Toddler+Baking=NO or how I almost lost my sanity

We have so much to tell you as we’ve been absent for a while, but as usual, life’s been busy, and we’re just tired. Sorry blog, you’re just so much more effort than YouTube. But, tonight, I have a need to write as a memorial to myself. Dear future self, do not, I repeat DO NOT attempt to bake cookies while the toddler is awake when no one over the age of 11 is available to take charge of said toddler. Bake them during nap, go buy some Oreos, but for the love, DO NOT attempt to bake cookies with the toddler.

Before our story begins, you need some background. You need to know that Emma has been in town but staying at the church since Sunday for a mission trip. Bryan has been spending his 9-5 working (sometimes from home) and his 5pm-8am at the church helping with the mission trip and helping Emma avoid the sadness of being away from everyone for 6 nights. Because food is love at our house, I readily, but perhaps somewhat foolishly, agreed to bake some cookies for the kids. I agreed on Sunday to have them there Tuesday night as they wanted baked goods to go in the kids’ lunches. Monday, we went to the library and grocery shopping. Hannah spent most of the rest of the day doing school because school is much harder to do by yourself than if your other sibling is suffering with you. Today, we had a meet-up at the park with our homeschool group. We came home. Bryan came home for lunch, too, so I made an elaborate pasta bar lunch (because food is love). Then, Micah went down for nap, and Hannah started school again. All of these things and being responsible for the whole dinner/evening routine with the kiddos means that I completely spaced the cookies until about 5:30 pm which is the true beginning of our story. So, I realize my mistake and think, “Well, this won’t be a big deal because I found a bag of frozen chicken nuggets in the freezer, and I can just mix up the cookies while I make an easy dinner of frozen nuggets, boxed potatoes, and frozen veggies.” The oven is preheated, so I stick in the nuggets while I try valiantly to mix the cookies and not have this irritating song stuck in my head. Meanwhile, the kitchen is kind of a mess because I’m not used to having Bryan and Emma gone and every night I have great intentions but no actual energy to do much of anything, so I press Hannah into service putting away food items while I begin mixing. Micah decided to pull up a stool and try to get into the sugar. I finish with the sugar and put that away. I ask Hannah to put away the eggs after I finish with those. Micah manages to get a grip on those and try to wrench them away from Hannah. I stop those shenanigans, then while I continue mixing and gathering ingredients, I turn to see Micah grabbing handfuls of flour from the bag for consumption. I remove the bag from his reach and dole out the rest of the ingredients between Hannah and I. Hannah finds out that even though 3 tsp = 1 Tbsp, the tablespoon doesn’t fit very well in the cream of tartar container and causes a lot of spillage. We forget the baking soda, but even though I’m baffled by the cookies not terrible but not quite right appearance this will not occur to me until the last pan is in the oven. Dinner is almost done, I have Hannah start to make the veggies. Veggies go in the microwave as I mix the potatoes and take out the nuggets. I adjust the oven temp, we set the table and get ready to eat.

After a dinner, I start panning cookies to bake. While I’m getting the first pan in, Micah has popped down from his seat and is making a noise, that noise, while he’s wearing underwear. Super, it’s #2. Hannah is awesome, and starts helping him get cleaned up while I finish getting that pan ready. I go and get him all wiped. We wash our hands surgical style, and get back to work. I have Hannah start loading the dishwasher while I get pan #2 ready to go. Micah tries to climb up where I’m working. I say “no” for what feels like the millionth time that night because I don’t want him near the hot pans that will be coming out momentarily. So, he finds a mop that Bryan had bought for downstairs to help get rid of construction dust, and he begins swinging it above his shoulders. Once he’s distracted, I instruct Hannah to take the mop downstairs where it belongs. She hesitates too long and Micah corners her. After a brief struggle where she tries to convince him he cannot go downstairs with her, I just tell her to throw it through the pet door (our downstairs storage room has a pet door that was used by a previous owner, I think for cat box purposes). She throws the mop down. I ask her to keep cleaning up, and start another pan of cookies. By this time, I see that the cookies aren’t quite right, but I’m fairly certain it is just too much flour. Micah tries climbing up again. I tell him “no” again. I suggest that he go and drink his milk. He does this. Sometime between pans 3 and 4, he comes over again, and has a potty accident. This Hannah handles on her own, bless her, so I can get these cookies done before the mission trip is done. After getting fresh pants once again, Micah decides that he needs another stick to wave around and heads for the broom. I finally do what I should have done earlier and send them both upstairs to play with toys. Once I get the last pan in, I work on bagging the cookies for lunches. Then, it occurs to me. I didn’t use baking soda. In a testament to the grace of God, I didn’t just start weeping hysterically right then and there. Instead, I have the kids taste test the cookies. They approve, so I decide to let it roll, and send Hannah to the shower to get ready for bed so that once we return home, we can just put everyone to bed. When the final pan comes out, I bathe Micah and get him ready. Then, we load up and head to the church. Unfortunately, Emma is bowling, so we don’t get to see her or Bryan, but we drop off our testament of love and head for home again.

