Monthly Archives: September 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad

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It’s my dad’s 65th birthday today and the first one I’m celebrating without him.  I would have baked him a huge chocolate cake and my kids would have helped him blow out the candles, inevitably getting their spit all over the cake. It makes me sad that this isn’t how we get to spend his birthday anymore but I’m happy I have all the memories from birthdays past. I carry him with me in my heart and I’m trying really hard to keep him alive in the hearts of my children as well. I know he loved us all more than we could ever know.  So, happy birthday, dad. We miss you.

Hide and Seek

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Yesterday Odin played the best game of hide and seek he’s ever played, only he didn’t know he was playing and I wasn’t having any fun searching for him.

Having just put Ela to sleep, on a whim I decided I should use the hour I had before my eye doctor appointment to vacuum and wipe down my truck. Odin stomped upstairs and I let him go play or whatever it was he was planning to do and recruited Lil to help.

A little ways into our cleaning I sent Lil in to play with Ela who had woken up, most certainly thanks to her brother. On the monitor I heard and saw my two girls playing together in the crib. It was sweet and gave me the extra time I needed to finish cleaning my truck.

Eventually Ela made it known that she did not want to play with her sister anymore and demanded that her mother make an appearance. I obliged, directed Lil to get her shoes while I fed Ela a quick snack and then insisted Lil go find her brother so we could get our butts on the road.

She yelled for him and threatened that we were going to leave without him if he didn’t come right away.

No Odin appeared.

I told her to go search the rooms.

No Odin was discovered.

I started to get a little worried. I put Ela into her car seat and ran around the outside of the house and then up my back deck stairs calling O’s name, each time more frantic than the last. Lil was picking up on my panic and anxiously followed me room to room.

He wasn’t in my room, my closet or my bathroom. He wasn’t under Lil’s bed or in her large amour. He wasn’t behind Ela’s crib or behind the rocking chair.

So where the heck was my sweet boy?  Snuggling his lovies fast asleep in his very own bed, of course!

We breathed a collective sigh of relief, giggled our anxiety away and geared up to go.
I don’t think I would have been so nervous but I noticed Dragon, Odin’s beloved dog and sidekick, was hanging out with the girls and I was afraid O had left the house without his dog. It would be out of character but not out of the question. I’m just glad my little guy was safe and sound though I’m certain that incident just took 2 years off my life!

I know I’m not the first person to have this happen to them. So what’s your story? How’d your kid unintentionally scare the bejesus out of you?

I’m Confiscating Those!

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Lil attends a fantastic preschool. I absolutely love it there. At this school one child is responsible for bringing the snack and a bouquet of fresh cut flowers for the week. Essestially you end up bringing the snack and flowers two or three times per year.  This week was our week. Sunday evening Lilly’s daddy went to the store to get the instructed snack items.

He forgot the flowers.

After the kids were asleep he went back to the store and came home with these:

When I saw the flowers I was like, “Dang! Are those for me or the preschoolers?”

They were for the preschoolers. He said he just couldn’t get himself to buy the 2 for $5 bouquets because they weren’t very pretty so he had to buy a $15 bouquet instead.

I laughed.

And then I confiscated them.

In the morning, after admiring my new flowers, the kids and I left the house 20 minutes early (which is significant when the normal departure time is 8am!) and hit up the store for another bouquet of flowers. I let Lilly pick. As it happened, she walked right up to the preschool-appropriate bouquet of neon daisies and said, “Ooh! I want these!”

And all the Bailey gals were happy.

Lilly is enjoying her flowers every day at school and I am enjoying my confiscated bouquet of roses and Lilys every day at home. Now every time I look at them I laugh remembering how they came to be mine.

Ogre vs. Elves

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It was 8:15pm in the Bailey household. That’s about 45 minutes past bedtime but the kids and I were at a friend’s house so we rolled in late. Their dad met us at home (a few beers deep) and after everyone was settled in he initiated the bedtime routine which involves putting on pjs, brushing teeth, reading a story and snuggling in bed before going to sleep. It’s quite a process but it gets the kids geared up, or down rather, for bed. Tonight, however, things went a little differently.

