Monday, January 31, 2011

some items for your consideration, the sixth edition

  1. I am the mother of an 8 year-old. Yes, I did see this one coming, but wow, man. This means I'm very nearly halfway through with Intensive Parenting, and sometimes I don't know if I'm scoring or flunking.
  2. The cramps.  I have not had cramps in, well, approximately nine years.  But today I have cramps, and holy WAAAAAAAHHHHHH, people.  It's like a contraction.  THAT NEVER ENDS.  But not as bad as a contraction, except for the part where IT NEVER ENDS.  
  3. And in an epic case of bad timing, I have decided to cut the gluten from my diet this week.  This will eventually work out, but right now the emotional eater in me wants to have at some doritos.
  4. I got new glasses.  And new contacts, which the doctor almost wouldn't prescribe for me because I'm a Contact Abuser.  You know you're a real piece of work, contact-wise, when the doctor at the flipping WA.LM.ART gives you a hard time about being a piece of work.
  5. I look exceptionally toothy here, and my hair is kind of a disaster.
    Aren't I  just like a woman to say that?
  6. Miss O got her first pair of glasses.  Pictures soon, I promise.  The computer has become unnaturally fond of my camera card and will not eject it.  Tee hee.  Good one, computer.  This is why I hate you.
  7. HB and I got to spend some quality time at the doctor's office and in the X-Ray and Lab Work Center at our local hospital.  No, he does not have pneumonia, and yes, he did rather enjoy his chest x-ray, thank you very much.
  8. We took a multi-family trip to the Strong National Museum of Play last week, where I got into a conversation with one of the employees about Bacon Jam and Peanutella.  Because I cannot help myself, that's why.  Also, I received a dirty look whilst breastfeeding my large baby who is almost two in my Boba Carrier, despite the fact that not a peep of skin was exposed.  Oddly enough, the hairy eyeball came from the companion of a woman who literally exposed six inches of her ass crack every time she sat down and bent over.  And no, no tramp stamp.  Also no evidence of undergarments.  You're welcome.
  9. Elliott learned how to say cocoa.  We're all very proud.
  10. demonstrating his own personal sign language for "drink".
    and grinning madly, because, hello! hot cocoa!
  11. Wee Man has taught himself to read.  I cannot remember if I've shared this little tidbit with you yet, so whoopsie if I have.  One day, we were sitting at the kitchen table.  I was knitting madly, as I am wont to do whilst homeschooling and not beating my children, and the people were doing math.  (Saxon grade 1 for Wee Man, Saxon grade 3 for Miss O, in case you were wondering.)  And out of nowhere, I hear, Color the squares blue. Color the triangles yellow.  Draw an X on the circle.  Well.  How about that.
  12. There are some things brewing at the homestead that are not quite Suitable For The Interwebs, well, not just yet anyway.  No, there are no babies brewing.  I figure I had better address that specifically, because I know how you people are.  Regardless, we'd appreciate any prayers and kind thoughts you would care to toss our way.  And yes, I will tell you if you email me, and then it will all make sense.

Friday, January 28, 2011

today, tomorrow, too

It is quiet and I sit alone
And I wait
And nothing happens.
Nothing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

snap judgments

I do not have to words to describe how very tired I am of The Great Amy Chua As Tiger Mother Debate.  To say that I am completely and utterly over the whole flipping thing is not accurate enough.  

Amy Chua didn't write a parenting manual, she wrote a memoir.  She shared vignettes of her family life.  Little snapshots of a couple of things that happened behind closed doors, when nobody was looking.  That's gutsy.  And what makes it even more gutsy is that the tales she tells are not flattering at all when taken out of context, which is exactly what the Happy-Go-Jump-To-Conclusions American Public are wont to do.

Snap.

Most of these Happy-Go-Jumpers who are up in arms over how Amy Chua parents her children don't know any more about Amy Chua and her family than has been posted in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Time Magazine.

Snap.

The thing is, Amy Chua is real.  She told the truth about her parenting style, her successes and her failures.  The woman OWNED HER FAILURES, which is not an easy thing to do.  It's even more difficult to stand up and proclaim your failures to an angry mob who are shouting so loudly that they cannot even hear the punchline. Punchline is only somewhat the wrong word here; Chua's story is not a joke.

Amy Chua didn't write anything remotely revolutionary, in fact, I think she did the exact same thing that the rest of us bloggers do every.single.day.  She's practically a mommy blogger, for Pete's sake.  She wrote about  life, parenting, relationships... just like me.  That's what I write about.

Snap.

