Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lesson #9: Surrender

Do you ever feel like the universe sometimes is whispering something to you? Ok yeah me neither but didn't that sound kind of cool? I bet you were thinking, "Wow, Lily is all in touch with stuff and deep and spiritual. Maybe she even does yoga." I don't. Unless of course you count the under appreciated mommy praying mantis yoga maneuver. You know, the one where you have to buckle two kids into car seats, and then, someone drops something under a seat that they have to have RIGHT NOW so you have to stand on one leg and sort of slither around the backseat with your left arm in the front seat and your right arm in the trunk of the car. "Now lift! And bend! And hyper extend!" Mommy yoga.

What I mean to say is that sometimes the same crap keeps happening over and over again in our lives and then in a complete stroke of genius you figure out WHY it keeps happening and suddenly your whole world makes sense again? Something almost clicks into place because you realize you keep re-enacting the same exact pattern over and over again but missing the life lesson. I like to think that from a spiritual perspective these lessons are vital to our very humanity. It's sort of like solving a really hard riddle. Never mind I stink at riddles. Seriously has anyone, anywhere in time, ever, successfully solved a riddle without cheating?

I just had my annual life lesson. My life lesson for the last two years has been identical. Did I learn from last years trials and tribulations? I am sure I did but clearly not enough because the universe needed me to get something...and fast! Last year while 7 months pregnant with Wes I was put on full bed rest. I can still remember the doctor telling me I wasn't going to like what she had to say. I can remember the snap of her gloves as she told me I was going to be in bed until I delivered Wes. It was a horrible feeling. I wasn't in control. I don't do well when I am not in control. Brian was still at Quantico training, Jack was just 2 and his height prevented him from being able to drive himself to and from daycare. Well that and the minor detail of his age, and well, I suppose, his general skill level behind the wheel. I had to rely on my family for everything. I had to surrender complete control. There were no other options if I wanted to do what I could to deliver a healthy baby. So I surrendered. I learned a lot. I learned that you can do a lot from your couch. I learned that the world doesn't fall apart when things don't go as planned. Perhaps more importantly I learned I am not really ever in control. I surrendered and realized that no man is an island. We all need help.

Last week I clearly needed a reminder. After a horrible 11 month appointment for Wes, after a terrible and awful reaction to his shots from said horrible appointment, and after what felt like the 900th day in a row of no sleep I kind of lost it. I surrendered to an overwhelming sadness and let myself cry. I let myself cry longer and harder than I had in many many months. And then I went to Trader Joes. You can find almost everything there. I realized the depth of my problem when I told a clerk I hadn't slept in 45 years which was a problem since I was only 30. I had become one of those bleary eyed mothers you see in Target as they sort of shuffle around the store, desperately trying to gather their wits and remember their shopping list while hisspering (hisspering=whispering but scary) vague threats at their children. "Oh yeah don't touch that thing or it will explode or something." They wear sweatpants and mismatched socks. Hobo moms. I had joined the hobo elite. I went home and for about the 50th time I declared I couldn't live through one more night of waking up every 45 minutes. Sure the other hobo moms are pretty cool to hang out with and all but I just didn't want to be a card carrying member and all.

The difference this time was that I completely surrendered and dropped the reigns. I handed them over fully and completely into the competent and caring hands of my husband. Poor man had been begging me to let him sort Wes and his sleep out for months, but, like the stoic and pig headed mother I can be at times, I wouldn't accept help because I didn't think it would work. I backed myself into a corner and convinced myself that I was the only one who could fix it. That was until I surrendered. Note to self: Surrender and accept help OR join pack of wild hobo moms.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The English language according to Jack

Speaking correctly is boring, mundane even! Take Jack's easy 2 day course and learn how to speak using mysterious words, new words (ok, made up words) and keep your friends and family guessing about your cool new vocab. People understanding what you are saying is pretty over rated.

1: Wush= shut. I'm pretty sure that when Jack tells me to "wush" something he is much more content to imitate the noise the door makes when it closes rather than using the "proper term." Proper terms are for losers. No losers here!

2: ringbell=doorbell: I'm with Jack on this one. Ringbell is clearly the superior term for the doorbell. It rings. Its a bell. Ringbell. Case closed.

3: Duke Dock CHA!!! thing you scream to the cashier at Safeway to leave them feeling confused and disoriented. It works. It has an almost 100% efficacy rating. Need a distraction? Scream "duke dock CHA" and then throw your hands in the air and slowly circle your grocery cart all while keeping your shoulders hunched over. It's pretty much have a fool proof method for leaving your general public feeling weird and uncomfortable. It doesn't hurt to throw in a little 10 month old, "Wait, what? You have a poinsettia? Wait.....I can reach it from where I sit in my grocery cart? Wait it has dirt in it? Its base is wrapped in crinkly paper? ITS JUST SITTING HERE? WHY IS NO ONE TRYING TO EAT IT? Must destroy.....Must destroy. Cue arm flapping and wild wind milling arms, plant flying, dirt falling, leaves in said 10 month olds mouth and throw in a little wild screech and you have got yourself a grade A primo distraction. Duke dock CHA! Use it.

4: Schtum: Where's the Umlaut key when you need it? Schtum should totally have one. No one knows what it means but its an awesome word for just about everything. It also makes an excellent curse word substitute if the need arises. Drop a screw driver on your foot? Schtum! Stub your toe? Schtum it all to heck! Prove to someone that your right? Stick that in your Schtum and smoke it. P.S Jack might be German.

5: Woss=Wes: Further proof that Jack is German. Wes is never Wes. Wes is really Woss, as in, "Woss! Stop! I don't want to be touched right now!"

6: Pig back=piggy bank: Again I'm with Jack on this. You put the money in the pigs back so pig back makes just as much sense as piggy bank. Use it. Start a vocab revolution. I dare you.

If you sign up now for the 2 day course Jack will send you a personalized decoder ring. It's our valuable gift to you. Shipping and handling not included.

P.S I spell checked this post and my computer blew up

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wes 9-10 months snapshot

Sleep: You don't sleep anymore. You are part zombie/vampire/werewolf. You wake up every 45 minutes and want to eat. You think I am the awesomest 24 hour buffet. I am going to start charging you, and by the way, its customary to tip your waitress. You're kind of stingy. Boogers and smiles don't count. Ok they count. I can't stay mad at you. Especially since you smile at me in your half sleep state when I come in your room and scoop you up. That, and you have the best bed head ever. Maybe you don't sleep and just secretly style your hair between feedings. Punk rockers would be jealous of the height and volume of your bed head.

I am not saying this but I heard that your sleep is ever so gently improving. Shhhh I didn't say that. You are cutting 6 teeth. It seems like rough stuff. You got your first 2 bottom teeth at 9 months, and now you are working on the bottom side teeth, your vampire teeth and you top front teeth. I know your teeth keep you up. Or wait? It could be that I am just that cool. I mean lets get real, I am pretty cool.

You have settled into a nice routine for your naps so at least we have that part figured. At some point I am sure you will decide that sleep is cooler than your Mom. I will give you $100 dollars if you figure that out before you are 18. Do you have ANY IDEA how many pacifiers and delicious newspapers you can buy with $100 of cold hard cash?

Eating: You would totally survive the zombie apocalypse because you still prefer newspaper, magazines, socks, keys, and plastic to the more conventional forms of nutrition AKA food. Your favorite? A little something I like to call carpet trail mix. You know the little things the vacuum misses. "Oh look! A little sliver of crafting felt! Oh Joy! Breakfast!"

