words for that.

That meant that the slamming we heard was them rifling through the vanity drawers, which only have bath toys, old paint cards and one rogue travel toothbrush cover in them.

The second time through the story it was a ladybug. I thought maybe he took something from a story at school, so I asked his teacher about it. She had nothing! Well, they did talk about ladybugs, and how sometimes they got into the house, but she assured me there were no children's books about wild, rampant, tooth-brush eating ladybugs.

Maybe that should be the subject my first children's book, so mothers across the country can start the bedtime routine with this.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cue the music

I'm starting to freak myself out with this whole "organized and semi-productive" thing. Like I've entered the Twilight Zone or something.

I really was okay with my house normally cluttered, nothing in the right place and a mountain of laundry in various stages in my laundry room. 

But after my last post, I admit I did sweep up the hair balls in the corners of our bathroom. I didn't clean the whole thing, but I did give it a lick and a promise. I felt guilty. I'm pretty sure my mom rolled over in her grave after I said that for the 10 people who read my blog all of cyberspace to see. My aunt probably heard about it and crossed herself. I'm a fallen Catholic, but the guilt still sticks.

ANYHOO.

This morning I made a grocery list AND a menu for the week. I'm not sure what came over me. Oh yes, I do. I realized it's concert week, which means my kiddos and I will be eating three dinners by ourselves. I can punt once a week and come up with something, but when it's that often, I kinda feel like I should still pretend to fix actual meals. So we eat things that Hubby doesn't like. My go-to is normally Rachael Ray's Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes (look up the recipe, they are AWESOME. No calories whatsoever, I swear). This week we're still gonna do mac n' cheese, but homemade with squash puree mixed in (shhh, that makes it healthier), fish sticks and coleslaw (so much for healthy) and mini meatball sandwiches.

Oh yeah, I rock. 

NOT.

So we were at Wally World early this morning, grabbing up the essentials. I didn't need anything for tonight, so I was feeling pretty good. I had already planned to try a new recipe, Black Bean Soup, with some homemade cornbread. And I don't mean dry box o' mix. The real thing. 

So when dinner prep time rolls around, I go out to the pantry to grab up the five ingredients the soup needs.
Where was this guy when I needed him?
There. are. no. black. beans. in. my. PANTRY!!

Really?! How is it that my lazy butt cannot see when I am missing a crucial ingredient for whatever it is I'm gonna make?! This crap happens at least once a week.

Sigh. So I made Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti instead. Tomorrow I will go to the store for black beans and scary neon yogurt for Nathaniel, which we're almost out of too. 

I may have to double check my pantry first. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Queen of Procrastination

I have a problem. They say that's the first step to recovery. I think it's gonna take a little more than that for me. I'm a lazy, packrat, procrastinator. Deadly combo.

I'm feeling pretty good because I just completed a project that was approximately 4 years in the making. Now should it have taken me that long to get it finished? Since I had the actual work done in 10 minutes, I'm gonna say no.

I have been collecting keychains since high school. Back then, it was "cool" to have them hanging off all the zipper pulls on my backpack. (Cool is a relative term. I have never claimed to be cool.) I would pick up at least one on every trip and had family and friends bringing them back for me as well.

You could hear me coming I had so many clinking and clanking together. So I started getting soft keychains that I could wedge in between the others to try to deaden the noise. I have no idea why I didn't take them all off, but I'm guessing it had something to do with the fact it drove my grandmother crazy. I was a lovely teenager.

I did lighten my load for college because plastic clinking and clanking for a 10-block walk would have driven me up the wall very quickly. The extras got relegated to a gallon Ziploc bag. After college, I was stuck. Now what to do with my collection? I cleared the backpack and filled the bag. It was moved from dorm to apartment to apartment to apartment to apartment and finally to our house.

When we finished our basement and decided to make it fun and college colors ("It looks like Marquette threw up down here." Thanks Erika, that sums it up), we decided there should be a way to display my collection. We got really high-tech with it too - a cork board and some pins. So I picked out a bare spot on the wall and Hubby hung up the board for me.

