A Tale of Two Children.

Y’all. I wonder if Charles Dickens had children. Like, listen:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”

Wow. That pretty much sums up parenting right there.

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You know that carnival ride where you sit in a big huge pendulum thingie and it swings you baaaack and forthhh and baaaack and forthhh until you puke all over your seatmate and start sobbing?

That’s children.

Also, there’s some glee in there. At least for some people, who actually like carnival rides, of whom I am so NOT. I think carnival rides are the tinker toys of Satan.

Anyhow. I digress. My lack of adventuresome spirit and anti -Let’s ride this crazy pendulum of death attitude is tough when it comes to parenting. Parenting needs a bit of the crazy. It needs the nutso person who will shell out twenty dollars for a chance to puke and then eat fried Snickers bars. Parenting is Carnival Heaven. I am more of a “let’s sit at home and watch something with subtitles” which makes my children cross.

But, once in a while, I ride the rides. I get on, pull down the roll bar that was constructed by a toothless man with a t-shirt that says, “Lovin You All Night is All Right.”  The rides, especially Pendulum of Nutball, occur at certain times of the day, like bedtime. Or when we go on vacation. Or…

Dinner.

Here we go:

Blonde: (warily) What’s for dinner?

Red: DINNER! I LOVE FOOD! I LOVE DINNER! I’M NOT WEARING PANTS!

(Swoosh)

Blonde: This food has stuff in it.

(Bigger swoosh)

Red: CAN I EAT EVERYTHING HERE? AND YOURS?

(Deep breath. Swooshiness)

Blonde: The stuff is unacceptable. I will now eat air for the rest of my life.

(More swooshing)

Red: I’m done with the food on my plate and I would now like to start on the food in the refrigerator. I want pickles and some yogurt. Together. Pronto. Starving here.

(Gulp)

Blonde: Air, and the occasional chicken nugget, are fine. Don’t worry about me. Yes you can see my ribs. And yes, I know you worry that I am wan. I don’t even know what “wan” means but you seem to use it a lot. And yes, I know you don’t think air has any vitamins in it but I am EIGHT AND THEREFORE I KNOW IT ALL. LIKE, ALL OF IT.

Red: All I know is that I need more syrup. For my pickles.

Blonde: If you start bargaining with me about food you have failed. I will now nibble on my broccoli so daintily I will look like a wan rabbit.

Red: Do I detect a slight nuttiness in this sauce?

Blonde: NUTS? I CAN’T EAT NUTS! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?

(Swoosh, swoosh, swooshity-swoosh)

Red: Mom? I have eaten everything available. Can I go next door and ask for their food? I’ll make sure to tell them that I’m starving and that my mommy doesn’t feed me. We cool?

Parenting. It’s not for the faint of heart, y’all. You stand in line, and buy the tickets and strap in, and the next thing you know, you’re screaming unintelligibly.

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Walk Away from the Quinoa

Guess what day it is????

It’s FRIIIIIIIIIDAY! And you know what that means, don’t you???

Linking up with my Five Minute Friday with the lovely Kate Motaung today. There’s no place I would rather be.

Today’s theme?

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There’s some options with this one.

I could go all grim and literary and “ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE” ish. It would be literary, I guess. But heck, I don’t really feel like going for Dante’s Inferno today. Life is hot enough.

Or, I could go all biblical and talk about living life with Jesus with abandon, and then providing seventeen thousand memes from Pinterest on what that means. Some of those memes will have a smiling woman with perfect hair smelling daisies in a field, because this is what you do when you start living your life fully. You smell daisies in a field. And you get good hair.  Or, there will be at least one with a kitten trying to do something heroic, like facing down a rottweiler, “with abandon.” The cuteness will touch our hearts and almost all of you would NOT envision the kitten becoming kibble in the next frame.

But I would.

So, we’re going to skip these ideas and go for the best option:

Abandon the quinoa.

Ok, bear with me here. Let me explain.

