Sunday, April 20, 2014

This Easter Brought to You by the Grandmothers

Something I accepted about myself awhile ago is that I am never going to be a real star when it comes to holidays for my children. Maybe it's because I'm not crafty, maybe it's because I'm not a Fun Mom, maybe it's because I just don't care all that much, but not for me are all the Pinterest-y adorable crafts and multi-day lead-up traditions for holidays.

I do, however, make some effort. I decorate for Christmas, albeit sparingly. I managed an Easter basket last year that went over reasonably well with Cubby. But this Easter . . . well, I kind of surpassed myself in holiday suckage.

Thankfully, the children have two grandmothers who provided everything they could possibly wish for.

From my mother last week came these felt bags with various little gifts in them. 


I bet there's a Pinterest tutorial on how to make something similar, but I also bet my mom bought them at the drugstore. I come by my non-craftiness genetically.

The Cadbury Mini Eggs were courtesy of the MiL, who also went around last night hiding chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Creme Eggs all around downstairs.


Uncle Doctor (the family member who originally bought this house in 1886) was unfortunately born too early to know the joys of the Cadbury Creme Egg. A sad thing indeed.

After donning the egg glasses and egg bubble necklaces from their bags, the children went around finding all the chocolate in the house.


The egg glasses were later crucial to a sword game, during which I believe they were a visored helmet.


The bubbles were the real hit, though. You best believe that shortly after this photo was taken, we were all outside and I was blowing bubbles, 28 degrees be damned.

And then I put on their coats and boots over their pajamas so they could look for the dyed hard-boiled eggs outside in the frozen morning. Guess who boiled, dyed, and put the eggs outside for them? Yeah. Not I, said the Not-Fun Mommy. The MiL gets the medal for this one.


This egg had already been peeled for Charlie to eat, but instead he elected to just carry it around and drop it a few times before flinging it to the dogs.

Later in the afternoon, we went to the MiL's brother's house for the big family Easter meal. The MiL's brother is a farmer. This meant that any time not spent eating rolls and pie could be spent here:


A tractor that hasn't moved in so long there are trees growing in it is the perfect tractor for a four-year-old.

Every holiday should be spent at a farm littered with derelict tractors. 

The MiL also prepared and brought three separate dishes for this family dinner. Know what I made? Not one single thing. How embarrassing.

I'll do better next year.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Allium Cure

The children and I are in heavy mouth-breathing territory with this cold at the moment, which is just as fun as you would imagine. Thankfully, it warmed up enough this afternoon that we could go outside for an hour or so without any screaming due to frozen hands or noses.

Cubby is still a great fan of foraging, and Charlie is emulating his example with the wild chives that are everywhere this time of year. I don't even know if they're really chives, but they look like thinner versions of chives and they grow wild all over the lawns, so . . . I'm going with wild chives.

Cubby asked me if they were good for a cold. Sure, I said. I know garlic has been shown to boost the immune system, so why not other alliums, right?

Right. At what age do you think he'll catch on to the fact that I'm making this stuff up half the time?

Anyway. He then proceeded to pull up fistfuls of the chives and eat them, with Charlie doing likewise. Cubby made the mistake of shoving an entire bouquet in his mouth at once. He spit them out in a hurry, though, when the full impact of that many raw chives hit his tastebuds.

And then, of course, both children stunk of onions for an hour or so. Good thing I can't smell much at the moment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Charlie Has Arrived

It's a big day when a boy gets his first real hammer.


Pro tip #1: The first hammer should be a tack hammer. Small enough that there's less inadvertent wild swinging due to excessive weight.

A big day for me, too, since when each brother has his own hammer and his own nail to hammer on, there is significantly less fighting and likelihood of someone getting smashed in the face with a hammer claw.


Pro tip #2: Start the nails for them on pieces of wood spaced very far apart. That way, they can only hurt themselves, not each other.

Just imagine the mind-blowing joy of his first experience with a real saw.

We'll wait awhile for that, though. One more year should do it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Like He Doesn't Know Me At All

Cubby is sick again. Just a cold, and not nearly as severe as the last nasty thing he had a month ago, but still sick. This means, of course, that he must have chicken soup.

I think I mentioned to him one time about a year ago that chicken soup can help make colds go away, so now every time he's sick, he must have chicken soup. With potatoes, because noodles and rice are forbidden. He must have the magic elixir or heads will roll. Specifically, Mommy's head.

So when he came downstairs this morning snuffling and whining about snuffling, I knew chicken soup would be dinner tonight. I had chicken broth on hand, two quarts left from when we got rid of the chickens and I made and canned a few gallons of broth. I had vegetables. I did not, however, have any chicken.

I figured I could make the soup minus the chicken and just ask A. to pick up a rotisserie chicken on his way home. That way I could just shred it quickly and add it to the soup in time to eat.

So I called A. at work. I asked him to stop at the store and explained that Cubby wanted chicken soup. Before I could get to the part about A. buying the chicken for me, he said, "Okay, so just a can of Campbell's or something?"

What? Campbell's? Has he not been living in the same house with me for the past decade?

It's not as if I didn't eat my share of Campbell's soup growing up--minestrone was my personal favorite--but I don't eat it now. I mean, I have nothing against Campbell's, it's just . . . okay, yes. Yes, I do have something against it: It tastes terrible. And I could imagine Cubby's reaction if I served that salt-laden, watery mess with (God forbid) noodles to him in place of his beloved life-giving chicken soup with potatoes.

Pretty sure it wouldn't go over well.

I set A. straight and he dutifully went to the store. They didn't have rotisserie chickens at the small market near his office, so he bought some chicken tenders instead. Not Campbell's. Wise man.

