Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours, and then Somebody Vomits

When Jonah got up this morning and told me that when he woke up he had to pick the crusty gunk from his eyes he said, "Mom, I think maybe bad mouth germs cause this."

I said "Uh, whaaaaa...?"

"That gum we bought yesterday says it has a Defense System which fights bad mouth germs.  So I should probably have lots of that gum for a while."

That, folks, is what you get when your kid learns to read.  Also, fielding such questions while driving as, "Mom, what does x-y-l-i-t-o-l spell?"


Evan can stand one tall drinking glass on a cardboard box and then invert a second tall drinking glass on top of the first one and balance them rim-to-rim.  I mentioned the "glass" part, right?  He's gifted, I'm sure.  However, he cannot hit a bucket when he upchucks his last drink of water.


Have you ever cared for a feverish, snotty, goopy-eyed baby while you have a fever yourself?  It's easier to stay warm all night that way.


Also, have you ever tried to get ready for a long trip with three children, for which you are leaving in 6 days, while also fighting various and sundry illnesses in said children?  Loads of fun for everyone!


And what's this I hear about more bad weather heading for the Pacific Northwest (where I, and my gooey children, are also headed)?  Hey, to all that family I'm going to visit, howsabout we go spend the two weeks in Hawaii instead, huh?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snowman Snow

For Christmas, my Grandma gave Jonah a bag of snowman parts.

Wow, just sounds so funny to me.  I snicker every time I say it.  "Snowman parts."  Hee!  It sounds like something you'd get on the black market or something, like "tiger parts" in China.  Hahaha!

Eh-hem.  Anyway.

So snowman parts.  They're various wooden features on dowels that you use when building a snowman in place of the traditional carrots and rocks.

Trouble is, we don't often get snowman snow.  It's usually very cold and dry and blowing all over, not wet and packy..  But the other day we had a brief warm-up in which the lastest bath of cold snow started to melt.  The window for good snow was all of one afternoon, so Nathan and Jonah had to work fast to try out those snowman parts (hahaha!  "Snowman parts!").

I think they had some fun with this project.

Jonah even made a pet for the snowman.

And then, that very night, thunderstorms (yes, actually) rolled in and the snowman and snowpet were nothing but soggy heaps of slush and jumbles of snowman parts.  *I* thought this would be a funny ending for my blog post about the snowman, so I was going to take pictures of the tragic snowman downfall.  Jonah, however, was so horrified by this idea that he made a special point of heading outside to pick up the parts (without being told!) before I got a chance to go out with the camera. 

Motivation, as with humor, comes in strange packages.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Detour Through Stupidity

On any trip to or from Minnesota, the issue of Chicago is always a big thing.  Traffic. Chicago has lots of traffic.  We don't likes traffic.  We always try to calculate just when we'll get there and what the best time will be.

We also have a bit of a fondness for Chicago (the city, but not the traffic) because we spent a good bit of time there when we lived in the south suburbs during our first year of married life (I don't miss it.  Nope, not a bit.  Suburban living AND the first year of married life.). 

Also, we have just enough knowledge of that city's roads to hang ourselves.

All that said, we thought we were getting to Chicago at a good time on our way home from Minnesota yesterday, but we weren't.  We got all snarled in traffic on the Kennedy on our way into the city.  As always happens, Nathan moaned about not having chosen a different highway, suggested surface streets, and I sighed and begged him not to.  This is always the way it goes, and by the time we get done discussing it, the traffic clears and we go on our way.

This time he said, "Hey, way don't get get out of here and head over to Lakeshore Drive and head down that way?  Just for a change of scenery?"  And I said, "Uuuuuummmmmmmmm... sure.  Sounds fun!  Looks like it's just a little jog to the east from here."

Did I mention that the baby was screaming while we were stuck in traffic and having this discussion?

By the time we got the exit into the city where we would just head over to Lakeshore Drive, the traffic cleared.

We hesitated.

The baby screamed.

Maybe we should just....???


We headed off into the city, baby screaming, Evan yelling in impatience.

"Look, Jonah! We're in Chicago!  Isn't this FUN?"

"Uuuuuhhhh... How are we gonna get home, Dad?"


What do you think the traffic IN the city was like?  Clogged of course.

We even maganged to drive right by the Latin School of Chicago, just as the parents were picking up their  children after school let out.  Eek

We delude ourselves into thinking these little short cuts will be easy.  How could it be that we could SEE the road we wanted to be on, but we couldn't GET ON it?

The signs pointed our direction, and yet, we couldn't seem to get there.

And the baby screamed on.

What is wrong with us?

Just as we were about to give up, we came across Wacker Drive.  That insane road-under-a-road where cars whip around at insane speeds... Wacker goes to Lakeshore!

