Monday, March 31, 2008

Tales from the Crib

Imagine the noise you would make if you got to lick a fully-loaded with frosting (or whatever) spatula, from end to end. Kind of like the pigeon about to devour the hot dog from Mo Williams The Pigeon Finds a Hot dog.


I was driving my two little kids back home from the mall. It was not a very nice day here... rainy, cold, and had been both for quite a while. So I was concentrating on driving because conditions were not the best when I heard my daughter make that noise "aaaaaahhhhhh" from her car seat and her little brother cracking up. I think he was around 11 months so it was really fun to hear him laughing those full belly laughs. Well, what do most kids do when someone finds something they are doing funny? They do it again. She would make the noise and he would laugh his little head off. I thought this interaction between the two of them was really charming and I am giggling away myself as I listen to them. I do have one of those little mirrors that lets you peer into the backseat to see what kind of hell is breaking loose, but I try not to spend too much time on it because, you know, I'm driving.
Well, the two of them had been at this for a good five minutes or so when we got to our exit where we had to stop for a red light. I turned around to see the game in real time. I nearly barfed right there in the car. SHE WAS LICKING THE BOTTOM OF HER SHOE. The shoe that had walked through the mall, played in the children's museum, took a trip to the potty and scampered through the little landscape areas as you make your way back to the car in the wet, grimy parking lot. You've looked down and seen a lot of detritus (fancy, shmancy word for "all kinds of nasty crap") which you don't want to step in. It's the reason I have a no shoe house.
My next thought is "how am I going to clean her mouth?" I can't really wipe antibacterial lotion on her tongue. And a baby wipe just seems inadequate. Ummm, normally I wouldn't condone the consumption of vodka by a toddler, but that stuff packs a punch and would probably kill anything she might have picked up, plus a few brain cells. I don't have any vodka, or mouthwash in the house, for that matter. By the time I got her home it would be too late anyway. Heck, it was too late already; she had been doing this for the entire car ride home and we were almost there. Well, how do you turn this into a positive? She building her immune system! I tried to think of something that would discourage her from doing that again. I came up with: "There are squished spiders on the ground. You don't eat spiders do you? Plus, there is all kinds of dirt and icky things Mommy doesn't want you to put in your mouth." I know she is not overly fond of spiders so I think that worked. She has asked me on a couple of occasions about the spider parts on the bottom of her shoe. Better on your shoe than in your mouth, honey.
When we got home I gave her a big glass of orange juice and a kiss.
On the top of her head.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ryan's thank you cards from her birthday

This was based on a sketch challenge (SC169) splitcoast posted yesterday. I love this little set; it is called All in the Family with its Accessories and Family Phrases.

What's for dinner?

What does that question evoke in you? Some days it is the bane of my existence; others, not so much. I am never sure how many people I am cooking for. My family is made of up my dear (damn) husband (DH in text lingo), two teenage step-children: both teenagers, a girl (M) and a boy (J) , my two kids with my husband: a girl and a boy, and myself. I usually have to plan for as many as 6, but more likely it will be just the little kids and myself. There is a "shared parenting plan" on paper but that seems about it. Dad and J spend a lot of time at baseball-focused activities such as batting and conditioning which take place after school, regular practice and games. This growing boy has to be fed somewhere in between all his activities so the two of them often grab something at the store while on their way. M likes to hang with her friends so she will often eat out with them or have dinner with her mom, or a bowl of cereal while I am fixing dinner.

I don't mind left-overs - they make lunch really easy the next day and often I think the dish tastes even better. My husband? He hates left-overs, unless it is a ham. The teenagers aren't into them either. I will cook something new every night that I prepare dinner. So... I have to plan for 6, likely just feed 4 and try not to have too much in the way of left-overs as I hate to throw food away (my fridge can end up with a lot of left-overs). Or I end up with an odd number of uncooked items for the next night. If I am lucky, I can get my husband to take us out for dinner one night a week. It seems like a vacation to me.

Some days I don't even want to cook. Cereal makes a good dinner. So do PB&J sandwiches, but not for the baby because he has a peanut allergy. He is also allergic to egg whites which means no mayo - he is pretty much up spit creek as far as lunch goes. But I am talking about dinner.

