Who needs mind-altering substances when you have children?

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This is your Brain. This is your brain on six-year-olds.

Recently my kid got to have pop. For the first time. Like, ever. For those of you not stuck here in the midwest this could also be termed “soda” or “cola” or “a coke.” Whatever. We all know the proper term is “pop” and if you call it soda that’s just weird.

Anyhow, up until now, in his poor deprived six year old life the kid thinks that Gatorade is the BEST THING EVER and basically dessert.

Red plays with one of my old cell phones and tells me he’s doing his video games. I know. We don’t get out much. It’s almost kind of embarrassing, when he shows his friends his new fangled video game. They look at him with such pity and confusion.  But, you know? He has no clue. At this point he only thinks video games are things that Other People have at Their Houses. This is ok, but the other day he did tell me he was ready to move into his pastor’s basement and he would see me later.
They have a Wii. So, I get it.

Anyhow, the other day, my sweet son got to have a Pepsi.
We all know this is the gateway drink.
Before we know it, he’ll be cracking open the hard stuff. Mountain Dew.

The Night of the Pop, we had a baseball game which was about the fifty seventh of the season. We had baseball on every day of the week since like forever and maybe also some practices smushed in there too somewhere, I forget, because after a while I kind of gave up my will to live, and just packed fifty thousand snacks in the car along with two mitts and a baseball bat and just drove  around all summer.
But ANYHOW, the Pepsi thing happened after a late game, and also after this menu:

1.  Gatorade (almost crack)
2. 3 packages of those gummy fruit treats with REAL FRUIT in them (fruity crack)
3. Doritos (don’t judge. We all love them. Cheesy crack)
4. I think perhaps half of a cheese stick but I’m not sure. So, protein? Not crack?
5. Skittles (A mom gave him some. I dunno. I wasn’t able to intercept this shady deal that went down but evidently he seduced a mom at the ball park with his dashing good looks and she handed him a package. I do KNOW the mom so I am going to at least establish that my kid is not walking around taking candy from strangers. He did ask some strange man if he could try his dill pickle sunflower seeds, which he now LOVES, so baseball crack, I guess.)

And then, the can of Pepsi (the gateway crack)

And THEN, my kid lost his ever loving little tiny mind. All that sugar and caffeine headed straight for his oversized noggin, and his teeny tiny synapses started sparking out all over the place, and his brain tried, really, to connect the dots. I mean, it really tried. But instead? This is the conversation we had on the way home:

Red: DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW. INA ONE FORK OPEN SLEIGH! 
Mommy? MOM? mom? MOTHER? MOTHER? MOTHER? MOTHER?? MOMMMMMYYYYYYYYY?

Me. WHAT.

Red: What? What’d you want?

Me: Don’t worry dear. We’ll be home soon. Stay with me. Don’t go toward the light.

Red: I CAN SMELL COLORS!

Mommy? Do you know what I love? Do you? Do YOU? Do you KNOW??

Me: I want to start singing that Diana Ross song but it makes me weepy. You don’t really want weepy, do you?

Red: I WANT ALL THE THINGS NOW. AND WHEN I GET HOME? I’M GONNA PLAY WITH EM.

Also, Mom? I will now enter total monologue zone. Don’t speak, mommy. Just watch and learn.

Mommy, don’t think it would be really cool if we could hear out of our belly buttons?

Don’t answer that. It would be cool, though?
Also, I wanted to tell you how much I love my cat. I just really love him. We need to keep him forever. Even after he dies. You know? He can stay with us. I wish I had fur.

Kylo Ren, by the way? He could be my friend. But, he’s got to be a good guy first. We’ll see. Maybe. He killed his dad. That is NOT GOOD, I tell you.

I have the BIGGEST TAPE MEASURE EVER. IT CAN MEASURE ALL THE THINGS.

I AM SO HUNGRY. I SEE FRIES ON THE FLOOR I AM GONNA EAT THEM.
But now now, mommah, because I won’t unbuckle. I know that’s not safe.

Wait for me, fries.

Mommah, I WANNA GIVE YOU HUG! HUGGIEEEEEEE!

When we get home I’m going to draw a picture of Steve and you, mommy. You are both my favorite things.
And I think also pickles. For Halloween I’m gonna be a pickle. Because you can do that. On Halloween.

Not any other time though.

