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Because I’m smooth like that

This story begins with bacon, which SHOULD mean it’s a happy story, but I am all about the plot twist, yo.

Bacon! We love bacon. (Well, not the vegetarian. Though she does still comment that it smells good, which is fascinating to me.) Once upon a time while on one of the awesome summer family trips with my folks and siblings, someone purchased turkey bacon from Costco and I relentlessly mocked this choice, because BACON IS FROM PIGS and TURKEY BACON IS AN ABOMINATION and probably makes the baby Jesus cry. I am ardent about my pork products, you understand. But lo and behold, this particular turkey bacon was 1) actually yummy, 2) much cheaper than real bacon, and 3) marginally healthier than pork bacon. The next time we went to Costco, we bought some, which—because it was Costco—was something like 5 or 6 pounds of delicious fake bacon from pig-turkeys.

For the first however many packages, I would pull it out on a weekend and make some with pancakes on a Saturday or whatever. Last weekend I noticed we were down to the last package (“Hey Otto, we have to go to Costco! BACON EMERGENCY!”) and I had a brilliant thought: Why not cook up an entire package one day, then reheat a couple strips for Monkey every morning with his breakfast? I don’t possess the time or alertness to fry bacon on a busy school morning, but 20 seconds in the microwave I could manage. And Monkey needs the calories. BRILLIANT. (more…)

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2015! 2015! 2015!

Happy New Year’s Eve! We are planning a huge celebration here, if by “huge celebration” you mean that Otto and I have been exchanging, “I dunno… what do YOU want to eat tonight?” phrases all morning and might head out to the grocery store in a little while so that we’re not ringing in the new year with only granola bars and beer (and I do).

This is the first new year’s in a long time where I’ve felt like the coming year really could be different and amazing. Of course, my definition of “amazing” has changed a lot, over the last three years or so, but that’s fine.

Life is hard, but it beats the alternative (as my father is fond of reminding me). And the other nice thing about life being hard is that when it’s less hard, it’s good. We celebrate every little victory over here, these days, and lately there’s been a lot of ‘em. I’ll take it. I’ll take it and whisper and knock on wood about how this could finally be the turned corner, even. Shhhhhh.

In fact, we are in the midst of teaching Chickadee to drive, which is definitely an adventure unto itself. I wrote about it on Alpha Mom, if you’re curious.

Here’s to new adventures in 2015.

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Dishes are complicated

In general I try to avoid the whole “and now let us brag about the wonderful presents we either gave or received, be they expensive or The Most Thoughtful Item ever or preferably BOTH” thing, because 1) NO1CURR, as my children would say, and also 2) I don’t want to be that asshole. I mean, I figured there are plenty of other annoying things about me without any of that going on.

Nevertheless, I am now going to be That Asshole and brag, because Santa knocked it out of the park with this double-sided magnet that showed up Monkey’s stocking this year:

Fred Dishwasher Magnet

Every teenager’s dream, AMIRITE? (more…)

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A Christmas Story, sans leg lamp

I make everyone watch A Christmas Story every year, because it’s important that I make sure, every year, that Ralphie doesn’t ACTUALLY shoot his eye out. Similarly, Chickadee requires that we watch Elf every year, because we have to confirm that Christmas is saved and also that if you’re paid enough money, you can indeed eat platefuls of spaghetti and maple syrup. Or something.

I have no problem watching the same movie(s) every year. I enjoy the predictability, especially as our actual lives are not nearly as predictable as I’d like. In fact, it’s something of a family joke, how disastrous our Christmases often end up, so why not watch the films about how everything works out just right in the end, after a few bumps along the way?

This year I just knew that Christmas was going to be amazing, though. The kids got iPhones—before the holiday, even—and I’m not going to lie, I was feeling smug. I’d finally won at Christmas, this year, managing to both make the children happy AND avert any sort of crisis or disaster because the plan was to stay home and have a quiet holiday. With the “big gift” out of the way, there were just a few boxes under the tree… wrapped early, even! The stage was set for family togetherness. If not peace on earth, at least calm and relative happiness.

