Friday, May 27, 2011

I Want To CTRL-F My House!

The library says we have a book checked out, and I can't find it. I'm pretty particular about our library books, so I was surprised when they said it was still checked out.

As I'm tearing the house apart looking for it, I realized how spoiled I am by working and practically living online and on computers. I'm impatient with actually physically looking for things. I want that CTRL-F "Find" function for my house! How convenient would that be? I'd have that missing library book in no time!

Lost your keys? "CTRL-F - Keys". And BOOM! They are highlighted for me! Maybe they could even beep at me in case they are someplace where I can't see the glow (like under the couch).

It would be amazing for the garage and the junk drawer, where I can't find anything, ever.

"CTRL-F - masking tape" - BOOM! There's the highlighted glow from the workbench in the garage!

"CTRL-F - rubber band" - BOOM! There they all are, scattered at the bottom of the drawer!

"CTRL-F - baby"


Hey, it could happen!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why I wore soggy Cheerios around my neck yesterday...

and loved every minute of it!

My son is four, and this year I got my first homemade Mother's Day gifts from him. My first gift was a clay pot that he painted and filled with silk flowers - beautiful!

My second present was a necklace made from a kids' bead kit. It was a neon green "string" with colorful plastic beads all along it. Apparently, as he was stringing it, he decided to add Cheerios between the beads. I have to admit that it looked good that way. So, on Mother's Day, I wore it. I figured everyone who saw me would know a loving child made that for me. What could be better?

As the day progressed, I was holding my 9-month-old daughter when I felt the necklace jerk hard against my neck. She had gotten a hold of it and was pulling on it. I wrestled it away from her and moved so she couldn't reach it.

She spent the rest of the day trying to get a hold of my necklace, and she often succeeded. Each time she got it, she put it immediately into her mouth. This resulted in two things - first, a soggy necklace, and second, her first taste of Cheerios (which I had to constantly fish out of her mouth so she wouldn't choke on them).

So, I spent my Mother's Day wearing soggy Cheerios around my neck. I wouldn't have it any other way.


For today's Brutally Honest Bumper Sticker (BHBS), an anecdote:

Me: "I have my next blog idea already."
Hubby: "It can't be about me. I haven't said anything stupid today."
Me: "Yet."

Today's BHBS:  Have you said anything stupid today?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Invasion of Driver #2

For as long as we’ve been married, my husband and I have driven separate vehicles. When we met we each had our own vehicle, and we kept up that arrangement since then.

In recent years, he drove a car and I’ve driven the typical family mini-van. Despite the stereotype, I’ve always liked our van because it has a lot of features, and I can carry absolutely anything in it.

We recently discovered that we could save a lot of money if we sold the car. I work from home and rarely leave the house during the day, so it didn’t make sense to have a vehicle that just sits all week long. So, we made the decision to get rid of the car and become a one vehicle family.

I was excited! The car payment would go away (making us without a vehicle payment!), and our insurance and license plate fees would go down. My husband would drive the van during the week and, on the rare occasion that I might need it during the day, I could drop him off at work and pick him up at the end of the day. It was settled, and within a couple of weeks the car was gone.

And then I realized what I had done.

The van had mostly been my territory. My hubby drove it on the weekends, but it was usually when the entire family was along for the ride. I had always been the sole owner of the “Driver 1” button in the van, which sets the seats and mirrors as I like them when I get in to drive. Everything was arranged as I liked it in the van, down to the radio station preset buttons and the stuff in the middle console. It was mine.

I didn’t realize the change until the first time I went to drive the van after he had driven it for the whole week. When I first got in, I nearly fell back into the next county. Oops – the seat was at the “Driver 2” setting. Okay, no problem, one button fixes that. I pushed the “Driver 1” button and was back in business.

Then I reached into the little console tray for a Kleenex, and my hand bumped into something solid. I looked down to find a pair of sunglasses…Driver 2’s sunglasses. After moving them, I found more and more stuff, all of which had been moved by Driver 2 from the car. Finally, after unloading half a dozen items, I came to my Kleenexes, now at the bottom of the tray. If this had been a bad sneeze moment, I would have been in trouble.

The radio stations are changed, the umbrella is moved…It’s obvious that although I retain my status as owner of the “Driver 1” button, I’m no longer the real Driver #1.

Today's Brutally Honest Bumper Sticker (BHBS): Honk if you gave up the driver's seat!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How I Won at Baby Monster Skee-Ball

Yesterday I had the day off with the two kids. Since we had an ice storm earlier in the week and there is now at least two inches of solid ice covering absolutely everything outside, we opted to stay in the house all day. My husband was at work, so it was just the three of us.

While I cherish these days with the kids, I have to admit that they are challenging. My son is 4 years old, and my daughter is 6 months old. They are both wonderful ages in their own right, but it's difficult to find activities that both of them can enjoy. So yesterday, in my desperation, I created a new game.

Baby Monster Skee-Ball.