And there it sat. I have no idea what happened. I get discouraged easily, and since the keychains, pins and board were in three different places in our house,  I decided it was too much work.

Yes, I am a lazy wuss. It comes and goes.

The last week or so I've been itchy. Call it winter blues, reverse nesting, pre-cabin fever, whatever. I've been through all of the kids' toys to weed out for the birthday/Christmas extravaganza, emptied out the black hole of crap that was my nightstand, cleared Leah's closet and room of spare clothes (big and small) so that she can't cover her floor in the first 30 seconds after she wakes up, taken 5 boxes of too-small clothes to the attic queue, put together and ordered Christmas cards and a lot more I'm sure I've forgotten.

(But my bathroom is still frightening. I think the hairballs in the corners are almost big enough to rise up and revolt. So sue me.)

So while I was on a roll today, I did the unthinkable. I found the three items needed for my keychain display and SAT DOWN AND PUT IT TOGETHER.

Here is the finished product.

I know. You're impressed. It's okay. I get that a lot.

I am sure there are newer keychains floating around the house that just got tossed in a drawer or gosh-only-knows-where, but at least now as I find them, all I have to find is the pins and a spot on my board.

Although, it is pretty full by now. Maybe I should just find another Ziploc and start storing for a second board.   Shouldn't take me too long, right?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

His and Hers

We joke that Nathaniel is mine and Leah is Craig's. The last few days explains it better than I ever thought I could.

Mommy's boy does NOT like shots
Tuesday after school, I took the kids to the doctor for their flu shots. They have watched me get two allergy shots every week for the last year, so I really hoped it would desensitize them a little. Nathaniel wanted to know why we were going to the doctor and I don't lie to my children, so I told him.

"Oh I don't like shots."

That's an understatement. He started crying when we pulled into the parking lot, likely anticipating what was surely going to be excruciating pain that his mean old mommy was forcing upon him. He cried while I picked him up and held him still and moved to full-on wail after the shot was over.

Leah just looked at him like, "What is your deal?"

She flinched when her shot went into her little leg, said "Ow," and was done.

Nathaniel kept crying until we were halfway home and reminded me three more times that afternoon that he didn't like shots.

Thanks, dude. I remember.

Daddy's girl is pretty tough
This afternoon, Leah took a header off the top off the ladder to the swingset. After I scooped her up and checked that all her limbs worked, we went inside. She was still crying and had a death grip around my neck. After a few minutes of rocking and shushing, she pulled away from me. I was ready to get an ice pack for whatever she said hurt the most, get tylenol, call the doctor, another sane adult to talk me down, anyone!

"Hungry, Mommy, hungry." She rubbed her belly for emphasis.

"You want a snack?"

"Yup."

"Okay, let's get a snack."

She wolfed down a cereal bar and asked for more. I told her to wait a little while until Daddy got home for dinner. She was okay with that and went about her business.

Fall? What fall?

Oh that girl is gonna give me gray hair...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The shoe on the other foot

In my former life, I asked questions for a living. I was paid (granted, not much) to be inquisitive and relentless.

Now, I'm usually the one deflecting 1,000 questions a day from my oh-my-gosh-is-he-really-almost-4-year-old. His little sister isn't far behind. Her vocab is building daily. I may need to invest in earplugs. Soon.

But tonight, I got to sit back and watch my peers answer questions from my inquisitive, relentless friend and coworker. But really, it's hard to be relentless when surrounded by 5 moms and 10 screaming kids under the age of 6.

I know. I can't strike fear in anything any more. Not even the dog. Or a bush. I've tried. Trust me.

But my friends got to be interviewed for the local newspaper and magazine, and for once, instead of keeping my opinions to myself, I was allowed to speak.

When I piped in, my friend kept scribbling away in her notebook. Then she stopped, pen in the air.

"Am I allowed to quote you?" she said.

We reporters are supposed to be invisible. Flies on the wall. But she was in a tough spot, interviewing the moms group I help run.

"Eh, I'm the editor," she said, and kept going.

