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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Gratitude Project: September in July

It's pouring down rain outside, and inside it's cozy. It's pumpkin spice latte weather in July. I have a steaming mug of coffee next to me and I'm wrapped up in a blanket on my couch. My inbox has more work than I can do and my fingers are ready to get typing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reasons my two year old might be crying

Reasons my two year old might be crying:
I buckled her car seat.
Her brother is talking to her.
Her brother is looking at her.
She's not a kitty cat.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Is there a psychological condition for this?

Heidi: "I want to watch the Doctor Who with the scary dolls! Please can we watch the Doctor Who with the scary dolls? That one's my favorite! Momma, why do the scary dolls touch Amy and turn her into a scary doll? Momma, if the scary dolls touch little kids they turn into scary dolls and then they turn other little kids into scary dolls! It's my favorite!"

Uhhhhhh.....

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's all a matter of perspective

Gratitude changes the way you see the world. I've been doing a Gratitude Project for a few months now, finding things to be grateful for. Sometimes it's hard to be grateful. Sometimes I just plain forget. Sometimes the best I can do is "I'm alive," and sometimes it's hard to even feel grateful for that.

But slowly, I'm getting better. And life is getting better. Not that actual circumstances are changing, but that I'm beginning to see them in a better light. And when I can see hope in the world, I react better and create better circumstances for myself and for all of us.

And really, it's amazing what a difference gratitude can make in the way the world looks.

For example, there are two ways I could describe what is happening in my house today.

1) The kids are going crazy and are playing with dirty outdoor stuff that's not even proper toys. The ambient sound in the house is equivalent to a heavy metal concert and just as unpleasant. We're going to be eating hot soup on a hot day because our diets no longer allow for normal sandwiches and we don't have salad in the fridge at the moment. The house is a total disaster and all the shoes are in the living room.

Or

2) Heidi is crowning Ion with the "Crown of Truth," which is a broken tricycle tire, because childhood imagination is amazing. Rori is trying on all of our shoes pair by pair because childhood fashion is also amazing (as is the getup she chose for herself this morning. She managed to find an entire multi-layer outfit full of items that don't match each other in the slightest.) Emory is sleeping peacefully in the back bedroom. There is broccoli cheese soup simmering on the stove because Bear Creek Soup is the gods' gift to busy families everywhere. Ryan has converted the kitchen table into a makeshift shop and is drilling out some sheet metal to fix the running board of our van. We have a massive van that fits our whole family, and we're not paying the dealer hundreds of dollars to fix it because Ryan likes to tinker with stuff. Basically, we're the Weasleys without the wands and I always wanted to be them. I'm living my dream, I just didn't know it came with so much noise.

See? The difference that gratitude makes.

I could go for having the Scourgify spell though.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Equality for our children, equality for all

This conversation happened yesterday:

Me: "Heidi, something very important happened today. Now you are free to love anyone you want. You can marry a girl or a boy."
Heidi: "I don't wanna marry a girl or a boy. I wanna marry a prince."
Ion: "I wanna marry a fire truck!"

You do you, Bubba.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Love and marriage

Today I am grateful for 6 wonderful years with my love! What incredible things these six years have brought - four beautiful babies, millions of hopes and dreams, and so many lessons in how to love. Here is to 6 more years, and then 12 after that, and many many more years of learning and loving together. I love you more than I ever manage to tell you. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Gluten-Depression Link, or Why I Cried Over A Tricycle This Morning

There's a lot of information out there that links depression with gluten sensitivity. Now I'm not a doctor, or a scientist, though I've got some friends who have mad microscope skills, so I generally go with what Doctor Google tells me when I have health-related questions.

Doctor Google or my in-laws. It's excellent to be related to people in the medical profession when you have an emergency question at 3 in the morning.

But about gluten sensitivity, I go to my other in-laws, who actually deal with Celiac disease on a daily basis. And they've told me that gluten sensitivity causes all sorts of problems one might not think about. Like depression.

But taking gluten out of one's diet is a majorly huge pain in the butt, which is why I did it for a few weeks 2 years ago and then quit. And ever since I've been wondering if I might feel better if I weren't eating gluten.