Last night’s dinner involved me opening a package of bean burritos. This caused me some guilt. I felt bad as I ripped the bag open and all those frozen bricks of poor nutrition spilled out on the cooking sheet. And, as I stared down at them, the dejected lumps of beans and carb overload, I thought,

“I must make this right.”

I know. In the spectrum of bad choices frozen burritos might be perceived wearing white after Labor Day bad. Which, to be honest, I am not even sure is a thing anymore. But, still. Dinner was highly uninspired. So, I thought…

QUINOA! QUINOA WILL FIX THIS! IT FIXES EVERYTHING!

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I was under the supposition that it’s super healthy. It’s the kale of grains. It will, with one healthy spoonful, make my meal so off the charts good for you that my family will start glowing with vim and vigor, and recruiters will show up at the door to enter them into Olympic events.*

Alas, it was not to be.

Quinoa, as my son put it, “Tastes like cat litter.”

I have to say I agree. Quinoa is little balls of despair. If virtue had a taste, it would not be quinoa.

If sand had a healthy big brother? Quinoa.

Sand and litter aside, I tried to make the quinoa better. I added so many ingredients to it that by the end of my manhandling of the quinoa it was whimpering, “Just leave me alone… ” and I was considering adding beef jerky to it. Or bacon. Because, as we all know:

BACON! BACON WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

Instead, I made everyone eat one bite and I acted like I did too. And then I threw the little granules of edible Quikrete into the trash. Wanna know why? Because in this case…

TRASH CAN! TRASH CAN WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

walk away from you, quinoa. You are not worth all my dreams of healthy meals and phytonutriants (whatever those are) and glowy children who are the next superstrain of humanity. I will no longer feel guilt that my dinners, sometimes, are out of a frozen bag. The next time I reach into the freezer for inspiration I’ll just start humming “Let it go…”

The cold never bothered me, anyway.

And now Frozen’s in your head, isn’t it? You’re welcome.

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*Possible Olympic Events that My Family Could Do:

  1. Nonexistent washing when washing hands.
  2. Sudden-paralysis walking when cleaning floor.
  3. Power-smashing the brother.
  4. Interpretive Dance with those ribbon thingies (that’s the husband. He ROCKS the interpretive dance, I tell you. Ask him about it! He’ll be thrilled to show you!)
  5. Snark.

 

 

The Battle of the Tater Tot Casserole

 

55af89a9f7ba6273f1c0108faa467211.pngGuys. It’s been interesting over here.

But, I must qualify. I am never one to leave a vague adjective uncontested, I tell you. So… by “Interesting” I don’t mean in a “Season cliffhanger of Sherlock on the Netflixes” kind of way.

I mean in a “Wow, I didn’t know puke could really be that color,” kind of way.

It’s a small difference, but you know.

And, I’m thinking, if you are Sherlock, you are really, really happy for that difference.

Anyhow, let’s get into this.

The Attack of the Killer Flu Part One:

Characters: Red and Momsie. Down for two days. We did fine. We puked. We got over it. Lots of laundry was done (I would like to note here that MOMSIE did the laundry. Yep. That’s right. SICK Momsie. Momsie was still able to get laundry folded AND put away, whilst erpy and for THAT I believe I deserve a huge parade. But it won’t happen because of pay cuts and, as all moms know, we continue on. It’s our thing. Even sick. The only parades we’re having are in our heads.) Red was rather non plussed about the whole flu thing, and by that I mean he SLEPT through throwing up THREE TIMES and when I had to get him up at three am, he asked for VISUAL PROOF OF THE PUKE-AGE because he didn’t believe me. The fact that I was dressed in a Hazmat suit didn’t deter him. He just eyed the stuff, cheerfully got up and headed to the bath. Like a boss.

Killer Flu Part Two:

Setting: The dinner table.

Characters: Blonde and Big Blonde (aka the husband) and one irritated Momsie. Also, some tater tot casserole.

