Anything For The Perfect Shot

Since the other day I was talking about what an ADVENTURE it is shopping with kids, I thought I’d tell you about another wild time we had this week with the boys.  Now, I warn you, this kind of thing isn’t for the faint of heart.  It’s an experience that could make Bear Grylls of Man Vs. Wild go weak in the knees.

I’m talking about an Outdoor Photo Shoot With Three Kids.  So brace yourself for an edge of your seat tale of danger, close calls, and adorable coordinated outfits.

The day started off with a certain middle child who woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  “GET PICTURES TAKEN??!?!?  I’M NOT GOING!!!” he hollers from under a blanket on his favorite chair, quite possibly intending to stay there all day.

Not to worry, I fully expected this and have counter intelligence tactics prepared.  (AKA: Bribery.)  “But look!  Surprise!  I have a new Lego Batman movie for you guys to watch when we get back!  IF you cooperate!!!”

It is enough to propel him out of his comfy chair.

Things run smoothly until it is time to get dressed.  Last year I bought the boys coordinating outfits on sale from Janie and Jack, specifically with pictures in mind.  Don’t you just love Janie and Jack?  I do.  What do my boys love?  Jogging shorts and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tees.  So they were not too happy when it was time to put on their linen button up shirts with roll-cuff sleeves.  “WHAT ON EARTH?!?” (referring to the rolled sleeves.)  “AGGGHHH!  I CAN’T DEAL WITH THESE SLEEVES!!!  THEY’RE SO UNCOMFORTABLE!!!”  This is BOTH of the older boys freaking out.  Don’t even get them started on the sandals.

Bribery time.  “It’s only for a little while!  I’ll get you a treat afterwards!  What do you want?  Chick Fil A?  Cold Stone?  Lego Mini Figures?”  I’m sorry, what’s that?  I sound desperate?  Okay, so maybe just a little.

The thing about photo sessions is that they are usually a big investment for parents.  Photographers are expensive (though totally worth it), but even if you get a  special price, by the time you factor in the clothes there is a lot riding on a good outcome, you know?  I have one piece of advice for having a happy and relaxed photo shoot with kids:  LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.  And then lower them even a little more.  And if that’s not enough to quell your anxiety, have a stiff drink. (Kidding!  Well, at least only if you don’t have to drive to the photo shoot.)  I know all of my kids are not going to cooperate.  I know we are more likely to have a meteor land in our front yard than to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.  I am totally okay with that.  I like shots that capture the kids’ personalities (even if certain personalities are a bit… quirky?)   Besides, it always seems like the photographer manages to get plenty of amazing photos despite the chaos.

So, yes, I was totally relaxed when we got to the park to meet the photographer.  I in no way expected to get a smile out of Finn, who was still On The Wrong Side Of The Bed.  I’ve seen what happens when photographers push the issue with Finn.  It’s not good.  We can have him looking serious, even sullen, but I don’t want to put an “If Looks Could Kill” photo on the mantel.  Beau, on the other hand, is the glue that holds everything together.  That boy loves the camera.  So not only did he gladly cooperate, he tried to get Finn to smile too.  And it almost worked.  I think there will be a cute shot of Beau whispering something to Finn and him cracking a smile.

So, we spent some time with the boys running around a grassy knoll until the photographer suggested heading towards The Pond.  There was a bit of a hill leading down to the water and she had a little square stool for the boys to sit on.  Beau sat on one side and Finn shoved his way onto the other.  Dash was supposed to stand in front of them.  Dash screamed and didn’t want to do that.  Finn decided Beau was hogging the stool and pushed him off into the grass.  Enough of the stool.  But wait, Dash wanted to climb on the stool and stand up.  This doesn’t seem very safe, as the stool isn’t even on a flat surface, but we let him do it because by then we had lost our sanity in the quest for a good picture.  So we’re all diving to catch him and strangely, we just keep letting him do the same thing over again, like maybe they’ll be a good shot before he starts to fall again?

After we’ve had enough of Dash’s stunts, the photographer suggests going down to the water so the boys can throw rocks in.  Except there are no rocks.  My mom came with us to give me a hand, and she is really determined to cheer Finn up.  So, bless her heart, she sees some rocks in the water and starts wading in to get them.  Dash thinks this water thing looks like a good idea, and he will not let the big boys hold his hand (would have been cute, right?)  So I keep diving into the shots just in time to keep him from ending up face first in the pond.  Every way Dash moves, the big boys are moving the other way, so they are never all in the view of the camera at the same time anyways.  I suggest they sit on the park bench.  Dash falls off the park bench.   My mom slips in the mud and falls in the water.  Amazingly, Finn smiles straight at the camera.  The perfect shot.