So a couple of months ago we decided to cut gluten out of our diets again. I've been feeling good. Decently high baseline. Avoiding gluten is still a pain in the butt. And things that contain gluten are really, really yummy.

So yesterday I ate a whole two crumbs of a cake we'd gotten for everybody (except me) to celebrate Father's Day. (I'd gotten my own GF treat so don't go feeling sorry for me and my left-outness.)

And this morning Ryan, um, bumped the tire of the kids' tricycle when we were taking the kids to school. And I burst into tears. I may have yelled. I just might have gotten really really mad.

That tricycle was the symbol of a better life. I imagined the kids riding it up and down the driveway in front of our dream house. I REMEMBERED when Rori got that tricycle for her birthday. It was THE KIDS' TRICYCLE. And now it was BROKEN. And we were NEVER GOING TO GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE and life was NEVER GOING TO BE BETTER and I just might as well stop even trying because what was the point? Life was going to be hopeless forever because a tire on a tricycle got bent.

The replacement part costs $5.

I had a complete breakdown because of a $5 tricycle tire.

It took chocolate to get over it.

Two crumbs, guys. That's all it takes to go completely insane. Two freaking crumbs.

No more gluten for me.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lolo

Heidi has been working on her Ls. She's learned that they say "L-L-L-L" and not "y-y-y-y". This causes all sorts of confusion since the "y" sound still exists. 

For example, it took me five minutes to figure out that a "Lolo" is a yo-yo. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Conversations with my 2 year old

Me: Rori, please get in your seat. 
Rori: No. 
Me: Yes, Rori, please get in your seat.
Rori: No. 
Me: Ooooooone... Twoooooooo... Threeeeeee... Fooooooooourrrrr....
Rori: Twenty!

Sassy pants

The world is getting younger

When I was in college, I remember laughing about how the freshmen got younger each year. Every September the babyfaced little newbies would take over the campus. Every year it was a shock.

But I've been out of the whole school thing for a while. My peers have been getting older at the same rate that I am, which means we're still all the exact same age. We're having kids because that's what the cool kids are doing ... man, some babies are having kids too. "What do you mean, you're pregnant? You're, like, 23. That's ... that's how old I was when I conceived my first baby. But you're just obviously way too young. Stop being silly."

There's a silver-highlighted woman using one of the computers at the university library. She's wearing mom jeans and carrying a massive tote bag. She is totally the right age for undergraduate classes. Of course. Why wouldn't she be? She's my age. The sunglasses on her head are stylish and I want them. Totally legit for college classes.

And a troupe of prospective college students just traipsed through said university library. They look like they still need help tying their shoes. I have to fight the urge to ask if any of them need to go potty.

Everybody needs to stop getting so darn young. It's really throwing me off here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bedtime 2

One baby snores in the bed next to me while the other snores in her crib across the room. The northernmost fringes of Tropical Storm Bill drum on the window. I'm sipping green tea with a generous helping of coconut sugar. The dim light from my laptop screen illuminates my fingers as they blather on about something having to do with tree trimming. I'm getting paid for this.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Facebook Withdrawal *twitch twitch*

I noticed that I was starting to exhibit some addictive behaviors regarding Facebook, so I decided to quit. Again. Only this time I didn't delete everything because I really regret that I did that last time. So I just put my goodbye note up, asked my dear husband to change my password and under no circumstances to tell me what he changed it to, and directed all my beloved Facebook friends and followers to my poor old neglected blog.

Which is probably just going to replace Facebook as my addiction. It's slightly healthier though because it doesn't have a Newsfeed. Or notifications. Or a million snarky political memes. (Seriously, that Donald Trump "We Shall Overcomb" one? Presidential race comedic gold, I'm telling you.)

donald trump

So, to make a long story short, I'm quitting Facebook cold turkey and I am already starting to suffer. You might be able to tell by the fact that I'm rambling on with a blog post at 10:45 pm instead of going to bed ... because I'm used to being on Facebook and gosh darn it I can't handle it. I need my spoon-fed media like a junkie needs ... uh, their drug of choice. 