The thing about parenting, and life, too, really, is that there are an infinite number of choices.  When I was a kid, I had every last Choose Your Own Adventure book.  If Suzy turns left, go to page 42.  If Suzy turns right, go to page 89.  And no matter how many choices the reader faced throughout the course of the book, the possible endings were few. 

With parenting, there are really only two outcomes.  Outcome 1: your child turns into a social pariah and does not behave responsibly; Outcome 2: your child turns into a responsible adult.  

So what if Amy Chua turns to page 42 and I turn to page 89, if both of us are raising people who will become responsible adults?  Why should it matter?  Doesn't everybody win if we parents do our jobs and grow fabulous people who will rule the world with wisdom and kindness and creativity and love?  

I would love it if everybody would shut up about Amy Chua.  She does her best.  She admits her failures.  She celebrates her victories.  And lucky for us, she wrote a book in which she clearly states what works for her and what doesn't.  But it's not just about what works.  It's about the working.  And that, I think, is the whole point.

***
don't forget.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

the precise science of forgetting to eat

Here's how it happens, and I'm only going to tell you this one time.  I will use the elusive cup of hot coffee as my example.

Get out of bed.  Get other people out of bed.  Wipe bottoms.  Use the bathroom, wipe own bottom.  Wash hands brush teeth possibly wash face.  Get dressed.  Get other people dressed.  Shag crabby non-morning-person-offspring out of bed.  Go downstairs.  Put water on for coffee.

I have a French Press.  You must heat the water with an actual water-heating device in order for there to be coffee.  Moving on.

Empty French Press.  Make oatmeal for the short people.  Milk oatmeal butter raisins brown sugar wait no raisins for me! I want raisins. I didn't want raisins I HATE RAISINS YOU FORGOT BUTTER.  Beatings.

Grind coffee put grounds in French Press. Kettle screams.

 Baby drops spoon.  Bigger short people drop spoons to encourage teh stupids. Oprah moment: NEW SPOONS FOR EVERYBODY!!!!! Put dirty spoons on counter. 

Pour hot water on coffee grounds.  Empty dishwasher so short people can put dirty dishes in dishwasher. Remove baby from dishwasher.  Help short people clean up breakfast. Walk 4 year old to preschool. Start school with 5 & 7 year old. Remove baby from kitchen counter.  

Pour cup of cold coffee.  Put coffee in microwave.  Remove baby from dryer.  Continue with schooling oldest two children.  Fetch 4 year old from preschool.  Continue schooling oldest 2 children.  Remove baby from kitchen table.

Remember pouring cup of coffee, walk around the house searching for mug. Remove baby from microwave.  Thank baby for finding coffee.  Close microwave door, actually heat up cup of coffee.

Make ninety-eleven peanut butter sandwiches but not with the homemade peanut butter for the girlchild because EEEEWWWWW!!!! NO SHORTENING IN THE KIND MAMA MAKES!!!!!  And also apple boats but not for Wee Man because dude inhales those things whole.  Re-start microwave.

Help short people clean up lunch dishes. Remove baby from counter.  Change baby's diaper.  Pre-nap nursing.  Put baby in bed.  Notice overflowing baskets of laundry.  Grab one, take it downstairs.  Start a load of laundry.  Quiet time for big boys.  Finish schooling slower-than-molasses girlchild.  

Notice lights blinking on microwave, indicating that the coffee has, in fact, been reheated.  And is, once again, cold.  Re-reheat coffee.  Stand next to microwave despite all medical evidence.  Watch the clock tick backwards.  Immediately retrieve horrible, over-re-heated coffee.  Add half and half, some brown sugar. 

Take a big gulp.  Burn tongue.  Set coffee on kitchen table.  Move laundry to dryer.  Start another load of laundry.  Reading time.  Cuddle on couch to read to the short people.  Play a game.  Pass out.

***********
did you leave a comment to get yourself a $40 gift card to CSN stores?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

free money, yo.

Last month, or last year, or sometime before I got the haircut that I had before I just got the new haircut, I partnered with CSN Stores to give one of you lucky people a sweet gift certificate.  Which is great, because GIFT CERTIFICATE = FREE MONEY.  Right?  Right.

And to change things up, or warm things up (NEGATIVE TEN DEGREES last night, people), We're giving away another gift certificate to CSN Stores.  

Forty bucks.  That's $40 when you write it with actual numbers.  Pretty freaking sweet.

Especially considering that they have ninety-eleven gazillion products.  You can find almost everything there, y'all.    If you were looking for furniture, because perhaps your five year old fancies himself a mountain goat and crashed through your ottoman, you'd have choices beyond your wildest imaginings.  Traditional furniture? Yup.  Modern furniture?  Got it.  On wheels?  Sure.  No wheels?  Alrighty then.

