Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween out there.

There was laughter.  There were tears.  There was a cow, a werewolf and a princess/ballerina/flying monkey.  There were frozen feet and way too much candy.  And then thankfully, there was bedtime. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mom Down

With Bryce gone for months, my worst fear as a single mom has been getting really sick.  Myself.  Sick kids I can deal with, even when they all go down.  I'm not easily grossed out, I'm used to not sleeping and cleaning up messes.  And really, sick kids are usually good for hours of cuddling and watching TV.  But being sick myself and having to deal with the exhausting routine of three small children all day and night just makes me want to crawl in a hole.  But on Friday, it finally happened.  I got the stomach flu and spent all night hugging the toilet.  And then I woke up Saturday morning with three healthy kids demanding breakfast, who I had promised to take to the haunted house.  I will admit to feeling pretty sorry for myself and having a bit of a pity party in my pajamas for a few hours.  But we made it.  No worse for the wear. 

We even got dressed and took Porter to the mall so he could go through the haunted house.  The girls didn't go as there was no way I was repeating last year's epic parenting fail, but he had a good time.  We also got the big kids ski pass photos taken, where they promptly sensed my foul mood, and totally stopped cooperating.

Stay safe out there on the East Coast.  Night.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Our visits to the beach are now complete with snow suits.  It's cold!  On this particular trip, it was just me and the girls heading out for a quick stop at the beach by our house.  I geared Cedar up in that outfit, and encouraged Molly to do the same.  She had been outside that morning.  I repeated the fact that it was really cold and windy.  I offered suggestions on clothing options.  And she insisted on wearing a t-shirt, a windbreaker, and pink sneakers.  And I said okay. 

Now, when she goes to skiing lessons or preschool, I sort of force her to wear weather appropriate outfits.  But she is so stubborn.  And the theory is that she has to figure out for herself that being cold really sucks.  And that you have to wear a hat and gloves and a winter coat in October in Alaska. 

So we went to the beach.  And we stayed for about half an hour.  And by the end Molly was in tears, howling about her hands hurting.  And her coat.  And Moooooooooom.  Why did you not bring my gloves??  So we went home.  And I'm not really sure anyone learned a lesson.  Except maybe for me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Judge Not

Porter and Molly have been taking swimming lessons in the evening this month.  It's a hectic time of night, right before dinner.  There are multiple lessons going on at the same time, one after another.  So there are a lot of parents and siblings at the pool, in the locker room, and waiting in the lobby, where you observe the kids in the pool through big windows.

I ran into an acquaintance of mine in the lobby, after I had already deposited the big kids in their appropriate spots.  Cedar and I sat down, and she began to tell me the story of her day.  The gist of it was, her husband was out of town, she ran over her cell phone, and had to spend an hour at the cell store with her three kids (all of whom are five and under) in tow.  Sucks.  She was tired.  I was sorry.

And then right at the end of her story, another parent in the lobby taps her on the shoulder and points to one of her youngest boys.  He's banging on the vending machine, she says.  It's really loud.  My friend sighs, and makes a move to get up.  And then the lady says, I think he just needs some attention.  With a big fake smile.  I looked at my friend, and it sort of looked like she was going to cry.  But she got it together, basically ignored the other woman, and her son came back over on his own.  She got up quickly though, and waited in another part of the room.

I couldn't really say anything, because this acquaintance of mine, I don't know her that well.  But I should have.  I am blown away by other parents sometimes, and the way they feel they can pass judgement.  You really never know what's going on in somebody's life, it could be a whole lot harder than a broken phone.  This other woman was there with her husband, watching what appeared to be their only child take swimming lessons in the pool.  The grandma even showed up and watched.  They all doted on the boy afterwards, and I couldn't help but give them the stink eye.  When they couldn't even help the mom on her own with three little kids having a hard day.  Because really, that could have easily been me. 

