Wednesday, April 29, 2009
When reading fairy tales to Mia, I skip over the parts about death. The princess doesn't die after she pricks her finger on the spinning wheel, she merely falls ill. Peter Rabbit's father didn't die in Mrs. McGregor's pie, he just had an accident.
We fast forward through the beginning of Finding Nemo, in order to spare Mia's seeing Nemo's mom die.
Even worse, with Easter having just been celebrated I've skipped over the most important part. The entire meaning of and reason for Easter. Jesus' death and resurrection. It feels too big and terrible for a 3 year old to understand. Sometimes it's too big and terrible for me to understand.
I have the thought in the back of my head that kids at this age just accept things as they are, but I still can't bring myself to end this innocence of her life before the knowledge of death.
This leaves me in a tight spot, because what happens when she needs to know about death? What happens when there is a loss of someone close to us? Will we have put off teaching the information about death for too long and she'll be devastated by knowing about the end? Or am I once again over-thinking this whole thing? (I'm pretty sure that's why this phrase even popped into my head yesterday - it's been on my mind.)
The other day, Mia fell back dramatically on the couch cushions, breathlessly declaring, "I just died mama...I'm died." I smiled and nodded, not wanting to thwart her imaginary play, but startled by her choice of words. Where she'd heard those words, I don't know. Certainly not from me, the anti-death patrol. It was apparent that she didn't know the meaning of her own words, but they haunted me all day.
Death is so close to us, such a real part of our lives, that I can't ignore it. And I know it'll have to be dealt with sooner or later.
How do you talk to your kids about death? Do you sugar coat it? Lay it all out, facts on the line? Or wait until it's absolutely necessary before approaching the subject?
Advise me, before I gloss over this issue until my 3 year old is 10 years old. I wouldn't put it past myself to do just that, using my ever-trusty avoidance. It's gotten me this far. How much longer can it last?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
We girls are in Mia's room, where we're trying to clean up a tremendous mess. Lauren is undoing our straightening as soon as it's accomplished.
As I pull her away from the alphabet puzzle for the 14th time, I mutter, "Ohhh, Lauren Jade you're gonna be the death of me."
"No I'M gonna be the death of you! I'm the one, mama." Mia says this with a stern expression and tells me over and over until I acknowledge that "YES, you will in fact be the death of me."
She might have just hit the nail on the head.
Death by contrariness. Contrarity? Contractions?
Yes, that's it. Death by prolonged contractions. A few years' worth.
As she grew up though, the rashes became few and far between until they eventually stopped altogether. No more sensitive skin! No more red bumps marring her perfect skin! Hurray!
Except, not so much. That same rash is back again, only this time she can talk. About the rash. All day. But that's not the point.
The point is, she's old enough to be involved with taking care of the problem. She asks for lotion or rash cream when she gets particularly itchy, and last night I offered her one more option.
We had some leftover oatmeal bath from her baby rashes, and I hoped these would soothe her itching for a while. I told her about this 'special' bath she could take, and she was really excited; Not for it's soothing properties, but for it's silly properties. She thought it was hilarious that she'd be bathing in oatmeal. I didn't correct her line of thinking - the wheels were turning behind her thoughtful eyes, and I could see her imagining herself swimming in a tub full of warm Quaker Oatmeal.
Later, as we were getting everything ready for bathtime (translation: trying to keep Lauren's hands out of the toilet as we gathered towels, jammies, etc.) she kept asking if she could have her oatmeal bath yet, please!
Being somewhat preoccupied by all the baby-in-toilet action, I kept putting Mia off with distracted answers. Not being content with my inattention to her needs (The oatmeal bath! Please?!) she took matters into her own hands.
As we were drying Lauren's freshly washed toilet-water hands, Mia came around the corner waving a bag of instant oatmeal she'd dug out of the pantry.
"OoooKAAAY!! Heeeeere's my OATMEEEAL! It's time for my breakfast bath! Let's go mama!" She shook the bag triumphantly, proud that she'd found a way around my annoying bath postponement.
Even when I told her it would be an entirely different kind of oatmeal bath, she still didn't lose her joyful anticipation.
Good grief. If my kids were any cuter, I'd just about die from adoration.
Toilet water soaked, oatmeal bathed, red bumpy rashed as they may be.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Like that's something I enjoy seeing.
Crickets, for some reason, are my biggest bug-fear. They jump incredibly far. Their spindly legs have, like, thorns on them. Their bulbous bodies are covered in shiny armour. Shudder.
Still, I couldn't stop myself from going to see what Justin had discovered. After all, if he was there he'd be the one to take care of it, so I could at least satisfy my curiosity by peeking around the doorway of the bathroom.
He was right. This cricket was monstrous. If it could've spoken, it's would've sounded eerily similar to James Earl Jones, I'm sure. It was perched on the shower curtain, at about waist height.