You make a face like you are sucking a lemon when given real food.

Come to think of it you make your lemon face when I am eating food and it gets near you. My dear Wes, you lick the handle of the grocery cart. You can't tell me that the grocery cart tastes better than food. I shiver whenever I catch you doing this. I try and stop you. You don't listen. I make you stop. You start back up. I admire your tenacity. I tell myself you are going to have an awesome immune system and then I barf a little.

Sometimes you chew on a hard crust of bread and like it. Mostly you chew and then freak out when a crumb breaks off and dares to enter your mouth. You could totally survive medieval prison. Crust of bread and water? Sold! Maybe your survival skills are just top notch and I should stop poo pooing your lack of desire to eat. Grocery carts and felt and you are a happy camper. You know Christmas is coming.....Seriously though you don't know what you are missing. Food rocks, so stop acting like I am poisoning you and eat something will ya?

Play: You love all your toys. You like remotes and the x box controller.

Mostly you eat them or flop over on top of them. You prefer a fine Lego over your other toys. They taste the best. You love your squeaky rubber toys. Your favorite toy? Well, it's yourself. I take that diaper off and its like Christmas, Halloween and your birthday rolled into one. Knock yourself out kid. Wes's Christmas list: no diaper, grocery cart for licking, felt scrap.

You can crawl now but only in reverse. This is very sad for you. You back yourself into small corners and freak out. Don't worry! I am sure very soon you will find the gear shift and get going in the right direction. Despite being stuck in reverse, you are quite mobile, and roll and reverse crawl all over the place. I am not fully prepared for the mobility. The felt scrap that got left on the carpet is not prepared for the mobility.

Yesterday you screamed, "Mama!" I don't think you meant to but you keep saying it. More in a mamamamamamma way than an actual word but its cute none the less. We were watching Sesame Street yesterday and they were singing a song about the letter, "M." You then screamed, "mamamamammamamama," so I am pretty sure you are a genius. Cue the scholarships! Oh and you clap now. Everything gets a round of applause. It's cute and I like it. Come to think of it, more things in this lifetime should involve a round of applause. "Oh look you came back into the room!" APPLAUSE!

I love you my sweet little felt eating, round of applause, teeth cutting, reverse crawling, grocery cart licking baby. I love you so much it hurts.

Lesson #8: Kids ask a lot of questions

I read somewhere that the average 4 year old asks over 400 questions a day. My advanced scientific and mathematical skills have allowed me to extrapolate and compute that 3 year olds ask 700 questions a day. Mostly this happens because they ask you the same question a bare minimum of 4 times. Ok I'm lying. The same question is usually repeated about 20 times. If you're Jack you are an over achiever and need to out shine other 3 year olds so you ask 1401 questions a day. In my quest to determine why so many questions are asked I stumbled on a theory that makes so much sense it has to be right. Teachers and learning types will have you thinking kids ask questions because they are learning. It might be that. It might also be the under diagnosed early onset childhood Alzheimers. While I don't doubt my kiddo is expanding his horizons and amassing enough data and knowledge to find the final solution to world hunger, I think the answer is simpler. It's Santa Clause. Recent investigative efforts and specific research methods I can't reveal lead me to believe that 3 year olds are required to fulfill a daily question quota or Santa doesn't show. Any less than 100 questions and there is a chance Santa Clause passes your house. No reindeers prancing, no stockings stuffed, nada, zip, zilch-do not pass go do not collect $200. Once I discovered this I found I had way more patience when dealing with the endless barrage of questions I field on an average day.

Random sampling of average questions:
"Why you buttoning your pants?" (PS I was getting dressed?)
"Are you cranky? Are you not having a good day?" (PPS I just took a deep breath)
"What's that guy doing?" (PPPS "that guy" was driving a motorized grocery cart)

Let me add that if you are in public Jack is watching you. He is also giving you a play by play of your actions. The stranger your actions the louder his questions. "WHAT'S THIS GUY WEARING? WHY DOES THIS GUY SMELL TERRIBLE?" You know come to think of it maybe Jack is just saying and asking what we are all thinking. I mean seriously what is that guy wearing and why does he smell terrible? I suppose if you are looking for the truth just ask a 3 year old. They'll give it to you straight......... and then ask you 40 follow up questions.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Further proof that I am raising an old man and not a 3 year old

If you have been following the posts I made you will be familiar with my theory that Jack is secretly an 83 year old man. I have recently gathered more data to support my advanced scientific theory that Jack is geriatric at heart.

1: While shopping at Target today Jack didn't ask to go see the toys. He didn't ask to see the bikes or the movies or TV's. He wanted to look at vacuums. He wanted so much to peruse the vacuum display that when I dared to turn left towards the cereal aisle he yelled, "No, wait, stop! VACUUMS! MOM, THEY HAVE VACUUMS HERE!" I indulged his inner dust mite annihilator personality and turned the cart to the right and towards the glorious row or shining vacuums. "WOW! Check this one out! It has a hose thing!" So that is what our vacuum has been missing this whole time. A hose thing! Conclusion: Jack likes vacuums more than Count Chocula cereal which can only mean he is 84.

2: Jack regularly calls people "honey," and "sweetie." It is a widely known and established fact that the only people who repeatedly refer to other adults with such names are either over the age of 60, are waitresses in a diner, or are southerners. I've researched it. Trust me. Conclusion: Jack is 84 and a 1/2 or a southerner.

3: Jack can't walk for more than about 10 steps without launching into a compelling list of ailments. His knees hurt. His hips hurt. His back hurts. Once he told me his eyeball hurt. Guys, he is walking so hard his eyeballs hurt. It's not so much the list of ailments that ages Jack, it's more that he will randomly launch into telling others (IE: complete strangers who aren't interested) about said ailments. The cashier at Safeway, barista at Starbucks, mailman, librarian, neighbor walking dog, dog being walked by neighbor, 9 year old selling candy door to door these kind souls have all been subject to Jack's description of physical ailments. "My Mom walks all the day and my back hurts. I have a boo boo." Most people don't really know what to say. I don't blame them. I don't really know what to say either. I mostly resort to, "Wow that is a lot of stuff going on for you huh? I think you'll be ok." Like most aged people he will convince you that he will not be fine and for you to suggest such a thing is ludicrous. Practically offensive! "I'm not think so. I don't think so. I'm not ok." Conclusion: The ferocity that Jack clings to his list of ongoing and fairly fluid list of ailments proves his chronological age is that of a man over 85.

4: Jack prefers a diet of things they feed to people post surgery. You know, jello, saltines, dry toast, things like that. Flavor should be feared. The less chewing the better. The more pieces you can cut your food into the better. The blander the better. The more uniform the color of the foods you consume the better. Conclusion: Current food choices are that of a post operative 85 year old. Pass the plain jello and dry toast.

5: Jack loves a good tissue. He loves having one handy at all times. He likes to shove them into his pockets or just clutch them. You never know when you might need to wipe your nose and Jack likes to be prepared. As you age your body is slowly invaded and finally taken over by tissues. Old people shed tissues like cats shed fur. You find them when they get up from the dinner table, you find trails of them in the supermarket, and every once in awhile you spot the old lady with the tissue tucked into the waistband of her stretchy polyester slacks. Old people are comprised of at least 10% tissues. Conclusion: Jack is an 87 year old 3 year old. I love him like I have never loved another 87 year old 3 year old.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A day at the park

One of Jack's favorite places in the world is the park. Pretty much any park will do as long as it was swings, a slide, and preferably no other children. Ok, ok so if other kids HAVE to be at the park they shouldn't question Jack's authority or his rules. Jack has a lot of rules about spending time at the park. If I am being real, Jack has a lot of rules about pretty much everything. Food must always be cut in half and when one half is consumed the other half should then be cut into two. You can only eat raisins if you are at Neema's (Grandma) house. You can't sleep with the windows open. Socks are always to be worn. If you find yourself without socks on, its perfectly ok to freak out, in fact, you can darn right panic if you want.