The first thing that happened was that Daddy turned into an ogre.

Then my oldest two turned into elves.

 

So as I was downstairs feeding the cereal monster her pre-bed feast…

…I heard the Ogre seeking out the elves in hopes that he could nibble their toes and gobble up the rest of them. I heard shrieks and cries, stomping and scampering. Essentially the polar opposite of what bedtime is suppose to be like. Instead of relaxed children ready for a peaceful slumber I had a jacked up four year old and a scared shitless two year old who was basically hysterical because the creepy ogre-man who use to be his daddy was out to get him.

I shouted upstairs something to the effect of, “Really!?! That’s not going to help his night terrors and it’s already past bedtime!”

“Hunny, I got this!” was his curt reply.

Honestly though, I couldn’t help but crack up as Ela was spitting her cereal in my face. Life certainly is entertaining, I thought, Now where’s my glass of wine?!?

I have to give my husband props though. He’s a pro at turning around the kids’ attitudes and snaping them out of one emotion and instigating a new one. He’s much better at that than I am. Seeing that his little elf boy was freaked, daddy ogre recruited him to team Ogre and together they feasted on the girl elf. Little ogre was sent to get the salt and pepper to season their captive and then sent back once more for ketchap and hot sauce. One minute my boy was sobbing and the next he was shrieking with delight.

I was exhausted just listening to the goings on upstairs. All too soon (for the kids) play time was over and it was time for stories and a snuggle. I scoffed at the idea that these children, who were just on an adrenaline and emotional high (or low) would go willingly to sleep. But to sleep they went and without protest. I suppose if I was exhausted from just listening to their antics they must have been wipped out from participating in them.

So having put two of our three children successfully to bed I made the daddy ogre put our cereal monster to bed too. And ya know what… She went right to sleep! Go figure.

Seems like daddy ogre just earned himself a new job!

Sleep well y’all!!! (We’ll see if my two year old does…)

Adventures in Spoon Feeding

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This little lady had her first bite of cereal yesterday.

And by cereal I mean boob milk with a little rice cereal added in. The directions on the box suggested I mix 1 Tbsp with 4-5 Tbsp breastmilk or water. The stuff was so soupy that it hardly stayed on the spoon after just 3 Tbsp of milk so I added a bit more cereal and ditched the directions. The kid would have done better with a straw. Especially since she insisted on eating with her chin on her chest and her hands in her face.

There was more cereal on her than in her. But that’s how it goes.

And as soon as we were done eating she decided she wasn’t messy enough and did this

There’s just something about that Bumbo chair that does it for her.

I hope your feeding sessions are going more smoothly than ours!

**Yes I realize that the Bumbo chair has been recalled and yes I still use the shit out of it in a supervised manner (no pun intended).

“Sleep? F*** Sleep,” Says Baby

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She sleeps pretty well, except for today, and for that I am really greatful. However, today she decided she wanted to party all day long. I was on to her plan early and tried to put the kabosh on it but she all but flipped me the bird when I tried to put her down. 3 10 minute naps were all she’d allow today despite my best efforts. Baby: 1 Mommy: 0

But really, I can’t complain because when she’s not sleeping she’s doing this

 (being happy and content)

or this

 (being goofy)

Now that I think of it, she found her tounge today which may be why she didn’t want to nap. She was having too much fun sticking it out at me all day long.

Whatever her reasons were for not napping, she really is the best baby!

As for her siblings, I think they know she’s now in the running to be “the favorite” and are doing their best to solidify their hold on what they assume has been theirs all along.

 

As you can see, I’m raising a bunch of goons and I love it even though they exhaust me!

 

Stellar Zucchini, Carrot, Apple Muffins

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I had a giant zucchini and a butt load of carrots on my hands the other day and decided I needed to make something tasty out of them. I did a little search online and decided on this Zucchini Carrot Muffins Recipe | Taste of Home Recipes.

I’m so happy I did because in just 3 days I’ve made two batches of the muffins and they don’t last long. The first batch lasted just 14 hours (that includes overnight sleeping hours) and the second batch is half gone and I made them this afternoon. They come out so moist they might as well be called cupcakes.