I handed him a fly swatter and backed away quickly to watch from a distance. I had to keep an eye on the situation - what if the cricket got away!? And I had to admit, there was a good chance it would get away since Justin was the one trying to kill it.
Now, he's completely capable of killing bugs. He has good aim; he's quick and steady. The thing is...he also likes to make me squirm. Very often, he'll poke at a bug, just to hear me scream when it jumps. He'll get within an inch of the insect and stare at it, pretending scientific interest. In the course of this examination it sometimes happens that the bug escapes, and I'm left huddled in a corner, bemoaning my fate in attracting a husband who would taunt me so.
This time, I didn't want him taking any chances. No pussyfooting. No games.
"Don't mess around Justin! Just kill it!" He bent down to get a closer look, and - nearing hysteria - I pleaded with him, "JUST KILL IT!"
I can understand how some might mistake pleading for yelling, but that was not the case, I assure you. I was in total control of my person. Kind of. Okay, I may have yelled.
This time I think the cricket was even too big for Justin's manly comfort level, and he nailed it on the first shot. Since it was clinging to a soft shower curtain with nothing behind it to lend support for a good smashing, Justin hit it really forcefully.
So forcefully, that bits and pieces of the enormous cricket went flying in all directions. Most of it landed on...my dear bug killer extraordinaire.
Poor Justin. If he's completely comfortable around bugs, he's the exact opposite around gross messy messes. There were cricket guts in his hair. On his face. On his arms.
I tried not to laugh. I tried not to consider this payback for all the times he's teased me when all I've asked is for him to kill a bug. I tried to work up the desire to help him find all the bits of goo and exoskeleton lodged in his hair.
Now, we're even.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Not merely a bug, though. A million-legged, long-antennaed, fuzzy-haired, alien-spawned creature that moved along the wall quicker than seemed possible. It was silver and graceful, and despite it's smallish size I froze, stifling a scream.
I hate bugs. Spiders and crickets are the worst, but whatever this creepy thing was had claimed the top spot at that moment.
The only thing I hate more than bugs? Smashing bugs. Surely as soon as I'm close enough to get within killing distance, hundreds of tiny eyes will have noticed what I'm up to. I'm absolutely positive that the bug will then jump on me, and try to kill me first. So I usually rely on my trusty bug killer/knight in shining armor to save me from the killer bugs.
But this time, Justin wasn't home to deal with it so I had to suck it up and get rid of the thing. No way was I going to leave it alone and hope for the best. How could I sleep in that room ever again knowing this terrible bug was lying in wait? What if, due to some congestion, I had to mouth-breath during sleep, and that evil bug crawled....
Never mind. I'm this close to giving myself a nightmare.
I grabbed the biggest shoe I could find. The moment I started moving around, the alien bug stopped. Like it wanted to keep an eye (or a hundred eyes?!) on my clumsy human movements. It had come to a halt directly over the mirror above our dresser - way out of my reach. I would have to straddle the space between the bed and the dresser, and launch myself at the bug all while maintaining precision accuracy in my smashing aim. If I missed and the bug went into hiding or worse - jumped at me - I was sure I would pee myself. The more I thought about what I'd have to do, the more frightened I became. I was shaking. Sweat beads popped out on my upper lip. I was startled to realize I had begun giving myself a pep talk - out loud.
Just DO it Sarah. You HAVE to. Do it NOW.
I turned my head away quickly for one last deep breath before I jumped, praying the bug wouldn't escape while my eyes were squinched shut. It didn't.
The shoe landed directly on the target, with a thud and a crunch.
The adrenaline and momentum that had propelled me up and over waned immediately, and I shook as I lowered myself to the floor from the top of the dresser. I peeked at the bottom of the shoe to make absolutely sure the bug was dead.
The bottom of the shoe was clean. Empty.
No, I'm just kidding.
The bug was there, unrecognizable as it was. I was shaking so badly that I was sure the shoe would drop and the bug would use up it's last bit of nerve power to crawl up my leg. Before I even knew it had happened, though, I was at the back door, throwing it open, chucking the shoe onto the porch, and slamming the door shut again. I locked it with finality, and did a full body shiver.
I really hate bugs.
Is something CRAWLING ON ME?
Friday, April 24, 2009
Mia insisted on the cabbage, for reasons unknown to me. She's never liked it, except to point them out in the store. They are huge...and round...and therefore they are interesting? Maybe seeing them grow will make her more agreeable to actually eating cabbage.
And for the broccoli, we got it planted so late in the season that it may or may not grow well. Since it's a colder crop and we're getting into the warmer days, we may have missed our chance. But the little plants were sitting on the counter so innocently, not knowing yet that they'd soon be destined for the compost heap, and I thought what the heck. So we're giving them a shot.
And surprisingly enough, Lauren sat still for the whole lunch. It shouldn't really be surprising - she's an amazingly thorough eater.
3. One of the most exciting parts of our week has been our new swing set! The night it was being built, we kept taking breaks in the bedtime routine to go peek at the progress and congratulate the workers on their 'great job.' Mia was very encouraging.