And the baby stopped crying!  Ahhh... perhaps he has finally gone to sleep.

And we did it!  We made it to Lakeshore drive!

We're cruising now!  Woo-hoo!

And the crying commenced yet again.  Evan joined in again.

What fun we're having.

Then, I remembered that I had these, thanks to my lovely Mother-in-law:

Ahhh.  Peace.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On the Road Again

We decided, sort of last minute, to make another trip tp Minnesota this week.  Seemed reasonable, until it came time to pack and then, KA-BLAM.  My head exploded.

See how good we are at procrastinating, though?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Piratey Things

Andrew supervises while Evan hands the silverware to Jonah, and Jonah puts them in the drawer.

  It's a great system, until it dissolves into swashbuckling.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


When Jonah was littler, he had a special blanket.  Someone had made it for him and it had little pictures of Whinnie-the-Pooh on it.  We took it everywhere with us and didn't dare leave it home on an overnight trip.  Right around the time that Evan was born, I had noticed that Jonah didn't seem to be needing that blanket quite so much.  Finally, one days he said to me, "Mom, I don't need my Pooh Blanket any more.  You can give it to Evan."  He was a bit over five years old.

I think that's a pretty normal attachment and a pretty normal "growing out of it".

Evan, in his infinite quirkiness, has a special ball.

He always prefers a ball to most other toys, but this one, in particular, is his favorite.

He carries it around constantly.

He eats with it.

He sleeps with it.

 After he falls asleep at night, we laugh when we hear the ball hit the floor and go rolling away.  When he wakes up, it's the first thing that he wants.  Sometimes it falls in the crack and we have to fish it out for him.

When it rolls away during play and gets lost for a while (like it has been for the last couple days), he will sometimes replace it with something else-- a small, blue, bottle cap, for example.  But he remembers his ball and cries for it at bedtime and is always glad to see it again when it turns up. 

It's so funny to me that he chose this particular ball to be so attached to.  I have tried offering another ball of similar size, but he won't have anything to do with it.  He only wants this one, hard, plastic ball.

 Most significantly....

...it has a sad face on it.

It looks...

...just like him.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bread Bug

I've been bitten by the bread bug.  Again.  After months and months of coasting along with the same ol' everyday bread, I'm just itching to try some fun new things to feed my wheat addiction.  The photo above is an attempt at stenciling on my bread.  Obviously, I needs some actual stencils.  Not sure I could sell the Jonah-handprint loaf to any discerning customer.  (As for selling, I'm only opening a bakery in my head.  Don't worry.)  But it's a fun idea and I will probably play with that a little more!

Yesterday I mixed up a batch of Chocolate Cinnamon Rye.  I was drooling just reading the recipe.  I dreamed of it all night while the loaves retarded in the fridge.  Today I baked them and... so utterly disappointing.  After all that anticipation, it was a total flop.  No rise to speak of.  I'm not really sure why.

So tonight?  Bread pudding!  That is what I do with bread flops.  I will make it into bread pudding, and behold, it will probably not be Very Good* either, but I shall call it Breakfast.   Ah-ha!  You thought it was Dessert, didn't you?  Not so, says I.  Eggs + milk + grains = breakfast.  And this is even better because it even involves coffee AND chocolate.  Just realized it is somewhat lacking in butter.  I will find a way to remedy that.  Sugar?  Yeah, so what.  Some days are like that.

Come have breakfast at my house!  Everything in one dish, and only the Good Stuff.

So I've not had the greatest start with my Baking of Fabulous Things.  Oh well.  I see wonderful bread in my future...

*Good Bread Pudding requires the use of Good Bread.  Betcha didn't know that, didja?  Yeah.  Trade secret.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

General Awesome

So I'm finally gonna take this little pipsqueak (and his brothers, of course) to meet the family "out west."  And I'm taking them by myself.  *Deep breath*  Yeah, it'll be an interesting trip.  I'm really looking forward to being there, just not the getting there part.  And I'd just as soon go for the whole month of February, instead of two and a half weeks of it, if it weren't for the fact that Nathan will be here all by himself the whole time.

I think I might have to spend the whole month of January getting ready to go.  I need to get out the next size of clothing for Andrew, if not Evan as well.  And I need to fill the freezer with bread and easy meals for Nathan.

Hey, has anyone noticed how awesome this winter is so far?  At least in my neck of the woods, it's more like late March than early January.  And it's fine with me.  Well, except that the maple sap is running, and that makes us a little concerned for the surgaring season this year...  But otherwise, fine.  The ground isn't frozen?  Fantastic.  No snow?  Here, let me try to shed a tear... nope, can't.  We got to go play outside yesterday.  In fact, I poked onion sets in the ground.  AND I picked cilantro from my cold frame.  In January.  Wheeee!