When school let out on Friday I practically shrieked with glee. Time to relax! (more…)

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It’s beginning to look a lot like…

… I have possibly lost my mind. But hey, it’s hard to tell. That’s the joy of living life just on a knife’s edge of sanity. Woooooo!

We’re counting down the days until school lets out, and I have been baking as if there’s no tomorrow. Or as if there’s a tomorrow BUT only if you have a LOT of decadent treats with which to meet it. Whatever. I have been back to the store for more butter THREE TIMES. My garage is filled with various containers of dozens and dozens of cookies, and an entire shelf of the fridge is covered in fudge. (Um, in appropriate receptacles. I did not just slather fudge on the shelves.) Tonight I’ll put goodies into festive buckets and soon all of these treats shall be delivered and perhaps the children will stop complaining that I didn’t make THEM any cookies. Maybe.

I both love and hate this time of year. It’s frantic, which I don’t like, but I get to do a lot of giving, which I very much like.

In fact, yesterday was Christmas. Sort of. I got to do something super-duper fun, and you can read about it on Alpha Mom. I’d tell you more, but I have eighty gazillion cookies left to frost and portion into containers, so, um, I’ll seeya later.

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Well, the house smells amazing

‘Tis the season for baking! I feel like my oven’s been on more often than it’s been off, the last few weeks, and this is because I love to torture myself with goodies I cannot eat. It appeals to the martyr in me, I guess. Yep. It’s all bake-o-rama, all the time up in here.

For one thing, it’s a good distraction. For another, the holidays are coming. And finally, there’s been some stuff to handle at school and you KNOW I don’t ever go to school without a basket of baked goods. It’s against my religion. Also, I figure we need all the help we can get.

So in a fit of whimsy—tongue firmly planted in my cheek (though I’m sure someone will come along any minute now to tell me what a horrible person I am for implying that everyone has time to bake)—I put together a handy guide for appropriate school meeting baking for you over at Alpha Mom. You have questions about muffins, and I have answers. (Or, you know, you don’t have any questions about muffins, but I’m going to pretend you do.)

Tangentially related: I’ve decided my mission to make the children fit for public consumption is coming along better than I’d dared to hope. I made… something casserole-ish… for dinner last night. It was various vegetables and I sprinkled cheese on top because cheese fixes everything, and the end result was weird. Rather than the chorus of YUCK and EW it probably deserved, I got “Well, it’s… fine” and “No, it’s good… but I don’t know that you want to put it into the rotation.” It’s almost like they’re civilized. And that was with made up foodstuffs that sort of looked like cat vomit. IMAGINE what a calculated and gooey treat can do!

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I’m the chaperone who demands candy

Over the years, Otto and I have worked out a system for being Involved Marching Band Parents, and it’s served us pretty well. My responsibilities include working in the concession stand whenever we have a home game (after my baptism by fire three years ago I somehow ended up a permanent fixture in there), assisting with the mad scramble that is uniform fittings/distributions in August, helping with fundraisers, and dropping everything to show up at any rehearsal where a child of mine has completely lost their crap and requires an intervention (fun!). Otto’s responsibilities include most rehearsal pick-ups and rides home for orphan children in addition to our own, chaperoning away games, and taking lots and lots of photos of the band (much to Chickadee’s chagrin). Because we are team players, we split the “talking smack about the parents who never ever bother to volunteer” task evenly between us.

Now that Duncan has to eat every few hours, Otto stays home for home games and I stay home for away games. And while Otto chaperoned our first competition this season, I felt like maybe I should do the second one (even though I typically do not ride school buses!), so this past weekend, I did. I rode on a school bus. (Not with my own children. HEAVENS NO. They were on their own buses.) I ran around adjusting uniform hems. I doled out meals and snacks and gave Monkey money for funnel cake and cheered until I was hoarse and gave up my sweatshirt when it got cold after dark because SOMEONE left theirs on the bus. Also, I saw teenagers eating Sour Patch Kids on the way there and said one of the kids’ names in a VERY STERN VOICE and when she turned to me—worried she was in trouble—I asked if I could have some. It’s remarkably effective.

