Monday, March 4, 2013

Post-Apocolyptic Pruynes

Ok, maybe the title is a wee bit dramatic.  But it's been quite the few days at the homestead.  The blog hasn't been updated in a few days not because I [already] lost enthusiasm for the idea (though that wouldn't be unheard of), but because Juliet got very sick, with pneumonia :(

Last Wednesday started out as a great day because it was a snow day.  I thought that nothing could possibly make snow days better than they are ("Hey, the weather's crap.  Don't risk it.  Stay home.  Yeah, you'll still get paid").  But that was before the local TV station initiated a program where they will text you if the school you register under has a weather-related closing or delay.  Remember back when you had to listen to the radio, and they only read it every 15 minutes, and you pretty much invariably missed the part of the alphabet that contained your school?  Being able to see it on TV made that so much better, then you could look it up online, and NOW?!  You don't even have to wake up!  Just listen for the buzz, squint at the phone, and go back to sleep.

Apparently, though, part of the "not-waking-up" thing means you don't wake up enough to tell your spouse that there's a snow day.  So he wakes up in a panic attack at 6:30 and asks if there's a snow day or not.  Then you have this conversation (although this is heresay, because I don't remember it):

Terry:  It's 6:30!  Is there school?
Me: Of course there's school!
Terry: There is?  Then we have to get up!
Me:  No, we don't!  There's no school!

He says it's that sort of thing that makes his life challenging.

Regardless of the challenge, he let me sleep late (yay!).  When I woke up, the girls and I did a project.

It was supposed to look like this (click the image for the tutorial):

The girls were excited.  Elizabeth was very precise; Juliet, not so much.


But they had a lot of fun, and some bonding time.  They were very proud of their final products:
It was difficult to convince Elizabeth that the puffs shouldn't extend
all the way around the plate, a la Amish beard.  And Juliet's looks kind
of like a creaturefrom Greek mythology with hundreds of eyes. 
But she's creative.  Like Picasso.

The fun day continued when Elizabeth and I decided to make pizza, complete with homemade dough.  All right, it was from a mix.  But that's ok.
We make pizza often, but usually use the premade crusts.  This time, we went old school.

She liked tossing it.  And me singing "It's Amore."  But only the verse about the moon hitting your eye like a big pizza pie.  I sang just that verse because that's really the only one approriate for making pizza dough.  Also, because it's the only one I know.

Then, our happy fun snow day abruptly went south when I took Juliet up for her nap.  I was rocking her, thinking that she felt a little warm, when my sweet little baby suddenly morphed into Linda Blair.  I don't want to be too graphic, but I was able to immediately tell everything she'd eaten for the last, oh, 1.5 years, because it was decorating my shirt.

We made it to the tub and cleaned up.  Elizabeth was helpful big sister in charge, but the downward spiral had begun.  By three o'clock it was clear we had a very sick baby.  By four o'clock I'd called in sick for Thursday, and made an appointment for the next day with the pediatrician.  She had an awful fever most of the night, and spent a good chunk of it with me, expressing her displeasure very clearly.

She wasn't much more pleased the next day when we got to the doctor's.  In fact, she expressed her disapproval quite clearly:

She was having No. Part. of anyone.

The appointment was pure hell.  I love our doctor, which made it marginally better.  But she needed a chest X-ray, which, for someone her size, means being strapped into this plexi-glass Iron Maiden-esque contraption complete with leather straps and permanent emotional trauma.  She wailed like she were being killed, and it was tragic for us all.  Including the X-ray techs, who apologized profusely for about 15 minutes.  They offered her a sticker to try to make amends, but she totally rejected it.  Stickers do not make up for the indignity of being strapped into a transparent torture device, apparently..  When we got the confirmation from the X-ray that it was pneumonia, we had to do a breating treatment in the office, then go wait for about 628 years at the pharmacist, and finally fight our way home.

She was the saddest, sickest little bug.  She's normally super perky, active and happy, but for about 36 hours, she was this:

However, after three doses of antibiotic, four breathing treatments, and a better (though still not fabulous) night's sleep, she returned to this:

I know there's debate about the over-use of antibiotics, but anything that takes my girl from photo A to photo B in less than 24 hours is a miracle in my book.