I adjusted the recipe a little based on my likes and omitted some ingredients because I simply didn’t have them. That’s the great thing about the recipe, you can adjust it and it still comes out wonderful every time (so far at least!)

My alterations included omitting the coconut and orange peel, substituting walnuts for the almonds and adding a dash or two of nutmeg and cloves. You may be thinking, “Hey! You just totally changed the recipe!” and you’re pretty much correct but I don’t care because they taste awesome. They’re great to grab for breakfast, a snack or as dessert and now that apples, carrots and zucchini are in abundance it’s a great recipe to have on hand.

Give ’em a try. You won’t regret it!

Beach Bums

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Today we met my brother and his friend Andy, or Rumplestiltskin as we decided to called him, at Lake Geneva in Fontana after they completed their sprint triathlon this morning. It was a brisk 43 degrees when they were driving to the event. I was warm and in bed while they were shivering, waiting for the swim to begin. Luckily by eleven o’clock when we showed up it was mid-seventies. If the sprint tri didn’t warm the guys up I’m certain that chasing my munchkins around the play ground and beach did the trick.

I had fun watching the kids provoking their uncle into playing many games of Run and Chase through the water and down the shore line. I was a mommy paparazi snapping pics most of the time and of course I only wound of with a few decent ones but so it goes. Here’s a few I do like:

My two year old thought licking the rock he pulled from the lake was “runny” (that’s funny for all of you that aren’t down with two year old linguistics.) I decided he may have been mineral deficiant so I let him lick the darn rock. Whatever.

This next pic captured a rare moment when my daughter’s two feet were somewhat stationary. Her Uncle told her to pick a hand and she might get a prize. She picked the correct hand (there was no wrong hand of course) and she was presented with a rock. He told her to cherrish it because he had spent a long time picking it out. I’m pretty sure she rolled her eyes at him. I certainly did.

I love looking at the little foot prints of my kiddos. This one is Lil’s and ceased to exist instantly after the picture was taken.

My baby girl has been sick all week and although she was super snotty (in the mucusy way not the attitudy way) she was still her easygoing self. Here she is sporting her first pair of jeans (size 12 months and she’s just 4 months old.) Yes they’re a bit long but they fit around her tummy!

And what’s a trip to the beach without burying someone? Lil really enjoyed being trapped in the top of the sand mountain and she had no problem freeing herself.

Her brother, on the other hand, also enjoyed being buried by Daddy but needed her assistance to get out.

And here’s a picture of Rumplestiltskin

He looks very much the part… just sayin’.

I just love going to the beach. I don’t totaly love the sand but I do love the water and all the laughter and smiles and fun that we have while we’re there. It makes my heart happy.

It was a fun day.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend!!!

A baker’s nightmare

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So, this past weekend my oldest cousin, Sarah, got married. Some months ago she asked me to make the cupcakes for the wedding and I was more than happy to oblige. Her guest list numbered about 230. Never having made more than a couple dozen at a time I did some homework. I spent some time thinking about logistical details. I spent some time on cupcake blogs and searching for different ideas and recipes. I spent some time baking test runs. I spent some time doing the math and figuring out just how much of every ingredient I needed, like 18 cups of butter and 40 eggs, for example. Needless to say, I felt confident and prepared as I began to bake the cupcakes Friday morning.

The first thing I did was burn some chocolate in the microwave . As smoke was pouring out of the microwave I ran the bowl of burnt chocolate outside and felt like a fool. What an ameture mistake! I felt like a fool despite the fact that I was distracted by a screaming 2 year old who just wanted some yogurt, darn it all, and the arrival of my SIL and nephew. I recall having a fleeting thought along the lines of, “I hope this isn’t how things are going to go today…” but I quickly dismissed the thought as I remembered all the prep work I had done leading up to baking day.

I finished the chocolate buttercream without any other incidents, ran to pick Lil up from preschool then came home and made lunch for the kids. Just as I was beginning to gather together ingredients for the cupcakes my sister, Kelly, showed up. After my kids monopolized her for a while she came to help me in the kitchen just as the first batch of carrot cake cupcakes we going in the oven.