First we hit up the swings because its just what you do. Swings always come first. You have to push with both hands. Jack likes to be pushed so hard his neck sort of jerks back. He's not afraid to critique. Wes prefers a gentle push every now and then and when the wind hits his face on the way down he sticks out his tongue. I have to admit its pretty entertaining and fascinating. He must channel his inner lizard/dog when he is on those swings because that bad larry is just hanging out of his mouth. I was tempted to ask him if the wind was blowing in a Southerly direction but I withheld.

Then we take a latte break. This is Jack's latte. He is a Starbucks devotee. He can recognize the different shops around town and will ask if we are getting a pink donut and a latte. Thankfully Jack's "latte" costs nothing.

One does work up a powerful thirst sitting on a swing demanding to be pushed harder and higher. True story.

So then we hit up the slides.

Jack then informs a random mother and daughter that, "My Mom be clipping my toenails all the day." I didn't edit that. Apparently I be clipping his toenails a lot. In fact, so much, that we have to warn people on the playground that I am on the loose. I could fall into one of my fits and start clipping your toenails against your will. I can't help it. I'm apparently a toe menace. I apologize sincerely. Truthfully I had no idea that you wanted to grow your toenails long enough to start climbing trees like a raccoon. A thousand apologies.

Then to round out our park adventure we take the long way home which means we stop by the pond to see the ducks.

Me: "Wow, what a beautiful day this turned out to be. Don't you think its nice Jack?"
Jack: "I didn't see a black poop. Do you see a black poop?"
Me: "Can't say as I do Jack...Can't say as I do."

Jack likes to climb out onto the storm pipe and point out all the ducks. I have about 15 miniature cardiac arrests and picture myself diving into the shallow pond to rescue him. Thankfully he is cautious and we have avoided disaster thus far.

As I took this picture Jack said, "Check this out! This duck is farting in the bushes!" FYI he was quacking. FYI Jack can't really pronounce "F's" so farting is pronounced "wow-ting." I don't know about you but wowting packs a bigger punch than farting. It's a wow and a fart. A wowt. Feel free to start using this as a real word.

There is no where I would rather be than at the park with my two boys, enjoying the sunshine (while it lasts!), the animals and each others company. Wowts and toenails included.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to make Donald Trump jealous

I think Wes wrote the book on comb overs. Don't worry Trump, he has enough swoopage to go around, and I am sure if you ask really nicely he will show you his super slick comb over moves or maybe even share some of his hair.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wes: 7 month snapshot

Sleep: Up until last week you had reached an all time low in the sleep department. I started roaming around the house looking like some sort of mangey zombie because you were waking up every 45 minutes at night. Desperate for a solution we did just the teeny tiniest bit of sleep training and let you try out falling asleep in your own crib by yourself. You shocked us by falling asleep all on your own and not even crying. It was as if the sleep fairy swooped down and bestowed you with the gift of sleep. You are now getting up once a night and you are quick to go back down. I am adjusting to a new life of sleep and while I still haven't caught up on my sleep deprivation I worry that once I regain all my energy I won't know what to do with myself. If you see me running through the neighborhood carrying both children you should stage an intervention and tell me to chill out. Your not swaddled anymore but you are still attempting to remove large sections of your face. And ears. Its like you have something against them. I know they are stuck on the side of your face and make brilliant handles but they are not yours to remove. They belong there.

Play: You still love your jumperoo and happily love your brother more. You love your stacking cups, books, paper and trying to eat paper. You would happily gum the page of every book in the house if I let you. You also like to bat at things. You have a mean right hook. I mean seriously you have rung my bell a couple of times. Nothing like an open hand slap from a 7 month old to wake you right up!

Eating: You eat your feet. We should really have a conversation about that because its pretty gross. Have you seen the stuff that gets lodged in between your toes? It can't taste better than a banana and you gag when you try and eat them. I feel tremendously under prepared to serve your current taste profile. Not sure where toes fall in terms of taste categories...Savory? Umami? Oy you have me stumped. Pretty sure if I plunked down some toes and a newspaper you would pass out from sheer joy but don't get too excited I don't have any plans to start rotating that into the meal plans. Come to think of it maybe you should find a hobo. Toe and newspaper soup sounds right up their alley. Things I have fished out of your mouth: Tissue, newspaper, hair. Its sort of like a lint trap.

I love you. I love that you are sleeping. I love the way you look at me when I go and get you from your crib. I love that you try and eat my face off at virtually ever chance you get. I love that you never give up. Ever. In fact you are pretty much trying to eat my face right now.

Friday, August 5, 2011

How to make English muffins

When I moved across the country I knew life would be different. I knew there would be more rain. I knew I would be staying home with my kids instead of working. I knew people wouldn't use the word "wicked." While I accepted these hard truths and solemnly swore to work the phrase, "wicked awesome," into my speech once a week, I could never have anticipated that I would face a carb crisis. No one ever told me that I wouldn't be able to find good English muffins for under $5. People on the left coast don't like English muffins you ask? I don't know but they are definitely not nearly as popular. Can you see the giant crocodile tear running dramatically down my cheek?

So when I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to try it! I tweaked some steps and the result was a delicious English muffin full of nooks and crannies. The only thing I will do differently next time is to use rings that are taller so my muffins don't ooze out of the top as much. I am also considering just canning the use of jar lids altogether. That's a little canning humor for you all. Yes I have completely gone off the deep end.

English muffins
(courtesy of Alton Brown)
yields 8-15 muffins


1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup hot water
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Non-stick vegetable spray

Special equipment: electric griddle, 3-inch metal rings, see Cook's Note*


In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Preheat the griddle to 300 degrees F.

Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup ladle the dough into each ring. Sprinkle the tops of each muffin with cornmeal. This will help prevent it from sticking to the cookie sheet. Cover the rings with a cookie sheet or pot lid that has been generously sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.

*Cook's Note: Small tuna cans with tops and bottoms removed work well for metal rings. I will try this next time as I used mason jar lids and they didn't seem to work as well.

Also if anyone can tell me how to get both sides off of a tuna can without losing a finger you get a treat.

I don't want to brag but........

Jack is advanced. He is making excuses at least on par with most second graders. Its hard to not give into his excuses because some of them are clever, sweet and just funny when you get right down to it.

Me: "Jack come finish your lunch."
Jack: "I can't right now Mom I have to send a quick email."
Me: "Oh, well then by all means please continue I don't want to interrupt any cyber relationships you might have formed."

Me: "Jack can you come here and we will put on your shoes?"
Jack: "Ummm I have to go over here right now."
Me: "Really? Is that all you've got?"

Me: "Jack can you put this tissue in the trash?"
Jack: " I can't I have to give Wes eskimo kisses!"
Me: "Who am I to stand in the way of brotherly love"

Me: "Jack can you pick up your toys?"
Jack: "Mom I told you that I have to go to work."
Me: "Sweet can you pick me up some milk on your way home?"

And while this one technically isn't an excuse it cracked me up.