So in conclusion, food=love, toddler+baking=no, and without Hannah I may have gone completely off the edge.

How do you cook with small people around?

Posted in Family Updates | 2 Comments

Return of the Sock Nemesis

A while ago, I shared some of my sock woes. Well, I have more. A while back, Bryan received some black socks, for Christmas, I think. I was folding the socks one day while doing laundry, and I noticed a little orange-red mark on them.

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It was an “L” or and “R”. The socks have a left and right. I went directly to Bryan to ensure that surely this was a cruel, cruel joke, but NO! He assured me that the socks actually fit better when placed on the correct foot. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

I cannot emphasize enough my extreme anger, disgust, and actual thoughts of strangling someone with socks that they designed to have a left and a right. This is a crime against laundry. I actually fold socks. I shouldn’t be penalized for this.

Down with sock fascism! Do you fold socks?

Posted in Fun, Random | 2 Comments

Yeah, I guess

The number one comment in regard to Micah is how much he talks. Usually, he’s excitedly telling you about his toys, his friends, or big trucks, but lately he’s been amusing me when he uses his new favorite affirmative phrase “Yeah, I guess.” He stops sounding like a sweet, happy toddler and starts sounding more like a world weary, ambivalent adolescent.

“Do you want Mommy to go get you some milk?” “Yeah, I guess.” You expect him to continue with, but nothing will satisfy this deep thirst of my soul. I’m going to go listen to my music.

“Should Daddy tickle you?” “Yeah, I guess.” but really, the laughter is gone from my soul.

“Do you want to go vrooming in the big truck?” “Yeah, I guess.” I mean, I probably should because soon the truck that I love will just be rust and memories like everything else. (Cue angst filled teenage music about the futility of life)

But now, I need to stop my mind wanderings because we need to go say hi to some bunnies in our yard.

What phrases have your toddlers used that seemed a bit out of place?

Posted in Family Updates | 3 Comments

Obadiah

What did you call your baby in utero?

Usually, we’ve just called it “the baby”. I know, you’re all taken aback with our originality and creativity. I’ve heard of people calling baby Jelly Bean or Gummy Bear or the bean. (We pregnant mommies are a hungry lot.) I know someone on Facebook who refers to hers as Zombie. I’ve just never resonated with any of these, so we usually call the baby, the baby.

This time, after we told the girls and Micah, Bryan started teasing about what we were going to call new baby. All our names end in the “uh” sound. Emma, Hannah, Micah. What could we name new baby that would follow our rule*? So Bryan started throwing out “uh” names and Obadiah is what stuck. Now odds are exceedingly low that this is our final name, but this what we’ve been calling baby this time around.

Catchy, no?

*Not an actual rule, we reserve the right to call this one whatever we can agree on.

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The shorts rule

It’s “spring” in Minnesota which means that we’ve been outside more, and I’ve started fielding the question “Can I wear shorts today?” In the past, I would look at the weather, make a judgement call, hand down the verdict, and if I said “no”, proceed to explain and justify my decision to loud protests. And in the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.” So, we made an arbitrary rule. Our rule is, the children may not wear shorts unless the high temperature will be 65 or higher. I know, harsh, right?

Do you have a shorts rule?

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Amazing Life Hacks 2: Return of Mediocrity

If you missed the previous Amazing Life Hacks, don’t worry.  You didn’t miss much.  I mean, you could read it it you wanted to.  But we’re back for another round of Life Hacks:

  • Wifi signal isn’t strong and you have an empty Pringles can? Order both Pringles and a Wifi extender from Amazon.  They have everything.
  • Need a recap of last night’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”? No, you don’t.
  • Substitute milk for water to have the weirdest shower ever.
  • If you’re going to stink up the bathroom, always make sure to pre-blame when you go in. No one’s going to verify at that point, and they can’t blame you afterwards.
  • Need to finish a RedBox rental but can’t afford another night? You need some margin in your budget. You shouldn’t be running within $1.20 of disaster.
  • Need a new tank for your three pet cobras? Make a YouTube video of yourself juggling the cobras (don’t hurt the cobras). Have it go viral. Become YouTube partner. Use profits to buy new cobra tank.
  • Need exercise motivation? Put your workout clothes on backwards, because Kris Kross will make you jump jump.