We walk back to the van and notice there is a gravel path filled with rocks, just waiting to be thrown in the water.   Mmhmm.

On the way home, my mom asks what Beau whispered to Finn to make him grin earlier in the session.  “He said someone in his class had POOP on their face!!!”  BAAHAAHAA!  They roar with laughter.  Really?  All this time we have been wasting our breath trying to get the kids to smile with phrases like “Ice cream!” and “Puppies!”???  Boys!

Alas, we spend the rest of the day trying various stain removal techniques to get red mud out of clothes.  And watching Lego Batman.  And today I will clean out my van because it smells like Chick Fil A and Pond Scum.  Memories are made of this. 🙂

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Shopping With Kids: A Survival Guide

This past Friday I took a mini vacation.  I got in my Honda Odyssey all by myself and drove to Starbucks.  After my Frappucino port adventure, I sailed on to Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.  And then I went home and made dinner.

As lovely as it was, I’d just assume take the kids, or at least one.  Why?  Because when I’m ALONE I can’t shake the feeling that I have actually forgotten someone.  I think “What if I misunderstood and I was supposed to take them with me?”  Or worse, “What if I DID take them with me, but forgot about them in the backseat???”  I have to check three times to make sure the baby isn’t actually in there, left behind in the sweltering heat.

Once I am in the store, I can’t quite remember how grownups shop by themselves.   For example, imagine being halfway through shopping when you realize you are pushing a kiddie car cart without any kids.  (Yes, I did that.)

Besides, after 8 1/2 years of motherhood, I think I really have shopping WITH kids down to a science.  In fact, I’d love to share some of my tips for a smooth shopping trip with The Smalls in tow.

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#1-  Have your coffee at home.  Who doesn’t love to stroll through Target with a nice hot cup of Starbucks in hand?  Forget it.  That type of thing is for childless people.  Obviously this is harder when you went to Target strictly because you ran out of coffee.  But, if you are desperate enough to stop at the in-store Starbucks, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT let your kids talk you into buying them cake pops.  Kids who are experiencing post-cake-pop-sugar-rush running through Target?  While the baby screams for your iced coffee and you start wondering if you should just give him a sip so he’ll be quiet?  (BTW: I am in no way admitting that I have done that.  And I’ve never seen those cake-pop fueled boys playing with the colorful toilet plungers before in my life.)

#2-  Be prepared!  Even if you don’t buy cake pops, in all likelihood, someone is going to give your kids a snack at the store.  It could be the free cookies at the bakery, or just a sample from the deli.  If you don’t like walking around with a handful of half chewed pastrami in your hand, looking for a trash can, then you really should have SOMETHING with you for clean up.  Wipes or tissues would work, I definitely always think about bringing those.  If not, a crumpled receipt is adequate for a small job.  What about a case of sudden food regurgitation?   Why, just have them spit it in your reusable shopping bags.  Improvise, people, improvise.

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#3-  Dress for success!  If you read my post on looking presentable, you know this has nothing to do with being stylish.  The priority when choosing your attire is twofold: Movement and Coverage.  Oh yes, those wedge sandals ARE adorable!  And WHAT exactly are you going to do when your 3 year old simultaneously goes deaf AND BOLTS towards the toy isle?  Are you not going to wish you had shoes more suitable for a 50 yard dash?

And what about those pants that are just a LITTLE too tight paired with the T-shirt that is just long enough to hide everything *if you don’t bend*?  What happens when the baby dumps a baggie of crackers on the floor and you realize the only way you can pick them up is to expose an embarrassing amount of muffin top to everyone else in aisle five???   As you briskly move along so focused on your list that you couldn’t possibly have seen the mess, you JUST MIGHT wish you wore something that didn’t leave you in danger of having a People Of WalMart moment.  (This is a purely hypothetical scenario of course.  I can’t explain why it came to me in such detail.)

#4-  Enjoy their company!  Oh sure, shopping with kids can be a drag sometimes.  But isn’t it nice to just engage with them and have some real conversations?  Like this one:

“Mom, in the word unicycle, does uni mean one?”

“Yes, it does.”

“So, unibrow means one eyebrow?”

“Yes, it means one eyebrow.  And one eyebrow means you need to do some eyebrow plucking!”

“Nah, I wouldn’t care if I had one eyebrow.”

