Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday FU-UN

Fridays are FU-UN.

Whatever. I attempted to play Spongebob Memory, Cootie and Mickey Mouse Yahtzee all before 9 a.m. I think we actually finished one game.

I MADE breakfast, and by that I mean I actually cracked and scrambled eggs. Of course the kids ate half their egg sandwiches at 7 and the rest at 10 when they decided breakfast really was a good idea.

Imagine that.

I think every toy we own was out on my living room floor at one point. About half is back where it belongs.

I got about 15 min of peaceful snuggling while we watched a movie... interrupted by a cuddly yet wiggly 2 year old who decided to step on my ribs to get into position. Who then rolled over. And over again. And again.

You get the idea.

There was yelling, pushing, screeching, and ooooh the whining...

Like I said, Fridays are fun.

And Hubby was late, because machines ONLY break at 5 on a Friday when no one else but him is around to try to fix them.

We made a bee-line for the "yellow restaurant" so the kids could have mac n cheese and Hubby and I could enjoy some adult beverages and the NFL draft. For the record, the cheese is good and the kids ask for it by name. It's a win-win all around.

So the best part of Friday? The hard part is done.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Post-Easter Fun

There is a gallon bag of Easter candy mocking me from the kitchen counter.

So what, you say. I have an even larger pile in my kitchen calling my name.

I would gladly trade you dilemmas.

You see, it's not just that I don't need all the added sugar or calories. I mean, I don't. My jeans have some wiggle room and it'd be nice to keep it that way.

It's what happens AFTER I eat the candy and before that last button won't close.

The hives.


No woman should be allergic to chocolate. Talk about cruel and unusual...

I'm not going to go into anaphylactic shock or anything, so I push the envelope. Chocolate chip cookies won't do me in. But it's the fact that I've had a few chocolate covered pretzels today. I may have swiped a mini Twix.

And I got my allergy shots today.

And now my lips are a little itchy.

Normally I can blame the cat, but I'm pretty sure he's been asleep on our bed since after dinner. Our paths have not crossed.

It's the Easter candy.

Luckily when the pretzels are gone, we'll be down to stuff I'm not as crazy about. Which means less temptation. Sorry, I'm just not going to risk a red, itchy mess all over my legs and arms for some regular M&Ms... now peanut or peanut butter, that's a different story.

But I'm giving the kids a week to whittle down the gallon bag and then it's getting shipped off to Hubby's work, which is hopefully far enough away that I can't hear the chocolate calling my name.

I'll wear earplugs just in case.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Sorry folks, I'm a little occupied tonight. It's Game 7 and my Penguins are trying to stay alive after losing 8-2 and 4-2. To TAMPA BAY! Do they even know what ice is in Florida?!

It would be much easier if Sid the Kid were playing. But he's still seeing birdies and stars from a concussion in January. To watch him play is amazing. No dryer stands a chance.

Enjoy and Let's Go Pens!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The radar shakes

All hope I had for coherent thoughts tonight went out the window around 5 today, when I saw a blip of red on the weather radar headed straight for my house.

If I was clever, I would have a picture of my house with a GIANT BULLSEYE on it, because somewhere along the line we royally pissed off Mother Nature. We've had more near misses on tornadoes and bad storms in the last 7 years, it's not even funny.

But I'm tired and not so clever. So just imagine it for me. Thanks.

National Weather Service starting issuing watches while we were in the library, so all of a sudden I checked my phone and the bubble of calm was gone. So much for enjoying the sun and 73 degrees.

The red switched to pink and the dog started pacing, so I herded all my critters down to the basement just for the fun of it. Oh, and did I mention Hubby was gone? Ya, not home until after kids' bedtime. AWESOME. So I got to wear a groove in the carpet between the front window and the back door all by myself.

There was rain and wind, but no hail and no Miss Gulch flying past with Toto. But a nice friendly reminder that I live in an unofficial second tornado alley and it's finally springtime. But my nerves aren't up for this yet, so after a half a bag of jelly beans, the sugar high is gone and I'm ready for bed.

If it wasn't for what I saw immediately after the cell passed, I might be still binging on Easter candy.

Alright Mother Nature. I'll give you another chance. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pity party

I had a chance for a mom's night out tonight. It has been on my calendar for weeks and I was excited to get ready for sandal season with a pedicure.

This was all before the evil weather people call for SNOW last weekend and I felt like I had secretly been transported to Alaska without my knowledge. I saw the sun today, so I'm almost over that. Almost.

I had been warning Hubby for weeks, so he couldn't claim ignorance when I would say he was in charge of feeding and then putting our darlings to bed. Then I checked my work schedule, which is not so much a schedule, just requires me to know when the local school board is meeting. Apparently spring break week messed with their normal schedule.