Jack: "Mom can I have a marshmallow? Mom, the answer is yes. The answer is yes."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

How to sleep like a 3 year old and a simple 3 step plan for waking all adults

Jack crawled into our bed the other night. In fact he has been crawling into your bed a lot lately. He is pretty sneaky and most nights we don't even know he is in our bed until he has fallen back asleep. He has taken to crowding certain members of the bed. For a little fellow he can certainly take up a lot of room. I am happy to report that my extensive research has determined that there appears to be evidence that sleeping styles are genetic. Jack prefers to sleep like a starfish. Its as if he passes out mid snow angel or mid jumping jack. He finds comfort in making sure his knobby knees are directly pressed into a lower back. He is conscious of any potential back problems and wants to make sure we eliminate any trips to the Chiropractor. He's a thoughtful bugger like that. Apparently its easier to sleep if your foot is pressed into the crook of someones neck. Consequently you will also sleep better if you kick this foot once in awhile. You just have to work the kinks out, plus you wouldn't want your foot to fall asleep. It's also important that you are committed to your sleep. When questioned you should be able to easily tell said interrogator what you are doing.

Dad: "Jack, can you move over, I have no room."
Jack: "Dad! Stop it, I'm sleeping!"

Perfect example of how to succinctly and accurately alert said interrogator of your intentions. You want to be firm.

So then you need to go back to sleep, legs akimbo, every once in a while reenacting scenes from Riverdance, fiercely defending your right to sleep.

You will need to wake up at 5am and immediately begin questioning those surrounding you as to why they are not awake. They are missing precious moments of the wonderful day! Firmly tell them to open their eyes. They probably won't listen but that's ok because you are prepared. You have a fool proof three step process for situations just like this.

Step 1: Gently lift the eyelids of sleeping individual.

(I cannot overstate the importance of step number 2. Do not deviate from the instructions.)

Step 2: Get up right in the persons face. If you think your close enough, you're not. If necessary grab both sides of the sleeping persons head. Ears make great handles if you are wanting some leverage.

Step 3: It's important you use your outside voice for this part. You really want the sleeping person to hear you. Better yet you want to neighbors to hear you. After all you are providing a valuable service so really its for every one's good. So in your best outside voice you want to say, "ARE YOU AWAKE?"

If all else fails you have a code red sleep emergency. You should immediately continue to the lesser known but still quite valuable Step 4 which calls for repeatedly demanding items. Milk. TV. Tissues. Puppies. It doesn't really matter but the important thing to remember is that you need to be making rapid fire demands. Your goal is to motivate and subtly confuse said sleeping person so the louder and more intense the requests the better.

Congrats! You have successfully gotten a refreshing nights sleep, served as alarm clock to the community, and you don't even need a cup of coffee to feel human. Truly adults could learn a thing or two from young ones and their zest for life first thing in the morning. If you could bottle that energy you would be a bazillionare.

I truly wish I could sleep like a 3 year old.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lesson #7 you can feed people old shoes if you make them fresh bread.

Ok so that might be a gross exaggeration but I know I will eat pretty much anything if it comes with fresh bread. I try and make one meatless meal a week in our house and I typically find we aren't really missing much if we have fresh bread. We pretty readily admit we are carb-avores in this house so its no huge shock we are into bread. I am so happy I found this bread recipe. I could kiss the person who invented it. They should be nominated to the carbohydrates hall of fame. The recipe is dead simple and the best part is that you keep a large batch of dough in your fridge and make a loaf whenever you want fresh bread. It's also a really friendly dough. It doesn't ask to be kneaded, the yeast doesn't have to be proofed, you don't have to measure temperatures AND you can make it into so many different things. With the exact same dough I have successfully made Naan, focaccia, pizza dough, sandwich bread, ciabatta and just the standard round loaf (boule) that we usually have with dinners. Try it. Do it. This is your carb conscience speaking.

So lets get down to it!

No Knead Bread
(Courtesy of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day)

Ingredients: (Makes 4 (1) pound loaves)
3 cups hot water (not boiling)
1 1/2 TBS sea salt
1 1/2 TBS yeast
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1: Pour hot water into a large (at least 4 quarts) tupperware or other food safe container. You will need a container that also has a lid!

2: Add yeast and salt. Stir just to mix together. Nothing has to fully dissolve or bubble or proof like other typical bread recipes. (Not that you need a picture but this is what it looks like )

3: Add flour to the container with the water, salt and yeast.

4: Stir the flour into the water mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. You do not have to knead the dough and this should only take a couple of minutes. I use a large wooden spoon. The dough will be slack, shaggy and very wet. Don't worry this is what it is supposed to look like!

Word on the street is that mixing is easier in your Cars jammies

5: Put the lid on your container but DON'T shut it. The dough needs some air-but not a whole heck of a lot.

6: Let the dough rise for 2 hours and then put in the fridge. The dough will not double in size and will be fairly flat when it rises. The dough is easiest to handle when it has been refrigerated over night or at least several hours so I typically make up a new batch on a day we don't need bread.

Here is everything you need for making the bread (minus a picture of the broiler pan I use)
*pizza stone (you can also use a cast iron pan or even a terracota saucer!)
*broiler pan (or any oven safe shallow pan)
*Pizza peel (I definitely didn't have one of these when I started making bread and used a wooden cutting board with a handle and it worked just fine!)
*small pitcher for pouring water into broiler pan (steam = crusty loaf!)
*flour for dusting loaf

7: Prepare a pizza peel (or cutting board) by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent the loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. I use an old washed out honey bear to distribute cornmeal onto my pizza peel because I got sick of cleaning up cornmeal.

8:Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour, then cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-sized) piece with a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on four “sides,” rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go, until the bottom is a collection of four bunched ends. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it doesn’t need to be incorporated. The bottom of the loaf will flatten out during resting and baking.

9. Place the ball on the pizza peel. Let it rest uncovered for about 40 minutes. Depending on the dough’s age, you may see little rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking.

10. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on another shelf. My oven takes about 20 minutes to get to 450 so I usually just put my kitchen timer on for 20 minutes after I shape my loaf. When the timer goes off I set my oven to 450 and I know when it beeps to tell me its reached 450 I have given my loaf enough time to hang out before being baked.

11: Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing, serrated knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1⁄4-inch-deep cross, scallop or tick-tack-toe pattern into the top. (This helps the bread expand during baking.)

12. With a forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about a cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch. With wet dough, there’s little risk of drying out the interior, despite the dark crust. When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or “sing,” when initially exposed to room temperature air. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire rack, for best flavor, texture and slicing. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.

13. Refrigerate the remaining dough in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next two weeks: You’ll find that even one day’s storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread. This maturation continues over the two-week period. Cut off and shape loaves as you need them. The dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.

Make bread. Eat bread. It's the circle of life.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jack versus self sufficiency

Jack came into my room yesterday morning and crawled into bed. He told me he wanted milk. I rolled over and my eyes rolled back into my head and I went back to sleep. I probably grunted at him or snorted or growled or made some other guttural noise appropriate for 5:30am. You can get away with a lot of noises at 5:30 that just aren't appropriate at other times of day. I am pretty sure first thing in the morning I look like a sleep deprived Medusa. I often warn people in my house to not really attempt communication until I am at least one coffee deep into the day. Its just wise. You've been warned. So while I registered on some level that there was a mini human in my bed asking me for something, I didn't/couldn't muster up the energy to even respond, let alone get out of bed and provide said mini human with milk. Jack took matters into his own hands and scuttled out of bed and padded down the hallway, apparently down the stairs, and then back upstairs where he returned to our bed. He softly slurped away on what I can only imagine was a sippy cup. When I regained consciousness and decided that I should probably greet the day I found this at the bottom of our bed.