See, the insight you can gain into their little minds?  It doesn’t get better than that!  (Which is something to remind yourself of when someone needs and emergency bathroom break and you’ve got a cart full of frozens.)  😉  🙂

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And yes, this guide was primarily about grocery shopping trips.  What about clothing?  I am strictly an online shopper.  Shoes?  Well, it would be nice to try them on, but I can’t go back to Famous Footwear any time soon.  Really, what were they thinking with those big red benches that look like trampolines?  WHY make the store look like a play area unless you want it to become a play area?  Foolish on their part, really.  Hmm, maybe I will do a future post on how to save your sanity for real by never having to leave the house.

Now it’s your turn!  What tips do you have for shopping with kids?  Or what crazy adventures have you had in the grocery store aisles?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Ruined Breakfast But Still Made Awesome Pancakes

I have created a monster.  (Or two.)

Where did I go wrong?  Let’s see… Good Intentions + Bad Habits + Mommy Guilt=  AGGGGHHHHH!

But let me explain further, because that isn’t enough for an adequate post…

When Beau was little he had sensory issues.  Crowds made him hysterical.  If there was a loud noise or even loud music he would wince and put his hands over his ears.  Food was an issue too.  If I presented him with something new, he would totally freak out.  He liked having waffles for breakfast.  If I ran out of waffles it was MELTDOWN time.

Beau’s occupational therapist encouraged me to be understanding.  “He just can’t handle the change in his routine right now.  He’s struggling with so many things that even just changing his breakfast is enough to push him over the edge.”

So I made sure we had waffles.  EVERY.  SINGLE. DAY.  Finn got used to having them too.

Therapy helped a lot and Beau got better.  But the waffle habit STUCK.  Until this year.  FINALLY!  After nearly SIX YEARS of having waffles nearly everyday, Beau is sick of them.  “They’re disgusting!”  I don’t know what happened, maybe the stomach bug?  But thank goodness it did!  No more twice a week waffle making!!!   Sweet freedom!!!  EXCEPT…

Beau now only wants pancakes.  And Finn hates pancakes, he still wants the waffles.  AGGGHHHH!!!!  (What did I tell you?)

So, yes, I’ve spoiled my children.  And they were not happy when their short order cook decided to cut back her hours.  Boohoo, life is hard.  You only get homemade pancakes or waffles once every other week.  Besides that you’re going to have to deal with your choice of cereal, peanut butter on toast, or yogurt, possibly with a side of fresh fruit.  Harsh, right?  Welcome to reality, people.

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But the good news, Sunday was Beau’s choice and I made some DELICIOUS banana pancakes.  I thought I would share the recipe with you all, but since this is only the second recipe I have put on the blog, and the other one ALSO involved bananas, this is a pretty risky move.  I really would hate to be pigeon holed as just another “What to do with rotten bananas” site, know what I mean?

Really, though, the pancakes are so tasty that I am willing to take the gamble.  My hope is that somewhere out there, a little boy like Finn, (but slightly less stubborn because my Finn won’t even TRY pancakes) will be won over to the pancake side.   Then his mother can retire her waffle maker for good.  🙂

BANANA PANCAKES

  1. 2 medium sized Almost Rotten bananas
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 2 1/2 cups almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you have)
  4. 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  5. 2 cups flour (I use barley flour)
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. pinch of salt
  8. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  10. 1/4 cup plain yogurt

Put peeled Almost Rotten bananas in a mixing bowl and beat until they’re nice and creamy, preferably with a hand mixer.  Add eggs, milk, and oil and blend thoroughly.  Next gently stir in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and flax seed until just combined.  Add yogurt and just stir enough to get it mixed in.  You never want to over mix your pancake batter.

Cook pancakes on a hot and lightly greased griddle.  I use about a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop the batter.  I say “about” because really, I use whatever sized cup is clean.  When they’re covered in little bubbles, it’s time to flip them.  Cook about another minute on the other side.  Yummy with pure maple syrup and possibly some peanut butter too.

Or if you’re like Dash, you may just want to shove half of it in your mouth plain and drop the other half into your sand and water table.  Yum.

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Are you wondering why we have so many Almost Rotten Bananas around here?  Do you want to laugh so hard you spit your drink?  Then you must read this post by Beth Woolsey, the talented and funny mommy/writer over at Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids.  I thought it summed up the banana issue pretty well, and I laughed so hard I cried.  When you’re done, come back and tell me if you have banana issues.  Or if your kids think you are their personal chef.  I look forward to hearing from you.  But now, I’d better go to the store.  It’s not going to be pretty if I run out of maple syrup.