So I've admitted I have a problem and I've jumped straight to replacing that problem with another one which will hopefully have less positive reinforcement and far fewer addiction-fueling stimuli. Of course, the real purpose of quitting Facebook is so that I can focus on writing for my job, because every time I'm not typey-handsing in a Microsoft Word document I feel guilty:

doctor who

firefly

harry potter

sherlock

But at least writing a blog post is more productive than scrolling through one's Newsfeed for hours, right? That's what I'm telling myself at least. Now please comment, because I'm about to get really lonely over here without my crack Facebook.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bedtime

Nothing sweeter than going to sleep on clean sheets, with crickets singing outside the open window and a little boy hiccuping in his sleep next to you. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Magical Orange Vinegar Cleaner


I am always and forever chasing my kids away from the cleaning chemicals. I am also always and forever scrubbing up the messes my kids make, because sticky.
We've also been buying a lot of oranges recently.
So I've been soaking the orange peels in vinegar, which makes a practically free, concentrated, nontoxic cleaner that smells fabulous.
And this morning when Heidi and Ion were squabbling and Rori was trying to get into the (sealed) container of OxyClean, I had a brainwave. Fill up 3 bottles with orange cleaner, give each kid a bottle and a rag, and let 'em go.
The coffee table is now soaking wet, the entire kitchen is swimming in orange vinegar, and they're going after their toy shelf with a vengeance. Ninja mom level: master.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Grateful for chaos

Today I am grateful for the chaos that my life sometimes is. It means that I have four beautiful, creative, energetic children who aren't afraid to ask for (and sometimes insist) on what they want and need in life. It means that I have food to feed them, even when that food is scattered all over the table. It means that we are blessed enough to have a choice in food, so they have the luxury of being picky eaters (and therefore scattering their food). It means they love each other and want to play with each other, even when that means someone steps on someone else, or when it means that Ion insists on being Ana instead of Kristoff and Heidi (who also wanted to be Ana) is stuck without a love interest. It means that they have beds and blankets to make a mess of, and they have clothes to wear or pull out of their drawers and leave in piles all over their room.

Chaos means a lot of things that many people in the world don't have. So since my choices are to be grateful for it or to cry about it, I'm going to be grateful for it. And then I'm going to drink a tall glass of blackberry wine (something else to be grateful for) and start to work on cleaning it all up.

#thegratitudeproject

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Castle of Muskogee

Check out my guest post on Ryan's blog! We went to the Renaissance Festival at the Muskogee Castle, and I wrote about it!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Rainbow Cake

The day before Easter seems like the perfect time to make a rainbow cake! (actually, Heidi had just been asking to make one forever and we finally capitulated.)


You could do this with regular white cake mix but we got Duff Goldman's tie-dye cake mix because that way we knew the food coloring colors would mix and be pretty, instead of turning muddy. 


Heidi helped. 


A lot. 


So did Ion. Super helpful. Those beaters weren't going to lick themselves. 

(please ignore the just-played-outside shirt. His only involvement in food prep was licking the beaters. No sweat or mud got in the cake.)


Separate the batter into 6 bowls and let a child help you mix your colors. If said child sneaks bites, you will be able to tell by the blue stains on her lips. 



Separating out the batter and mixing the colors was kind of more time consuming than I like food prep to be, like, ever. But the kids thought it was AWESOME and I got to sneak in a lesson about the color wheel. A delicious color wheel. 

Some lessons die hard when you're the child of an art teacher. 

By the way, using the food coloring that came in the box was the right choice. Look at how not-muddy those colors are!

Then you pour the batter into the pan in order (red first, then orange on top, then yellow on top of that, etc.).



No after-baking photos - they stuck to the pan a bit (user error - we were out of Pam and I used butter) so we ate 'em. 

DELICIOUS. This cake mix is totally worth the price. 

We'll try again in the morning and see if we can't get them to come out of the oven pretty enough to decorate.

 



Plantable Easter baskets!

You wish your husband were as creative as mine. Admit it.



Ryan came home from the store today with brightly colored flower pots and a bunch of perennials. Tomorrow we'll decorate them with pretty stickers and let the kids use them to gather eggs. Then we'll plant flowers in them. 

A much better way to honor the return of life to the earth than throwing plastic baskets into a landfill, don't you think?