But.  I suppose I have no idea what those other people are really like either.  Judge not.  Right?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rules and Muffins

Even though Porter's seventh birthday is still several months away, he still wants to talk about his birthday party pretty much all the time.  This will be his first year hosting a sleep-over.  I'm really happy about this coming of age event as it cuts down the number of guests and hassles by quite a bit.  So tonight during the discussion, I asked him who he wanted to invite.  He named all of the usual suspects.  And then also a girl. 

Now.  I first want to say that I'm very pleased that Porter has come around to girls.  He went through a sort of anti-girl phase during the last couple of years where anything even remotely pink was met with a tantrum.  He wouldn't admit to being friends with girls or even wanting to be around them.  Girls were gross and stupid.  This year, he actually admitted that girls are kind of sort of pretty nice.  We even had a couple over for a play date along with another boy.  One in his class taught him the secret to swinging really high, and he sung her praises for weeks.  It's been nice.

So I'm glad he would want to have boys and girls over on his birthday.  But there definitely seems to be an unspoken rule that girls and boys don't spend the night together, even at this age.  Porter has been to a number of sleep-overs, and they've always been boys only.  I'd feel weird having a girl here with a bunch of Porter's farting, burping, Star Wars, Lego head friends.  And I'm sure it wouldn't be okay with her parents either.

I told Porter that only boys could spend the night.  He asked my why.  I told him it was just a rule, that girls and boys didn't have sleep-overs together.  He asked me who made that rule.  And I told him I didn't know, but that's how it was.  Not a very good answer, but really the best I had given his limited knowledge.  I suppose he'll get it soon enough.  But when did my boy get old enough that I have to keep girls away from him?  It's all happening very fast.

And speaking of girls.

Also, now that fall is here in force, I'm feeling more of an urge to bake.  I made these Apple Strudel Muffins last week, and they were fantastic.  My kids, although they love apples, will not eat baked goods that have chunks of fruit in them.  It must be a texture thing.  The apples in these are shredded, and basically disappear during baking.  The taste is still there though, perfect for this chilly weather.  We polished off the entire batch in one afternoon with some small help from my next door neighbor and a couple of Porter's friends.  Yum.

Apple Strudel Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 apples, peeled and grated

for topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a muffin tin.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Beat together softened butter, sugars and eggs until smooth in a large bowl.  Mix in vanilla.  Stir in apples.  Add the flour mixture, and mix until just combined.  The batter will be thick.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients.  Sprinkle over the mixture in the muffin tin.  The topping will spread, so just add it to the middle of the muffins.

Bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  These are great while still warm though, so don't let them cool too long!  Enjoy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dawson Needs A Walk

Before Bryce left, I thought about how my evenings would go after the kids went to bed.  I figured that without someone else here at night, I wouldn't have anyone to talk to, drink wine with, or encourage me to watch Dexter or Breaking Bad (both shows I just cannot watch while home alone).  I thought I could really get a lot accomplished around the house.  I could organize all the pictures.  Clean the floors.  Fold laundry.  And surely I could start blogging every day.  Alas, after homework and swimming lessons and wrangling the kids into blissful slumber, I have about zero inclination to do anything except sit on the couch.  And maybe check Facebook.

I've been feeling overwhelmed, because the house is sliding deeper and deeper into the dark side of super gross.  Dawson really needs a walk.  I ought to be reading with Porter every day.  I should be volunteering in his classroom, but I basically never do.  We ate pizza again.  I haven't even looked at the garden in a month.  And I really see no hope of any of these things getting done or better for awhile.  But.  I know that even with my slightly obsessive tendencies, I just have to let it all go.  No one cares except me (well, and maybe Dawson). 

Then, last weekend, we got a surprise visit from Bryce.  It was very short, but we were all very happy to be reunited, however briefly.  And while he was here, I got even less done than before.  And none of it mattered.  And I was happy.

This is from our soaking wet camping trip back in September.  Also hard.  But also happy.