DID YOU SEE THAT? CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! CHRISTMAS LIIIIIIGHTS!
(It was a liquor store sign. And no, I did not park the car and go IN to the liquor store. But by God, it did seem like a good idea for two seconds. Two seconds was all I got until:)

Do you know why I can’t hear out of my bellybutton, mommah?
Because I just pulled a bunch of grey stuff outta it. Here. Let me give it to you.
And then we got home. And I tucked my little sugarpnants into bed and listened to him sing Christmas carols to himself until about eleven thirty. It’s also possible he tried to play video games with some tinker toys. He named the cat Kylo Ren and tried to make him play. Video games. With tinker toys.

The cat won, by the way.

The husband and I just laid in bed, next door, holding hands, silently laughing so hard that the bed was shaking. And then, the husband just told me he’s gonna try the tape measure bit on me later. He says it sounds like a great come-on line.

This tells you that Red is not the only delusional one in our family.
But that’s another blog, for another day. Aren’t you glad?

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I Went Away and Came Back Again.

Yep. I did. A few weeks ago I went away to Jacksonville, Florida.

And then? I came back. But… just for about twenty minutes or so, on the fabulous deck overlooking the pool with my coffee and bible? I had a teensy little bad thought (I know – one is not supposed to have bad thought when the bible is around, because bible = goodness, but, well, it’s me).

Here was the thought:

HOLY CRACKAMOLE I AM NEVER LEAVING THIS BALCONY.

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Ok, so let’s just kill the suspense right here. I did, in fact, leave the balcony.

I left it to put on some really strappy, high heeled shoes that are ridiculous, and then tromped down to my presentation here:

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I don’t really know what I’m doing in that photograph. But, as already mentioned, I don’t always sit well on video, so whatever.

Here’s another one. I like to call this:

Contemplative Momsie. Or Scared. Not Really Sure.

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This was my weekend at the Intervention Project for Nurses and it was amazing. Such an honor. Such an awesome event. Such a great balcony. The only unpleasant thing about the entire trip was those shoes.

Honestly, why do we do heels? Remind me again? I understand they make us look lean and lithe and thus, you know, ready to leap tall buildings and all that but really? I so would rather do so in flip flops.

Anyhow! I just wanted to tell you that I DID come back. And I am now firmly wedged in full-on summer with two boys that are playing baseball four nights out of the week. We have dinners that have sunflower seeds as the main dish. Sometimes, if they’re lucky, I throw a cheese stick at them as we head to the car. I add the goldfish that are colored with vegetable dyes because healthy.

Oh, and also this happened:

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Kansas Notable Books press release

Life is amazing and wonderful. Even when it’s not it is still pretty special. I am so grateful. I am SO grateful!!!!!!

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Post-game. Waiting for ice cream, because it helps battle the over 100 degree heat. I am even more grateful for Mr. Grimy, don’t you know.

Yes, you know. All moms know. We might have cool stuff handed to us, but really? If it came down to it, we’d take the sweaty kid with the dripping ice cream cone over all of it. Every day.

Every. Day.

 

 

 

There is no crying in T-ball.

 

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For the most part, I do happen to function normally.

But every once in a while, I take leave of my senses. It’s like a vacation.

So, recently, I was humming along, all normal and ignorance is bluss stuff, and then, I thought, “Hey! Why don’t my husband and I coach T-ball this summer!”

I know, right? NUTBALL. Just like that, BOOM. My senses just up and left the building.

It started out ok. We have a team of ten five-year-olds, and their cuteness kinda makes me stop every once in a while, put my hands on my knees, and take a breath. Also, I am completely out of shape, so there’s that.

It’s a good thing they’re cute. Because y’all, they are no Lorenzo Cain.

Ok, but the truth of it is, the kids have heart. They are all Bad News Bears and totally into the hustle and the love of the game. One kid who looks EXACTLY like Charlie Brown hit the ball, fielded it himself, and then proceeded to slide into home base (completely foregoing those pesky second and third bases because who needs ’em?) with straight-up flair.

“You, kid,” I said, as I stood over him and his cloud of dust, “You, kid, have got heart.”

We are not short on heart. We are, however, a bit short on stellar coaching skills.

When I first informed the husband about this, he, of course, was all, “Yes! Sure! Let’s coach T-ball! Great idea!” Have I mentioned, he’s a golden retriever husband? Everything in his life engenders tail wagging and a lot of happy panting.

That sounded rather saucy. Anyhow. It’s not that kinda blog.

So, I threw the ball at the husband, and he gleefully galloped out and retrieved it, all thrilled with life. We’re gonna coach T-ball! This will be a blast! Family time! Togetherness!