Momsie, sets the casserole in front of Blonde kid who immediately regards it as if it were the plague-food.

(I would also like to state that Red has started in on the plague-food with his usual gusto paired with a total disregard for silverware.)

Blonde: I… can’t… eat… this.

Momsie: I clocked out from Mom-ming about five minutes ago. I can’t help you.

Husband: (shoveling in large bites) Blonde! You’ll love it! It’s really good! Also, bland! It’s like really, REALLY bland!

Momsie: Uh… ok…

Husband: Like, SO BLAND. This is so bland it’s AIR, son. It’s like AIR with TATER TOTS SPRINKLED ON TOP!

Momsie: Ok. You made your point-

Husband: The blandness here is really almost it’s own seasoning. It’s bland with a subtle hint of oaky blandness.

Momsie: THAT’S ENOUGH WITH THE BLAND. EAT.

And then the battle was on. Blonde’s stubbornness is rather epic. It’s the Stonehenge of stubborn. Unmoving, and kind of mystical. People could traveL from all over the world, just to study him and find out his stubbornness’s origins, but really?

Me. His stubbornnes is from me. It’s all me.

So, on and on went, our battle of the tater tot casserole.  It was nerve-wracking, like watching four-star generals try to plan their next attack for victory, but with some corn and hamburger.

Finally, Blonde surrendered. He managed to eat three teeny tiny bites, he really did. But the entire time, he swore to me, it was killing him.

Momsie won.

Because, that’s parenting. A constant hashmark of who won what and why. I keep a journal where I record all my victories and often refer back to it when I’m feeling needy.

And so… nope, it didn’t kill him.

But he sure as heck did yak tater tot casserole all over the second floor of our house about two hours later. So, there’s that.

So, after I decided there wasn’t enough Lysol in the world to deal, and that perhaps just burning down the second story of the house was the answer, which will work out great for Brian and me when we get older anyhow… I realized something:

That whole “Is this the mountain your want to die on?” line really takes on a whole new meaning when dealing with piles of puke.

Yep. You’re welcome for the visual.

Disclaimer: No, I don’t usually regard my children as creatures to conquer. And no, I’m not one to make a different meal for Mr. Picky. But that night? Some toast and a hug would have been a good idea.

Lesson learned.

Here is Why My Children Are Weird.

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This is stunt cinnamon toast. Mine doesn’t look this good.

Hi everyone!

Welcome to another fascinating installment of:

My Children Are Weird. The Food Edition

Season 4 Episode 786

So, this morning I make cinnamon toast for the babies. Why? Because I am simply the best mom ever, and I have it on good authority (past roommate) that I happen to make the best cinnamon toast in the nation. Maybe all the nations. My cinnamon toast is the kind that divides and conquers, y’all. It’s the Cinnamon Manifesto of toast.

Anyhow. This conversation follows:

Red: Mom. I don’t want the toast.

Me: Ok. Uh. You do realize my toast is going to conquer the world, right? Like, if you take one bite it actually makes it possible for you to leap tall buildings AND always aim correctly, ok?

Red: Right. Anyhow, I don’t want the toast. I want cinnamon bread. The toast is too hard.

Momsie: Since when did we decide toast was “hard”? Yesterday I caught you gnawing on peanut brittle like a crazed squirrel.

Red: Yes. But that was after lunch. After lunch I can do the hard things.

Blonde: Also, I don’t want the cinnamon toast.

Momsie: Bread? Cinnamon bread, I suppose?

Blonde: No. Not at all. It makes my stomach feel funny. You see, it’s too sweet.

Momsie: Is this when I get to throw up my hands in despair and stalk out of the room, or is that later?

Blonde: I know that yesterday I had two cookies, some fudge, and about fifty Hershey’s kisses. Also that fruit tape stuff that tells you it’s all natural which is just a gateway food into understanding how everybody lies to us. But as for right NOW, especially since you have already PREPARED the cinnamon toast with a lot of care and not enough coffee,  I am saying no. No, I don’t want the cinnamon toast.