Juliet's doing much better, though she sounds awful and is tired easily.  She's also learned to say a very clear "No!" in the last week.  It's kind of cute, but she she says it a lot.  A lot.  Also, she hasn't learned "Yes," yet, so she uses "No" in both situations, which causes confusion, to say the least. 

So.  A few lessons from the last few days:

  1. Snow days post-kids are VERY different from snow days pre-kids.
  2. If you're going to use spray-on adhesive on a paper plate project, keep the bag of googly eyes well away from the one-year-old.
  3. When said one-year-old needs a chest X-ray, the mother should be provided with wine.
  4. Homemade pizza crust is a pain to roll out and will never be round.  But your husband will think that you allowed the four-year-old to make it that shape, and approve of your encouraging, non-perfectionist mothering style.  You should go with that.
  5. Antibiotics are awesome.
  6. When the throwing-up happens, go right for the Febreeze.  Do not wait several hours, thinking that cleaning up the mess will suffice for an air freshening situation.  It will not.
  7. It is terribly sad when little ones are sick, but the cuddles - the cuddles are amazing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two for Tuesday

Today I found that, while I haven't been to Delaware in many years, apparently my credit card took a mini vacation there over the weekend.

I went out to lunch with some friends, and my credit card was declined.  I was annoyed, because the credit card company's Fraud Protection Service seems determined to always protect me from my lunch.  I don't go to Panera Bread anymore unless I have cash, because every.single.time I go there, my card gets shut off.  So, when my card was declined, in front of my friends and a long line of people, I thought that HSBC had determined that I was also to be protected from Indian food.

When I got back and called in, however, I found that there were several fradulent charges on my card.  One for some random Chinese buffet.  One from Rite Aid.  Two from Giant Foods.

This was distressing on two counts.

One, someone had gotten ahold of my credit card and used it for their own nefarious purposes.  If the credit card company wasn't so on the ball, protecting me from scammers as well as sandwiches, this could have been a Big Problem.

Two...even my stolen identity, doppelganger, shadow self isn't very interesting.  The Chinese Buffet?  Rite Aid?  The grocery store - twice in one day? 


I feel that if I'm to have an alternate identity, at least that identity should be interesting.  Shady.  If someone is going to use my credit card without my permission, I want it put to good use.  Not toothpaste and air fresheners at Rite Aid.

So, after all that excitement, I was primed for some good at-home time.

And did Elizabeth ever deliver.

After a shaky start, she suddenly morphed into this helpful, sunshiny, cleaning-up, little sister loving angel child.

She picked up all her little sister's books.  She helped sort and hang up clothes.  She picked up all her books, and the toys in her bedroom, and put things away in the correct place. 

I don't know what happened, but I liked it.

Then, both girls threw pretty much the most awesome tea party in the history of history.  Its awesomeness was compounded because I got to lie on Elizabeth's bed, while they ran back and forth with little plastic Disney dishes and teapots, dispensing imaginary beverages and birthday cake (and rice.  A meal isn't a meal without rice in this house). 

The food was, of course, pretend.  But, since one of the beverages fetched for me was "Real milk, choco moo juice, apple juice and crystal cold water, all mixed together," that's probably more than ok.

Food alone does not a tea party make, however.  Elizabeth provided musical entertainment, with a rendition of what may be my new favorite song: "Mommy is the Best," to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell."  Juliet followed up with a show-stopping version of "Mama mama maaaaama."  Only one word, but oddly compelling.  The show closed with a dance number that contained "Kissing Bits."  Kissing bits are breaks in the action where the dancer runs to the audience and kisses them.  I like Kissing Bits.  I think Bon Jovi should add them to his concerts.  That would motivate me to shell out $1K+ for front row seating.

After all the excitement, though, it was hard to wait for dinner.  Juliet decided to take matters in to her own hands.