The Exuberant Mr. Tom

When I was a kid, I had a friend who I would go and spend a week with most every summer.  This friend had a baby brother she adored. Let’s call him Tom.  Tom was the same age as my own baby sister, probably about 2 at the time.  My little sister was sugar and spice, a precious doll baby who was always smiling and well behaved.  So, when I got to my friend’s house this particular summer, I was HORRIFIED to find that little cherub faced Tom was actually the Muppet Animal in a toddler’s body.

In my twelve years of life I had never seen anything like it.  This wild, untamed little person was wreaking havoc on their entire household!  What was wrong with this child?!?  What was wrong with the whole family?!?  I was aghast as over the week I watched one chaotic situation after another unfold involving Tom.  Tom was screaming.  Tom was throwing things.  Tom somehow locked himself in his room and cannot get out.  Tom was screaming more.  Everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off  trying to appease this pint sized dictator named Tom.

At the end of the visit I eagerly went back to my own home, where three little girls sat around quietly playing with dolls and reading classic literature.  I was SO very glad I would never have to deal with the likes of TOM again.

At least not for another 23 years.

My Tom, aka Dash, was born like a tiny 8lb 4oz freight train.  The doctor was running down the halls of the hospital just to get there in time to catch him.  He started screaming immediately, didn’t stop for about 3 months, and now he just REALLY LIKES to scream.  The littlest thing will set him off.  Zero to meltdown in one second flat.

But really, he doesn’t need something to upset him, he’ll scream just for fun.  SCREAM. Laugh. SCREAM. Laugh.  SCREAM some more.  He is delighted by his own deafening loudness.

Take this morning for instance.  Up until 10pm the night before (as usual), Dash slept in until 7:30.  I carried him down the stairs, but when I went to set him down, he pulled up his landing gear and refused to stand.  I set him down anyways, gently, because frankly, I wanted both hands to get the coffee pot going.  Cue SCREAMING.

Okay, maybe the little dear is hungry.  I had promised Finn I’d make waffles, but I gave everyone yogurt smoothies to tide them over.  Dash was happy with for a minute, until he decided it was more fun to turn the sippy cup upside down and watch it drip.  I took it away because yogurt smoothie is too expensive to pour all over the floor.  More SCREAMING.

One thing that Dash really likes playing with is water.  It seemed like a good substitute for the dripping smoothie, so I filled a little plastic tea pot and gave him a bucket to pour it into.  He took the lid of the tea pot and dumped it on the floor.  “WAWA!  WAWA!” he hollered in a raspy voice, demanding a refill.  Soon, all the kitchen towels are on the floor, soaked to capacity.  Finn comes in the kitchen to check on his waffles.  “Be careful, the floor is…” BOOM.  “wet.”

Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, just wet and ticked off.  Okay, that’s enough of that.  “WAWA! WAWA!  WAWAWAWA!!!!”

Soon enough (as in before my brain completely liquefied), the waffles were ready.  Everyone was at the table eating.  Dash took a couple of bites and then started chucking his food at Beau.  “AGGGGHHH!  I can’t eat!  That’s disgusting!!!” wailed Beau, pointing at a piece of waffle.  Beau has a weak stomach, which is an inconvenient trait to have around here.

The table was quickly vacated and I washed Dash up.  Within moments he was back at the table, climbing on top of it, eating the big boys’ breakfasts off their abandoned plates.  Perhaps this was his plan all along?

After breakfast is REALLY over, I am trying to clean the kitchen.  Dash wants to be IN the dishwasher.  Like standing on the door.  I remove him for his own safety.  SCREAMING.

I wonder if recordings of babies screaming have ever been used in psychological warfare?  I mean, I hope not, but it would probably be very effective.  After a couple of hours of listening to Dash’s high decibel complaints, my eyeballs feel like they are going to fall out of my head and I just want to melt into a puddle on the floor (except that we have enough of those already.)  The point is, I will give him most anything to get him to settle down.

Oh, you want to smear blueberry juice all over yourself?  Okay.  Hmm, we do have to wash you off before you go on the carpet.  SCREAM!

Dump the crayons out all over the floor?  Why not?  I hate to risk upsetting you, but may I suggest some paper to go with those crayons?  No?  SCREAM!

Oh, you found my camera?  And you have that in one hand and a piece of waffle in the other?   Sorry to bother you, but could we please not rub the waffle on the camera lens?  SCREAM!