Anything else to add?

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When your husband works from home

My take on this differs a bit from Bryan’s. Also, I want to note that I believe I had this post in the works before his. Oh well, you snooze, you lose.

Lots of people are telling me what it is like to have a husband working at home. “Oh, that will be so nice! He can help homeschool the kids, take the kids to doctor’s appointments, watch Micah so you can teach the girls, etc.” Basically, people are pretty sure I will have tons of free time now that Bryan’s working from home. The only problem with that is that Bryan is actually working from home. We’re only a few weeks in, and by next month, Bryan’s work may have an office in town that he can go to again, and he probably will, but I thought I would fill you in on what it is really like to have someone working from home at your house.

  • Most of the time, I don’t even know he’s here. I mean, I know he’s here, obviously, but he’s back in his office in the corner of the downstairs, so we don’t hear him or talk with him or trip over him for most of the day. Once, I even forgot to tell him we were going out, so he came out for lunch and we were gone. Luckily, the van was gone and he can locate me via my phone, so he didn’t worry too much that we had been raptured.
  • Keeping the little guy from hunting down his dad can be a little challenging some days, but I do it. Bryan is serious about his work, and it’s important that he doesn’t have people literally pounding down his door yelling “Where Daddy go?”
  • But, if the little guy is napping, having someone in house so that I can run the girls to choir quickly is amazing. I love not having to wake him up at ten to 2 every Thursday anymore.
  • The commute time is great. He’s with us until 8 in the mornings and back upstairs right around 5. In contrast, he used to get on the bus at 7:07 and get off the bus at 5:20. We gain almost an hour and a half not counting lunch time.
  • Lunch time. The only downside. I have to think about feeding 5 people instead of 4 now. Leftovers are a beautiful thing. It’s not all downside, though, the girls love catching up with Dad in the middle of the day.
  • Emergencies, even minor ones. Today, he came upstairs when he heard me ask Micah if he pooped (the office is directly below the little guy’s room). I’m not for sure, but I think he did it to rescue me. Lately, changing poopy diapers makes me throw up. Micah’s a smelly little guy. Luckily, it was a false alarm. Even so, I deeply appreciate puking prevention.
  • Consulting with Bryan about decisions is much easier. I go downstairs. If I hear him on the phone, I text. Otherwise, I’m able to pop in and get a quick consensus on issues that pop up during the day.

Overall, it’s been really nice having him home more. Dinner gets on the table earlier. He gets to hear about school while it’s still fresh in their minds. No one is worried about packing a lunch or having to buy one if packing seems oppressive (and it often does). But we had to make adjustments. I changed read aloud time so we could talk to him during lunch. It feels weird to prep dinner while he’s home instead of before he gets home. I’m still trying to remember to include him when we have snack during the day. We don’t have it all figured out yet, but it’s been a good change.

What do you think I should do now that Bryan works from home? I feel like bon bons might definitely be in my future :)

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Working from home

I’ve been working at home for about a month and a half now.  With the sudden career transition, it’s been……different. I wouldn’t describe it as a “shock”, because stuff comes up and I just handle it.

So to answer the question on everybody’s mind: Do I wear pants? Yes. The first day I worked was the first time it was 60 degrees all year and I was just watching an orientation webcast, so I did wear shorts that day.  And occasionally I will wear lounge pants depending on what’s clean in the laundry and if I have anything else planned that day. And yes, I’ve showered 100% of the days I’ve worked.  Occasionally we’ll communicate with each other over Google Hangouts, so yeah, you have to be presentable.

You lose track of the days.  Monday is easy.  It’s the day I start work for the week. But my new job isn’t bogged down in processes that I have a bunch of various meetings that act as reminders of what day it was.  This makes Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday indistinguishable.  Amie would mention something about Wednesday night church activities, and I would be confused if she was talking about tonight, tomorrow, or what. I find myself needing to occasionally remind myself what day it is throughout the day.  That’s a new thing for me.

The commute time rocks.  Running just a little bit late doesn’t mean the difference between making and missing the bus.  When I’m in “working mode”, I try to stay in that.  But on a few occasions like when Micah has been sick, the ability to go from work to home instantly has been good.