6. I've been reading The Count of Monte Cristo for a few days now, and may I just say: Wowza. I'm loving it. I've seen the movie and enjoyed it, but the book has so much more detail and emotion. It's wonderful. Isn't this the case with all movies that are based on books? Have you ever read a book, seen the movie, and then preferred the movie experience? I can't think of any instances where I haven't liked the book better.
So this morning as she lay sandwiched between us, she happened to be facing Jusin. After they had snuggled for a second, she lifted up and said, "OH! Daddy has the yucky!! I have to back AWAY!" At which point she arched her back as far away from him as she could, while still facing him.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I started the preparations with dessert, because really, who am I kidding? I'm fairly addicted to sweets.
There were two bananas sitting on my counter that had been headed for no-man's land for a few days, and I decided to bake a banana cake. I'm on a frugality kick right now (who isn't?) so using every last bit of food that's been purchased was very appealing. There was also some buttermilk in the fridge that was a little past it's sell by date, but I figured it's buttermilk...aka sour milk. It still smelled and looked right to me, and my mom thought it wouldn't matter too much either, so I used it.
Have I ever mentioned that I wouldn't be able to make a thing in the kitchen without my mom's advice? Yes? Well it's true.
By the time I got all the ingredients put together, I realized I didn't have enough sugar. And my bananas were on the small side so they didn't add up to the amount called for in the recipe. And all I had for shortening was some butter flavored monstrosity that's been sitting in my cupboard for so long that I'd completely forgotten about it.
No matter, I threw it all in the oven and hoped for the best. Next step: dinner.
Justin and I had watched a cooking show a few nights ago that featured a Lamb Ragu Pasta Bake thing that looked really good. Apparently, it's a Greek interpretation of lasagna. After the show was over, I decided that I could probably make a similar version, so I scribbled down a few notes about the sauce. Bechamel sauce, maybe? Is that a real thing?
We had some leftover meatballs from last week that nobody really liked very well due to the overabundance of onions. I broke them up into a pan, hoping that by browning them and cooking the onions a little longer, it would take the place of fresh ground meat. Again, I was feeling good about my non-wasteful meal plans.
What I forgot to take into account, though, was the fact that there were oats mixed into the meatballs. All went well until I added the tomato sauce to the meat mixture. Sauce + oats + meat = meaty tomato oatmeal. It resembled canned cat food. Yum.
However, we were getting too close to dinnertime and, as I had no other options, I plowed ahead. Also, the thought of wasting all that food was tormenting me. I had to make the best of it. The fallacy of escalating commitment made me do it. (That's the single item I remember from Econ 101. Although I'm sure my professor would say I'm not using it in quite it's intended capacity.)
As long as I got the pasta bake into the oven before Justin got home and saw what it looked like, we would probably be OK. The bechamel (??) sauce on top turned out delicious. It was basically a thick white sauce with parmesan cheese and it camouflaged nicely the distorted meat sauce below.
It smelled good, it looked good (as long as you were a starving person being distracted by two lively little girls), and surprisingly enough, it didn't taste anything like cat food. Score!
Best of all, Mia only gagged twice.
And my banana cake? Not very appealing in the end. I've been eating it anyway, because it's kinda sweet and soft and squishy...clearly I have my priorities straight.
If stay at home moms received paychecks, last night I'm pretty sure I would've been re-paying back taxes.
And then I would've gotten fired.
Happily, I work for free, so they're stuck with me.
Wish me luck for dinner tonight - I'm trying a new fajita marinade recipe. I bought fresh ginger for the first time ever, and it's been taunting me from the counter...trying to confuse me with all it's nooks and crannies. I WILL NOT BE DETERRED!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
If you happen to get the very very coolest grandpa, he'll make sure you have the most fun possible at such an event, even if it means folding himself into quarters to help you drive a mini-tractor.
He'll let you steer the tractor all by yourself...or at least until you stop watching what you're doing. In that case, he'll helpfully take the wheel to steer you far beyond the designated tractor course, and out among the GIANT tractors.
He will point you in the direction of free hot dogs and cheetos, which you will consume with all the enthusiasm you can muster for having worn yourself out with running so very far.
You'll love it so much that your way cool grandpa will pick up the speed until your long hair is blowing far behind your smiling face. At this point, if you're lucky enough to have such a grandpa, he'll be thinking this is the most fun he's had in a long time. He'll be thinking that grandkids are cooler than even he himself. And that's quite a statement when your grandpa is so darn awesome.
By the time your Gator ride has come to an end, your laughter will have overcome you to such an extent that you would hardly be able breath, tears would be pooling in your eyes, and hiccups will have begun.
It will have been a perfect morning, made that way by the attention of a totally rad grandpa.
That is, if you are lucky enough to have been blessed with the very coolest of grandpa's.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
She was awake, and ready to get up for snacktime. I leaned down to chat with her for a minute about getting out of bed to open the closet door and get all her toys to play with, when she should have been quietly napping.