Teenagers and toddlers are pretty much the same thing - their body size is about all that is different. They will look at food and decide they don't like it. They don't like green veggies. I am so proud of my little kids, though. They help themselves to bell peppers (red, orange and yellow) and munch on them like they are apples. The same with carrots ~ sometimes they are crunching away before I can even scrape them. So, we eat a lot of corn. And we all know what doesn't happen with corn the next day.

I try to make kid-friendly food. Kid-friendly food that I will eat. And I understand that my cooking is different from M & J's mom's cooking. But I haven't been able to win them over, except for a couple of dishes. I have noticed that they aren't always keen on what Dad cooks either so maybe it isn't my cooking, per se. So I leave most food in its basic form: steak, baked chicken, hamburgers (although I can gussy up those babies with grilled onions, bacon and cheese and they are still a hit), and hot dogs in the summer. I can branch out to tacos and paninis on the grill but that is pretty much the list of known eatables by all members of the family. No casseroles or crock pot creations. Even spaghetti is plagued by problems: my husband and I each like our own differing recipes, while M doesn't like red sauce but will eat the pasta with butter and garlic salt and J doesn't eat anchovies if he sees them go in his dad's recipe. They always go in the sauce, so you just have to time it right. I don't think you can taste them, the sauce just has good flavor. I like mine better because it is what my mom made for me.

My husband isn't too fond of pork ~ he thinks it is fattening. But when faced with the task of cooking he heads straight to chicken-fried steak. Go figure. Everybody likes that dish, even me.... I like it too much. He is also happy to eat Marie Callenders peach pies and ice cream. I guess it is selective fats that we shouldn't eat.

If you ask anyone around here "What would you like for dinner?" you are likely to get shrugs and "I don't cares" from the teenagers. My husband doesn't even want to think about it. He thinks I am nuts when I ask him in the morning before he goes to work if he has any wishes. I know it is morning but I will be headed to the grocery store before I see him again. And if my timing is right, I can get it done in the morning while the store is between meal rushes and my kids are well-rested. But I would love a suggestion here and there. Sometimes I want to be able to make something that I know he would like to eat. Or something that everyone will enjoy. Or so I don't have to think about it.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.”
Oscar Wilde

Sure, until I am stuck with the kitchen clean-up too! :D
But that is another story.

What did you have for dinner? Got any good ideas?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Kristina's Color Challenge #3

Her colors were Orchid Opulence, Rose Red, Pumpkin Pie, Basic Black, Whisper White. This was my submission. Check out the gallery of submissions - there were some incredible cards created out of her inspiration.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fishy gets new digs

Fishy, our betta, got a new home on Saturday. I no longer feel like a slum lord. He seems much happier now - swimming around and exploring his live plant and rock.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to you! We (my kids and DH) went to my mom's house for a lovely dinner. She pulled all her four-forked recipes off Epicurious and dinner was fabulous. She made deviled eggs with wasabi! Yummy Yum Yum! I made these boxes for everyone at the table. Here is a link to Kristina's video tutorials - there is a lot of great information here: and she is as cute as a bug! Inside the boxes I made were a Cadbury Caramel Creme Egg (a favorite from my childhood) and a Lindt Chocolate Egg (a favorite from my second childhood). Cole, who is allergic to peanuts and egg whites got raisins. He is only 15 months anyway. The Easter Bunny was good to my kids. Thank goodness for grandparents and attentive aunt and uncles. I completely forgot to dye eggs with my kids this past week. I am sure the kits will be on sale today at the store! It will be fun no matter what day. :D

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hooray (for me!)

I recently uploaded a bunch of the cards I made to splitcoast. One of them was a card I made for my friend Kari who just moved. I love the style of a lady known as Kittie747 who makes fabulously detailed and complex cards - I think of them as landscapes, like full paintings. For Kari's cards I looked through Kittie's gallery and found some ideas but made up my own design for the card. Well, she - Kittie commented on my card and thought I did a nice job. I feel like the heavens above just shined a sunny light on me along with a glory chorus in the background.