Momsie: So…  If I had not actually made the toast?

Blonde: I so woulda eaten that.

Momsie: So. The toast is a symbol.

Blonde: The toast is a symbol. Yes. I told you, everybody lies. It’s a hard lesson but I am here to teach it to you. In a cute way.

Momsie: I am so depressed right now. But here, Red, here is your… cinnamon… bread.

Red: Brace yourself. I am now going to push the plate away like you just brought me a steaming bowl of bird poop. And then I’ma gonna lay my head down on the table because you have betrayed me.

Momsie: Thank you for that poop visual, son. It takes a lot of birds to get a bowl going on in that one.

Red: I know, right? But back to me. This bread. It’s too buttery. And you know I don’t like buttery.

Momsie: Surely there is some sort of reprogramming center you can go to for that. Not liking buttery? This is shunning material here. Also, you don’t like to dip your carrots in ranch dressing. You like carrots, just NO dressing. This proves you are an imposter.

Blonde: I like buttery! Just without the bread. And the cinnamon. So, just some butter with sugar, please.

Momsie: I think it’s time.

Blonde: Yes. Yes! That’s your cue. Now is when you can throw your hands up and walk out of the room. But don’t leave too long, for as much as we are irritated with you right now, we still want you to always be in the SAME room with us as all time.

Red: I agree. It’s in our nature. We are heat-seeking missiles and you’re the underpaid target, lady.  Oh, and? When you come back I am going to repeatedly ask you to scrape the butter off of my bread but still, somehow, leave the sugar and cinnamon intact. So, defy the laws of physics. Before 8 am. Just a head’s up.

The end.

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Netflix for the New Year

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At certain times as I walk my path, and I hit snags. Road bumps. Wee little construction zones that cause a bit of a delay.

Most of mine, lately, have been in regards to parenting.

Why?

BECAUSE PARENTING IS REALLY HARD.

Anyhow, lately I have been on a small detour in this area that is called:

Cooking is the Enemy.

I used to like to cook. I did.  When I was a kid, I used to check out big, fat French cookbooks from the library and copy the most complicated recipes into a little notebook. I would watch Julia Child clumsily butcher a chicken in awe. I considered culinary school instead of college (English teacher won out, because English teachers make serious BUCKS, people.)

When I was first married, I loved creating elaborate meals for my beloved. I would peruse recipes and make up exotic dishes and quite often, din-din was really good. I plated things. I made sauces. I think I sprinkled parsley at one point.

But then, two things happened:

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Notice the meal? I didn’t cook it.

Note also: Blonde on left has what my dad used to call a “sh** eating grin.” I think this is completely inappropriate and a little gross. Also, it completely fits.

Note one more time: Red on the right is just nutso.

Parenting takes your gourmet dreams and punts ’em right out the window. Those dreams are out there, in a pile along with your washboard abs, trips to Paris, and the time to read the Sunday paper.

So this year I decided to pencil in a new resolution:

If I cook it, they will come.

Cue inspirational music:

Yes! I will walk into that kitchen with my head held high! and I will actually use a recipe, with something other than canned mushroom soup and elbow macaroni! Repeat after me, ladies: elbow macaroni is for ARTS and CRAFTS!

And, as God is my witness, I will actually BROWN THE MEAT BEFORE IT GOES IN THE CROCKPOT!

Ok, here comes Netflix to the rescue!

First of all, this movie:

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Ok. You guys. This movie. I don’t really know how to do it justice. Lemme see…

  1. You want to watch something funny and inspiring and full of heart?
  2. You want to follow your dreams? And watch a movie that makes you want to bound up afterwards and head right out after them?
  3. You want a movie written by Favreau who also wrote Swingers? The best movie ever?
  4. YOU WANT A CAMEO BY ROBERT DOWNEY JUNIOR????
  5. I got you on #4, didn’t I? 🙂

Also THIS:

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This one was a total surprise. It was on my, “So you liked Chopped? Watch this!” Cue.