Before I could get started on my lecture, Mia announced that she'd put on chapstick, and used it all up. I looked closer at her face and - sure enough - it was shiny and greasy. As was the wispy hair framing her cheeks. She pointed to her dresser, and there sat my favorite chapstick. I'd let her use it earlier that day, and forgotten to put it out of reach. But it wasn't all that close to being empty, so I started to get concerned about the fact that Mia had assured me it was all gone.
I picked up the now weightless tube and opened it - empty, as promised. Surely she couldn't have used it all, right?
Wrong. She led me to her closet door, showing me where she'd covered it with large stripes of waxy chapstick.
I couldn't help but laugh. I'm sure she deserved some sort of punishment for the many rules she'd broken during her "nap," but after having her tell me everything that had happened, I was too amused to push the issue.
Fast forward a few hours later to the store, where I'm picking out some new chapstick.
"Mia, I need to get a new tube of chapstick. Do you remember why?"
She looks at me calmly and states, "I don't know."
"Because," I say, "somebody used all of my old chapstick, without even asking for permission. Do you know who did that?" I'm fully expecting her to say, Oh yeah! I did that mama! Mia's still so innocent that she hasn't quite figured out she has the capability to lie about things like this.
Or so I thought.
Instead, she comes back with this: "Weeelllll.....It was a....a....a lady. Aaaaand, she just took it and she used it ALL up, and her name was....uh uh uh...her name was Gone. It was a lady named Gone, mama. Aaannd, weeellll, she just wanted to use it so she took it."The entire time she was reeling out this gigantic whopper, she was playing with a toy, looking completely nonchalant. Folks, what we have here is a LIAR! Had her story been more believable, her delivery would have been perfect.
While I'm fairly certain there was no lady named Gone, I now know that some innocence has gone. She'll only get better at lying.
I hope I get better at cracking down on it, because I'm pretty sure my indulgent laughter was no form of punishment.
She's too cute for my own good.
Friday, April 17, 2009
1. Last week I saw a picture on Daring Young Mom's blog of a sign in a parking lot reminding shoppers to bring their reusable bags. It cleverly states, "A bag in the hand is worth 2 in the car." She goes on to mention that she not only forgets the bags in the car, but also forgets to give them to the cashier.
I had to laugh at that, because back when I first got my reusable shopping bags, I frequently forgot to hand them over at check out time. Then as time wore on, I'd just forget about them altogether, leaving them at home or in the car. All this forgetting also extended to my painstakingly located coupons, but that's another post.
Seeing that cute sign made me pull up my britches and vow that I'd do a better job of toting my bags into the store more often. Starting with my very next shopping trip.
When shopping day rolled around, I made a point to fold all my bags nicely and sit them right by the baby (*choke* she's a toddler now...) in the carseat so I'd remember them. I carried them proudly into the store, noticing the people in the checkout lanes as I walked past and their lack of reusable bags. I thought about all the plastic bags those people would be consuming, and smiled a little to myself - no plastic for me...no-sir-ee.
Any guesses as to who forgot to give her bags to the cashier YET AGAIN? Certainly it couldn't have been MOI?! Oh, but it was.
I wiped my smug smile off right quick, but it took some doin' - pride is a clingy substance.
2. Danelle - a friend of mine - has been searching high and low for the perfect name for her new baby boy who will be born in June. (She has a poll up on her blog; you should go cast a vote for your favorite name.) I found this cool site, http://www.whatalovelyname.com/, with Danelle in mind, but it's really fun even if you're not looking to name a baby. I spent quite a while messing around with personality trait combinations and perusing the site's suggestions. Check it out and tell me what you think. Especially you, Danelle! Maybe it'll give you some more choices or just some fun for a few minutes.
The truth is, I'm always looking to find that perfect baby name...I'll just have to have a really large family in order to accommodate all the beautiful names I've claimed we'll use one day.
3. I need a scholar's help. How am I related to my cousin's cousin? We share no blood, but my aunt is her aunt, my cousins are her cousins. Is she my second cousin? Is she once or twice removed? How in the world is that relationship properly expressed? Is "cousin's cousin" the best way?
All this to say: check out my cousin's cousin, Becky's, blog. She has a beautiful post up announcing her miraculous pregnancy after years of infertility and adoption. Her two adopted children are miracles in themselves, but it's wonderful to witness her joy and faith at this new surprise. Her words are a great reminder about the frailty of our own plans and expectations in light of God's work in our lives.
Blessings to Becky and her family on their newest miracle.
4. Speaking of blessings...I have dirt in my raised vegetable bed! Hooray! It's late in the season to plant some of the things I had hoped to plant, but our weather has been so iffy that I'm glad we've waited. Freezing temperatures have been taunting us for a few weeks, but I think I'm ready to bite the bullet and Plant! Some! Veggies! Surely my enthusiasm alone is enough to keep the frost away.