My Frankenfinger is healing well.  The skin flap that the doc stitched on took quite well (no gangrene is a good sign, right?) and Nathan took the stitches out for me about a week and a half ago.  It's still very tender, and the fingernail is now starting to compete with the skin where my cuticle used to be and I'm hoping that will all work itself out okay.  I still keep it covered most of the time just to protect it, but I'm trying to leave it uncovered a little each day as well.  It's harder than you might think... It's so sensitive and I feel all naked and exposed and even a little freaked out when the bandage is off.  I still don't use that finger at all, either.  I just hold it out of the way while I'm doing things, and I've adjusted to typing and playing hymns at church without it.  Eventually, I suppose I will reintegrate it into my life again.  It has occurred to me that flute and whistle playing is out for the time being.  Not that I ever get around to taking out an instrument anyway...  Hrm.

Aaaaand I simply cannot think of a clever way to end this.  So.  This is awkward.  I guess I'll just...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bowties Are Cool

(Some of you may not quite know what I mean by that, but those of you who do, do.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


What is it about January that makes me want to rent a dumpster?  I could maniacally go through my house and throw. away. everything.  Just looking at all the crap I need to go through makes me want to scream and throw up.  I think it's a universal syndrome.  Well, maybe not the screaming nausea, but the clean-out part.  I've been seeing posts on facebook of people saying that they're decluttering and getting rid of stuff.  They also say how much they love it and how good it feels.  I get the feel-good effect, but I don't enjoy the job.  Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.  A long nap.  There are so many other things I would rather do.

And yet, I am compelled.  It's like someone else has robotic control over me.  I just go into a room, and I start throwing things away.  Don't care what it is.  Don't care if we need it.  Don't care if we might use it someday.  Pitch.

It's really good, but also a little dangerous.  I do have three boys, and probably shouldn't get rid of too many boy clothes.  My system is that I put one size in a clear plastic Sterilite storage tote, and I can only keep as much of that size as fits in it.  So I whittle it down to only what I can put in and barely cram the lid on.  And then people give me stuff.  And.... aurgh... I have to... go through stuff again.  Decide what goes and what stays.  But is it really a good idea to only keep as many pairs of boy pants as one child will need per size?  At they rate they get holes in them?  Should I really get rid of ANY boy pants?  Prolly not a good idea, actually.  So then I need to keep them. Somewhere.  Among the piles. But my robotic arms start pitching.

Sigh.  Why do kids need so much STUFF?

I always have these winter projects planned.  Projects for the time when I don't have so much to do and can tackle these fun things that I don't usually have time for-- painting projects and sewing projects and photo projects and such.  But it never seems to work out.  The winter passes (thank the LORD!)  and I haven't touched those things and why?  Because I was sorting crap. But mostly reading books and being lazy.  But the sorting crap made me feel like I was accomplishing something, so I never get to all the other stuff.  And now there's also an astonishing amount of child care that needs doing. But I really just wanna read a book. Or hibernate. 

Why don't we hibernate, anyway?  That's what I'd really like to do.

Oh, and there's also trying to plan  trips to Oregon and Minnesota to visit family.  There's another job that makes me what to take a nap.  Trying to figure out all those logistics... yikes.  Maybe it's not really that bad, but it feels like it.

How do I fly to and from Portland with three children, two of whom need constant holding?  Nathan can't decide if he's going or not, and even if he does, he can't stay as long as I want to stay, so that means I get at least one trip solo.  I thought it would be so much easier if I had a direct flight --get off the plane and be there!-- but it doesn't exist.  No. such.  thing.  They just don't do non-stops between Portland and Detroit.  And I'm torn about how long to stay. Two weeks is too short, but three is a long time to leave Nathan here alone.  I miss him just thinking about it.  So I dunno.  And if he goes for part of the time, then there are a whole other set of things to figure out.

So the craziest plan that we cooked up is this--  Drive to Minnesota, visit there for a few days, then Nathan puts me and boys on a plane there, where we can have a direct flight.  Then we could fly back to Chicago (again, direct flight!) and have twice the drive home.  Plausible?  Maybe.  Crazy?  Probably.  Stress-filled?  Absofreakinlutely.   For one, there's the driving to Minnesota and Chicago in FEBRUARY.  And then, when I try to picture planning such a trip?  Take the stress I feel getting ready to go to Oregon, then take the stress of getting ready to go to Minnesota, add them together and multiply by 439,000 and that will be approximately the stress of getting ready for both at the same time.  Wheeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!

So I dunno.  But we need to get on it and plan something.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna go throw something away.