I. Love. This. Show. It is beautiful and cinematic and has lovely music and writing and just the passion of these people… It makes you want to go out, buy some truffles and figure out how to confit things. I mean, look at the image above. That’s FOOD.

And art.

Granted, my children would never eat it, but I guess I can dream. I can dream. And watch Netflix.

So, mommies, the next time you find yourself gnawing on a half-eaten, stale cheese stick from your kid’s lunch box because WASTE, you can at least lean on the mighty Netflix to aid you. As for me, I am now trying to cook meals that don’t include the word “casserole” in them, or “hot dogs.” I used fennel the other day, y’all. No one died. Progress, not perfection!

Carry on, mommas. Cook it. They will come.

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Warning: both of my selections use profanity. Especially Chef. Like, a lot. For some reason, it didn’t bother me, but this is not family viewing. Use your own discretion as to whether or not you can handle the potty language. I had no problem with it whatsoever, which tells you a bit about me, doesn’t it.

 

 

When Life Hands You Lemons, Try Not To Throw Them at Someone

Last night I had a bit of a tantrum.

It involved:

  1. Rules.
  2. The children that keep breaking them.
  3. Children in general
  4. My children, specifically
  5. Marriage
  6. Husbands, in theory
  7. The husband sitting at our dinner table – so not in theory anymore.*
  8. You know, pretty much all the nonnegotiables in my life. Like the stuff I’m stuck with. FOREVERRRRRRR.

I’m very grateful for my family. I am. Last night I forgot that. It’s just… they are adorable and wonderful,

But holy nuclear family we are always ALL AROUND EACH OTHER.

Last night’s conversation, in all its brilliance, went like this:

Blonde: What is this?

Momsie: Dinner. Eat, minion.

Red: I don’t like the green stuff.

Dad: I think it’s yummy! (False bravado, here.)

Blonde and Red: withering stares at Dad. Well, not Red.  He can’t master the wither. Bless his heart.

Momsie:  Justeatitsgoodforyou. (Growling, here.)

Dad: So, how was your day?

No one responds since he didn’t address anyone specifically, and we are all a bit lost when it comes to polite dinner conversation.

Momsie: Blonde, how WAS your day? (Pointedly, here, with much foreshadowing that there needs to be a sweet and gentle answer of joy.)

Blonde: I think the green stuff in here is gonna kill me. (Totally dropping the ball on the sweet and gentle bit.)

Momsie: THATSITIHAVEHADITWHATWHYCANTWEJUSTUGGGGHHH.

Dad: I think the green stuff if YUMMY!

Blonde: My day was yucky. Just like the green stuff.

Momsie: It’s not like I’m feeding you NAPALM. NOW JUST EAT IT.

Red: Napalm! This is the only word I will remember from this conversation! And someday, I’ll tell my Sunday School teacher my mommy feeds us napalm! Napalm! YOU CAN COUNT ON IT!

I think I need a safe room.

Especially at 6 pm. Really, really need a room then. A small one, is all I ask. With some throw pillows. Maybe a scented candle. Padded walls.

So… a friend of mine just recently gifted me with this bit of furry perfection:

Photo on 5-28-15 at 9.16 PM I apologize for the grainy picture. I was too distracted by chocolate to really worry about quality photography. I wanted to eat, y’all, not work on focus.

You know, actually, I think that pretty much sums my day to day existence. Eating. Not much focus.

Anyhow. Grumpy cat is my sweet muse.

In fact, he is staring at me right now as I post this bit of nonsense about how I am grumpy at times.

We all get grumpy. Yes. We even say things we regret. So this morning, I told said, “Sorry I was grumpy.” Blonde eyed his breakfast and said, “I love this! And I forgive you, mommah.”