5. I ran to a convenience store yesterday to grab some vodka for a recipe I'm making, and went to the cashier with the vodka and...Oreo Cakesters. For some reason, I think it's hilarious when I purchase such weird combinations of items. I always imagine the cashier thinking odd thoughts about me...and why that pleases me, I do not know. But whenever I buy something like broccoli with ice cream, or ketchup with pop tarts, I'm secretly giggling inside. It's no wonder I forget about things like reusable shopping bags, what with all the CRAZY taking up residence in my mind.
6. I wish I could figure out how to post a video, but since I don't have the time or energy for that this morning, I'll post the link to a video instead. You should really go watch this video of a jump rope routine. My brother sent it to me, and though I have no idea how he finds these things, it's flat out fantastic. Really. My jaw was on the floor. Watch it, and be impressed by the physical coordination that some people are blessed with.
OK, that last part is just for me. I have the coordination of a dizzy baby deer. Think Bambi only worse - Bambi wearing his grandma's prescription bifocals. That's me. So, yes - I was way impressed with those jump ropers.
7. And now I'm out of quick takes. I knew it would happen one day. Mia's endless talking, questioning, and singing has left me bumfuzzled and thoughtless. At least for the moment.
Enjoy your weekend, and check out more Quick Takes over at Jen's.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
We hurried as much as a two toddlers (holy cow...when did this happen?) and a sleep deprived mom are capable of hurrying, and made it to the screening offices a mere half hour later than planned. While Mia went off to take her tests, Lauren and I played in a school cafeteria full of toys. And by that I mean that she walked in huge circles, screaming just to hear her voice echoing off the cavernous walls. I'm fairly sure the teachers in the classrooms around us were wishing us nothing but blessings.
When they were done with the screening, we sat down to discuss Mia's development. For the most part, the results showed what I already knew:
a. She's a genius. Many of her 'scores' ranked as high as a 5 year old.
b. She gets easily frustrated when she has trouble with a task; ie - cutting with scissors.
c. She's a talker. Her language scores were phenomenal for her age.
d. She's a genius. It bears repeating twice. Even if genius wasn't the exact word they used. But I do like to type it, so genius genius genius and genius. Genius.
I was pleased that somebody else noticed the talker bit. Usually, Mia can be kind of shy. Not in a genuinely timid way, but in more of an I'm-cuter-if-I-play-it-coy-and-dramatic way. For instance, several times over the past few months I've heard her say to someone "I'm just a little shy," as she tilts her head down, casts her eyes up from underneath fluttering lashes, and twirls herself around on pointed toes. If that's not a sign of impending drama, I don't know what is.
Apparently, she was comfortable enough with our parent educator (the teacher who administered the screening) to drop the fancy shyness and speak freely. As I am so often overcome by the amazing amount of words spewing out of Mia's tiny mouth, I recognized the look on the teacher's face as she told me about my daughter's language development. It was the look that says, "oh, honey...you will never know silence again...here's twenty thousand dollars, because you deserve it."
The appointment went really well, and I feel good about knowing some areas that Mia needs help with. We'll be practicing with those child-proof scissors as soon as I can remember to get my hands on some. I'm assuming my brain will be engaged in another very large fart when it comes time to buy the scissors, too. In fact, I'm counting on it.
She won't be accepted into any self-respecting preschool if she can't work the scissors, right?
And then she'll have to stay home with me, playing with My Little Ponies and curling up in my lap for story-time.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
On your mark, get set, GO!
We started our Easter preparations on Friday of last week with egg painting and dyeing. Last year we didn't ever manage to get this done. Mia was only a little over two, I was awaiting the birth of Lauren (meaning I was too rotund to tread the easter egg waters), and I just didn't think it was the best idea. This year, however, I knew Mia would love the project. She got right down to business, with a look of serious concentration on her face.
There was a moment when I wondered if we really needed to go through the whole hard-boiling process, because none of the kids will actually eat them...but then I had visions of eggs being stepped on or thrown at the egg hunt and my mind was cleared. And it was a good thing, because Mia tested their strength while painting. It would have been a huge mess after she decided to crack one on the table a few times.
Easter morning, I went by myself to sunrise service at our church. We didn't want the girls to see their easter baskets before I got back from church, so we decided to have the Easter Bunny ring the doorbell shortly after I got home.
We continued getting ready (at the speed of darkness...we were running so late) and went to breakfast at church, followed by an easter egg hunt for the kiddos.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Answer: Floating poop.
Tonight at bathtime, Lauren was joyfully standing up, splashing down, and throwing the washcloth while I dried and lotioned her sister beside the tub. When Mia started hysterically pointing and screaming at Lauren (did you know pointing could be done in an hysterical way?), thoughts of slipping and drowning quickly flashed through my mind. I was relieved to see the baby sitting happily, enjoying her sister's loud antics.