Mom's Night Out FAIL.

So I got to go to work. And stop at Walmart with the Thursday night crazies who are in no hurry to be anywhere besides Walmart. To come home and work some more. I had no choice but to break into the stash of jelly beans to keep my blood sugar up. Now that I've gorged myself on Sarris', I need to fold two more loads of laundry.

Oh and I can't breathe very well. The Weather Channel's web site went from high pollen to very high pollen, and I was out with the kids for 20 minutes while Hubby started cutting grass.

And I spent $70 to put gas in the van. She was just almost on E, so apparently it coulda been worse.

Ya, today rocks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Busy as a baking bee

My oven is smoking.

Well, not really. That would be bad. And require remembering how to use our fire extinguisher.

But in the last three days, I've made two new dinner recipes (both home runs), two loaves of bread, pickled beets and French toast sticks for my bottomless pits to try out for breakfast.

What I lack for in execution I more than make up for with sheer determination. Or I'm a slow learner. However you want to look at it.

Every once in a while I get a wild hair (not to be confused with a wild hare) and start making our own sandwich bread. I have a breadmaker, why not? We go through a crazy amount since two rugrats I know have a conniption if I even suggest anything but "butter jelly" for lunch. Every.single. freakin'. day.

Baking is all about precise measuring, but it never fails, no two loaves ever look the same. I haven't changed ingredients and they are all still well before expiration dates, so I have learned from the Monster cookie incident.

But apparently only I can make mushroom bread. 

Toad? Is that you?
 Of course the mushroom rose and baked over the flimsy little handle that I need to pull the bread out of the breadmaker, so I had to call Hubby in to rescue my bread. He laughed. But that's normal.

When he pulled it out of the pan, the paddle actually came out for once. He left it like this. And then it fell over. Don't worry, the cooling rack of deliciousness behind it kept it from falling onto the floor, where my bread-a-holic dog would have devoured it before I would even had a chance to grab it.

And what, you ask, is the cooling rack of deliciousness?

This. French. Toast. Sticks.

My other loaf of homemade bread was cinnamon raisin, which was decidedly not mushroom-like and also camera shy. I had been itching to make it anyway, so two birds, one stone... YUM!

But then there was the rest of the batch...

They got a little, uh, crunchier than I like.

I had to flip the sticks halfway through baking and when I did, I noticed the top rack was was a lot lighter than the bottom, so I swapped pans too. Man, I'm kinda glad I did, because only eight got charred to a crisp. And that was before the timer went off. Hubby asked what I was burning; I hadn't noticed anything. I think my nostrils were full up with beet juice.

Can you guess which side was pan-down halfway through? Ugh.
I'm not sure how long 12 FS sticks will last us, especially with my Starving Marvins, so I imagine I may re-purpose the remainder of the raisin bread sooner rather than later.

If I don't eat it all first. It's pretty darn good.

The pickled beets are doing their pickling thing in the fridge right now for Easter. Who knew they were that easy to make? It's half of my contribution. My admission to dinner is dependent on bringing baked pineapple, which I'll throw together at the in-laws Sunday morning.

Now I've used every bowl, measuring cup and spoon that I own, I have packed the dishwasher AGAIN and have settled down with the best creation of the evening.

Night y'all.

What kind of mom am I?

Purple Mom?
Chartreuse Mom?
I read a post the other day about being accepting of other moms. Stark.raving.mad.mommy hit the nail on the head and repeated something my friend has been telling me from the moment her daughter was born and we started comparing Mommy notes - you do what works for your family.

J and I could not be more different, but when you have as much history as we have, it doesn't matter. We love each other's quirks and pluses, and somehow, that's what makes our friendship strong.

I gave up trying to nurse my (unknown at the time) tongue-tied son after two hellish weeks of sleeplessness and three bouts of mastitis. I didn't even try with my second. She is still nursing her 15-month old (who is little and needs calories).

I thought cloth diapers went out of style in the 50's. J's daughter is the model green baby. She has tons of adorable diaper covers that make me a little jealous. Target's polka dots don't hold a candle to her collection.

I thought I would make some homemade baby food from what we grew in our garden. After trying both my two on jar food, neither one would take to the texture of my home-pureed veggies. I shared my knowledge with J, and she quickly learned what to try with her little one first.

She has started making bows and all kinds of girlie stuff and is almost making a business out of it. I can't remember to blog every day.

I have other mom friends who avoid sugar for their kids at all costs. Mine had 2 bowls of Fruit Loops for breakfast yesterday.