That is parmesean cheese. She got the
container open, poured some on the plate,
and ate it with a spoon while waiting
for dinner. I probably should have
taken it away, but I didn't. I brought her
olives. It's OK.
Helpful, hyper girl stayed for dinner.  Her dinner, though, gave her Hopping Hiccups.  Hopping hiccups are much cooler than normal hiccups, because you don't just hiccup, you also hop. 
Hopping is even cooler when your shoes glow.
I have a theory.  My theory is that my Delware identity thief set in motion some kind of large-scale, Freaky Friday-esque chain of events.  When they took my credit card and used it for evil (evil groceries, evil personal care items), that bad karma caused some of the negatives from my life to transfer to them, so they had to absorb it along with my plastic.  As a result, they sucked away the whiny, cry-y, temper tantrum craziness that has been littering our homestead, and I was left with Happy Hopping Hiccups girl and musical entertainment at my reclining tea party.
No tantrums, assigning herself chores and willingly allowing her sister to watch the cartoons she wants?  That's worth a little credit card fraud any day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stay-Home Sunday

Eldest daughter likes to declare "Everybody Stay Home" days.  On these days...well, everybody stays home.  Usually we stay in jammies for a long time, and often the pillows go on the floor (which usually means I get bashed in the face repeatedly while playing on the ground), and nowhere near the amount of housecleaning that should go on is accomplished.

Today, we made cookies.  Despite the fact that my Pinterest cookie recipe board has 216 pins, each recipe delectable and beautiful and unique, we made the recipe on the back of the bag of butterscotch chips.  And that's...OK. 

The recipe is included below, not out of a desire to show off our wonderful bag-reading skills, but in the interest of preserving the recipe somewhere easily accessible, so the next time, when I open the bag stupidly and chips fly everywhere and the bag is torn right across the text so we can't read what heat to cook them at or how many cups of oatmeal should be included, we will know right where to find them.

The picture is blurry.  The hair isn't
brushed.  But she's got the beater with
the cookie batter, and the KitchenAid
batters don't require evil tongue  Olymics to get
 the batter off, so all is well.
Oatmeal Scotchies, From the Bag:

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups oats
1 bag butterscotch chips
(our addition, to make it original enough to put on the internet): 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (more drives Elizabeth "nuts" apparently, so we quit there).

Mix the wet stuff.  Add the dry stuff.  Scoop by teaspoons onto cookie sheets.

According to the directions, they should bake for 7-9 minutes or 8-10, depending on the desired level of chewiness.  Since our oven is the Psycho Inferno of Evil, the first batch cooked for 17 minutes and was barely done, and the second burned in 8 minutes.  I really wish that I was joking.

Lots of playing happens on "Everybody Stay Home" days.  Today, the girls decided that they were insects:

Elizabeth was a ladybug for Halloween '11,
and a "Queen Bumblebee" for
Halloween '12.  Apparently, it's only
dressing up if you're a bug.

Yes, she is eating Gerber toddler raviolis.  I know they have preservatives.
 It's OK.

Juliet is hovering on the edge of a language explosion.  Today's new words include umbrella, a very emphatic NO (not exactly new, but newly vehement), Victoria (her middle name), and McStuffins (as in, Doc McStuffins).  We've discovered search-and-find books, and they rock.

So, "Everybody Stay Home" Sunday wasn't bad.  I predict it will beat "Get Up Early and Go Out in the Freezing Cold to Go To Work at an Absurdly Early Hour" Monday by a long shot.

World's Okayest Mom

I can't find anything but pictures of this, but if anyone
 knows where to order it, please send me the link
(both for attribution purposes and so that I can buy them in bulk).
Over the last week or two, this picture has been taking the internet by storm.  Searching for the original picture/source, I found approximately one hundred eighty seven zillion and twelve (give or take a few zillion) blog posts, comments, Facebook reposts, Pinterest pins and more, all glorying in the fact that IT IS OK TO BE OK!!  More than ok.  Coffee mug worthy, even.  And if it's on a coffee mug, it must be cool.

One of my very good friends posted it the other day, and it's been lurking in my mind ever since.

I have always wanted to be the Best Mom Ever.  The one with the clean house and inventive recipes and well-behaved children and gifts for the daycare providers (oops, did I forget those again?) and all the requiste pieces of Best-ness.  I have the Best Kids Ever, no debate.  So they deserve the Best Mom Ever.

However, they've got me.  They could certainly have worse.  I have never beaten anyone with a clothes hanger, or - to date - even made someone who stamped up the stairs walk correctly up them 50 times (ahem, Pop Pop).  But I don't know how to sew, and I do not have angelic patience, nor do I strictly insist on brushing hair on weekends, and we don't have a chore chart, and more than one meal has been eaten in front of the TV and so on and on and on...

But... Okay Moms are OK with all those things.  I'm OK.  You're OK.  A Lunchable (!) in front of the TV is OK. 

Time to embrace the Okay-ness.

It will all be... OK.