The number of people you see in a day dramatically decreases.  With taking the bus to my previous job, arriving at the building at the exact time every, and other people’s buses arriving at the same time, shifts ending, etc.  You’d see a bunch of the same people walking the hallways going to your office.  I probably saw 200-300 people by the time I sat down at my desk.  Now it’s 4.  3 if one of the kids sleeps in.

Posted in Family Updates | 5 Comments

I’m still a little disappointed

I’m emotional, but even so, I’m a fairly steady person. Sure, if we have company coming and the house is a wreck, I get a little up in arms, but other than that, I’ve mellowed considerably since my teen years. This is why I get a little frustrated with myself when it comes to my irrational behavior related to food while pregnant.

Weeks ago, but it’s still as fresh in my memory as yesterday, I brought a large bowl of homemade buttered popcorn to a Women’s Movie Night at our church. There was a little left over, so I brought it home. The next day, SOMEONE had eaten it before I could have it for snack. I did not interrogate the suspects, but I did consider labeling every snack in the house with my name just in case I might want it.

Bryan went to a Mexican restaurant with some coworkers for a going away party. I haven’t been to a Mexican restaurant in a really, really long time. I NEED a totally inauthentic seafood enchilada since last week. I really do.

We’re out of salsa. We have chips. This is sad, but what I really want is an avocado to mash and add a little salt and cumin to because it was SO GOOD at Costco the other day that I considered circling around for a second sample.

Micah expects me to share. To share MY food. When I have a meal or a snack, he wants a bite of MY food. While not pregnant, I laugh and tell people that that this is the toddler diet and how I lose the baby weight, but when I’m putting on the baby weight, it’s not really that funny any more. I need food. ALL of the food.

I had a major sinus event over the weekend, and I was unable to make pretzels for Easter. I don’t want bought pretzels, I want homemade whole wheat pretzels with homemade cheese sauce, but we have this play thing going on and I don’t have time. This is a tragedy. I feel unreasonably sad about it.

We also decided to go to church breakfast instead of make muffins and egg bake at home. I need to find time to make some muffins because every time I go into the kitchen for breakfast, I just think about muffins. Blueberry muffins, lemon muffins, those little mini donut muffins. Mmmmm, muffins.

I could go on and on about my food irrationalities, but here’s the last one. On Friday, Bryan bought Starburst jelly beans because he remembered that they were “really good” which I deny about jelly beans that are not certain flavors of Jelly Belly. But, the package said Starburst, and I’m still sad that it wasn’t actual Starburst chews because those are good unlike their jelly bean relatives. The kids had a handful of Starburst chews in their treat bags from church. I ate almost all of them, but someone got to one or two of them before me. I’m still a little disappointed.

What’s your most recent food disappointment?

 

Posted in Pregnancy, Random | 2 Comments

Yes, we understand “for exposure” isn’t great

Some companies like to use people’s services and pay for them in terms of “exposure”.  Basically, it means that the person may get their name and work seen by a bunch of people.  If you’re thinking that’s probably a bad deal, you’re right.  I’m pretty sure this notion has been around for a while.

I was once offered “exposure” if I created an app for someone. They were going to pay me in terms of a LinkedIn recommendation and a tweet to 700 people. Foolishly, I only declined.  The proper Internet response would have been an open letter.

Thanks to social media, people now rant about this.  And they do it often.  What this has done is created a weird situation where the amount of exposure someone gets for doing a concert, artwork, or whatever, is dwarfed by the amount of exposure they get for posting an “open letter” talking about the hypocrisy of “exposure”.

Going to complain about “exposure”?  Make sure you follow these simple steps:

  1. Make the assumption that the absolute head of the organization is personally making these decisions.  Or someone who’s already associated with the event that is highly recognizable. There’s no way the task of recruiting people has fallen into someone else’s lap.
  2. Point out how much money they make from ticket sales. Multiply that by the number of seats.  But stop the math there.  You’d hate to be including the list of costs like liability insurance, rental fees for them, cost of equipment, etc.  If they sell a $100 ticket, that’s a full Benjamin Franklin going into the pocket of the person in item 1.
  3. Mention how your landlord doesn’t accept “exposure” for payment.  Really, this is quite a witty response that no one has heard before.  But before you do, ask your landlord if he’d waive your rent if you got his building featured on the cover of a local magazine.  Or on 20 billboards throughout the city.  I’m guessing there’s a point where he’d agree to waive your rent for a month for exposure.
  4. Tell us how long you’ve been in the business.  Or references to past work.  Or what other people paid you for.  What your hours of availability in the upcoming month are.  You need to milk this exposure.

Or, I suppose you could just treat those offers like a bad offer and ignore them.

Posted in Random | 3 Comments