I was really starting to think that this was A LOT of meltdowns, even for Dash, and he might not be feeling very well.  Then the big boys decided to start moving furniture around in the living room and putting cushions on the floor.  Dash was immediately distracted from his tantrum and delightedly joined them in dismantling our primary living area.

All three of them played nicely for quite some time, at least until Finn closed the door on the playpen with Dash inside and we all had a moment of panic that he was going to freak out.  Fortunately, Dash knows how to dismantle the playpen.  He learned that around the same time that he figured out how to open cabinet locks and scale furniture to reach the highest vantage point.

Yup.  He’s a real handful.

So, what ever happened to Tom?  I don’t know, I lost touch with my friend when her family moved out of state.  But I have a feeling the now grown up Tom is using his boundless energy and exuberant personality to do something fantastic.

And I’m sure Dash will do the same.  As soon as he gets over the food throwing stage.

 

The exuberant Mr. Dash.

The exuberant Mr. Dash.

The Path Less Traveled

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday, my six year old had his Kindergarten graduation ceremony.  He was given a beautiful folder with a diploma, photograph of him in cap and gown, and the above quote printed next to the photo.  Love it.

The elementary school at the end of our street is great.  Dedicated teachers and staff.  Nice families with involved parents who are committed to making sure their kids have the best education.  This is the school I have taken one or both of my boys to for the past three years.

But come fall, we aren’t going back.  We are taking a new path.   (Okay, so that is probably NOT what the school had in mind with the quote… oops.)

This year, we have decided to homeschool.  What’s that?  Oh, it’s some of you screaming “GET BACK ON THE PATH!!!  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TAKING THOSE CHILDREN OFF THE PATH???”

Yup, I hear you.

Look, this is not something I ever thought I would do.  In fact, I remember saying things like “We have a wonderful public school, why would I not want to take advantage of it?”  Why not, indeed.  Public school is a wonderful thing.  Isn’t it a gift for all children to have the opportunity to learn?  Many kids thrive in public school and plenty of kids are downright saved by public school.  But what about those who don’t thrive?

It’s like this.  Imagine that you have a fabulous hat.  Why would you have a fabulous hat?  I don’t know, maybe you’re going to the Kentucky Derby.  Maybe you’re British royalty.   Just bear with me and pretend you’ve got the hat, people.

So, this hat.  You want to take good care of it and protect it by putting it in a box.  But the problem is this box you have handy is made for a different hat.  Your hat doesn’t fit in the box.  That’s okay, just smash the hat down and make it fit.  Cram it, squish it, crush it!  Just make the hat fit in the box!!!

Guess what?  People are a bit like hats.  When you try to make them fit in the wrong box, they get crushed.

I can see it happening to my kids.  They don’t fit and their spirits are being crushed.  So to me there is no choice.  We cannot stay on the well traveled path.  I have a clear view of where that path is leading, and it’s not somewhere I want to go with my kids.  So we will choose another path.  We aren’t the only ones going this way.  There have been others before us who have pushed the big obstacles out of the way so that we can have an easier time of it.  And encouragingly, many of them have reported back that we going to like what we see.

Still, I’m definitely a little nervous about the journey we are embarking on. I don’t take the responsibility lightly and I know it’s not going to be easy.  But I am excited too.  I’m excited to see my kids start to love learning again.  (Yes, in kindergarten and second grade they have already decided that learning is a drag.)  I’m excited to give them the freedom to explore the things that are interesting to them, and not just with what little enthusiasm is left after 6 hours of school and an hour of homework.  We already have a request to see my van’s engine.  This is going to be interesting.

So, where will this adventure take us?  I’m looking forward to finding out.  And don’t worry, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Formerly reluctant learner devours guide to mushrooms... and learns not to devour mushrooms. ;)

Formerly reluctant learner devours a guide to mushrooms… and learns not to go around devouring mushrooms. 🙂

 

Naptime Half-Baked

What’s that?  You’re planning to do something while your child naps???  SHUSH!!!!!  Don’t say it out loud!  In fact, don’t even think it.  Don’t you even dare to put your plans out there in the universe.  Why not, you ask?  WHY NOT???  Because those precious little babes will somehow find out that you NEED to do something while they are resting and will drop kick your plans from here to Thursday.

Oh sure, I hear you, “That’s ridiculous!  Babies don’t know your plans!  They sleep when they’re tired!”  Look.  I know it’s crazy.  And I don’t know how they know.  I just know that they know, okay?