I've always been a lover of skee-ball. I was never all that great at arcade games, but I was always good at skee-ball. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I could play it for hours. There's something strangely therapeutic about slinging that little ball as hard as you can and not worrying about breaking anything. The little tickets that come out are just a bonus.

I'd been wanting to create our own version of skee-ball at home for a while, so this seemed like a good time to do it. I knew my son would like it. So, we decided to use a set of stainless steel mixing bowls (5 bowls in different sizes) as the holes to aim for. Always looking for an educational opportunity, I had my son write point values (1-5) on pieces of paper that I taped sticking up out of the bowls. The smallest bowl was worth 5 points, and the largest worth 1 point.

We then gathered a couple of small toy balls to throw into the bowls. He made a "starting line" (another piece of paper) and we were ready to go. We arranged the mixing bowls on the kitchen floor and placed the starting line a few feet away.

In case you're wondering where my daughter was, she was napping when we were setting up the game. However, since the game was going to be loud with the banging of stainless steel bowls, we decided to wait until she was awake to play. When she woke up, I put her in her walker in the kitchen and prepared to play skee-ball with my son.

That's where the "baby monster" part came in.

She's only had the walker for a few days, but she's already getting pretty good at it. So good, in fact, that she wasn't at all deterred by the clanging of the bowls on the tile when we hit them with the toy balls.

So undeterred that she used her little legs to plow that walker right into our skee-ball bowls! Smiling her two-teeth smile, she proceeded to plow over our game and move the bowls all around with her "car." My dad always used to say you had to look out for kids "once they get wheels under their butts." Well, he's right.

After we both stopped laughing (and stopped trying to play skee-ball around her), my son and I decided that it was part of the game when the big "baby monster" comes in and crashes the skee-ball bowls. The game then turned into Baby Monster Skee-Ball, in which we let her crash through the bowls and try to hit them where they end up. For once, we had an activity that everyone loved.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

From Shopping Carts to Bumper Cars

I usually take my 5-month-old daughter with me to the grocery store each week. I have some experience taking young kids to the store because I used to take my son with me as well. However, maybe I didn't take him when he was this young...or maybe I've just blocked out the memories.

Since I can't drive a stroller and a shopping cart at the same time, I'm forced to put her in the cart while I shop. But, since she can't sit up yet, she has to stay in her baby car seat. I could put the car seat in the big part of the cart, but then I wouldn't have enough room for a week's worth of groceries. So, I'm stuck putting her car seat into the child seat portion of the cart.

Now, don't get me wrong...this part of the cart is NOT meant to hold a car seat. But, not having much choice, I do what most other moms do and balance it strategically in there and never walk far from the cart just in case.

In case we haven't met, I should tell you that I'm not a tall person. The five-foot-one on my driver's license is probably exaggerating, but I'm sticking with it. By putting the car seat in the cart that way, it makes the baby-cart combo just a little bit taller than I am. Which, if you're paying attention, means that I can't see where I'm going.

So, while I'm pushing the cart, I have to lean to the side a little so that I can see past the little bundle of joy and all her gear. I still don't have a perfect view, but it's better than seeing nothing. Still, the trips have their moments of infamy. Apparently, in their vast intelligence, the grocery store marketeers thought it would be great to put short display stands of items in the aisle in front of the shelves. So, they stick out and get in the way even when you have non-impaired sight. But in cases like mine, they are down right hazardous.

And now, I bring you the list of things I didn't run into at the grocery store last week...barely.
  • Cans of okra (like the display is helping sell those, anyway)
  • Glass jars of gravy
  • The bread tables (stock was low, so they didn't stick up like usual)
  • An abandoned, empty cart
  • A few cases of Bud Light
  • A kid with a kid-sized cart (they should SO put a flag on those carts!)
  •  Easy-Mac, and lots of it
And lastly, here's what I did hit...a display of cotton candy. Who knew they sold that stuff at the grocery store? Oh well, at least it wasn't anything that would break...this time!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Real Dinnertime Story

If you call my house between the hours of 4 pm and 7 pm on a weekday, I won't answer the phone. No matter who you are, you will get our answering machine unless my son happens to accidentally pick up the phone. If I did answer, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to hear what I'd have to say. That is, if you could hear me at all over the volume in the house.

During these hours, I'm trying to take care of the kids and make dinner. Doesn't sound too bad, right? I work from home, so I don't have to commute anywhere. I'm off work at 4 and am immediately in "mommy mode." Well, just because I'm already in my slippers doesn't mean this is a party.

Here's an example of what happened on a recent evening.

----begin excerpt of my evening----

I take a deep breath and convince myself I'm ready for this. The boxing trainer in my corner tells me I can do this. I already know what I'm making for dinner. I move my daughter's high chair and some of her toys into the kitchen and put her in it. My son is engrossed in building with Lego's...piece of cake! visions of supermoms dance in my head...

Look at dinner recipe and get out first two ingredients for dinner from pantry.

