Friday, February 3, 2017

Skunk Boys at School

Today is "Crazy for Kindness" at Cubby and Charlie's school, which meant they could wear crazy socks or have crazy hair for The Great Kindness Challenge. They do not own any crazy socks, and it's sort of hard to have crazy hair when you have a buzz cut. Except . . .

I was planning on giving them their monthly head-shaving this weekend anyway. So last night I shaved everything except a strip down the middle, thinking it would be like a mohawk. The contrast in length wasn't enough to really look like much, though, so this morning I added some of my mousse, sifted some cornstarch over that, and then hair sprayed it in place.

Possibly the lamest crazy hair ever, but I didn't have much to work with.

Jack of course demanded that he get the same thing his brothers did, so I sifted some cornstarch onto his head too.

Isn't he lucky to have such an indulgent mother?

They then spent the time before the school bus came crawling around and sticking their, ahem, dupas* in each other's faces to spray like a skunk. 

Sorry, teachers. This was maybe not my most thought-out plan. But hey, you want crazy hair? You get crazy boys. 

* Do you know the word "dupa"? This is a Polish word my Milwaukee-raised father used when I was a child in place of the word "butt," which was a word we were not allowed to use. Except when I looked up dupa just now, I found that its most common meaning is actually "ass," so he was really swearing in Polish throughout my entire childhood. HA.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Great Grocery Store Exercise Plan

Did you know that pushing a grocery cart is an excellent workout for your core? Well, it is if you wait to go to the store until you're out of every fresh fruit and vegetable, plus things like olive oil and big cans of tomatoes, resulting in a extra-heavy cart that requires some exertion to get rolling, maneuver around corners, and bring to a halt before running over your fellow shoppers.

At least I didn't have a kid in the cart, too. I might have strained something.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kindness in Action

Cubby and Charlie's school is participating in The Great Kindness Challenge, which is all very nice and wholesome and I hope results in, uh, greater kindness all around.

Yesterday was the first day of the challenge activities (whatever those might be--I'm a little fuzzy on the details of checklists and so on), and Cubby apparently was very inspired by it all.

After dinner when I finished up a roll of paper towels, I gave him the cardboard tube to play with on the condition that he not menace anyone with it.

Not only did he not menace with it, he unrolled it to create the following sign:

Perhaps the location above the thermostat is meant to remind us that acts of kindness can warm our cold hearts? Or maybe that's just the best stretch of bare wall he could reach with the step stool.

He also put one on their bedroom door, thereby claiming our whole house for The Great Kindness Challenge. 

And then, less than five hours after those signs were posted, I was awakened by Charlie crying in our room because Cubby had gotten cold and stolen Charlie's down comforter while Charlie was sleeping.

Cubby's commitment to the challenge is truly inspiring. And apparently confined to school.

Monday, January 30, 2017

An Invigorating Morning Constitutional

This morning we woke up to ten degrees and about an inch of fresh powdery snow on top of the ten inches or so already on the ground. After we saw Cubby and Charlie off on the school bus at 7:20 a.m., A. turned to me and said, "Hey, want to go snowshoeing in the woods?"

And there was not a single reason why not. So we loaded Jack up in his pack, strapped on our snowshoes, and walked into the woods.

Robert Frost woods, right here.

It was a perfect morning for it. It was cold in the woods--probably right around zero--but no wind, and totally quiet. We scared up a few grouse, but otherwise saw no other animals. Mia spent much of her time shoving her face into snow drifts to sniff whatever captivating scents were under there. Jack rode along happily, and A. and I just moved right along the snowshoe trail that A. has forged on a mile loop through the woods around to the dirt road.

We made it back to the house by 8:15 a.m., with plenty of time to have some breakfast and for A. to have a shower before starting work in his garage office*.

We can't do it every morning, thanks to frequent adverse weather conditions, but when we can, it's a hell of a good start to the day.

* A. is probably the only attorney in the state whose law office contains a gun cabinet, several pairs of snowshoes, and a bed for the dog's night-time quarters. It's very amusing.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Riddle

What starts with blithe optimism that eventually changes to self-doubt, requires time to develop, involves messy and protracted labor, but results in a sweet final product that's worth all the effort required to get there?

Well, babies. Yes. That is true. But you know what else? Sourdough cinnamon rolls.

They always seem like such a good idea to start with, and not really that much trouble, right? But then you mess around with the dough for an entire day of adding flour and water to sourdough starter, rising and adding more, rising and adding more, before even adding the egg, milk, butter and sugar, and then spend half an hour fighting to roll out extra-sticky dough* and you wonder, "Why did I ever get myself into this?"

You continue to wonder this as you peel up and roll the recalcitrant dough into a log, try to slice it neatly but just end up squishing the knife down and yanking the pieces off in a slowly mounting act of rage, pull them out of the refrigerator in the morning to find they haven't really risen and 45 minutes later when hungry children are demanding breakfast that they STILL haven't risen so they have to be hurried up in a warm oven, then finally baked and covered in a maple syrup/butter/powdered sugar mixture that oh, right, still has to be made even though now the children have given up on breakfast in favor of rolling around the kitchen floor under your feet and clinging to your knees . . .

After all that, there is this:

Well, hello my precious baby cinnamon rolls.

Your big brother can't wait to show you how much he loves you.

A table full of labors of love, in the form of both boys and baked goods.

I always say it's not worth it. But it always is.

* Sourdough dough is always horrendously sticky to work with, but adding egg, milk, butter, and sugar takes it to a whole other level of frustration.