A philosophical question posed by my 3 year old

Mommy, does Fishy get thirsty?

Fishy is the Japanese Fighting Fish (Betta) Ryan just got for her 3rd birthday from her big sister.

Not knowing the answer myself I did what any smarmy professor would do and posed the question right back at her. All I know is that they have a special little organ that helps them breathe surface air because they often live in small bodies of fresh water with low O2 levels. So they seem like us in that we both breathe air but they live in the water so you can't really compare them in this same way. Air is always touching our bodies because of the atmosphere..... can you see why I couldn't really answer her? I know just enough about a bunch of things to know that I don't know enough to answer her question.

What do you think, Ryan?

Oh, yeah.

Okay, then.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Fortune Cookie fortune

Someone will be very proud of you
Do you mean today?
I wonder who that would be. My kids are too little I think to grasp such a concept. Plus they are right smack in the middle of it, too difficult for perspective. I don't think my husband gives it a thought to what I might have done today; he might just notice what I didn't get done. I didn't see my mom or my dad and step-mom or any of my friends today either. And nothing I said to any of them on the phone would leave them the impression that there was something to be proud about. I guess that would leave me. Some times you just have a day. Not a fantastic one, where you can recognize yourself as a supermom and not a horrible day where you think you should resign your position as chief care-giver, 'cause mom is too much a compliment for your efforts, or lack thereof. I took care of all of their basic necessities and did chores around the house. I gave them love in the form of kisses and hugs, books and games like peek-a-boo. I even got them to sleep at a reasonable hour and had some time on the computer before my show at 10:00 p.m. (Okay, it was Lipstick Jungle.) I had their car seats checked by the professional car-seat installer, and mainly because I do not want the responsibility of actually installing them, perfectly, myself. My husband just rolls his eyes at me, thinks I am neurotic. (Heaven forbid something happen to be because he cannot put the kids in their car seats properly.)
Funny, but the first thought I have is how someone would be proud of me in regard to the Me as in Mom. It is mostly who I am these days. I am with them just about every minute of the day, asleep and awake. For myself, me who is not mom, I recently went back to the gym. I exist better when I am exercising, mentally, physically, emotionally. I eat better which is key for weight loss as well. I have tried for 3 years to exercise at home and I just cannot do it. The way I like it: schedule, routine, separate. Doing exercise in the living room with two small children is like trying to make the bed at rush hour (see previous post). Step aerobics is stepping on a bench, not the small bodies of your offspring. Lifting weights for exercise should not be the continued removal of the baby from the DVD/VCR buttons. And yoga breathing is not taking calming breaths because you are trying not to blow your stack because your toddler wants to lie under the mat. Plank is hard enough with the weight of my own body, never mind the enthusiasm with which they think it is time to play bus stop. And I don't want to be interrupted. LOL ~ That comes from the lady who doesn't even get to poop without interruption. (Why was a sliding door without a locking latch installed as the door to my toilet? It should be more along the lines of a castle draw bridge surrounded by a moat and a grumpy dragon. Maybe I'll design that into my next house.) I keep hoping that Pavlov's Theory will kick in some time here soon. How many times does my daughter have to open the door and say "Mommy, it smells stinky in here." And I say, "No shit, Sherlock." Okay, no I don't actually say that. It's more along the lines of: "Well then, don't open the door." And "I'll be out in a minute, sweetheart." The baby is impervious to it, as they all must be at that age since so often they are worthy of hazmat suits themselves. He just wants to rip small pieces of toilet paper off the roll and put them in the toilet.... while I am still sitting there.
Not all of my blogs will be about poop. Only some of them.
At the end of every day I kinda weigh it in my head, take stock of how it went. And I usually can find lots of stuff that I could have handled differently and better. But I get some true beautiful moments when my daughter will say something touching and kind. Or when my son will give me a pat on the arm and the "mmmm" noise for asking or giving a kiss. I can confirm that I do model positive behaviors and that what I am doing is so worth it. But it is also nice to have some time to yourself to think about this stuff. And to not think about it at all.
Sometimes being a mom is like holding your breath under water. Every once in a while you have to stick your head up for air, the air being a MOMent for your self.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Making the bed with two small children

is like trying to pave the freeway at rush hour.