Maybe they can sense the anxiety of a parent in need of a break.  Kind of like a predator in the wild smells fear.  I’m sure not ALL babies come endowed with such talents.  But in my experience a well planned day that includes a list of things that MUST GET DONE during baby’s sleep time, means there will be NO BABY SLEEP TIME.  At least not until early evening, then they will fall asleep for 25 minutes, just enough to ensure they are climbing the walls until midnight.

I see you’re still rolling your eyes.  Fine.  I will give you an example to prove my point.

On Friday, I had several things I needed to accomplish.  I needed to pay bills and catch up on paperwork (desperately).  And I had also committed myself to making fifty brownies to help feed a group of volunteers.  The brownies had to be delivered at 5:15 sharp.  Of course, when I volunteered I envisioned myself delighting the crowd with ooey-gooey scratch baked deliciousness.  When it came down  to the wire, I ended up with five boxes of store bought mix sitting on my counter, waiting to be combined with eggs and oil.  Well, sometimes you just can’t do everything.  Anyhow, all I had to do was make the mix into brownies.  An easy peasy chore for nap time and I would pay bills while they baked.

Sounds like a plan, right?

So, nap time came and went with one problem, Dash would not fall asleep.  Still, I was hopeful.  He surely had to fall asleep soon!  Okay, so it ends up being past lunchtime and I still have not so much as had a shower.  FINALLY!  He falls asleep in my arms.  I lay the little angel down and run to get myself cleaned up.  Surely he must be extremely tired and will sleep a good long while.

No sooner do I turn the water on, I hear crying.  Make that screaming.  “It’s not possible”, I think.  Must be the sound of the water… echoing, or the pipes.  Screaming pipes.  Hmmm…  I turn off the water.  Nope, it’s really Dash.  Go in his room and he’s sitting there looking pitiful with tears streaming and wild hair as though he’s been sleeping for hours. Poor baby, maybe a bad dream. (Although is it even possible to be that far into a sleep cycle in less than 10 minutes?)  I try laying with him thinking SURELY he will fall back asleep.

No. Such. Luck.

Now the problem with a baby who hasn’t gotten a good nap under his belt is that he is CRANKY.  There is no pleasing a tired child.  You cuddle him, he arches and squirms.  You set him down, he goes boneless and shrieks.  You offer him food, he throws it.  You offer him a drink, he dumps it.  You give him toys, he hits you in the head with them.

But, I have run out of time.  I have slightly over ONE HOUR before I have to leave to pick up Finn from school.  If I don’t have brownies in the oven in 20 minutes they will not be done before I need to jet.

Here is where my own stupidity comes in.  Instead of going the easy (normal) route and putting the brownies in pans, I decided to make them into single servings by baking them in muffin tins with silicone liners.  And since I only have enough equipment to do 24 servings at a time, I basically made what could have been an easy couple of trays of brownies into a huge hours long ordeal.  Why???  I have no idea!!!  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

So, here I am having set Dash down in the kitchen and there is NOT A SECOND TO LOSE!!!  He is whiny at first but soon enough he is amusing himself and I am off and running, scooping the batter into the liners.  I look out of the corner of my eye and Dash is in the pantry.  Oh, great, he is opening containers and has found bags of dried heirloom beans.  (Yes, there is such a thing.)

Please, Dash, please do not dump out those beans!!!  He is shaking them and trying to figure out the zip lock.  I would love to stop and take the beans from him, but that would cost precious seconds.  Oh, thank goodness he put them down.  But, wait, he now has a box of Seven Grain Pilaf.  He opens it, dumps the grain pouch onto the floor where we take off our shoes and chucks the box at me with reckless abandon.  Next, he moves on to the garbage can.  “DASH!  STAY OUT OF THE GARBAGE!!!”

His attention is diverted.  Uh oh, he is coming towards me.  OUCH!  Now he steps on my foot to make himself a little taller.  He is putting all his weight squarely on one of my metatarsals and it is far more pain than you would think such a small being could inflict.  His little fingers are patting around on the edge of the counter, trying to find something to grab.  But both of my hands are involved in the brownie making industry and cannot be distracted from their task!  I try to wriggle my foot out from under him without making him fall, but I can’t so I just have to endure the pain until he gives up and moves along.  Ah, relief.

I narrowly meet my deadline for getting brownies in the oven.  And after slaving over box mix treats until 4:50 pm, we are ready just in the nick of time to deliver them.  They look like sunken cupcakes with no frosting.  Brilliant.

And guess who falls asleep in the car on the way to drop off the brownies and gets his second wind to last him until 11pm?

