Friday, October 29, 2010

Mystery solved... sorta


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."


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.


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? ;-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I had a crazy school board meeting to cover tonight. All of my brain cells went to dissolving 90 minutes of ranting into a newspaper article.

The Diet Coke and cookies once I got home helped a little.

I'm not quite sure where I stand, but I'm pretty certain I disagree with 99 percent of the people who chose to speak at the meeting.

This is what I know.

Bible study should not be taught in public schools. The Constitution says so. That is what churches, Sunday schools, private schools and homes are for.

There are ways to teach children to be kind, decent, loving human beings without the Bible.

And my opinion is definitely the minority around here.

This is what started it all:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That's the way the cookie crumbles

Today was a day. A Day.

We were back on snack duty for school, and little man decided he wanted cookies. No problem, right? Wrong.

I should have been more wary since my last cookie adventure ended with a gooey uni-cookie of a mess on the cookie sheets. But I bake all the time, so I blamed the new recipe.

Today, this is what I got.

This is what was left of 3.5 sheet pans of oatmeal chocolate chip. Hubby's favorite. This is what I get for trying. 

I was in a panic, thinking I needed to toss my cookie sheets and burn the cookbooks. My baking rep was in serious jeopardy. I texted my father-in-law, who single-handedly supples all of Indianapolis with a dozen different varieties of Christmas cookies. (Okay, maybe not ALL of Indy, but darn close.) He gathered the important information - oatmeal cookies, called for butter AND shortening, and yes, it's the same butter I always use. 

His diagnosis? The butter had too much water or my baking powder was bad. 


I went to my pantry instantly. I had just opened a new can before the monster cookie debacle. Date on the bottom of the can? MARCH 2006. W.T.F??!! There is no freaking way that can has been in my pantry for 4.5 years. I'm sure there are dust bunnies who have been living here that long, so don't check under anything, but I actually use my baking supplies. I'm sure I can thank a mix up at our local mega-mart for my cookies crumbling. And two weeks of my baking-induced anxieties. 

Now the next chance I get, I am off to the store to buy more baking powder, where I will CHECK the date on the can. Once I have a successful batch or two under my belt, I may start to feel normal again.

Because that is no way to treat a cookie.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The other woman

Well, it only took 6.5 years of marriage, but the hubby has found another woman. She's older, but looks really good for her age. She's gonna be demanding, and take up time and space in our garage and in his life. The kids are already crazy about her.

This, ladies, is my competition. A 40-year-old Sunfish sailboat.

Anyone who has met the hubby for more than five minutes knows he really, really wanted to be able to sail. He crewed for a summer out of Michigan City, but the drive and time difference were killing me, who was left at home with baby Nathaniel. He's filled in here and there on Lake Michigan and in Syracuse, but not enough to really soothe the itch.

I am not against sailing, but the last time I was in a sailboat with him, we capsized into Lake Michigan. Not exactly fun. He had to take care of the boat first, because technically it belonged to Marquette, and I was apparently fine to shiver on the rock wall until he had things under control. But that's another story for another day.

This summer he taught a friend's sister and brother-in-law what to do with the sailboat they had just bought and that tipped the scales. He was convinced he needed to get a boat big enough the whole family could go on. We took the kids out on a thank-you spin but I was so nervous because I hadn't duct taped them to their seats. I did not enjoy myself and I'm pretty sure that afternoon shaved five years off my life. Monkeys and a  sailboat do NOT mix. Nervous Momma + monkeys + sailboat = Heart attack!!

So I talked him down to something smaller that he could tool around in and MAYBE take me out too. In walks in The Competition. She was for sale on eBay and within driving distance. Older boat, but barely used and only had one owner. It was "small" enough it could be strapped to the roof of the van and "light" enough I could help him unload it.

Light my butt! He is currently researching trailers for The Competition since his weakling of a wife can't even hold her end of the dang thing, let along hoist it overhead.

Hubby is like a kid at Christmas. I'm pretty sure he's only thinking about two things and the other is his boat. Every conversation seems to come back around to her. It's amusing, for now...

For the record, I did willingly give my blessing. The moping that would have ensued if he hadn't even tried to bid would have been ridiculous. Don't even get me started on what would have happened if he LOST the auction. So glad no one else bid on it. My theory is hubby with a sailboat who disappears on the weekends will be happier than hubby with no sailboat who is stuck at home. I might even get a few more girls' nights out of the deal.

Maybe this other woman won't be so bad. ;-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The cartoon effect

Cartoons are a staple in this house. There is no way I would ever get any work done, drink coffee without reheating it 12 times, or have 30 seconds to make a grocery list.