Jack had procured not only a sippy cup but what he deemed to be an appropriate refill. Now, I don't know about you, but I love to start my day with a nice big frothy cup of fat free half and half. It really adds that extra zing to my step! I have to selfishly admit that my wheels are turning at a truly alarming rate cooking up some wild ideas for what I can teach Jack to do while I am still in bed. What's next? Brioche? Espresso? I admire your step towards self sufficiency, my dear boy. Congrats! You are growing up. Now I have to go cry into my fat free half and half because you are all old and independent.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jack's first story

Jack wrote a story yesterday. Ok, well I wrote the story but he authored it. Apparently I moo. Who knew?!

One day a giraffe was moo-ing. He said, "Lily?" Then Lily mooed back at the giraffe. Then they went on a spaceship rocket. They liked it. Jack wanted to come too. Jack said, "push the buttons!" "Wes do you want to come on the spaceship rocket?" Wes did want to come so he climbed on board. They decided to go to work. They built a house for Jack. Jack painted it red. Jack touched his new house. Then they all went home.

The end.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'm a vegetable ninja

I have been in vegetable stealth mode pretty much ever since Jack has been eating solids. You know what I'm talking about if you have a picky eater. You find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, tip toeing into the kitchen and injecting your kids yogurt with microscopic portions of butternut squash. You hold your breath and slink back to bed only to be viciously disappointed when your toddler tastes said doctored food item and refuses to eat it. Sigh. You've tried. I mean you've REALLY tried. If you are a vegetable ninja you too know the pain of cooking up homemade goodies with love only to have them rejected before they even reach your tots mouth. In attempting to make peace with the fact that my kidlet won't eat a vegetable, I have had to take a break from vegetable ninja-ry (I just made that word up..It should be a word....Please feel free to start using it in sentences. It could be the new "tom foolery" ) because, truth be told, my attempts to improve my child's nutrition have been enough to make me go prematurely gray. So in this break from fruitless vegetable sneakiness I discovered a new product from none other than Kraft Macaroni and cheese. Kraft has a new mac and cheese that boasts a 1/2 cup of vegetables in every 1 cup serving. Could it be true? Would Jack eat it? Would there be weird vegetable flecks in it thus thwarting any and all attempts to get him to eat it? I had to know. Jack loves boxed mac and cheese. I am thinking he likes it primarily because no cheese was harmed in the making. It's also neon orange. Delightful. So I bought the new mac and cheese and with expectations rather low offered it to Jack. He ate it. He ate ALL of it. I felt like I had won some sort of vegetable triathlon. I want a gold carrot medal. I almost don't care what type of vegetable this mac and cheese proclaims to contain because Jack ate something that had contact with a vegetable and perhaps even an ACTUAL vegetable. I just got goosebumps. By the way its cauliflower for those wondering. Cauliflower goosebumps y'all, cauliflower goosebumps. For all you nay sayers out there who are shaking their heads at the depths I have sunk to in feeding my child a sub par, processed, boxed dish, you just can't ruin this high I am feelin' right now. While I am still wringing my hands a bit at the thought of Jack developing rickets or some weird malady because of his lack of vegetable intake, I feel like I have finally won a round. So, go forth vegetable ninjas! Continue hiding healthy foods inside your kids favorites, continue sharing ideas with other frazzled moms, and know that you are never alone. This ninja knows your pain.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm a haircut doctor

I gave Wes his first haircut today. Ok not really but I think it counts. Sort of. Wes had hair that was well past his ears and I think it was starting to itch him so I took matters into my own hands and gave him a little side burn trim. Let's just say I didn't miss my calling as a cosmetologist but I got the job done and Wes has been officially de-Elvised. Jack was sufficiently traumatized by my new found hair trimming talents. "Mom? Are you a haircut doctor now?" Why yes....Yes I am. Don't worry the swoop is in full glory and I won't be cutting that anytime soon.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jack: 2 Years 11 month (AKA 3 years old) snapshot.

Jack you're almost three. That's bananas. You are your own person now. You have definitive opinions on life. You know the way you want things. You know exactly what you like and what you don't like. You talk from sun up to sun down. You're inquisitive, smart, humorous and exhausting. You're a fan of telling people how to do things. If I had a sudden amnesiac fugue I have no doubt you would put me straight and tell me exactly how to prepare your chicken nuggets, tie my shoes, drive the car, sleep etc. Speaking of sleep.....

Sleep: You go to bed at 8:30. Ok I'm lying. We PUT you to bed at 8:30 and a lot of the time you have reasons why you can't go to bed. You need a tissue. You need a drink. The smoke detectors beeping. P.S its not beeping. Your closet door is open. We left your shoes in your room. You don't have the right book in bed. You have a boo-boo on your left leg that needs repeated kissing. I am happy to report you are getting a lot better with this though. We know it's a lot. You are in a new place, you have a new brother, you don't go to daycare anymore, we took away your pacifier 4 months ago. We are cutting you some slack. It seems to be working. Either way we love you but seriously GO TO SLEEP. Oh and when you wake up in the morning? You come running into our room and make us watch Cars. Is it that you think we are missing out because we are sleeping? "Mom, open your eyes, you need to watch this!" Jack, I am going to let you in on a little secret. I have watched Cars 3,948,576,903,857,600 times. I close my eyes and see Cars. I wake up in the middle of the night and have the urge to belt out, "LIFE IS A HIGHWAY, I WANT TO RIDE IT ALLLLL NIGHT LONG!"

Play: You just discovered Legos on the Xbox. You love to play with your Dad. You are insanely good for not knowing what the hell you are doing. You have erased the game from our hard drive 3 times. You love to build with your blocks, paint, color, blow bubbles. You also love to dust. You are the best big brother. You like to play with Wes. You are gentle and kind. you like to make Wes laugh. It makes my heart melt.


Foods you eat:
chicken nuggets
vanilla yogurt (all other flavors apparently have bugs in them)
homemade waffles (but not pancakes or french toast and syrup is gross)
hot dogs
french fries (but not the ones I make you....sigh)
cheese (American only. That sound you hear is your mother banging her head on the table)
pasta (don't look now but your eating whole wheat pasta kid. Mooohahahaha)
english muffins
peanut butter
mac and cheese
calimari (I think you would eat a shoe if it were deep fried)

Foods you wont eat:
everything else ever invented.

Mostly I sort of wring my hands at your food situation. I have tried virtually all tricks and sneaky attempts to increase your nutrition and you have thwarted my every attempt. You won't eat ketchup, ranch, ice cream, banana bread, or juices. You won't drink smoothies because they are too cold. You told me that you only eat raisins at Neema's house. I worry that you'll get rickets or scurvy or some weird medieval disease.

Speech: You talk a lot. You are learning all your letters and numbers. You can pretty accurately tell me what each letter is. Sometimes you are easier to understand than other times. Sometimes I think you speak Finnish...or maybe you're secretly German. Your favorite word right now is "Schtum." We don't know what it means. I am fairly certain you don't know what it means either. It has become our households catch all word. "Pass me that schtum will ya?" "Will you get this schtum out of my way?" "Ouch I stubbed my schtum!" You get the picture. Schtum gets a lot of use around this joint. Watch it be some totally crass swear word and we are yelling it from sun up to sun down. Oh well. this week we had a ten minute argument about how something wasn't your fault. It suddenly dawned on me that you wanted it to be your fault because you thought it was a good thing.