So, I think you see what I mean about planning to do things while the baby is napping.  Or you just see that I have no time management skills and that little boys are not the only ones creating chaos around here.  Whichever.

😉

This photo depicts a reenactment of actual events. No heirloom beans were harmed in the process.

This photo depicts a reenactment of actual events. No heirloom beans were harmed in the process.

 

Chaos in Letterland

Today my kindergartner’s class is having a Letterland Parade.  If you’re not familiar with it, Letterland is a phonics program that uses cute little pictogram characters to teach reading, writing, and spelling.  Anyhow, the assignment is to come to school dressed like your favorite character.  Since I am the Queen of Procrastination, upon receiving the email informing me of the event, I didn’t even take note of the date and decided to look at it LATER.  When later finally came, I realized I only had 3 days to come up with a costume. OOPS.

Now, some of the character choices make it very easy to pull together a simple costume.  Seriously, if you have a daughter you can get away with doing NO WORK by choosing Vicky Violet, it’s just a girl wearing purple!  So, this was my big chance to pick something easy.  But I blew it.  “So, Finn, who’s your favorite Letterland character?”

“NONE.  They’re all dumb.”

Well, I should have seen that coming.  Beau (who didn’t do this in Kindergarten) looked over my shoulder at the email.  “I would pick Peter Puppy.”  Finn agreed, Peter Puppy would be acceptable.  So, that was it, the chance to dress him with little to no cost or effort, POOF!  Gone.

At first, I panicked a bit.  Then I remembered the internet and whined on Facebook about my plight.  My friend Jaclyn was kind enough to give me a link to a simple tutorial on Puppy Ear making.  But darn that Pinterest, I just had to look.  And of course, I find dreamy pins of costume tutorials far over the head of someone who doesn’t even own a sewing machine.  I did get the idea to put pipe cleaners in between 2 pieces of felt to make the ears more lively.  So, long story short, after over $20 blown at Michael’s and most of my Saturday spent stitching felt ears together with a needle and thread, Finn has a Peter Puppy outfit.

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I think it looks pretty cute and Finn is excited about it.  (The pictures are terrible, that’s what happens when you are rushing to get to school and your good camera won’t work!)  It’s too bad that the red letter P’s look coral pink, which hopefully isn’t the kiss of death at school.  (He hasn’t noticed the P is for Pink Problem, so please do not tell him!)  Even my husband seemed impressed.  Either that, or he was just looking at me like I was crazy.  I’m not sure which.

However hubby was definitely not impressed when he saw that Dash had drawn on the door with pencil while I was preoccupied. (In my defense, I WAS watching him out of the corner of my eye and he was only 2 feet away from me, but with Dash you have to be FAST.)  And no one was very impressed that there were no clean knives in the kitchen because I spent my whole day playing costume designer and had neglected all my other household duties.

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Looks like I’m going to be playing catch up for a couple days.  And scrubbing pencil off the wall!  Well, you can’t do it all.  You just have to pick the most important things.  And this weekend, the most important thing was a t shirt and hat Finn will wear for one day.  Hmm… 😉

Now that's a happy puppy!

Update:  He had a good day being Peter Puppy!

The Things A Mommy Puts Up With

You’re not eating right now, are you?  Good, because this is a little gross.  Although if you’re a Mommy like me, you probably have acquired a very strong stomach from years of being on Bio Hazard Cleanup Duty.  That warning was pretty much just for Daddies.

So, anyways, there was a BOOGER on my IPad this morning!  EWWWW!!!  Finn had just been playing some Bad Piggies before school.  He emphatically denied knowing where the suspicious substance had come from, but knowing him it wasn’t a real stretch that it would be entirely too much trouble for him to interrupt his game to go get a TISSUE!

If my husband got past the initial gross out warning to read this, he is saying to himself “And THAT is EXACTLY why the kids are not allowed to touch MY IPad!!!”   It’s true, Daddy’s IPad is off limits while Mommy’s IPad is 90% used for Angry Birds and educational apps. (Okay, that’s 85% Angry Birds and 5% educational apps.)  The point is, Mommy will put up with a lot.

Mommy will put up with little toddler fingers picking food off her plate, just to taste it, and then the half chewed morsels being spit back out on her lap.

Mommy will put up with little feet nestling next to her face while she sleeps, only to be kicked in the jaw when those little feet wake up in a sour mood.

Mommy will notice that her child is about to go into school covered in peanut butter, and put up with sacrificing her own jacket sleeve for an emergency clean up.