Cubby loved his soup. He says he's feeling better already. Crisis averted.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bald Is Beautiful . . . I Guess

Ever since Charlie was a wee thing, he's had issues with his scalp. Gross, dry, scaly issues that never really go away. I guess it's just a variation on cradle cap, but it sure is persistent. I never wash it with shampoo, for fear of further drying, and in fact before every bath I brush his head vigorously with a soft-bristled brush and then rub in baby oil.

Unfortunately, as his hair has gotten thicker, it has gotten harder for me to really brush his scalp clean of the dry skin and his hair tended to absorb most of the oil. Not only did this mean that his scalp wasn't benefiting from the oil, it also meant that the day after a bath his hair would have a very unpleasant greased look.

Charming.

Finally, last week, A. suggested that maybe we should buzz his hair off in order to better treat the ever-worsening dry scalp. I am not a fan of the buzz cut look on my sons, and in fact go through quite a bit of hassle to give them actual haircuts with scissors rather than just shaving it all off every month. But I had to reluctantly agree that we had to do something.

Leave it to me, A said. I'll just use my beard trimmer and cut it to the same length as my beard, he said.

Never trust a man with clippers.



Mom, does my head look like this potato?

Obviously, that is not beard-length hair. That's straight-up bald. When A. started with the buzzer (an activity that really did not go over well with Charlie, who was pinned in my lap and obviously felt completely betrayed by both of his parents), he discovered that the hair was too fine for a somewhat long buzz cut. So off it all came.

I am . . . not pleased with the aesthetics of the result. Charlie, however, could not care less.



Cubby gets great delight in referring to his little brother as Mr. Bald Head. And I must admit his scalp looks a lot better already.

Even if his head does kind of resemble one of those potatoes.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A.P.D.--The Morning Clothing Edition

There was a time in my life when I would roll out of bed, put on sweatpants, a robe, and some slippers, and shuffle into my day. Later, after A. left for work, I would either shower and get dressed or put on work clothes and do whatever manual labor was required that day before taking a shower and getting dressed when I finished.

Then I had a baby.

I realized early on that nursing a baby in a robe was really awkward. And that if I didn't get dressed as soon as I got out of bed, there was a likelihood of not getting dressed at all.

Then I had a toddler.

At this phase, I had to be dressed and in clothing that was acceptable for public viewing first thing upon waking up, because if I didn't put acceptable clothing on my body when I got up, there was a likelihood that a potential trip to the library later in the day might be canceled because I was wearing the flannel-lined jeans covered with Great Stuff, in which I could not possibly be seen in public, and going all the way back upstairs to change was too daunting a prospect to face.

(That was a horrible run-on sentence of a paragraph, but I'm letting it stand. Sorry.)

It's really much better to just put on presentable jeans and a fleece first thing. It's certainly no harder than pulling on sweatpants or whatever. Our house is too cold most of the year to wander around in my sleeping clothes anyway, so if I have to put on the extra layers, they might as well be real clothes.

At this stage of my life, I actually put my clothing out for the next day before I go to sleep at night. It's all in a pile on the corner of my dresser: shirt on the bottom, jeans on top of that, long underwear on top of that if it's long underwear season. Socks next to the pile. Slippers on the floor next to the dresser. Any bulky sweater or fleece is hung on the banister right outside our bedroom door.

It's pretty much like a blind person setting up for dressing, which is essentially what I am because more often than not, I get dressed in the dark. I need to make a minimum of noise and disturbance lest I wake the demon/cherubs. I do not want to see their shining faces at 5:30 in the morning, so I dress stealthily and creep downstairs as quietly as possible.

So what about you, my lovelies? What's your morning attire look like?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Little Picture(s)

You know those "Day in the Life" kind of posts where people break down their entire day by time and describe what they did? I love those posts. I even did one once. But it occurs to me that those are so big picture that they miss a lot of the minutia.

What, for instance, did ten minutes of my day after dinner last night look like? So glad you asked!

We begin in the living room. It's the children's last opportunity to trash the joint before bedtime pick-up. They make the most of the chance.


Cubby also took the opportunity to ham it up for the camera, as always.

Charlie managed to extract an apple from the large bag on the floor in the parlor and proceeded to eat it all, despite just eating dinner. He likes to clutch an apple during his wanderings. This wandering took us all into the dining room, where Charlie ended up in rapt contemplation of the Nature Conservancy magazine while Cubby roared at his head.


I think Cubby was playing some game involving dragons. Or maybe it was bears. Or maybe he just felt like roaring. Anything's possible.

My children are in constant motion. This is why so many of the photos I take of them are blurry.


Blurry boy with apple.

A. was outside during all this excitement. He was scrounging up enough wood to keep the fire going for the night and this morning.


Sweatpants are not approved lumberjack apparel, but then, I don't think lumberjacks use circular saws either.

Charlie wanted to come out, but I denied the greatest desire of his heart, as I so often do.


Sad boy with apple. But not blurry!

Otty wanted to come in, but I denied her, too.


This is the face of a dog who expects there to be many delicious morsels available on the floor under the dinner table.

When I got back inside, I found that Cubby had used his magnetic play set and this roller thing from an unknown piece of furniture to make . . .


"I have a surprise for you, Mommy! Close your eyes! ONETWOTHREEFOUR . . . it's a roller!"

It did indeed look just like a roller of the sort that is used to smooth out ground during road construction. I duly praised his cleverness. Then I realized Charlie had soiled himself and needed to be changed.

I decided to stop taking pictures at that point. You're welcome.