The kids did great and I woke up the next morning with ebola. Or a cold. Whatever. I HAVE BUS FLU. Still: worth it.

While I drink all the tea in the world and attempt to recover, I have a semi-serious (okay, mostly serious) post over at Alpha Mom today answering all of the questions you never knew you had about DBT, because… just because. DBT is good stuff when life is hard. Maybe you don’t have any band kids to give you Sour Patch Kids; I don’t know. I don’t judge.

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Band, band, band, band, and band

But first… a scintillating Duncan update: He is very much enjoying his hobbit meal schedule. Where he used to just sleep in my office all day long (presumably due to his low blood sugar and being mostly dead), he now hops up and follows me around the house. Bathroom break? Duncan is there! Grabbing a snack? Duncan is ready! Someone at the door? PERHAPS HE HAS KIBBLES! Duncan now believes it is his birthright to have a handful of kibble in his face at all times, and he’d be happy to follow you around to remind you. He is forgiven, because 1) he’s adorable and 2) this newfound energy came with a bonus in the form of Formerly Cantankerous Dog now being downright cuddly. After dinner he paws at my leg until I pick him up and let him sit on my lap at the table. He leaps up on the couch and curls up against the nearest human. He GIVES KISSES. I don’t know who this dog is, but I guess I’ll keep feeding him all day long.

In non-Duncan-y news, we are deep into marching band season. This means Otto has gotten to make his favorite “our kids are the ones in the funny hats” joke multiple times. And it also means I am thrilled to see both kids enjoying the anchor of a great activity, surrounded by good kids, led by amazing staff. Over at Alpha Mom, someone asked how you know if a band program is a good one, and I’ve tried to offer some guidance. If you have kids considering marching, definitely give it a read.

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Tiny morsels of cranky, update-y goodness

Life! Life, you so crazy. Or maybe you so normal and my coping skills are not. Hard to know. Maybe best not to dwell!

Various and sundry, because I am still suffering from the illusion that anyone gives a damn:

* School has been in session for about a month. Two excellent weeks at the beginning gave way to… reality. Reality kind of sucks.

* Speaking of school, I promised to share the poster grades once they were in, and I didn’t forget, this teacher is just a slow grader. Chickadee got a 100, Monkey got a 97. Both were pleased. (I may or may not have muttered “grade inflation” under my breath. Whatever.)

* So remember how my meaniepants doctor told me to lose 12 pounds and I was grumbling about that? The Cold Hard Truth and I had a conversation and—ever the overachiever—I decided I would set a goal of losing 15 pounds and Be Serious About It and Make Changes and all of that. Go me! I’ve lost 5 pounds. That’s good, except at the moment I’m completely stalled out because my feelings are DELICIOUS and napping is way more fulfilling than working out. I know what I need to do to lose the weight (eat less, exercise more; SCIENCE!), I am just… not doing it. I’ll just be over here, snacking on self-loathing. (more…)

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You say plantain-o, I say tornado

When I’m quiet here for too long, my dad calls me to make sure no one died. I always tell him that’s just silly; if someone died, I’d have something to blog about, after all. (For some reason he doesn’t find that as funny as I do….)

Life and the school year continue to WHOOSH past me at an alarming rate. Rest assured that I am not holding out on you on the end result of the dueling posters situation; the kids swear they haven’t gotten their grades back yet, and that particular teacher seems to not be using our online grade portal, so it remains a mystery. Of course, Chickadee did mention this morning just-a-little-bit-smugly that her poster is hanging up behind the teacher’s desk. Well, then.

In the meantime, I’m just over here working and spoiling the dogs and trying to pretend that I have a handle on everything. This leads to things like a recent dinner extravaganza that was TOTALLY worth the hassle. Or not. You can read about it over on Alpha Mom, because one thing that never changes no matter how hectic life gets is that if I do something stupid, I’m apt to share it with the Internet. You’re welcome.

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