16 minutes later those cupcakes had exploded all over the place. They went directly into the garbage. I was a bit confused but then I realized I had forgotten the salt so I figured that was probably the issue and put the next batch in the oven.

16 minutes later those cupcakes had sunk and were a fail as well. Kelly and I decided there may not have been enough batter in each cup because I had reduced the amount in each cup after the exploding first batch. I added a bit more batter the third time around and was confident that these were going to be perfect. As we waited we ate the failed carrot cake which tasted amazing despite not baking up properly. 16 minutes went by and when I checked the cupcakes they too were sunken in! I was so upset and perplexed.

I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what was going on. All my ingredients were fresh, I measured everything correctly and I had baked a trial run a few weeks before that came out perfectly. Thank goodness Kelly was there. She was my sanity saver. She suggested we move on to the vanilla cupcake and offered to go to the store for more supplies to make spice cake cupcakes instead of carrot cake cupcakes.

While she went shopping I put the first batch of vanilla in the oven. Around minute 8 I checked them and they were looking good. Around minute 16 I checked again and had a hot mess in my oven! Just like the first batch of carrot cake cupcakes these too essentially exploded over the sides of the cups and didn’t bake up properly.

I bawled. We were almost 4 hours in to baking and had not a damn thing to show for it! I called Kelly and cried to her while she was checking out at the store. Then I put a thermometer in the oven to check the temp because I finally came up with a plausible theory: my oven wasn’t keeping a consistent temperature. Duh! Took long enough to figure that out.

With Kelly leading the show we packed up all our baking supplies and my three little monsters and invaded my SIL’s kitchen. Her oven worked just fine and we even got some great neighbors to bake a few dozen for us as well! 5 hours later we had a mass of cupcakes and tons of frosting. We took everything back to my house, drank a few beers, piped the frosting and decorated the cupcakes. By 11pm we were finished and feeling good though we had a few dozen fewer cupcakes than I had planned on baking.

That quantity decreased even more when my asshole dog jumped into the car as we were packing up to leave the next day and landed on the boxes of cupcakes in the trunk! I went inside and cried again. Kelly cried a little too. Soon there after I think I opened another beer.

As it turns out, we had plenty of cupcakes for the wedding and even some left over since I had also baked sugar cookies on Thursday. Thank goodness I had my sister’s support and company and wonderful family and neighbors right down the street to help get the job done. Without them I would have been a hot mess just like the cupcakes from my oven.

In hind sight, with a reliable oven, I would totally do it again despite the fact that at the time I vowed I never would. There’s no planning for a faulty oven after all! A positive to come from all this is that it takes a lot more to shake me these days. I just figure if I got through that baking challenge successfully I can get through most things, certainly power struggles from my 2 and 4 year old which are my major challenges these days.

Congested and then some

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There was no separation for me between last night and this morning. Not because I was up partying, getting wild on a Sunday night. That would have been way cooler than the nursing, showering, cuddling and suctioning of snot that went on around the clock because my 4 month old is sick and can’t breath. The other two are sick also but I can only focus on one child at a time right now. I haven’t had my coffee. Wait, it’s made and sitting in the pot. Excuse me a moment….

…ahh, that’s a better. Or at least it will be once the caffeine kicks in. Come on caffeine!

So as I was saying, I had a night from hell. This happens some times. It’s just part of the whole parenting thing.

Hey! I just killed a fruit fly with my bare hands. I must not be too compromised from the lack of sleep.

Sorry, I’m easily distracted here. Let’s blame the lack of sleep after all.

What was it I really wanted to share with you this morning? Oh, yes! Moments ago as I was sitting at the counter eating some oatmeal and smiling at my sick baby girl she sneezed some HUGE snot rockets out of her nose. It was really quite impressive. Disgusting yet impressive.

Bottom line here, I’ll be wiping snot from noses all day. If you’re in need of professional snot wiping services come on by. I’m sure I can help you out.

In addition to keeping faces clear of snot today, I also plan on forgetting my exhaustion and channeling my caffeinated self into doing something productive around this dump that is my home, all the while being serenaded by coughs and sneezes.

I just hope I can skirt by without getting sick. Ha!

Wish me luck!