Three different friends buy organic milk. One switched after her husband made her watch a PBS documentary or something about a dairy farm. I don't want to drop that much money on 2 to 3 gallons of milk a week. I think the grocery budget might start smoking.

I am a little jealous of all of their convictions. I am slowly switching us over to healthier and more homemade food. Hubby thinks it should be strictly for cost reasons, as he watches my grocery budget like a hawk, but I would like to ensure that I know exactly what my kids are eating. And I do enjoy baking. And SOME cooking... I am coming around, I suppose.

He says we ate fill in the blank and we turned out fine. I say we're still young and don't know the long-term effects of whatever polysyllabic mumbo jumbo is in processed food. I say we should be smarter than generations that came before us. He agrees, but in a different way. He thinks I've been rubbing elbows with too many hippies and seen too many TV reports on childhood obesity. Maybe. But they're fun hippies.

We shall agree to disagree.

Well not really. I'm gonna keep trying to wear him down. I figure it may only take the next 50 years, but by then he won't be able to hear me anyway, so will it be victory or stalemate?

But the real question I have is, what kind of mom am I? My children are old enough that I don't feel like everyday is purely about survival. (But of course, there are always THOSE days...) So I can stop and think and put more effort towards certain things. I feel like I came more into my true self once I had two kids and "kinda" knew what I was doing. So I get the general mom-ness, but where to go from here?

All I know is that I have one loaf of store bought bread left, so the bread maker is coming back out tomorrow. I grab whole grain everything, especially when it's on sale, and slowly want to wean the kids off their daily sugary cereal habits. Since they would eat three or more bowls daily if I'd let them, that ought to make Hubby's budget happier.

But the moral of the story is, it doesn't matter if I'm a green, purple or brown mom. I love my children, and they will (come heck or high water) grow and mature and become amazing adults - because of and in spite of whatever choices I make as their mom.

Maybe then they can tell me what kind of mom I am.

What kind of mom are you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training, Part Deux

They say that boys are harder to potty train than girls. That may be the case, but so far, my little princess is far more entertaining than the first time around.

She has, on at least two occasions, peed standing up. And I don't mean straddling the toilet. I mean standing up, on a stool, facing the bowl - just like her big brother.

I kid you not.

The first time she got down from the dinner table and shuffled off to the potty, which is only across the hall. She didn't close the door and from my vantage point I could see her little butt... and then heard liquid hitting water.

The next time, she sneaked off on me, so I didn't actually SEE it, just the aftermath. In her defense, she's cleaner than her brother, who's been practicing at it for 2 years. Darn messy boys.

Last week, she decided she wanted to do - ahem - something else on the potty. I jumped at the opportunity to have diapers one more foot out the door. It took a half a dozen trips to sit for 5 seconds and be done before victory. Cha-ching!

Now we are onto big girl pants when we're home and pull-ups for when we're out. We've had a few accidents, but she is so excited to be a big girl, I'm pretty sure I'll have to rip off the band-aid soon and take her out of the house unprotected.

Of course, all this happened the day after I used up two about-to-expire coupons on more pull-ups. (Thanks Murphy... you and your laws) At least we'll be saving money that can be put toward more night time pull-ups for her older brother.

'Cause that problem ain't solving itself anytime soon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

You still love me, right?

Thanks for all your input on the artwork situation, folks. After reading my blog, Hubby decided to voice his opinion. You all had me convinced to save a few and digitize the rest (especially since his teacher started a Snapfish room with pics from the school year that I will want to save somehow. I forgot to tell y'all that part), but then he said just save everything and deal with it later.

So jury's still out on that one...

And what better thing to do while thinking than bake? So instead of blogging last night, I made this:

Peanut Butter Banana Bread. With a peanut butter glaze on it. It got a little dark, but I swear the dark parts are yummy. I may or may not have cut off a piece as soon as I could stand to touch it to check for quality control. 

Maybe. You can't prove anything. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Artist Extraordinaire

I have a Mommy crisis.

OK, so maybe not a crisis. In the grand scheme of things, I should not be losing sleep over this. And I'm not. I've put off making a decision for long enough. But I need some input. And the other adult in this house would just raise an eyebrow with a "Whuck?!" look on his face and go back to playing CityVille.

I'm on my own here. So I turn to you, my dedicated audience of ... well... we don't need to talk about that...

Sailboat? Christmas Tree?
My house is turning into a preschool art project clutterfest. And I don't know what to do about it. The safe areas (higher than little sister can reach) of our fridge are already covered, and so are the doors to the coat closet and basement. I had to put our Christmas cards on the front of the kitchen cabinets, but now even that is covered with home art projects, having been ousted from the normal refrigerator place of honor.