Me: "Its ok its not your fault. "
You: "No it's MY fault."

Lather, rinse, repeat. I am embarrassed at how long we argued about this.

Here are my favorite Jack-isms from this week.
"Mom are you having a wrong day?"
"Mom is cranky. She needs coffee. That make her feel better."
"I'm not bossy, I'm bratty!

I love you Jack. Never change. Keep being you. Keep your curiosity and love of the world.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boys will be boys

I know that I am outnumbered in my home. The male to female ratio in my house is not in my favor. It's not like I want to watch The Notebook, have tea parties, and put the boys in pink tutus, but it would be nice to every once in awhile have a conversation about something other than farts, cars, poop and Legos. I actually really love being a Mom to two boys. I love the way they are starting to play together. I get all warm and fuzzy thinking about them playing catch in the back yard. That being said there are times that the reality of being out numbered smacks me right in the face. Yesterday Jack walked by a magnet we have had on our fridge forever. He apparently had never noticed it before and yesterday it caught his eye. He walked by the fridge and then did a double take said, "Look Dad, a boob!" Classic male. This afternoon while putting him down for his nap I was about to leave his room when he said, "wait, wait, wait, Mom! I have to fart and I want you to hear it before you leave." Wow. Oh wow. Its like I suddenly felt the house get more male. I swear the house grunted, blew a snot rocket and started barbecuing. Get me some pink nail polish and a kitten, stat! We need some estrogen in this joint.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wes: 5 month snapshot of life

No, I haven't perfected my nap time tranq dart that's just Wes being Wes. Oh Wes, my darling sweet Wes. You are such an easy going baby that you didn't even make a peep when you were tired and you just conked out right in the jumperoo. Sometimes I wish my life were that simple again. Then again I like being able to coordinate my movements, talk, and well, I am pretty attached to using the bathroom rather than voiding myself every 30 minutes.

Sleep: You like it but you don't LOVE it. You sleep three hour stretches at night if I am lucky. Sometimes you wake up and just want to chat. Sometimes I want to explain to you that its 3am and not time to discuss world events. Or sing. You mostly don't care. Here is the good news: You are totally content to just talk to yourself! Or maybe you are secretly carrying on with the walls of your co-sleeper. Who knows. As long as I can sleep in three hour stretches I am happy. You're still swaddled every night. We flirted with taking the swaddle away but you kept punching yourself and scratching your eyes out. You will be 35 before we experiment with removing your restraint garment.

Play: You like your jumperoo but mostly you love your brother. You also like my hair. Or hate it. Either way you grab it a lot. You love your hands and sometimes eat them so much that you make yourself gag and then you puke. You don't seem to mind. You like to play on your play mat. You would eat paper if I let you. I don't.

Eating: You haven't started solids yet but they're coming. No, paper doesn't count as a food. Hair doesn't either. Oh, and that cheese from in between your little chubby hands? Sorry that isn't considered edible either.

You are the sweetest baby that ever existed. You are happy as a clam 99% of the time and when you aren't its pretty easily resolved. I love you, hand cheese and all.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lesson #6 Guilt...virtual and otherwise

Lesson #6

I can feel guilty about anything. Anything. I feel guilty that I have pairs of socks I don't wear often enough. They're perfectly good I tell myself why don't I wear them more often? Are they lonely in that drawer? Am I really having this conversation with myself about socks? Oh my God its come to this. I am having internal conversations about SOCKS. I need a hobby. I know! A hobby where I can wear more socks!

Guilt can have a stunningly cumulative effect on ones life. My experience with guilt is that it's a slippery slope. Before you know it you are feeling guilty about having a name no one can ever spell correctly (it's not that hard people!), apologizing to your children for not cutting the crusts off their sandwiches, watering the plants (“You're going to feel bad when the Earth has no water in 2034 and be all, “I shouldn't have watered the damn plants”) and so on. When I became a mom my love hate relationship with guilt intensified. There is nothing like parental guilt. You can easily be consumed by the hundreds of decisions you have to make each and every day about the well being of your child and come to grips with the reality that you just can't control everything. Sometimes you can't control one thing, let alone everything. As a parent, I know I have felt guilt over the minor to the major including delaying solids, getting vaccines, daycare, diaper rashes, pacifier use, falls etc. The list could go on and on. I have become keenly aware that there are no do overs and as Eminem would say, “success is my only option.” I just quoted Eminem in a post about parenting. "And the parent of the year award goes to: …......." I did edit it though. He used some other colorful language. He's right though. Success is your only option when you are a parent so I think that plays a large part in my recurrent guilt about the job I am doing. Recently, I have been experiencing two recurrent guilt trips. One seems valid and the other seems insane. I feel guilty that I haven't kept up the boys baby books. I haven't been dutifully cataloging important life events in the way a doting mother should. I started a baby book when I had Jack but stopped at the part that wanted me to chart his teeth and when they grew in. I still feel guilty that I stopped. I imagine him picking the book up one day and looking at me and with a choked voice saying, “Mom, when did my left incisor grow in? You just stopped right here in the book.....I have no documentation of molar growth! You are the worst mother ever!” And then he would go cry and hide in the bushes or something. Ok so while I know that sounds completely asinine I do picture him being disappointed that I wasn’t more caring. More attentive to documentation. Cue the blog! This has been my virtual attempt at guilt reversal. My other and less valid guilt trip has been that I don't spend enough time with my children. In case you don't know I am now a stay at home mom. I spend virtually all waking time with my children. I have a 5 month old who doesn't go more than 2-3 hours in between feedings around the clock and yet I feel guilty that I don't spend enough time with my kids? There is no explanation other than: Guilt is a crazy beast, man. It can crawl inside your head and just set up shop. My guilt monster is pretty happy these days and quite frankly I need to kick his sorry ass to the curb. My plan to avoid baby book guilt is to just document the crap out of stuff here. The things that looking back my kids would want to know about. The funny things they say, the milestones, and even the times they drove me to the brink and back. Every time the guilt beast starts up I just remind myself that I CAN feel guilty about something but I don't have to. In the words of a dear old friend, you just don't have to believe everything you think. Amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lesson #5 Animals are weird....but so are we

One of my earliest childhood memories is a trip I must have taken to a zoo. I remember riding on some sort of double-decker tour bus and I distinctly remember feeling the wind in my hair. The bus stopped in front of the gorilla exhibit and the tour guide started to tell us about the gorillas. One gorilla, who was clearly the head honcho, had mostly gray hair. He was running back and forth in his cage. He wanted us to know he was pretty awesome. I think gorilla for awesome is running back in forth in your cage. Either way he was definitely strutting his stuff. Suddenly he stopped running and he cocked his head to the side as if he was listening to the tour guide. He then put his hand to his butt and proceeded to defecate in his hand. Its what memories are made of people. Gorillas, feces, you know, the good stuff. So Gramps the gorilla then takes said handful and starts to smell it, and then, wait for it......wait for it........takes a bite. I remember feeling so confused and baffled. What in the sam hell was this dude doing? Gramps's grand finale was to hurl said handful at the tour bus. Pretty sure that wasn't in the brochure but maybe I didn't read the back. I learned pretty clearly that day that animals can be really weird. I mean really weird. Over the years I have learned that people can be weirder. The thing is we are all weird. I am not saying we are all secretly shit slingers, pardon my French, but that really no one is immune from being human. We are all weird. It's true, some weirder than others, but weird none the less. I spent a lot of my teen and adults years thinking that I was the only one who was weird and that most people were normal. I thought for a very long time that people were effortlessly put together and as nice as pie first thing in the morning. For a time I struggled with feeling like a failure because I wasn't like everyone else. I didn't have shiny hair, I didn't look cute first thing in the morning, I would forget to floss, I looked retarded in skinny jeans, I didn't get jazz, and the list could just go on and on. Accepting that we all are human and therefore imperfect was a hard lesson for me to learn and one I am still learning. So every time you start to beat yourself up about being weird just remind yourself that as long as your not hurling human waste there are other beings in this world weirder than you, in fact being weird is probably more normal than you think!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Since when do turtles have hair?