The bulk of what she writes about us will focus on everybody else, but there's a chance that I will get to be the subject for a sentence. A first for me. You'd think that would be old hat, getting my name in the paper, after working as a reporter for 7 years, not counting 4 years in college.

No way, man, that is cool. I'm almost famous now.

I may change my mind after I see the pictures she took.

Test pattern

I didn't blog last night. I meant to. I was thinking about it on my way home from band rehearsal, while enjoying a Culver's cone (Pumpkin Pecan - yum).

I came in the house, gratefully paid the babysitter and sat down to enjoy a little nerd TV with the hubby.

And that's when my mind went blank.

It was almost instantaneous. We both settled down with laptops in hand and as soon as mine started up, I was empty. Like the test patterns my mom claims she and her siblings used to watch on their "fancy, new-fangled TV." Yes, my family is that old.

Brain BK (Before Kids)
I've always been easily distracted (squirrel!!), but now that I have kids I am quite sure it's gotten worse. Is it because it takes higher brain function to balance children, housework, "real" work, and what remains of my social life? (HA!) Or is it because it takes so little brain power to wipe butts, noses and faces that my brain is slowly shriveling up from lack of use?

I got a Nintendo DS for Christmas 2 years ago and the Brain Age game. I got pretty good at it and actually had my brain "trained" to be younger than the calendar says I am. But then I had another baby. 'Nuff said. I still play other games occasionally, but Brain Age stays in the case. Honestly, I'm embarrassed to know what it would say.
Brain AK (After kids)

So the new strategy for staving off brain atrophy is to do the daily crossword puzzle. Sometimes I let Hubby help, but most of the time I can have almost the whole darn thing filled in before he even gets his paws on it. It helps that they use the same clues over and over, so I remember the weird ones.

The Sunday puzzle is the exception. I NEED help with that one. I think it's the size of the thing that just has me flustered. I can never find where the squares are fast enough and then I forget what clue I was even trying to answer. I'm still working on this Sunday's, and I handed it to Hubby last night for help. I'm not sure why I even tried to work on it with my empty-brain syndrome, but clearly I wasn't thinking on many levels.

"You didn't know this one? C'mon honey."

Gee thanks.

"You left me a lot of softballs."

Hear that thud? Self-esteem, hitting the floor.

"Who's Jacob's wife?"

Uh, if I knew, don't you think I would've filled it in? Look in my ear. I bet you see the answer there.

"I don't think this one is right. I'm gonna erase it."

You go right ahead, sweetie. You have to sleep sometime. Until then, I'll just enjoy the quiet humming in my head.

Hey! Squirrel!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blah

I will never understand why I always seem to be sick for the random nice days thrown into the blech parts of the year. So instead of enjoying a nice, sunny afternoon, Nathaniel watched cartoons and played with Legos while I crashed on the couch, trying to kick whatever germs he brought home for me from school.

He seems to have it too, but little man inherited enough of his Daddy's immune system that it's barely fazing him. He's coughed. I had a fever last night and this morning, a runny nose, sinus congestion AND a cough. And the only cold medicine we have in the house expired last month.

Sigh.

At least the warmth is supposed to stick around for most of the week. I am really not ready to be stuck inside with my rabid animals darling children all day. Luckily that 90-degree July Saturday when we decided to insulate the attic (not a fun chore) should pay off when I can put coats on the kids and tell them to run in the garage instead of my living room. We've done it a few times, and now that Leah can actually ride Nathaniel's old tricycle (yes, at 22 months!) it will only get better.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Curse you...

It's not a great day. Here's why:

1) It's November. I just realized this. I mean, I knew that November comes after October, but I got a letter in the mail saying I'm in the pool for jury duty for ALL of 2011. I'm thinking, gosh, they're on top of things, 2011 is a long way off. Blink. Blink. Schnikes no it isn't! Crap.

2) I'm in the 2011 jury duty pool. I mentioned that I work for a newspaper twice and put my top fav shows as CSI and NCIS on the questionnaire. Think that'll discourage them?