Red said: “Is dis the napalm? It has raisins in it!!”

* Yes. I know. You’re probably thinking – the husband bit? He was never all that annoying? He tried to stick up for the green stuff… and he was sweet and positive and all that. I know.

I really had no reason to be annoyed at the husband. It’s POSSIBLE I was just annoyed at the world and air and anyone breathing air in my vicinity.

It’s possible… I was mad at the husband… simply because he was sitting there.

Yep! That’s marriage!

But you know? He kissed me goodnight as I drifted off to sleep, and this morning, he kissed me awake. And he was still breathing air and all. And he forgave me, even though I didn’t ask it of him.

And that, my friends, is marriage.

And a really good man.

No napalm here.

No napalm here.

My morning on a scale of 1-10

 

I would rate it a Z.

On the scale of “bright-eyed, bushy-tailed: I would rate it a:

LemurMeditating

I hate everything.

 

Here’s how mornings go, in my head:

Get up. Walk around. Drink a healthy smoothie with green stuff. Read the bible. Journal. Bask in the whole “oh what a beautiful morning,” Lamentations 3:23-ness, of it all.

 

Here’s how this morning suffered and died at our house today:

Got up. Or tried to. When attempting to put one foot on the floor, something in my back went, “Uh HO! No way, old lady. Walking is hard. I’m putting you on shuffle.”

So, I shuffled about. No green stuff in the smoothie because I burnt the oatmeal. And yes, I know, the two don’t seem to relate, so let me explain: The wee ones insist that all the oatmeal is TOO HOT. It’s TOO HOT MOMMAH! It’s HOT LAVA I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EAT THIS EVERRRR. IT WILL MELT MY FACE OFF.

Since listening to my children whine about porridge makes me start googling “full frontal lobotomy, what are the perks?” I prepared the oatmeal waaaaaay in advance for my sweet heat seeking cherubs.  Then I watched them sit there and chuff and blow all over it with moist abandon (mental note: do not eat leftovers) for, like, an hour.

By the time they had hyperventilated all over the oatmeal, I was on to making lunches. Something, like, oh I don’t know, THIS:

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I found it on Pinterest! Who knew?

I know, right? RIGHT?

So, then, I had a moment to myself, in which I:

Put hair in ponytail. Then realized it still looked so colossally bad that also added a baseball cap. Considered a burka because the baseball wasn’t really cutting it, but thought that might cause some confusion amongst my church going friends.

Added some moisturizer and some lip gloss. Except I used an under eye highlighter as my lip gloss, because, well, morning.

So I looked like THIS:

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Except she is a lot happier about it than I am.

And, you know, no decal hearts on my face. I coulda colored in some of my sun spots, but who has time for that insanity?

 

Okaaaaaay. So the boys are still staring down the oatmeal. They are in their underwear, and it’s five minutes till go time. Momsie decides to start barking orders like a crazed seal. Something like THIS:

Clear up!

Move out!

Pants! PANTS! PAAAANNNNNNTS. THEN SHOES.

Shirt! Turn it!

Ok, Spiderman in back.

MOVE MOVE MOVE.

COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE

KEYS?  KEYS ! KEYS !!!KEYYYSSSSSS!!!! Oh snap. Here in my hand.

 

Awesome! Car! Children dressed and IN car with shoes and backpacks. The heavens opened and sang, I tell you.

And then I realized I hadn’t put on pants.

 

Boom.

 

So…how was your morning?

My neighbors had a great start of the day, I’m sure.

 

God, grant me the serenity, to accept that I forgot, um pants.

Courage, to change that for future mornings.

And the wisdom to laugh at myself.

 

And thank you, dear sweet Jesus, that at least I was wearing my husband’s old rugby t-shirt. I wear these huge things to bed because I like to remember the 80’s whenever possible. Thank you, baggy 80’s fashion.

Coulda been worse. I coulda been wearing THIS:

 

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You’re welcome, neighbors.

 

 

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