Not so relieved when I noticed several FLOATERS within inches of her just-washed body. My mind raced as I considered what to do next. Do I run to the kitchen for a scoop of some sort? But that would require leaving the baby alone in the tub. Do I grab the biggest piece with my hand? Sweet Lord, NO - there has to be a better way! Should I get the poop out before draining the water, or hope that the drain will take care of the job for me? Who knew there was so much to take into account in emergency turd removal? These thoughts all passed in a fraction of a second, which felt like several minutes. Something needed to be done about this situation immediately.
All the while, my thought process was being sidetracked by Mia's frantic screaming about THE POO-POO! MAMA SHE POOPED! IT'S GETTING CLOSER TO HER!
I wished I wasn't the one in charge, just for tonight. (I do so LOVE being in charge, so it was a quickly passing fancy.) I wished my husband would have called in sick to his meeting and that I was kicked back with a cookie watching PBS. I wished myself anywhere but there, amidst screaming toddlers and floating poop.
Finally, I came to my senses and grabbed Lauren out of the tub just as she was about to splash herself down atop the nearest grouping of poo. She was safe. Not happy about the abrupt end to her fun, but safe nonetheless. And Mia? Well, she was just beside herself with fascination and horror.
I imagined many things when I dreamed about my life as a mother, but I must admit I never imagined this. I was ill prepared for dealing with poop in the bathtub.
Tell me I'm not alone. Tell me you've been inducted into the Tub Poop Club.
Yeah, me too.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Tonight, she proudly spat dribble after dribble of toothpaste into the sink. She was so excited about conquering this challenge that she turned to watch herself in the mirror, thereby spitting directly down the side of her cheek. (So mastered is a bit of a strong word choice.)
We have been attempting the toothpaste-spit for so long that I wasn't even expecting it anymore. Usually when we say, "OK, now spit," Mia would carefully swallow the whole mouthful of toothpaste, and then give a feeble puff of air through smiling lips.
But tonight, my friends, foam actually exited her mouth. Why this is so satisfying to me, I may never understand. It just is.
This is one milestone that doesn't get nearly enough attention.
Walking? Meh. Potty-training? Pfft.
Toothpaste spitting? Now we're talkin'.
Absentmindedly, I tell him to check behind the furthest couch cushion.
He wanders to the couch, eyeing me suspiciously. I can see that he's sure I've sent him on a wild goose chase, or that I'm trying to prove a point about him looking first and asking later. But when he digs a hand into the cushions, he comes back with the missing earplugs. A miracle.
I swear, the space in my brain gets more and more cluttered as I store these mundane things inside it.
This is why I forget things like, I don't know, just as a hypothetical example, putting the towels in the dryer before they begin to smell like rotten mildew.
Not that I'd do that particular forgetful thing.
May your Easter Weekend be full of things you're glad to remember.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
One 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 lb. chicken
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Raw chickens are SO gross.
As the years have passed though, I got tired of being limited by my chicken breast options. Justin's not a great big fan of chicken anyway, and his tastes were being seriously harmed by my boring and over-cooked chicken recipes.
I ventured out. I bought a bird. I decided to follow Betty Crocker's roast chicken recipe. I grew up seeing my mom rely on her own tattered copy of The Betty Crocker Cookbook, and for me, it represented comfort - tried and true. So, between Betty and I, we roasted chicken.
Not without embarrassing slip-ups along the way. Ol' Betty never once mentioned how I should go about knowing which end of the chicken was up, down, back, or front. I spent several minutes pondering what side needed to be placed in the pan, and how to approach the cavity.
By the way, that word absolutely creeps me out. Cavity. It's very obtrusive. Offensive to the chicken. Not, I imagine, as offensive as actually roasting the poor creature, but that's neither here nor there.
In order to determine what parts of the chicken I was looking at, I...and if this isn't offensive, I don't know what is...stood it upright, and pretended to walk it across my counter. I needed to see which side was breast and which side was back. You would think this was glaringly obvious, but I was second guessing myself. See above remark about whole chickens being intimidating and confusing.
After locating the breast (keep the flat-chested comments to yourself...I'm tender.) and preparing the chicken according to Betty Crocker's instructions, I placed it in the oven with visions of buttery, savory chicken bites floating about my head.
I was darn proud of my work so far. The real test came later when I had to eat what I'd made. I was expecting something close to the flavor of a rotisserie chicken like those I'd purchased before at a deli. This, however, was not the case.
I was terribly disappointed. All that work? Marching a raw chicken upright? Washing and drying a CAVITY? And it tastes like...nothing? Now, I'm sure Betty Crocker did it much better than I did. But still. I was hurt by my mom's old standby cookbook not coming through for me.
That was over a year ago, and I've been in search of a no-fail roast chicken method ever since. I say method, because there's not much in the way of ingredients for a roast chicken. It's all about your approach. Oven temperature, timing, moon phase, whatever.