Mommy will put up with finding calcified string cheese under the seats of her mini van.  And of course, she put up with the smell that string cheese gave off while it was calcifying under the seats of her mini van.

Mommies put up with all these little indignities and many, many more.  And they do it all with smiles and love.  BUT… this Mommy had better NEVER, EVER find another booger on her IPad!!!

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Will Your Kids Be Seeing Ironman 3?

My 8 year old came home from school this week saying (in passing, hint, hint) that ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE except him is seeing Iron Man 3.  He knows Mommy and Daddy are pretty strict about kids watching only kid movies, but you could tell he was hoping…  He REALLY likes Iron Man, probably because the first installment is the only superhero movie he’s seen.  (It was on TV when Grandma and Grandpa were babysitting, otherwise he wouldn’t have seen that either.)  And I am probably one of the only people in North America who still lives under a rock and hasn’t seen any of them, so I wasn’t really sure what we were missing.  But I saw a content guide yesterday on whether Iron Man 3 was appropriate for kids and I was like “Whoa!”  You can read it here if you are wondering:

http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/05/is-iron-man-3-appropriate-for-kids.html

Now, I’m not here to judge, everyone has to decide what is appropriate for their own family!  Unless you are letting your 5 year old watch Saw.  Then, I’m totally judging you.  But I understand why parents want to take their kids to see movies like this.  It’s fun for families to go out together, and even more fun if it’s something that everyone can enjoy.  But to me, it’s not fun to squirm in my seat while women are prancing around in their undies onscreen, or worry about my kid having nightmares after seeing a child with a gun to their head in a movie.

I miss the way movies were when we were kids.  Sure, the graphics weren’t great and the special effects would probably look cheesy to us now.  But the whole family could watch Superman and E.T. without a big can of grown up world worms being opened as we choked on our popcorn.  I’m sure there was adult content in those movies too, probably at a young age it went over my head.  But things were all a little more innocent back then.  And from what I have seen, a lot of what is rated PG-13 now would have been rated R 20 years ago.

001-001So, for now I’m going to have to stick to my guns and be the strict and uncool mommy.  And Beau will just have to be content with his super cool Ironman shirt.  Maybe we’ll find an old school Superman flick to watch instead.

What about you?  What do you think about letting young kids watch PG-13 movies?

 

 

Parenting, Perfectionism, and Paint

We really need to do some painting around here.  I know probably most of you had your baby’s nursery all painted and decorated months before they were born, but around here we like to wait a little longer.  Or a lot longer.  My idea was to wait until the baby could choose how he wanted his room decorated.  Upon writing that, I realize how ridiculous it sounds.

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Anyways, Dash is almost 1 1/2 and the guest bed is still in his room, along with his crib.  It’s another story, but he has pretty much taken over the guest bed as his own and recruited me as his roommate.  Who wants to sleep in a baby jail when you could snuggle up with Mommy on a nice big bed, you know?  I know you all are tsk tsking about how I have ruined a perfectly good child.  But Dr. Sears says it’s okay.  And he IS America’s pediatrician, you know.  So it’s all good, EXCEPT when we have guests.  Then it’s a bit of a mess.  So, hubby has decided that it is time to kick Dash out of the guest bed by setting up the new guest room.  Getting him to spend the whole night in a crib will be challenging to say the least, so let’s continue not to deal with that and start with the easy part:  PAINT.

When I pick out paint, I usually like to go and get about 70 paint chips, even if they are all different shades of the same color.  I’d hate to miss the perfect hue. Then I take the chips home and hold them next to every item that is in the room.  Then I make careful observation on how the color changes in different lighting, usually over a period of at least a week.  Once I have picked the color, I put all the chips away for 6 months until I have forgotten which color I wanted.

But yesterday, my hand was forced by the Sherwin Williams 30% off sale.  Last day for a discount!  So, I went in the store with nothing to guide me but a pillow sham.  I bought a gallon of the first shade of blue that caught my eye. In and out of there in 10 minutes tops.  It was so simple, so freeing!!! I don’t even have the paint chip so I can’t obsess over whether I like the color in every lighting or know if I made a terrible mistake.  Oh my goodness, WHY didn’t I get the paint chip?!?  I’m starting to hyperventilate…  Okay, deep breaths, it’s all going to be okay….

Well, this is either a major win against Perfectionism or a terrible loss for Decorating. 😉

What about you all?  Are you on top of all your decorating projects or do you have stacks of wasted paint chips like me?