I love my children, but they're crazy.

Cartoons sound like the perfect solution, right? Educational and mind-numbing all at the same time. Ah, but there are side effects. Mostly for me.

I noticed it at first when Nathaniel was old enough to be left - semi-comatose - in front of an episode of Handy Manny while I got a shower in the morning. I would sprint up the stairs and be half undressed while jumping into the steaming hot water. I didn't want to waste a second of my 20-minute break. As I leaned back into the water, something popped into my head.

"do dodo do do, Handy Manny. Do dodo do do, Handy Manny..."

And so it began. Whatever cartoon happened to be on that morning, the theme would be stuck in my head on and off for the rest of the day. Some are better than others. Manny doesn't have any words, really, so that's not too bad. Little Einsteins are just all-around annoying.

The more days my kid (now kids) watched a cartoon, the theme song stopped having an effect. I thought I was in the clear! Then they introduced Oso. New cartoon, new theme, new song stuck in my head for days. Sigh.

So now, the song that runs through my head after a morning of cartoons is "Timmy Time."

"Timmy (baa), it's Timmy. He's a little lamb with a lot to learn (baa)..."

I'm sure by the time I'm immune to that one, Disney will come up with something new.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Negative Nancy

I haven't had much to say the last few days.

Wait. Scratch that. I've had a lot to say, but most of it involved being a major cranky pants. And not a funny cranky pants. A cranky cranky pants. Nobody wants to read that.

Every once in a while (and no, it's not just once a month, like I'm sure my husband would claim), I get a kink that I can't shake. And everything is tragic.

I've always been a serious person - even as a little girl. I would get so worked up and mad when my mom would joke with me to try to get me to lighten up. If I was in a mood, it would only make it worse.

I am hoping that the mood has passed now.

I'm pretty darn proud of the dinner I made last night (and reheated for lunch today). Yes, I caved and bought one of those ridiculous recipe cards with pre-measured spices. But the recipe sounded good and I will save the card forever!

Ok, I give it 3 months before it's lost.

Quesadilla casserole
1 lb ground beef
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn (8.75 oz)
1 can (4.5 oz) green chilies
6 flour tortillas (8-inch)
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Brown beef and onion in large skillet on medium high heat; drain. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn, chilies; mix well. Stir in all of the spices. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Add red pepper to taste, if desired.

Spread 1/2 C. of beef mixture on bottom of 13x9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with 3 of the tortillas, overlapping as needed. Layer with 1/2 remaining beef mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beef and cheese.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 min or until heated through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

*I did not use crushed red pepper because if I had, the only person in my house who would have eaten it was the hubby. I used ground turkey instead of beef (because I had it) and you really couldn't tell a difference. I had colby jack instead of cheddar and eyeballed about the same amount of frozen corn.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Never turn your back

We made a family trip to Lowe's tonight. The kids were tired and wound, which meant there was no way we could actually focus on anything without the kids scaling shelves, pretending to sleep on bags of fertilizer or crashing to the concrete floor off the flatbed cart.

So guess which of those three actually happened? Yup, all of them. I wish I could make this stuff up, but my children are really and truly part monkey.

So I scooped a red-faced, hysterical Leah off the floor and brought an end to our home improvement browsing. Why we try over and over I will never know. Parents are obviously slow learners. But my baby girl was fine by the time we got to the checkout and will probably only have a small red mark on her head in the morning. She's tough stuff my girl. Has been since day 1. I should have seen it coming.

Mommy oblivious to what this would lead to (Sept 2009)
She was walking by 10 months, just like her big brother, and starting climbing whatever she could get her hands on.

A musician from the start (Feb 2010)
I fought it tooth and nail. I hid every toy that could be used as a step to get to something else.

Singing to the backyard (March 2010)
So she used my furniture. I slowly started giving up. I learned I couldn't leave a room for 30 seconds without her climbing onto something, anything!

A box is a good place to sit (May 2010)
But of course, sometimes it was cute. And she is ALWAYS cute, so she knows she can get away with a LOT. Sigh.

Bouncy girl (July 2010)
Now I've embraced it, sorta. She's taken to stealing her brother's bathroom stool and carrying it into the kitchen to try to get to things. She can almost reach the counters, which will bring in the era where everything is piled at the back of the countertops or the exact middle of the island. I didn't miss that one.

And then it will be something else. And something else. I'm grateful we don't have any trees, because for sure she would be at the top, testing to see if she could fly.

It'll be the swingset instead...