I believe, after months of turmoil and frustration...we have a winner. And I shall tell you all about it.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
If only I looked like I knew my way around the place. I had my handy-dandy list of supplies carefully denoted on a pretty piece of stationary. While Justin and Mia searched for a big cart in which to haul our lumber, I pushed Lauren in the stroller, trying to figure out what I needed to look for first. I must have had a bewildered glow about me, because a few kind souls asked if I needed some help.
Instead of correcting them that I needed more than just some help, I smiled and nodded. When a teenage lumber-yard associate asked exactly what I was looking for, I handed over my frilly list of items. He looked at me like I was on the short bus - but he was very helpful. How could I have been expected to find a 7/64 #8 counter sink bit all on my lonesome? I would have been flailing aimlessly in a sea of drill bits if not for his kindness.
By this time, Justin and Mia had located a cart, loaded up the 2 x 6's we needed, and joined us at the drill bits. As the young guy consulted with another associate about the best item according to my list, Mia slowly crept closer and closer to them. She had pulled out her best bashful expression, and I could tell she wanted nothing more than some attention from these manly young men. (On a side note, OH HOW SHE FLIRTS.)
When they were both too engrossed in their task to notice her, she quietly wrapped her little arms around the lumber guy's cargo short-ed legs and hugged him with all the adoration she could muster.
I talked her into removing herself, while the guys finally gave her what she wanted: smiles and laughter. She was in three-year-old heaven.
What a sight we must have made. Justin pushing the lumber while Mia yelled out that she wanted to be the line leader. Mia walking about 3 inches in front of the cart, looking over her shoulder to make sure we all stayed behind her. Me swiveling my head between the aisles and my pretty list to locate our next item. Lauren tossing her toys out of the stroller repeatedly. And the passel of lumber yard guys answering all our questions tirelessly.
I like to think we provided some comic relief in their otherwise hard-working and heavy-lifting day.
It was a great shopping trip.
All that was left was to actually use the supplies in order to build the veggie bed. But Pioneer Woman was right. It was pretty easy, even for a housewife like me.
I only had to get Justin one cold drink the whole time he was out there working. Piece'a cake.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Jasmine ran tearfully into the gardens and hugged her pet tiger.
Mia: What was her tiger?
Me: Ummm...he's her pet.
Mia: Was he....born?
Suddenly the royal guards arrived and arrested Aladdin. "Release him!" Jasmine cried,
Mia: Who got him?
Me: The guards. "Release him!" Jasmine cried,
Mia: What did they take him to?
Me: To the dungeon. Jasmine
Mia: What were they yelling about?
Me: Ay yay yay...
The tiger head that guarded the cave had told Jafar that only a "Diamond in the rough" could enter th..
Mia: Does he have pointy teeth?
Me: Yup. Only a "Diamond in the rough"
Mia: He's just a tiny little thing! (pointing to the picture)
Me: Uh-huh. Could enter the cave of wond..
Mia: What's he tiny about?
Me: Weeellll...he's just tiny. the cave of wonders...someone who's worth was hidden deep with..
Mia: He's just a silly little guy!
Forgetting the warning, Abu quickly snatched up the jewel. At that very..
Mia: Is that sparkly?!
Me: Yes. At that very momen..
Mia: What's he looking at?
Me: At Abu and the jewel. At that ver..
Mia: At the SPARKLY jewel?
Me: Yeah. At tha..
Mia: He's a silly little fella!
Abu became a magnificent elephant that would carry Aladdin into Agrab..
Mia: What did he want to be?
Me: An elephant. ..that would carry Aladd..
Mia: What is his nose long about?
Me: ...sooooo...he can smell things far away? ..that would carry..
Mia: He's a silly little guy!
I could go on, but what's the use? You're asleep by now anyway, right?
This is the point of bedtime stories, after all.
A. Taking a bubble bath (by yourself, no toddlers in sight), and going to bed early.
B. Going to dinner and a movie with your garden-building husband using gift certificates for a free date night.
C. Getting take-out Chinese and watching Friends Reruns on DVD.
D. Taking a trip to the ER with your one-year old.
Ding Ding DING! A trip to the ER it is! What have you won?
A detailed description of our evening. Suh-weet.
Actually it was a trick question, because we did treat ourselves to chinese food and Friends reruns after the girls were in bed. We were both too tired at the end of the day to rouse any interest in a date, so we opted for comfort instead.
Him: Do you want to use our gift certificate tonight and have my mom babysit?
Me: Would I have to take a shower first?
Him: .....blank stare....
Me: Then no.
At about 9:30, right when Ross and Rachel were shopping for a nursery full of baby gear and Ross was inappropriately flirting with the saleslady, Lauren woke up with an awful barking cough. She tried to cry, and it sounded like a bark. She tried to talk, and it sounded like a bark. She tried to breath, and it sounded like a bark.