You know how they say that people start to look like their pets? Or is it that people pick pets that look like them? Well either way I think Wes and his toy turtle are seeing the same hair stylist. While I am willing to suspend reality enough to allow for the turtle to have a mirror in his belly, I just can't get on board with the hair. Wes sure does love his little hairy turtle buddy though.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

File this under things I shouldn't have to say twice...or once

Ever have those moments where you can't really believe you just said that? I routinely find myself saying something and then thinking, "did that really just come out of my mouth?" Inevitably when you find yourself spouting random sentences at your little one someone is bound to be listening. Those people will invariably give you weird looks. Ignore them.

"We don't monkey with butts in this house!" (So people in other houses monkey with butts? What in the hell was I thinking on this one...I used the word butt AND I had just opened the window and I am sure someone on the block heard me holler this delightful number.)

"We don't lick fans." (brothers, socks, floors)

"No I didn't just poop, I said I AM pooped. Never mind. I'm tired.

"Let's not discuss your butt in Target."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Overheard in the Kelley household

Captain Safety: There are opportunities to move to pretty cool places. We could go to Copenhagen for 3 years!

Me: I don't want to move. I don't want to live in Copenhagen. I mean the kids would have to go to school in a foreign country.

Captain Safety: Jack do you want to move to Denmark?

Jack: Yeah, wait I need my shoes. (runs grabs shoes) Mom? You stay here mom, we going to Kenmark. Bye!

Sigh.....And no. We are NOT moving. Unless of course we are told we have to move. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life Lesson #4: Common sense....or lack there of

I just purchased my child a robot hamster. Or gerbil. I don't know what it does, or why it will be fun, but Jack seemed pretty interested in it and, well, they were on clearance. That and his birthday is coming up. See how I can find an excuse to do anything? The pictures on the box lead me to believe that my goal in purchasing said robotic rodent is to to build some sort of hamster armed forces. I knew the house was missing something but I just couldn't put my finger on it. There is also a warning label on it that cautions me to avoid playing with it near my hair. Well there goes my whole Saturday night. I was going to let the Zhu Zhu pet style my hair. Damn.

This can only end in disaster. You see, the truth is, I don't really have good luck with warning labels. I find them completely ridiculous and tend to ignore them. I pretty emphatically believe that you just have to use common sense in life. Want to get cranked on some Vicodin and joy ride on a tractor while sipping a Robitussin cocktail? Go for it but don't come whining back to me when you lose a leg-it's just common sense. Here is the thing: Sometimes I lack common sense which is why maybe I should use the warning labels as a reboot to my common sense meter. Take for instance the time I managed to get my entire face stuck to the side of an ice cream maker. You see I was handling the inner metal core of the machine which had been frozen solid for a week. I rinsed my hands and without thinking picked it up. Wham! Both hands were locked solid on that puppy. Lacking the ability to operate the sink I immediately had the ingenious idea to spit on my hands to free them. Sadly this just resulted in getting my mouth stuck on the machine too. I wildly looked around for someone or something to help get my face off the ice cream maker. Ok, wow, that was never a sentence I thought I would type in my life. My poor mother, who was on the phone with someone in Japan for business, was the lucky winner and I asked her to get me unstuck.

Me: “uhn... UHNNNNNNN....I dam duck.....het deeeeeeee (that's help me when you have your face stuck to something. Write this down, you might need it someday if you find yourself translating for someone in a similar predicament)

Mom: On the phone: “Oh! Um can you hold on a second?”
“HAHAHA what the?”

Commence dousing with kitchen sink sprayer. Thank goodness for sink sprayers. This did the trick and I was freed. I should have read the warning label. I should have just used some darn common sense. Lesson learned! Or wait, have I really learned that lesson? I just bought myself a robotic hamster that has the capability to leave me with bald patches. Get that Zhu Zhu pet away from my hair kid, that is one warning label that I might just be paying attention to.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Learn something simple. Lesson #3

Ok, so if you have been reading we are now up to life lesson numero tres. Thus far I have learned how to unclog a drain, but really, just cope with my hair. Additionally, I have accepted my complete inability to ambulate gracefully and for me the lesson has been to play to my strengths and just sort of get used to tripping over imaginary curbs. So basically the good news for you, is that if you're trapped on a desert island with me, I can unclog our imaginary drains and break my neck collecting our dinner of sea urchins. I'm also fairly certain that my hair could be fashioned into some sort of flotation device so we have that going for us too.

So on to lesson number three. While pregnant with Wes, (now 5 months) I was put on bed rest. Bed rest sounds romantic. It sounds relaxing. Its not. I was allowed to get up and pee but that was pretty much it. I did a lot of day dreaming about doing things while on bed rest. One particular day dream was what I would make my house look like once I got off of bed rest. I would fantasize that I would re-organize my linen closet, scrub my tub, vacuum for three hours straight etc. I was virtually nesting if you will. In one such day dream I decided once I was given the free and clear I would learn once and for all how to fold a damn fitted sheet. I mean, really, it can't be that hard, can it? So I googled You-Tube videos on folding fitted sheets. It had come to this my dear friends. Me, my couch, my laptop, and endless You-Tube videos of super chipper southern women showing me how to fold sheets. Pretty scary stuff. The medical community doesn't really educate you about this side effect of bed rest that's for damn sure. Bed sores? Dizziness? Yep those are talked about but not once was I warned that I would start obsessively tracking down how to fold things correctly. In one of the videos the woman instructing me says, "one of the biggest challenges you are going to face in your life is folding a fitted sheet." Really? Seriously? I think not. I took it as a challenge. So once I was cleared from bed rest I sat down to fold my first fitted sheet the correct way. I really don't recommend doing this nine months pregnant. The long and short of it was that I learned how to fold a fitted sheet and now when I open my linen closet I feel happy instead of crabby. I think learning how to do something simple, really well, can only serve to make you happier. Think about it. If you learn how to do something you have always wanted to be better at then every time you perform said task you are bound to feel better.

What are you wanting to master?

Curious about what video I watched? Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z5k9nWcuFc

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh how the mighty hath fallen....

Most pictures of Wes seem to indicate that his hair sort of has a mind of its own. It kind of does its own thing. It doesn't really like to follow rules or obey the basic laws of gravity. Its kind of a rebel like that. Honestly, I derive more joy from Wes's hair than is probably normal, but lets face it, its just fun to see what the heck his hair is doing on any given day. Talk about the circle of life, its like my hair legacy is complete. My children have hit the genetic jackpot so far on traits inherited from Mom. Crazy hair? Check. Inability to walk a straight line? Check, check.