And then, he left me. He left the togetherness.

And our team. He left us.

The husband left us to do this nutball thing called Bike Across Kansas. It’s when a bunch of people get together and ride their bikes across Kansas. If you wanna read about adventures with this last year, click here.  I kinda think all this is crazy, but hey, he wasn’t the one to volunteer us to coach T-ball.

I did hope that maybe this year they would bike across the upper eastern corner of Kansas because, if you know your geography… making it across our state wasn’t gonna end anytime soon.

So he’s… in Kansas. On a bike. For a while.

And lo, I am now the coach of T-ball. All by myself.

This is the part of the blog where you need to cue the scary music in your head.

You know the movie, Jaws? You remember at the beginning where all those inebriated tan kids are sitting around the campfire, and it’s all so mellow and kinda… groovy? And then, WHAMMO, that poor blonde girl becomes a shish kebab for Jaws and the movie kinda takes a difficult turn?

Well, that’s how it was at our last T-ball practice. Except there was no skinny dipping or bad 70’s hair or, well, a gigantic man-eating shark.

But other than that, it was the SAME. I mean it!

So, anyhow. Practice.

Started out just fine. We did some stretching… did a few jumping jacks (which is hilarious, by the way. Five year olds often look like jack rabbits on crack when they do these), and then we ran bases. We even ran them in the correct order! It was awesome!

We were a well-oiled machine, people. Poetry in motion. It was all very The Natural home run scene, I tell you.

Until I decided to actually get balls into play.

You see, up until then we had been using imaginary balls. Imaginary bats. It was PERFECTION.

As we all know, real balls do cause trouble. And again, I know it’s not that kinda blog.

So – I put a ball on the T… and stepped back, and then watched as all of my five-year olds lost their little minds. Bases were stolen. No, I mean LITERALLY stolen. Balls were fought over. One kid had a solid hit to center field that no one really saw at all. No one. Not one of them. AS IT FLEW OVER THEIR HEADS THEY DID NOT SEE IT. Some of the kids totally shut down and just started picking flowers. There’s a lot of flowers in the outfield, so it was really quite absorbing.

I too considered picking flowers in the outfield.

In case you didn’t know, “Picking flowers in the outfield,” is grown-up code for “Taking leave of my senses.” Which, neatly and oh-so English teachery takes us back to the introduction of this post!

Wow! Full circle! Perhaps I haven’t lost my mind after all!

One can always hope.

 

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Our first game is tonight. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball has been very good to me.

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It seems lately baseball has been kinda a thing around here.

Wanna know why?

(drumroll…)

WE ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES, YA’LL.

By “we” I mean MY team – The Royals.

 

I am in no way a sports person. I claim this early in the post, unless you start thinking I am going to be able to provide batting averages or any other sort of technical talk about the team. I cannot, alas. But I can comment on a few other things, like how I think this video is the cutest thing I have ever seen. And how I really think the pitcher for that other team could benefit from a hair cut. That’s as good as it gets.

But still, I really do love baseball.

Here’s why.

TOP TEN REASONS WHY BASEBALL HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME:

1. As a kid, tired and dirty, coming home from our farm, we would listen to the game. Fred White was on the radio. I would slide around the back of the station wagon, sticking to the vinyls seats, no seat belt and look out the window and be lulled by the sounds of the game. We were all quiet. Tired. It is a sound from my childhood.

2. Attending a game means cotton candy. If we attend we must have cotton candy.  It’s the law.  And yes, I realize it is air with sugar attached but it doesn’t matter. I love it. I got to introduce my boys to it when they attended their first Royals game this summer. The look on their faces was priceless, like I had been holding out on them all this time…

3. My boys’ first game. It rained the entire time. We had to leave finally, but not after we had become so wet my fingers were pruney. We ran to the car with puddles the size of the Grand Canyon. Somehow we survived, but for a minute there it felt like we were in our own Die Hard At the Royals Game movie. Awwwwsome.

4. And as for that first game – I can’t explain it. Watching the hubs lead the boys to their seats and show them the score card, like his mom did for him all those years ago… the hubs was in soggy, rain drenched heaven.  Made my heart smile.

5. Oh, and this picture:

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6. Watching my boys play IN a game. The first time Blonde got a hit at practice, he ran out and fielded the ball for the coach. Then ran to first. Very thorough.

7. Sitting with the other parents, watching the awesomeness that is toddler baseball, and just feeling joy. Simple, in-place, seated JOY.