Letting my self go

"Mommy, your bed smells like poop."
Great, what every mother wants to hear.

Okay, so I farted. (What did I eat?) It was nap time and I was breastfeeding the little one while reading stories to my toddler when I tooted under the covers. You know how that storm system travels under the cover of darkness, and a down comforter. But that is one of the things I have noticed about myself since I have been a stay at home mom. At first I kinda relished in the fact that I could fart when I wanted; until now, my coworkers never complained. After a while, you stop thinking about it and let one slip when you're in public. Oooops!

Gosh, I can remember being in about 7th grade and praying while I was walking down the hallway of middle school not to do something totally embarrassing. "Don't trip. Don't fart. Is there something stuck in my braces? Oh my god, I think I have a wedgie! Did I put on my Secret deodorant this morning? Is my bra showing? Oh, there's Jimmy V. Just walk normal. Is everyone looking at my butt?"

End of an era, I guess. And I can just imagine being in the line at Starbucks when my toddler tells on me in front of a lot of people.

"No dear, that was your father."

Yukon update

The service manager called today to say that they were unable to locate the battery draw. The other day they noticed that there was one but were unable to pinpoint the source. Over the weekend the battery did not die, as usual and still after it being driven the draw has disappeared. "Would I like to come get my car? You won't be charged for that part of the service."

We own an aircraft maintenance business. We would never send an aircraft out the door without solving the problem.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Getting my Yukon XL fixed

About a month ago I went out to start my car and the battery was dead. And I think "crap, I left an interior light on." It might have taken my husband a couple of days (3) to get me a new battery which is not an easy thing when you have two small kids and a family of 6 to take care of. Sometimes you gotta go to the grocery store! (Never mind find some sanity in the bottom of a mocha.) It was deader than a doornail - I mean the remote key entry system wouldn't even work. So he replaced the battery on Saturday night and we dropped a teenager off at the movies and then went for Mexican. I didn't go anywhere on Sunday. On Monday morning I got up to go to the store and the car was dead again. My husband brought home a battery charger and got it charged up again. Somewhere in there he figured out that if you unhooked the battery the problem was eliminated so I carried a little wrench on my keyring to hook up the battery whenever I needed to go somewhere. Eventually my dh found the time (he's got lots of time everyday for baseball for the teenage boy) to take it to our aircraft business where he and the other mechanics did some bypass test to see if there was a drain on the battery somewhere. They weren't able to find anything. He wanted to take another crack at it but I just want it fixed. (See girlfriends entry from the other day.)
Yesterday, Cole and I got up early, gassed up the vehicle (pump shut off at $75! - figured I needed to fill it before gas hit $4/gal) and took it out to the Chevy dealer to have them service it. I explained to them that there is some sort of draw on the battery and that something that may/or not be related to the problem is the OnStar button on the steering wheel. If that button gets pushed you can not hang up and it ties up the radio. The only way to hang it up is to pull the fuse under the hood - I know so much about my Yukon! :)~ - and since it is an "older" vehicle (2003!) the OnStar system isn't digital and OnStar discontinued use on analog in the vehicles in February so I can't call them to have them hang up. Anyway, I told them not to necessarily fix the OnStar for now because I am not using the system but bear in mind that it might be part of the problem. I heard it is a simple fix and the dealer can install the digital system easily. So I shared the information with the service tech. I had them call my husband to share what they found.
They call him later to tell him it is a dead battery. Hello?! Did you not hear me? Yeah, the battery might be weak but it is new and something else is causing the problem. My DH corrected the service manager and told him about the test that they had performed at the hangar and mentioned the OnStar button. The manager said that he was told not to fix the OnStar. Does this seem difficult? The car is there for the battery and if the OnStar is the problem, well that's the solution. It wasn't there specifically for the OnStar system - I can pull a fuse now and then a lot easier than I want to pay who knows how much for parts and labor on a system I don't currently subscribe to. But don't not try to fix the car. I was pleased that everything I told them (on my own assessment) my husband told them but so irritated that they didn't listen. They weren't able to get the problem solved before they closed for the weekend. The service manager didn't have the huevos to call my husband back to let him know - he had the dealership owner do it. In the meantime I have a loaner (gag) until they get it fixed. I feel like a target in this little car and really don't want to drive my kids around in it. The loaner's gas tank was empty understandably because who wants to pay for someone else's gas these days but man, I just spent $75 on gas! The nice thing was that the Chevron guy came out and pumped it for me even though it was a self-service station. Thank you Chevron guy! Should be interesting to see what the service guys find if/when they find the problem. I have googled "battery draw OnStar" and do come up with some stuff. Might share it with the service techs on Monday. Idiots.