3) My favorite metereologist (with whom I feel I can be on a first-name basis with), Rick, not only said a four-letter word (S-N-O-W) in his forecast last night, he said something that is worse than a four-letter word - a 14-letter phrase (L-A-K-E  E-F-F-E-C-T  S-N-O-W). Curse you Rick Mecklenburg!

4) Because it's November and it's gonna snow every day between now and May, I had to buy my kids snow boots today. Man is that depressing.

5) Spent our after dinner time last night cleaning out my van and it still stinks. Like I don't even know what. And we get to road trip in it this weekend. Awesome.

6) My 3-year-old's favorite answer to every question I ask him about preschool: "No. I don't know."

And he wore his shirt backwards today and his awesome Mommy didn't notice. I asked him about it when he got home.

Me: Hey buddy, did you know your shirt is on backwards?

N: No. I don't know.

Stellar.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why bother?

I am a rare breed. A minority. A blue in a red town, in a red town, in a red state. Yes, I still went to the local church to fill in my little circles with a ball point pen (no fancy 'lectric votin' 'round these parts). But as usual, my vote didn't count. Mostly because my husband cancelled me out. Another election day exercise in futility.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hangover Monday

Mondays really bite. 

I wake up in the morning and survey the state of my house and my children and I feel like I woke up on somebody else's couch with a furry taste in my mouth.

Not that I've ever done that. It was usually my own couch.

This weekend we had "guests" and by that I mean people who don't normally live here but are still responsible for finding their own towels and food, as needed. And the final magnet ball game of the year. And trick or treating. But no, I wasn't on a bender. 

Yeah, today was particularly furry.

My kids were missing their playmates (my friends' 2 yr old and 9 mo old). It showed quite early.

This is how my day started, once I collected Leah from her room and heard Nathaniel holler from bed that he was awake (charming habit he's picked up from his little sister). He wandered down after about 10 minutes in a white and blue long sleeved shirt, blue and orange shorts and red and white train socks. 

N: Mommy, can you play with me?Me: Buddy, I'm pouring your apple juice. Can we get breakfast first?
N: OK

After a bowl of dry Cheerios in front of 'toons. (Again, not my finest morning)

N: Mommy, can you play with me?
Me: What do you want to play?
N: I don't know. 
Me: Why don't you see if Leah wants to play with people? (Little People)
N: No.

Leah wanders over to the box of Little People and I think that maybe she'll entice him away so I can get laundry load 1 of 400 in the washer.

N: Leah, you want to play people with me?
L: No. Mommy people.

Sigh.

I did sit and play people. And tractors. And blocks. And Legos. And we watched 3 episodes of  "the food guy" (Good Eats) when my brain was starting to get mushy. Then thank goodness it was time for lunch and Sesame Street. Once Leah was napping, it was time for Mickey's Christmas Carol and Dinosaur Train. And more Legos. And more blocks.

Death by laundry? I believe it
And somewhere in there I washed 3 loads of clothes and dried them twice each (curse you craptastic dryer), folded two baskets, and made a dinner that I loathe but my family loves (Thank goodness for Chinese with the girls).

Once the princess woke up, she made quick work of my nerves. She stole the bathroom stool to vault over the side of the couch, opened up the 300-disc CD player twice, emptied one shelf of my bookcase and disassembled her potty chair. 

It was all I could do to keep from sprinting out the door when the Hubby got home. But now I have freshly painted toes and a belly full of sesame chicken.

So I'll be ready to start it all again tomorrow. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mystery solved... sorta

I FOUND THE CUP!!

OK, so I really shouldn't be excited about that, since it smelled horrid. When I rinsed it out, I threw up a little in my mouth. Really.

But apparently my friends were wrong about how long a sippy cup could contain the rancid milk smell. I should write Mythbusters or something. It's 3 weeks. To. The. Day.

I know the anticipation is killing you, so... I found it in my van this afternoon. I was carting my costumed kiddos home after making the rounds to friends' workplaces (and avoiding the hoards of trick or treaters mobbing downtown - yikes) when I smelled a smell. Yes, a smell.