8.  Did I mention we were in the World Series? Every game, we sit and watch the television together, and my boys scream (often at totally wrong moments, but still, they’re trying) and we watch. Together.

9.  And we eat hotdogs. You had to know that two of these numbers had to be dedicated to food, right? Hebrew National, you had me at hello.

10.  There are no teams with black uniforms. This stems from a particularly traumatizing football game against the Raiders where blonde decided to start shouting, “Get da black guys!  I don’t like the black guys! GET THEMMMMM!!!” This was unfortunate and so impossibly bad that my way of fixing it was simply to walk out of the room. Parenting win!

 

And so, I love baseball.  And if blonde’s fervor for the sport is any indication, I will be attending quite a few more games in my future, so loving it is good.  I am hoping he will get past hitting AND fielding his own balls at some point.

I am pairing up with Netflix Streamteam today to share two of my favorite baseball documentaries of all time:

 

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And:

 

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Both are excellent viewing!  Ken Burn’s documentary has numerous celebrity interviews weighing  in on how much they too love the game, and lots of history and rich background.

The Battered film (saucy language in the title and all) is my favorite, though. These guys are the real “Bad News Bears,” and their story is simply amazing. And rather hilarious.

I love them both so much they are on “repeat” in our Netflix cue. Along with eighteen million Thomas the Train episodes. What can I say? In this family, we like trains or baseball.  One-track minds. (Get it? YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? PUNDERFUL!!)

 

As for tonight? I will be watching a little game called: GAME THREE. WOOP!

 

GO ROYALS!

 

MLB: ALCS-Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals

 

 

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Tuesday Takeout and Unmotivated Rhubarb

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Traveling with toddlers can be sort of like watching an episode of The Battle of the Network Stars.  It starts out all exciting and kinda neato; everyone enthused and in really cute little 70’s outfits (myself included).  There’s lots of music and even cheerleaders.  Traveling!  It’s an adventure!  Howard Cosell is narrating!

But by the end of the episode?  Somebody gets socked with a large red whackie thing, and we all end up in muddy water.

Which was pretty much how the Royals game ended up (four-hour rain delay + two toddlers + endless hotdogs + one overly enthusiastic husband + onslaughts of water that made my skin all pruney = GRUMPY, UNDER-ENTHUSED MOMSIE.)

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In today’s epic battle we will pit two tired parents against their nutball toddlers, in a car with only raisins for snacks and a Veggie Tales Singalong CD on repeat. Who will win, I wonder?

 

Here’s the thing:  I think traveling is overrated.  Why go anywhere when, really, we have all we need right here?  Who needs to see other things? We got things?  Lots of ’em.

And, as an added bonus, when we returned and unloaded our “car” (also known as the rolling container of sodden socks, Cheerios, two irritated adults who are married, yes, but not so very thrilled about it at this point, and soggy toddlers) this is what my living room looks like:

 

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Clearly this room has lost its will to live. It’s blurry because I’m crying.

 

So, we traveled. And then, when we got back I was so unmotivated to do anything I seriously contemplated a Barney marathon viewing session as a viable alternative to my Monday.  And you know how I feel about Barney.

I could only fight back this general weariness with the best alternative I knew:

COOKING SOMETHING YUMMY.

 

I had acquired a large bag of rhubarb from a friend and I had all these glorious plans:  Pie!  Maybe some jam!  Perhaps a cobbler!

Oh, who was I kidding. That’s baking. Baking +Momsie = despair and self-loathing.

Instead, I made this:

 

MOMSIE’S RHUBARB SYRUP

 

Chop up some rhubarb in one inch pieces or so (about 3-4 cups)

Put in large sauce pot with 1 cup water and 1 1/2  cups sugar

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Add a dash vanilla  or a coin of ginger or a bit of orange peel.  If this makes you tired, just stick with the sugar.

Simmer gently until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is tender (about 5 min).  I suggest you taste for sugar – add a bit if needed.

Let cool and then strain out the rhubarb.  (You can keep this too and use as a topping for toast if you are a crazy rhubarb lover like me.)

Voila!  A pretty pink syrup to add to:

  •    ginger ale 0r seltzers
  •    ice cream or yogurts
  •    pancakes
  •    cakes (poke holes in a vanilla sponge and add, then top with whip cream.  Yummo.)

 

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Unmotivated, yes. But with good results.

Huh.  This also sounds a lot like my parenting style.

 

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