And I have a pile of new stuff he brought home after parents' night that I couldn't bring myself to hang anywhere.

I know that since I am an emotional mom and he is my first born, I should want to save everything for posterity's sake, so he can look back one day and see the apple he finger-painted when he was 3 that looks nothing like an apple (except it includes the colors of red and green).
Apple? Abstract Art? No clue.

But then there is the practical mom side. It says, hey dummy. You just cleared out your mother's closet that had 10 years of every bill or piece of mail she ever received, every card, picture, label, report, etc. that you ever created, along with clothes she hadn't worn in 20 years and her entire collection of holiday village figurines. And found four of your baby teeth individually wrapped, in Kleenex, in old earring boxes in the nightstand and armoire.

That and he's a boy. Granted he is the moody, emotional one of my two kiddos, but he's still a boy. How much is he really gonna appreciate whatever I save of his baby and young school years? I'm guessing not much. I've met his father. I know.

This could be anything... 
But isn't it a rite of passage to have to help clear out all your old crap from your parents' house? Would I be denying him some amount of nostalgia, even if it only lasts about 10 minutes? I'm sure I'm just bitter about my experience since no one should have to do that at the age of 23.

I have a friend who is taking pictures of all of her daughter's projects and making a photo book out of it for her to keep. Another has file boxes to keep all the projects her boys have made in preschool. Both sound plausible.

What should I do?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The joys of spring

Ahh spring. Or as I like to call it, guess what that shriveled plant-like-object will turn into season.

You see I like to pretend I have a green thumb. Every year I look for new flowers or the occasional bush or tree to add to the cluster-f@$! that is my flower beds. Most of them survive. At least, most of the ones that are supposed to.

You see, I have two criteria for picking plants: 1) it looks pretty. 2) it has to be marked "full sun" or it will shrivel up and die in seconds in our twig-tree-spotted lot.

Case in point. Last year we killed a dogwood tree. There is ONE spot of sorta-mostly shade along the east side of our house. Halfway through the summer, Hubby decided he was tired of spraying our entire house with rust-off where the sprinklers hit it, so he turned the sprinkler head that was giving the dogwood a fighting chance. And then it was 95 degrees for a week straight.

I'll let you figure out the rest.

So while I may pick pretty purple or yellow flowers, most of the time I don't remember what they're called, or if they are annuals or perennials. And that's right after I plant them. There is no way in HECK I can remember what I planted where for an entire year.

So my flower beds look like this:

Even if we have a warm spell before it's late enough to be planting, I don't normally pull the flower carcasses. Because I don't know if it's going to come back or not. I wait until they look like this:

So since that green is there, I'm pretty sure I can pull the dry stuff carefully. Unless that's a weed growing where a flower was last year...hmm...

Then there are my bulbs. For the last three years, a neighbor kid has come knocking on my door selling bulbs for a PTA fundraiser. If they're brave enough to knock on my door, most of the time I oblige. Because one day that will by MY kid peddling gosh-only-knows-what door-to-door and it'll be their parents' turn to fork over some cash.


This is the first year that my daffodils actually bloomed before Fourth of July. The irises did bloom last year, but earlier than the daffodils, so instead of the nice pretty yellow purple mix, I had green confused stalks.

See? Isn't that pretty?

Then there's these guys.

I'm pretty sure he is one of two I just bought and planted last year. I knew it was too late for them to bloom, but I hoped that this time I could plant them and they'd still be there in the spring. I hadn't had any luck doing that before, but third time's the charm, right?

But of course, if they follow their older bulb siblings, I'll be in this same spot next year, wondering what the little green stalk will turn into.

Along with all the other brown stuff.

Monday, April 11, 2011


A funny thing happened this weekend. We deprived our kids of their normal routine, sleep schedule and even time zone and they still behaved.

I don't know how.

We really don't throw our kids off kilter that often. Goodness knows when they were babies I clung to their schedule like kids to an ice cream truck so I could pretend like I knew what would happen. I don't know why. No mom really has any clue. Luckily 4 years and 2 kids later I've figured at least that much out.

Both kids took their first significant road trips about 5 minutes after they were born. OK not really. Four weeks for Nathaniel and six for Leah. Close enough. It was well before there was anything even remotely resembling long stretches of sleep at night, so it's all a sleepy, hazy blur to me.

The moral of the story is that they are used to staying at friends' and families' houses.

Very rarely do we get somewhere and have to throw in the towel because one (or both) are just absolutely rotten. This weekend was no exception.