Different than the basement smell - which still remains a mystery - but a very unpleasant smell nonetheless. I was pretty sure I knew what was to blame. So when I pulled in the garage, I left the doors open on the van to help it air out and started searching. AGAIN.

I say again because I SWEAR I checked the van when the cup first went MIA. And the first place I would've looked? Under the passenger seat, which is right in front of Leah's seat. Where EVERYTHING that she chucks ends up.

And when I surrender and can't find things that are hidden in plain sight, I call in the Hubby. He has long since given up getting mad at me when I lose stupid things, like my pajama pants or sunglasses that are sitting in the middle of the kitchen counter. It amuses him now. Like he really needs to TRY to find things to laugh at me about. So he shakes his head, looks in one place, finds whatever it is I have "lost" and goes about his day.

So when I finally admitted we were one sippy down, where did he tell me he looked? The van.

So there is no freaking way that we BOTH missed the darn thing under the seat, plain as day. I already know I'm crazy, so here are the possibilities I am left with: a) Hubby has also lost his marbles and we need to start attaching bells or alarms or something to any items we don't want to lose forever, like our children; b) he never actually looked in the van; or c) I have gremlins living in my garage that are having fun at my expense.

I'm not a betting woman, but I'll let you guess which of those answers is the most likely. Unless, of course, the gremlins like dog food...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yes, I would like some cheese with my whine

I'm in a whiny mood today.

I must have slept wonky last night because my back was hurting as soon as my alarm started blaring. Hot shower, stretching, ice packs, nothing helped.

I can tell ya vacuuming, dusting and cleaning the bathroom did NOT help either. Normally I'd say screw it, but since we have house guests this weekend with mega-allergies, I have to try and de-fur as much as possible.

Not being a lazy slug would've helped because if I was in any kind of shape (and not "round" like my friend says), I would use my back muscles for things besides hefting a 25-lb toddler and picking up every toy my children own 12 times a day. But that takes a) time, and b) money and most of the time, c) child care. Oh and it to be warmer than 40 degrees and with winds below 10 mph.

Hubby came home almost early with a migraine and the kids buried the living room carpet in every toy they own. So while he hid in our bedroom, they refused to eat and then refused to pick up their toys. All the while I was dreaming of laying in peace and quiet with the world's largest ice pack.

Of course once we found the carpet again, it was time for me to go to a school board meeting and then a quick trip to Wally World for the essentials. Ya know, bread, grapes, baby wipes, pumpkin spice creamer...

So now, here I am, article written, house only half cleaned and in desperate need of sleep.

Ice pack, here I come.

This is why I get paid the big bucks people. Oh wait, uh...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adventures in Potty Training, day 547

Today was a soggy morning. And no, it's not raining.

Every once in awhile, both my children wake up drenched. So I start my day stripping beds and throwing smelly clothes into the wash.

Like today. Fantabulous.

Little man did not take to potty training well. He got a later start than most because silly me wanted him to be able to SAY potty before we attacked that challenge. That wasn't until after he turned 3, and I suddenly went into psycho-PT overdrive because I had a deadline - he and I BOTH needed him to start preschool. For sanity's sake.

We tried everything we could think of - M&Ms, stickers, jumping up and down, and some negative reinforcement too. The pull-ups were too gosh-darn easy.

So we went cold turkey. I put him in underwear. I was prepared to clean up whatever puddles he left behind, because I was pretty sure my little neat freak would do just that - freak - when he got his pants wet.

It only took about a week. Score 1 for Mommy. We had accidents occasionally for awhile, and still do, but we are miles ahead of where we were a year ago.

We got in under the wire for school, but I didn't even stress about nighttime. He has been in pull-ups at night for a long, long while now. I have had many friends of little boys tell me they waited until their kid was dry in the morning before taking away the pull-up. (And yes, I understand diapers would hold more, but my kids move up in diapers QUICKLY, so I can't find any that would fit him.)

Hubby got tired of status quo, and last week, while I was out with friends, he decided to change the policy on me. Cold turkey worked before, right?