How do you win?  Leave a comment here, and be sure to include your email address, because I'm feeling lazy, and if the winner has no easily-findable email address, I'm picking somebody else.  We'll be using the hat method again because it's super fun.

Comment it up, yo.  And give the link a clickety-click.  Game over February 1st.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

ten tips to ruin the life of your 22 month old, hope this helps

  1. change the diaper more than, say, once a day
  2. walk out of the room
  3. shower with the curtain closed
  4. thwart attempt to push kitchen chair toward counters
  5. thwart attempt to use dishwasher door as a diving board
  6. pretty much thwart anything
  7. remove his mouth from the cat's tail
  8. cuddle, hug, or otherwise demonstrate affection for any other person
  9. utilize car seat
  10. offer actual food at mealtimes, and not chocolate
*please note, these are in no particular order, and you will achieve enormous amounts of success by employing these tried-and-true methods*

Friday, January 21, 2011

i'm just going to call this as i see it. i know, you're all shocked and stuff.

A little bit ago, I posted a whine-ity-whine-whine post and you all gave me ideas to write about.  Which was an immense help, as you can see from the way I'm totally cluttering up your reader this week.  So thanks, and you're welcome.

Jennifer asked me if I have any good recipes to help her use up all the jars of unwanted baby food.  And as luck would have it, I DO!!!  

Here's Pamela's Most Outstanding Recipe For Getting Rid of Baby Food:
  1. Gather up all the jars of baby food. 
  2. Check the expiration dates to be sure none of it has gone gross.
  3. Take it to the nearest food pantry for needy folks, and drop it off.
Because OH MY STINKING HECK.  Blogga, please.  Do not foul up your baking by putting that nasty paste in it.  There is no way on God's Green that adding the Gerber Strained Beans to anything is going to help or encourage your people to eat it.  And if your people are anything like my people?  They will feel like you have betrayed them by putting the vegetables into the chocolate.

But seriously, when you take into consideration the amount of effort that goes into opening the jar, scraping out the contents, rinsing the jar, walking to the recycle bin... is it a good use of time?  Maybe not.  And the nutritive value of those overcooked former vegetables being cooked yet again?  How many times can a vegetable be cooked and processed and still retain any value?  My guess is once, but I am no expert.

And since I'm calling things what they are, I was contacted to review a book by a happy-happy-love-myself author.  I said I'd read the book, which I found to be not at all in alignment with the beliefs and values of my household, and so I did not implement a single solitary idea into the fabric of our lives.  I've been putting the PR people off for a while, but really?  The book was not helpful to me.  The tone was annoying.  It was not at all well-written.  Thumbs down.

Also thumbs down?  I received a nursing cover to review.  I don't actually use a nursing cover, because I wear the nursing tanks to cover my baby house, and I wear a shirt over my nursing tank to cover up the Workers.  But.  I know mamas who would love a nursing cover, so I got the thing to pass along.  The manufacturer claims that it's wonderful, high quality fabric, and the design is SO! USEFUL!  The fabric is light and transparent.  Seriously transparent, to cover up the bo.obies, how useful!  I can't even begin to discuss the design flaws, because the thing is a complete disaster.  And they want to get $40 for these things.  Sorry, people, but I can't promote that crap here.

Coming soon: How to Ruin the Life of Your 22 Month Old, and The Precise Science of Forgetting To Eat.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

file this under... MAYBE NOT SUCH A GOOD IDEA, AFTER ALL

I'm pretty much through with winter.  Not *all* of winter, mind you, just the part where the short people are in the house for approximately 99.9% of the day, and engage in absolutely non-witty banter and also bludgeoning one another with foam swords or other actual blunt objects.

people against dirty?
not any more.

In order to facilitate a relatively quietish afternoon, I poured blue food coloring in an empty spray bottle, filled it with water, capped that sucker, and handed it to the Wee Man.  I poured yellow food coloring in another empty spray bottle, filled it with water, capped it, and handed it to HB.  

look at me i'm magic i make color
The rules?  Not at the house and not at people.  Please note I forgot to mention the chickens.  I do apologize for not giving you a photo of our big, formerly snow-white Brahma.  But it was after dark when I learned that she now looks like the result of Papa Smurf's drunken rampage in the hen house.


purty blue snow.
I bet some of you are thinking, Wow. She put yellow food coloring in a bottle for her kid to spray on the snow.  It probably looks like a pack of wild dogs "marked" her front lawn.  And you'd be sort of correct.  Thankfully, the whole YELLOW PLUS BLUE EQUALS GREEN thing still applies, and Wee Man helped to correct the situation.
smurfy mcgee
I'm not quite sure why there are no pictures of the other two hooligans involved in this escapade, but be assured that they, too, are quite colorful.  HB looks like he has a deadly case of the jaundice, and Miss O is sort of polka-dotty.  