Fast forward to this morning when I realized Wes's hair was looking decidedly like hair. It was doing a normal hair thing and just sitting on top of his head. It wasn't pulling an Alfalfa, wafting in the breeze, or swooping. I knew there would be a day when Wes's plumage would fall. What was once part partridge, part peacock, was now just minimal blue jay.

I decided to post today to pay tribute to the swoop that has defined my sweet baby's head for the last 5 months but in some sort of weird and eerie twist the swoop has revived itself-while writing this post. Its as if it can hear my inner most thoughts, or read my blog, or maybe, just maybe, you just can't hold this kids hair down.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

3 going on 83

Jack's latest string of excuses at bedtime. I am not making this up. I just couldn't even come up with the random assortment of reasons why he needs to delay falling asleep. I have taken the liberty of estimating the average age of someone who utters these phrases.

1: My eyeball hurts (85)
2: My back hurts (73)
3: The smoke detector is beeping (PS it wasn't) (3 or a deaf 78 year old-your choice)
4: My shoes aren't in the closet (3)
5: You left the closet door open when you put the shoes away (3)
6: I picked the wrong CD and need to put in different music (3)
7: I'm wearing the wrong pajamas (3)
8: I have to play two more levels because I am about to beat this game (18)

Preparing Jack's bed for his bedtime is an elaborate ritual in and of itself. I am quite certain that with just a quick glance even a novice psychologist would conclude that the bed belongs to someone with a raging case of OCD. Let me be clear. Jack does not have OCD, but like many other almost three year olds, needs his surroundings to be a certain way. The right pajamas need to be worn, his pieces of flair (IE: 42 stuffed animals) need to be appropriately arranged, the right amount of tissues need to be present and easily locatable, his sippy cup must be full of water, pillow appropriately fluffed, closets shut, door to the room open, books in alphabetical order arranged by category. Ok, so I made that last one up, but you get the idea. I'll give him points for creativity but that's about it.

According to my latest mathematical calculations and based on his average use of the above excuses my best estimate is that Jack is actually 104.

What excuses from your little one drive you nuts?

Friday, June 10, 2011

In my head I am a really good dancer.

In my head I am a really good dancer. I can tap dance, samba, do a little ballet and on really good days I can bust out a fierce Irish step dance. In real life I am movement challenged. I could trip and break an ankle just getting out of bed. In fact, I routinely walk into my bedroom wall on the way to the bathroom. Its just that things (IE: walls) kind of creep up on me. I would be lying if I told you that I haven't fallen into a couple of bushes in this lifetime. Once I was walking into work and the strap on my flip flop broke which of course sent me reeling into a large hedge. The hardest part wasn't the fall. It wasn't that someone had witnessed my fall, or that the only thing they could think to say was, "Oh wow...WOW," it was trying to get out of the bush. You can't really get out of a bush gracefully. People will tell you that you can do anything with grace, but they're full of it. Take for instance the time that I managed to tear my left quad putting away a monopoly game. Yes you heard that correctly. I just stooped to put the game away and BAM I was screaming, “man down.” I don't know that I can accurately capture the humiliation of being taken out of your living room on a stretcher because of a Monopoly injury, but friends, I have felt that shame. My dear husband insisted 911 was the only course of action to take. I still haven't forgiven 'Captain Safety.'

So I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that Jack has inherited my intense inability to coordinate limbs when in motion. Tonight Jack wanted to add some water to our backyard pond. We indulged him and let him monkey with the hose for a bit. I then told him it was time to put the hose away because the small pond was full. REALLY full. He didn't want to listen to what I had to say and started to jump up and down and screaming. Come to think of it, it sort of looked like Irish step dancing, only with a lot more yelling. Before you know it, Jack is butt first in the pond. I have never wanted to say, "see, I told you so," more in my life but I restrained myself and fished him out. Life lesson number 42: Do not jump, stomp, or even yell near any standing water. Sorry Jack, we're just not coordinated enough to pull it off. Trust me, I have been in a couple of bushes. I know these things.

Do you have something you wish your kids DIDN'T inherit from you?

Time marches on

Jack is learning the concept of time. He is struggling to learn that time is defined only by certain numbers. This morning he said in earnest, "open your eyes mom its 3:89." I told him it was 6 and that it was too early to wake up. He didn't really like my answer.

Yesterday he woke up after his nap and asked why it wasn't darker out. I told him that it doesn't get darker until its later in the day and he said, "well mom it needs to get nighter out."

Me thinks someone wasn't ready to wake up from his nap.

My name is Lily and I have hair trauma

I have a weird relationship with my hair. I used to have really bad hair. I mean REALLY bad hair. It was short which made the hair in the back really straight and the hair in the front super curly. People often thought I was a guy. Are you a boy or a girl isn't really a question you want to field at any time in your life. I used to have a hair dresser who would wildly exclaim after cutting my hair, “don't be afraid to fluff it up!” I had a bad 80's mom 'do and I was only 13. I didn't really want big fluffy hair. I wanted normal hair. You know, hair you can just throw up in a pony tail and with no effort at all look chic and polished. So now, I am pretty attached to having longer hair, but my hair is just nuts. My children are straight up scared of my hair. If I wear my hair down Jack will usually say, “Mom put that hair away.” It's big, bushy and it gets everywhere. I pick long strands off of the baby's hands, find hair stuck to my sock, find balls of it in the dryer vents; its just epic. It's a hair-pocalypse, people. If you have hair like mine you know that the drain is your worst enemy. I am pretty sure that if a beaver found just two strands of my hair it would be so excited it would give its beaver buddies little beaver high fives. Just two strands of my hair and the dam would be complete. Air tight. Nothing would break through that bad Larry. Entire wigs could be fashioned out of the hair I pull from my drain. Gross? Totally. Because my hair endeavors to take over my house like creeping Ivy I perform a little drain maintenance every month to keep clogs at bay. I take some baking soda and pour it down all of my drains. I then chase it with vinegar and get excited because it bubbles up. Fizzy stuff is pretty awesome. If you have hair like mine you are going to want to use liberal amounts of both baking soda and vinegar. I let that hang out for awhile and then chase it with some really hot water. If its a shower or tub drain I will sometimes pour boiling water down if I am in the mood. Don't use the boiling water though if you have older pipes. Its bad. I don't know why, but it is. This little 7th grade science experiment, turned drain maintenance technique, has saved me a lot of work (and chemicals) over the last couple of years. It was my first thought when I asked myself what I had learned over the last 30 years.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I am now an adult....please hold all applause until the end of our program

This is not a test. This is not a dress rehearsal. I am now a full fledged adult.
I have the bills, kids, marriage and age to prove it. I can no longer flirt with the idea that I am a "young" mom. It seems silly that turning one year older would really make any huge difference. It seems silly that turning 30 would somehow make me feel older or wiser but the truth is that in a weird way it does. Except that I just feel older. Not wiser. I couldn't stop asking myself, "Lily, what the heck have you learned about life in the last 30 years?" My first response to said voice inside my head was, "I know how to unclog a drain using baking soda!" The voice was not content with this proclamation and so I had the idea to document 30 things I have learned over the last 30 years. So here it is all trapped in a bloggy blog for your viewing pleasure. The truth is I have been thinking about writing for awhile. When I say awhile I mean a realllllly long time. The problem has always been me. You see whenever I think of the idea of writing on a blog I sort of internally cringe. Who would want to know what the hell I am thinking about? Why would anyone care to hear from me? So I am turning that idea on its head and convincing myself that this is just a vessel to capture life's moments-the good, the bad, the indifferent.