Note: I am not opposed to trying something new, because obviously what we're doing now isn't working, but really? Coming home to "Hey, he's in underwear tonight" - uh, not cool. Some warning next time would be nice.

So we woke him at about 11 when we went to bed to see if he was wet. He was. So we changed him and the bed and hit the hay ourselves. Next morning? Drenched. It continued like that for 2 nights, although one of those nights he was dry-ish at 11, but every morning was the same. Soaked and smelly.

And it's not just a little puddle, an "oops." No, it's like somebody poured an entire glass of liquid over the top half of his bed. I'm pretty sure my kids must be part camel. We have long since stopped giving Nathaniel anything to drink after dinner, so I'm really not sure where it's coming from. And he pees all flippin' day too.

So I feel like the bad guy when I'm angrily changing sheets and he pipes in, "I so sorry Mommy. I don't mean to pee in my bed."

Ugh.

After 2 days of me washing lots of sheets, Hubby surrendered. Pull-ups have returned. I'm not glad that we had to, but it sure is nice to not be washing sheets every day. I know he'll get there eventually. And I am already trying to start Leah so I'm not stressing about having her ready for school in another 2 years. She's been avoiding the little potty I got for her like the plague.

They won't graduate high school in pull-ups, right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Can you smell that smell?

After almost four years of mommyhood, my nose has become quite sensitive. I can pick out a full diaper from half a room away, most of the time before anyone else (ie the Hubby) even has time to notice. 

It's a blessing and a curse.

Sometimes a particularly odiferous diaper gets stuck in the schnoz and I am smelling poo all day. But it's nice to nip the stench in the bud before my kids have a chance to offend too many people. I really do try not to scare my guests off, but usually the kids playing human pinball off my couches is enough to do that.

So my nose should be helping me out right now. We are missing a sippy cup. One of Leah's. With milk in it.

EW.

I noticed it gone more than a week ago. We were one down in the cabinet, but I figured it was in the dishwasher. It wasn't. By the time I had the dishes away and accounted for, I couldn't be sure when the cup actually went missing. 

We checked the living room. The basement. The van. Her bedroom. The van again. The garage. The basement. I checked with my friend who hosted playdate last week. No sign of a princess sippy.

A friend assured me, "Oh don't worry, you would smell it by now."

Exactly. That's what has me worried. Where in this house has my little Godzilla hidden her cup that my Mommy nose can't find it?!

I thought the mystery was close to being solved today. The rugrats got tired of squishing ladybugs outside, so they wanted to play inside. But it was post-nap/quiet time, which means they do nothing but drive me bonkers, so I sent them to the basement to play. The first time I descended to referee a screeching match, my nose gave me pause.

I stopped on the stairs. I sniffed. It was wet, almost musty. I walked in circles, sniffing. It was strongest near the stairs, but non-existent next to the obvious culprits - the sump pump, well tank, window, anything that normally has water. I was confused.

As soon as he got home from work, I sent the Hubby down to investigate, waiting for him to tell me I was crazy and he didn't smell anything. But he agreed and started a search for what he was sure was causing the smell - The Missing Sippy.

We turned the playroom upside down and STILL could not find the cup. And the longer we stayed down there, the weaker the smell got. When we checked again after dinner, the smell was gone.

And apparently, so is the Sippy. Forever. 

Note: If I have been to your house and you find a princess cup with a pink lid, I am not coming back to claim it. That is not mine. Grab a clothespin for your nose and call in the Haz-Mat team. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Steeler Sunday


It's a good day.

I am curled up in the basement under my MU quilt with my favorite sport on TV: football. But not just ANY old football game, my Steelers.

When you grow up in the shadow of the Steel City, it's hard not to fall into the pattern of eating, sleeping and breathing Steelers. Sundays always revolve around football. Someday I'd love to actually GO to a game at Heinz Field. Definitely on my bucket list.

But now that I'm living in the middle of nowhere Indiana, the weeks I get to watch my team are few and far between. (Assuming we don't want to sell our first born to afford Sunday Ticket, which we got as a deal when we first signed up for satellite. Five years later, I still haven't adjusted to the disappointment of only being able to watch TWO games at once.)