Pick up toy that fell off high chair tray and give it back to baby.

Get skillet out of cabinet.

Pick up other pans that fell out while getting skillet out of cabinet.

Drop everything to investigate scream coming from living room.

Begin breathing again after realizing it was son's reaction to the Lego tower toppling. Back to kitchen.

Pick up toy and return it to high chair tray. Marvel at my daughter's smile.

Pick up recipe again to see what else I need. Get remaining ingredients from pantry and fridge.

Respond to request for a snack. Go into living room to discuss it further. No snacks...dinner is in a few minutes (if I can ever get it going). Back to kitchen.

Forgot what I was making...look at recipe again.

Pick up toy.

Defrost chicken and start chopping ingredients.

Cell phone rings. Answer it and tell hubby to hurry home. While on this call, I hear another crash from the living room. Hang up phone and go to living room. Kiss boo-boo and make sure he's okay from his fall off the couch. Back to kitchen.

Can't remember what I was doing. Read recipe again. Daughter is getting fussy in the high chair.

Look at the clock and realize the baby is hungry. Give her a teething ring from the fridge to hold her over until dinner is ready.

Read recipe again and start combining ingredients. Say a quick prayer that I'll hear the garage door open soon.

No, sorry...still no snacks. Wait for dinner.

Back over to crying baby. Decide it's over and start making a bottle.

While the bottle is in the microwave, cover up dinner ingredients so the cats don't get into them. Realize the cats haven't been fed. Run over to feed them.

Make bottle. Move high chair so it's closer to the counter. Hold bottle in her mouth with one hand and attempt to stir dinner with the other.

Read recipe again and realize I forgot something. Attempt to open the pantry door with my toe while stirring with one hand and holding bottle with another. FAIL.

Put the bottle down for just a second while I keep the pot from boiling over and add the missing ingredient. Baby seems okay so I go check on my son in the living room. He asks to watch a tv show, so I fumble with the remote to turn it on, praying that dinner doesn't overflow and the baby doesn't cry.

Back into the kitchen to finish the bottle. Limp dinner along while she finishes eating, only to realize I didn't preheat the oven for the bread. Ugh. Preheat the oven and turn the pot down to low so it won't overcook (I hope).

Sorry honey, I can't fast forward through the commercials. No, no snacks. I promise dinner will be ready soon (cross fingers and hope that's correct).

----end excerpt because it all went blurry from here----

These events cover roughly 4:30 pm to 4:45 pm. Yep, that was only FIFTEEN MINUTES.

Bet you'll be checking the clock before you call me next time won't ya?

Friday, January 14, 2011

More quotable kids (and parents) from the past week:

  • "I don't want to find out if I'm good at the Heimlich Maneuver tonight."
  • "I think your tooth went into my skull."
  • "Hey mom and dad! Lydia said her first word today! She said it with her head, like this." < nods >
  • "I'm the ice cream man. I sell pizza, ice cream, sprinkles and formula for babies. But I'm out of ice cream, so here's your pizza with sprinkles."
  • "If she didn't have that monkey under her butt, she could roll over."
  • "Let's make a circus. I'll be the ringmaster, you and Lydia can be the clowns, and Daddy can be the ostrich."
  • "I think she has rice up her nose."

And my personal favorite, which is this week's Brutally Honest Bumper Sticker: 
  • "Stop trying to pretend this is normal."

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    A Budding Artist

    Last weekend, Christopher (my 4-year-old) asked me to play a game. He said he was going to draw something and I had to guess what it was. Since he has the usual drawing skills of a boy his age, I was obviously a little nervous. Aside from a better-than-I-could-draw sailboat last week, his drawings usually require translation.

    So he made his first drawing on a magnet board (think Etch-a-Sketch with a pen instead of knobs), and turned it around toward me. It looked like a bunch of random marks. He said "Guess what dinosaur this is, Mommy."

    Whew! A hint! I thought about all the dinosaurs that he knew, and I said "A brontosaurus."

    "That's right!" he said.

    After a quick erase and a few more strokes of the pen, he said "Here's the next one" and turned the board around.

    "Hmmm...a triceratops?"

    "YAY! Good job Mommy!"

    Cool. This was going to be easier than I thought.

    Again, he drew. Again, he turned the board around and asked me what it was. Thinking of the dinosaurs in recent conversation, I said "A pterodactyl?"


    "A Tyrannosaurus Rex?"


    Uh oh...running out of dinosaurs. I couldn't tell at all what the drawing was, so I decided to be funny. "A Christopher-saurus?"

    <laughs> "No, Mommy!"

    "A Mommy-saurus?" "A Daddy-saurus?"

    He's getting annoyed now. "No, Mom."

    I'm starting to feel guilty. How can I tell him that I can't tell what his drawing is?

    "Okay, I give up. What kind of dinosaur is it?"

    "It's not a dinosaur, Mommy. It's a scribble."

    Leave it to my kid to be practical.