We drove to America's Dairyland on Friday, wandered our alma mater, where one of Hubby's former profs gave them chocolate and little foam brains (logo-ed, of course). After about 5 minutes they had chocolate mustaches and had the other office workers eating out of their hands (figuratively, I swear). Leah was on the secretary's lap, punching keys on the keyboard and Nathaniel was sending his foam brain flying... oh did I mention there was somebody defending a dissertation down the hall? Yikes... no one seemed to mind.

We hit the indoor waterpark at the hotel before dinner and again Saturday morning. What else do you do with 2 small children who are clothed, fed and stir crazy by 8:30 a.m.? Exactly. Then it was lunch with old roommates (and their small ones) at a play place. Then we dragged them to a tailgate before the Brewers-Cubs game.

They were thoroughly entertained by our friends and a few other random adults we met at the tailgate, ate junk and took in their first major league game. They played musical laps and ate from a bag of popcorn as big as Leah. They would have made it to the end of the game, but I really didn't want to be fighting the crowds of drunken fans (I know, in Milwaukee? Never.) with them in tow.

So it was no surprise when we finally got on the road to head home Sunday that they passed out hard. Leah probably would have slept until we hit Indiana, but Hubby and I wanted dinner, so we woke her up at the last oasis in IL. She had been out for 3.5 hours.

Further proof I have two amazing kids... let's hope I'm not in for teenage years from you-know-where.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yes, I am the grammar Nazi. Love me anyway.

Apparently there is a lot of pressure being friends with a writer. Let me set a few things straight.

Yes, I notice if you make a typo in a blog or email. I will not ridicule you for it until the end of time.

I have fat finger syndrome from time to time when texting. Life goes on.

Even I don't know how to spell crap sometimes. I once had a complete brain fart and couldn't come up with "melancholy." All that was coming to mind was the Smashing Pumpkins double CD, "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." Good music. Not helpful with spelling though.
I hate when people don't know how to use apostrophes. But the problem is, I seem to be the only one who knows how, so really, it's a lost cause. Christmas card season gives me the shakes... all those last names with apostrophes where there shouldn't be...noooo.... happy place... must... find... happy... place...

If I pick up the newspaper and find a mistake in the first sentence of an article, I have to put it down. I understand the pressures of deadline (been there, done that, didn't even get a lousy T-shirt), but I have to just walk away for minute or two. If my desire to be informed nosy is strong, I'll skip the offending paragraph and move on. How else can I become a true neb nose?

Hubby had a comma problem when we got married. I am proud to say that after seven years of intense therapy, he has his comma usage under control now. Enrolling him in Commas Anonymous helped a lot. Now if only I could get his semi-colons in check...

Don't worry, I think I have all my grammar and word-usage rants out of my system for the time being, despite the fact I found ANOTHER book at the library that had a mistake in it.

Clearly I need to figure out how to become a children's book editor...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Homophones and how to piss me off

I finally bit the bullet and took the kids on a whim to get a library card. Ahem. PAY for a library card, since we have no home library and have to go to the neighboring township for that. Believe it or not, that was one thing that made me hesitate about buying our house. That and there are no sidewalks. I'm a city kid. I like houses with sidewalks for ya know, walking and little ones to ride bikes. And a library to call my own.

But now that I've had to consciously pay money for it (as opposed to being all wrapped up in taxey stuff that I so don't even begin to understand), you better believe we are gonna use that little piece of plastic.

I figured this is what I need to do to keep my kids interested in reading without going totally broke and getting buried under new books. We kinda hit a lull in reading our books, so it was time to kick start everyone again.

Except for one of the books that Nathaniel picked out. IT HAD A MISTAKE IN IT!!

It said this adorable, annoying little chipmunk was going to... ugh I hate typing it... PEDDLE her bike to her friend's house.

Now that would easily slip past spell check since the word is spelled correctly, but I sincerely hope that publishers use more than that to put a book into print. For small children still learning the English language to see. And absorb. And use again and again, because they saw it in a book at the library AND THEREFORE IT MUST BE RIGHT.

Seriously. Books are supposed to be better than the internet. You can't believe anything you read online (except this fantastic blog) but if it's in a book, gosh darn it, it's gotta be right.

I want to hide that stupid cheery chipmunk until we take the rest of the books back to the library so I don't have to read it again. And you better believe I will be avoiding all of the other books in that series.

OK, totally throwing this author under the bus... it's the Wickleville Woods series. "Heidi's Hike," specifically. Not only is it a dumb story, it's mis-teaching homophones. I can't endorse that sort of behavior.

Would I be off my rocker to take the book in and be like, look Miss Children's Librarian, this book is WRONG and you shouldn't be letting kids read it?!

It wouldn't be the first time somebody told me I was crazy...