It's possible, likely even, that I went a little overboard with the food coloring, but it was nothing a little borax and steel wool can't fix.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Photo Basis. Because Mark Asked.

It may have happened that you missed my previous, most highly interesting post, and the lovely comments that followed it.  

Too bad for you.

Not really, though, because Imma Gonna Sum-Up:  Wah, wah, wah, I've got nothing, give me something.  So Mark says:
Alright. Maybe you already did this before I caught wind of you and your Blog but I want to know more about your pictures/camera/how you edit them, blah blah blah... Yes, I want all the details. I need to step it up. I like my pictures but I'm overwhelmed when it comes to Photoshop or anything like that.Oh! And call the Post, "Photo basis. Because Mark asked". Now get on that! 
Your Friend, m.

Dear Friend M, I shoot with a Sony Alpha 300.  I started with a Sony Alpha 200, but I shoved my camera in my bag with an apparently leaky water bottle, and had the good forethought to purchase the extended warranty, and now I have a 300.  I purchased it because a) I shoot for fun; b) the price was more right than, say, a Nikon or a Canon; and c) the reviews indicated that the Sony shot just as well for amateurish photos as the aforementioned brands.

And I am very happy with the camera.

I really do not know anything about shooting manually, and most of the time, I am shooting my children and Lord knows you just don't always have time to load your musket when shooting children, and that the automatic rifle is WAY MORE EFFICIENT.

Oh wait.  I'm not talking about guns.  I'm talking about a camera.

I really do not know anything about shooting manually, and most of the time I am shooting my children and Lord knows you just don't always have time to mess with ISO and aperture and light meters and finding the right blahblahblah.

That said, I do play around with aperture size, white balance, and a few other options.

As far as editing goes, I pretty much don't.  Sometimes before I post a picture here, I will tag it with a little the dayton time, but most of the time I don't.  Sometimes I upload a picture to Picnik and zap a red eye or two, or do some cropping, but most of the time I don't.

I know.  Superty exciting.

I shoot, I save or delete (but mostly delete), and I show you.  Or I don't.

And that is how I do the pictures. 

See?  Not at all tagged with the dayton time.
And not edited.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

awesomely titled post

I want to talk!  And tell you about the THINGS! and the STUFF!!! And it's not like I have a shortage of material, because I don't, but I don't want to turn this into a blog about all the weird things my boys say about their, well, Best Friends.  

And that's Best Friends in air quotes, if you didn't get that the first time.

So.  I beg you.  I beseech you.  I plead with the dedication of a soon-to-be eight year-old who does not want to do her schoolwork before three in the afternoon.

Ask me something.

Did I start a story here that I did not finish?  Have I mentioned something in passing that made you do the tilty-head-squinty-eye thing?  Or is there something you just want me to tell you about?  

Because I will tell you.

Except if it's one of those things I don't talk about here, in which case I will just tell you that, and possibly email you (supposing your email address is enabled in your commenting profile) later and tell you what you want to know, or part of what you want to know.

And yes.  This is me asking you to help me write.  Because I need to write something, anything, but my fingers caught the tongue-tied and it's powerful bad.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

some items for your consideration, number five

  1. In the past week and a half, I have knit more than half a sweater instead of fighting with a certain daughter about homeschooling.  
  2. I hate our kitchen chairs.  I have come to this conclusion after spending truly excessive amounts of time sitting in one whilst homeschooling a certain daughter.
  3. I do not aspire to spend truly excessive amounts of time sitting at my kitchen table, homeschooling or otherwise.  But the gauntlet has been thrown down, and far be it from me to stand at the kitchen table when the gauntlet has been thrown.
  4. Elliott walked up to me as I was about to put my pajamas on, slapped me on the backside and announced "BUTT".  Hooray for new vocabulary words.  
  5. I have taken more migraine meds this week than I have since I got the prescription.  I'm thinking the Time Of The Month in combination with Totally Stressful Schooling of A Certain Child might have something to do with this.
  6. I won a little photo contest. Neato.
  7. Wee Man's Announcement of the Week:  Sis is older than me, but she's *way*skinnier than me, so I can clobber her easily if I want to.  So I've noticed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

updatery

The storm is passing, and the seas are leveling considerably.
The sun, that elusive minx, flashed us a little bit here and there.
There is less water seeping in between the cracks and
working its way to my lungs.
The mutineers are losing steam, and the not-so-familiar
scritch-scritch
of pencils can be heard for hours any given day.
The deck is getting a daily swab
And the laundry is as caught up as it will ever be.
Because really.
Some things never change.