Kristina's First Color Challenge

Kristina has just created her first color challenge and the above is the link to the challenges. Last night I had a moment so I was able to participate although I don't think you will see it displayed with the other ones that people posted unless she updates her link again. You can see my submission in my splitcoastgallery:
Yesterday I uploaded a bunch of the cards I have made lately. I have been getting comments and I love it. It seems really cool to share your cards and have people look and say something about them around the world. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thank God for Girlfriends

I have the best girlfriends. I so appreciate the email that goes around that talks about how important they are. And it is so true. They are always there for you and listen no matter what you are saying. Does your husband do that? A group of us get together at least once a month to have dinner, play games and catch up on each others' lives. Last night my girlfriends gave my car a jump and to quote Rena: "We don't need no stinkin' men!" Girlfriends are even more important to me now that it is harder to see them - being a full time mom makes it hard to go do the stuff you used to do. I call it bc - before children. Gone are the days when you can just go somewhere at any time. So I look forward to when they get off work so we can chat - it makes me feel human again to talk to my friends after spending the day chatting with 3 year old and trying to figure out what Cole is trying to say at 15 months. THANK YOU to my girlfriends who are there for me, through thick and thin.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Heard this on the news last night

Men who do housework may get more sex
By DAVID CRARY AP National Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- American men still don't pull their weight when it comes to housework and child care, (Surprise!) but collectively they're not the slackers they used to be. The average dad has gradually been getting better about picking himself up off the sofa and pitching in, according to a new report in which a psychologist suggests the payoff for doing more chores could be more sex. (Seems like a no brainer to me.)
The report, released Thursday by the Council on Contemporary Families, summarizes several recent studies on family dynamics. Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco-area psychologist and author of "The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework," said equitable sharing of housework can lead to a happier marriage and more frequent sex. (Afterall, everyone is making a mess in the house.) "If a guy does housework, it looks to the woman like he really cares about her - he's not treating her like a servant," said Coleman, who is affiliated with the Council on Contemporary Families. "And if a woman feels stressed out because the house is a mess and the guy's sitting on the couch while she's vacuuming, that's not going to put her in the mood."

I heard this story on the news last night. Funny thing is that there is a bit of an age difference between my husband and I, so he is still in that other era. The news story also stated that women spend 11 hours a week with their children while men are up to 6. Excuse me, I spend 13 a day with my kids! Hello? Who did you interview for this story????

An Excerpt from the Messenger of Magnolia Street

I enjoy food so this passage struck a cord with me. To set the scene Nehemiah has come home from D.C.after being gone from his little home town for 10 years and has gone to his aunt's cafe:

Hunger that winds and growls around the empty places of his soul. Before he knows it, he isn't eating. He is diving, rolling, wading through food. Rejoicing in food. Passionate all over again, in a brand-new way, about food. About each dish laid out before him. His knife is the conductor, his fork the first string, and he is performing for a private, delighted audience of one. He has wandered right into being love-drunk on gravy, and just another bite of that jelly on just one more biscuit. He is full of so much love, so much flour, and pinches of this and that, that his eyes water.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Quote from my Kindermusik Teacher's page

"Parenthood brings as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow, too. Nothing else will ever make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his individuality-especially while you struggle to keep your own."
~Elia Parsons

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Thoughts on being a married single parent