Last month she had croup, with the same barking cough, so I assumed that's what this was. Except she was having such trouble breathing, and on every exhale, (say it with me) she barked. It was sorta terrifying, and we were out the door in a flash. Justin stayed home with Mia, and I tried not to worry while making the 6 minute drive to the hospital.
The ER nurses tested her oxygen saturation levels, and she was getting enough, thank goodness. But her throat was so tight from the croup, that they said we definitely needed to have brought her in. (Does this qualify as conflict of interests? Oh, yes, you really NEED what we're selling!)
After about 35 minutes of waiting, we finally saw a doctor, who prescribed a steroid injection and epinephren something-or-other. Basically a breathing treatment. He then proceeded to tell us we'd need to stay for about 2 and a half hours so they could make sure her breathing got better.
Have you ever put a 1 year old in an exam room with nothing but a stirrup table and a trash can, and tried to hold said 1 year old for upwards of 3 hours? I don't recommend it.
I had just gotten done reading a study about the germy state of hospital floors that evening. What a coincidence that I'd be trying to keep my baby off of a hospital floor only hours later. She was not a happy ER-camper. At least I was thinking clearly enough to have brought her blankie and stuffed lamb. Other than that, we were toyless.
I asked for a chair (no way was I going near those stirrups) and tried to keep Lauren content while we waited. Eventually, I turned off the light and cracked open the door, hoping she'd doze off. But apparently my collarbones were highly distracting, because she spent a good portion of the night exploring them. I always knew being bony would come in handy one day.
The steroid shot and breathing treatment did their magic. We left at 12:45 AM and Lauren ended up being fine. For this I am grateful - but my tailbone is seriously bruised from rocking Lauren in that awful chair.
I was having fantasies about soft beds with soft blankets surrounded by soft pillows. But the ER doesn't specialize in those.
They also don't sell bubble baths there. And I was offered neither dinner nor a movie.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
So, straight from the Land O' Lakes recipe, here's the Best Buttercream Frosting:
Beat butter in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt, alternately with half & half and vanilla, mixing constantly and scraping the bowl as needed. Stir in corn syrup. Makes 3 cups frosting.
Since I have trouble following a recipe exactly (thanks, mom) I did a few things differently, and I don't really know how they affected the outcome. Other than that I liked the outcome. But I'm sure the changes weren't so drastic as to affect the frosting too much.
Friday, April 3, 2009
1. Last week, I quick-taked (uhhh..) about Lauren's birthday party preparations. Here's how it went.
2. As of yesterday, Lauren is officially a walker. She walked more than crawled, all day long. She willingly let go of hands and furniture, and trekked out across the entire house. It's unsteady and slow-going, and it's adorable. We shot some videos last night so we'd never have to forget her look of concentration and elation as she goes wherever she chooses, on her own steam.
3. It's gotten out of hand lately, me staying up too too late and being too too tired the next day. Weeks on end of this behavior seem to have changed my internal sleep-clock (is that a real thing?) entirely. I'm tired enough to sleep by 8PM, but somehow a second wind overtakes me and before I know it, it's midnight and I'm perusing some stranger's Tweets, wondering why I'm hungry again. By then, I'm too jazzed to rest easy, so it's even later by the time I finally crash. And 6AM always comes at 6AM. Always.
So this week, I've really been making an honest effort to get to bed earlier. Jammies on, teeth flossed (as per my new year's resolution), reading in bed, and off to la-la-land by 10PM is my goal.
Not that I'm quite there yet, but it's getting better.
4. I have big plans for this weekend. My plans are more on the idealistic side than on the realistic side, but I'm a dreamer. Here they go. (Wow, sub-categories in Quick Takes? Surely this breaks all the rules...)
5. I want to mow the lawn. And by that, I mean I want Justin to mow the lawn. Several weeks of on again off again warmth and rain have left us with a field of clovers. The purplish kind that grows 6 inches tall and attracts entire universes of bumble bees. Not conducive to outdoor play with the kiddos.
6. I want to go to the recycle center. Mia loves it there, and our little recycling corner is overflowing into our little parking space in the garage. This must be remedied. A quick trip is all it takes.
My question is this: If the recycle center is on the exact opposite corner of town, how much gas do we burn in making this earth-loving trip? And is our effort made totally worthless by driving so stinkin' far in our SUV to deposit our assorted recyclables? And if a car with a 36 MPG rating leaves San Francisco with 4 passengers, stops in Denver to fill-up, but gets High-octane fuel instead of unleaded, and drives 12 hours downhill without stopping before unloading 2 passengers in St. Louis...
Are you still here?
7. I want to build a raised bed to plant some veggies. And strawberries. And herbs. Pioneer Woman says I can do it, and posted instructions on how to go about it all.
We shall see.
Enjoy your weekend, and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Mia forgot about it for a few minutes. Then she asked about it again, wanting to know what it was called. I told her, a margarita.
Several minutes later, Mia said, Nana's margaritas are YUCKY! Because they taste like GARBAGE!
I love her interpretations of the world.
Margaritas are made of garbage.