And for once, the kiddos are not running around like crazy people, making me miss every other play. Ahhh.... quiet. :-)

Oh and the hubby is making dinner too. And a real meal too, not just frozen pizza. Like I said. it's a good day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's gonna be one of those days

It's cold.

It's windy.

I slept in and didn't get a shower.

I had to change toddler sheets first thing this morning.

I have no idea what to make for dinner.

I am stressing about too many things that don't need stressing over.

I didn't get a walk in this morning.

Sigh. I feel better now.

Except my tummy is rumbling. Oh well. I tried.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'tis the season.

I am incredibly jealous right now. There is a new Culver's and it is NOT in Goshen. Stinky Warsaw got one.

I hope that all of Warsaw appreciates the custard and french fries and butterburgers and cheese curds. That is one thing that I truly, truly miss about living in America's Dairyland. My week could revolve around the flavor of the day.

My best friend and I would have custard dates - we'd scan online to see which locations had the better flavors and meet for some catching up. She was working and I was still in school, so it was the best way we had to keep the friendship going. Our birthdays are two days apart, so on the day in the middle, we would go out to celebrate with, what else, custard.

My hands-down new fav flavor is Bananas Foster. On one of my visits to her house last year, she sent her hubby out on a mission to bring back custard for us. There were two locations nearby, but since the other flavor had mostly chocolate (darn allergy), we opted for Bananas Foster. It sounded OK.

Oh, it was so much more than just "OK." My mouth is watering just thinking about the banana and rummy caramel. I'm pretty sure we both licked the bottom of our bowls.

Hubby stopped at the new Culver's for dinner before band, and he saved me half of his cheese curds, another Wisconsin fav that sounds wierd but is just so, so good. Think little nuggets of fried cheese. Mmmm. And then after rehearsal, I topped of my stressful day with a little custard therapy with my favorite fall flavor: pumpkin. I went traditional with the Pumpkin Spice Shake, but the new pumpkin cheesecake concrete mixer has me intrigued.

So much for my 2-mile walk this morning. Oh well, custard is always worth it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bandwagon? What bandwagon?

I have never been what you'd call "cool" or "trendy."

I catch up with a fad a good 3-5 years after its peak.

I have never intentionally seen a movie on opening weekend.

Once I finally break down and pay for a sports jersey with a player's name on it, he gets traded, retires or is arrested for assaulting a drunk college girl in a bar. (OK, that's only happened once. So far...)

The transition to the Mommy minivan was not really a step down for me. And really, with the DVD players and now satellite radio, I think I'm as almost cool as I can get.

So it should come as no shock that I JUST read the Twilight books. I somehow missed when they first came out (I blame kid #1), and then vaguely remember when the first movie hit the big screen (I blame kid #2). But at that point, I didn't have the time or the attention span to read the back of a cereal box. Vampire love saga? Yeah right.

The other thing that turned me off is how flipping crazy people got about the darn things. They couldn't possibly be worth all that fuss.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I finally got out of my book slump and started reading things that didn't rhyme or have pictures. I was cruising through Target with my new-found only-one-kid-to-deal-with-while-shopping HEAVEN and went to see if there was anything I could easily digest on their book shelves.

I caved. I bought the first one. I finished it in 2 days. It was not what I'd call well-written. But I was intrigued to see where the series went and if the plot, the writing and the never-ending teenage angst got better.

The next time I went to Target, the second book accidentally hopped into my cart. Damn. I hate when that happens.

The third was a birthday present.

I went to Target again last week. They really should think about securing their merchandise to the shelves before a sharp book jumps out and puts somebody's eye out.

So today, I finally finished the 4th book. I slowed down before I finished it because I was pretty sure I was gonna be pissed at the end. But then I remembered that it is technically a young adult series, so therefore more prone to happy endings.

The writing did improve, the plot stayed predictable and the author toned down the angst a bit. I haven't been a teenager for a few years, so I can do without that. But I do like the excuse to use "angst" repeatedly.

Now onto the next book quest. Anybody heard of James Patterson? ;-)