No, not a typo. I have been married for 4 years now with a 3 year old daughter and a 15 month old boy. Yet I find myself falling into the category of something like a single parent. Thankfully I do not have to work outside the home so I get to raise my children full time. And I can't imagine how real single parents actually make that work. It's just that when my "partner" is here, I am still doing it full time. My kids get bedtime hugs and some play time but that is about it. Occasionally a diaper gets changed and the toddler taken to the potty but the parenting is really limited. Limited by being a visionary and self-employed but a workaholic at that and then by baseball with his son who almost lives with us full time. That is another story. I am sad for my kids who don't get a lot of his attention, who don't get the balance of being raised by another person besides me, by rarely being refreshed so that I can do it all again tomorrow or an hour from now, for that matter. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kids and know how lucky I am that I get to spend so much time with them. Time does go by so quickly.... heavens my daughter is already three. (How did that happen?) But it is good for them to have one on one time with their dad. He is a good person and has a lot of love to give them. I understand that he is tired at the end of the day (uh, me too), running from this end of the earth to the other end of the world each and every day but that doesn't change the fact that his little kids need him and want his attention. He isn't usually working when he comes home when I feel that he should spend time with the little ones in the hour that they are still up before they go to bed. I have even postponed dinnerhour and thus bedtime so that they get to see something of him every evening. But he usually ends up in front of the tv or visiting with his older children. I am not trying to get my kids to "compete" with the older ones, it's just that they are going to be awake longer than the younger ones.
Sometimes, I need a break. Anyone with young children knows that not every day is easy. Whether it goes well or not you still have to try to paste a smile on your face, good thoughts in your head, and cheer in your voice as you keep slogging on. But in my household it doesn't matter. Even if I have had the worst day ever, I am still the one who gets them ready for bed, teeth brushed, jammies on, stories read and tucked in until they are asleep. My husband has never done it. Never spent more than 2 hours alone with them ever. Not even when I was sick with the flu and throwing up. (Thank GOD for girlfriends - and that is another story!) He hasn't cut a single fingernail. He doesn't know where I keep the underpants if the toddler has an accident. (Never mind they are in the top drawer of the dresser which she can't reach, I mean not everything fits in the bottom three drawers, if you know what I mean.) What is the deal? I wonder if it is because we are married that he feels they are taken care of and thus do not need any help from him. I hope that my children grow up healthy and happy and think good thoughts when they look back on their childhood.

Monday, March 3, 2008

To Do List R birthday

Thank you Notes:
  1. S
  2. Grammy
  3. Grandma & Grandpa in CO
  4. Auntie M & J
  5. Uncle M
  6. Big Sis M

Daughter's birthday

It was such a fun day. I got everything accomplished that I wanted to get done, in one way or another. My mom came up and we went to lunch; we had a nice meal together. We got home, frosted cupcakes and waited for big sister and her family to arrive. R opened presents like a mad woman. I think she has entered the age where the opening is the gift and the present is something to be enjoyed later. She got What Grandmas Can't Do from my mom. Grammy personalized it by adding little pictures of my kids and her dogs and all the little places we go together when we got to her house (Starbucks and the French Bakery) and it is so cute. Her big gift is the contribution to her 529 plan. She got an easel with all the supplies, a Gymboree outfit, a soft sushi set, Mommy's Little Tote, Summertime in the Big Woods (Laura Ingalls Wilder) and My First Book of Sushi from her dad and I. She got My Little Pony, Pooh coloring stuff, and some sweet safety-themed books from her aunt and cousin. Her uncle got her a play sushi set - so cute! G & G in CO got her a beautiful Gymboree rose jumper outfit, a piano trumpet, and Emma a mood puzzle. From her big sister and her family she got 2 cute (yellow & turquoise) shirts and an adorable set of brown petal pusher pants. Her in-house big sister got her a Beta fish. I remembered to actually use my camera during a family event! Yeah!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

To Do List

My daughter turns three tomorrow! I need to:
  1. Make her birthday cards (one from Daddy and I, other from little brother)
  2. Wrap presents
  3. Have her decide on type of cupcake decoration
  4. Clean house