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Nerd Night: Buttered Popcorn Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I’m not gonna lie; I’m a little verklempt today. (Spellcheck insists that verklempt is not a word. Spellcheck is now dead to me.) In just a few short weeks, my blog turns 12, which isn’t all that remarkable, I suppose. But it means that when I started here, Chickadee was just 6. And today, Chickadee is 18.

I once gave birth to a baby and now that baby is a full-grown adult human (theoretically) and I HAVE MANY FEELINGS TODAY. I will give you just a glimpse of some of that, in a minute, but of course we all know the important thing here is THE GOODIES. (Of course.) This morning the kids had traditional birthday cinnamon rolls, as is dictated by family law (prepared yesterday, refrigerated, and pulled out and baked wayyyyyy too early this morning), but yesterday for Nerd Night I made buttered popcorn chocolate chunk cookies.

popcorn-cookies (more…)

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Before you ask…

… no, the bathroom isn’t done, yet. I have decided, however, that we’re going to spend 100% of our family and any entertaining-guests time in that damn bathroom once it’s complete, as it will then be the nicest/newest room in the house and I want to make sure our enjoyment of it outweighs these weeks and weeks of ineptitude and incompleteness. (“Welcome to our home! Please follow me to the upstairs bathroom. Now admire it. I SAID ADMIRE IT. Yes, very good, thank you. We think it’s lovely, too. Can I offer you a beverage? No, don’t move, I’ll bring it to you here in the bathroom.”)

In the meantime, I’m working on taking it in stride, as best I can. This whole thing where my kids keep forcing me to grow as a person is REALLY cutting into my righteous indignation, I tell you what. You can hop on over to Alpha Mom to read more about how we’re changing the stories we tell ourselves these days.

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Nerd Night: Banana Pudding Bars (and bonus mom-ery)

Nerd Night was on hiatus for a few weeks (Easter and other scheduling issues), and lo, there was much sadness across the land. “Why aren’t you baking us delicious sugary things?” lamented my spawn. It was tragic, truly.

Sometimes I get a wild hair about a certain kind of recipe, and other times a recipe just sort… suggests itself to me. Like, two weeks ago, Nilla Wafers were the Penny Item the day I went grocery shopping, so I ended up with a box of those. And then a week ago, Jello Pudding mixes were B1G1. So I figured I’d make a good ol’ southern banana pudding, but of course both of my children actually don’t like banana pudding because “the texture is weird with pudding and chunks all together,” so I found this recipe for banana pudding bars, instead. If you look at their photo, and then look at mine, you’ll see that mine don’t look anything like theirs, for some reason.

banana-pudding-bars

Why? I have no idea. I made the recipe as directed save for three minor changes: 1) I used the entire box of Nilla Wafers (and a little extra butter) for the crust, because what was I going to do with extra Nilla Wafers?, 2) instead of two eggs, I used one egg and one banana (more banana flavor = more betterer), and 3) I added extra white chocolate chips because yum. Also, the recipe says to bake the whole thing for 10-12 minutes (after the crust pre-bake) and that is a DIRTY LYING LIE, because I ended up baking it for… at least 30 minutes. Maybe 35. I think that was just a typo, honestly.

The children report these were “dense and banana-y and delicious.” (They should be, as one pan contains 3+ sticks of butter.) Monkey also added his highest praise of “The texture is very pleasing.”

Now here’s something that has nothing at all to do with baking: (more…)

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Some things just suck

I’ve been whining about our unfinished bathroom for… several weeks, at least, by now. What a mess! What an inconvenience! A first world problem, to be sure, but ugh. So annoying. And I’ve been trying really, really hard to gain some perspective on this, because it’s not that big of a deal.

The good news is that today we have a mirror! Not that I haven’t ABSOLUTELY LOVED Monkey coming downstairs every day with rumpled hair after his shower—soliloquizing on how maybe no one has noticed, but their bathroom STILL DOESN’T HAVE A MIRROR—to grump his way into my office bathroom and make himself presentable. I thought today the mirror and frame and remaining finish work was going to be completed, but HAHAHA of course not. The vanity needs some final touches that involve something called a “finishing kit” which is on backorder. Still: progress.

The bad news is that, much as you should never pray for patience, you should never sit around telling yourself to get a grip and get some perspective, this isn’t really a huge issue, because then surely life will hand you something harder. Nearly 18 years into this parenting gig, and I still haven’t figured out how to keep my kids’ hearts from being broken. I’m, like, a perpetually unfinished bathroom. SO CLOSE AND YET SO FAR.

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In lieu of Nerd Night goodies…

… all I have for you today is this. (There was no Nerd Night this weekend, alas.)

Monkey began texting me about some injustice in class, but it quickly devolved into the following. And for the record, this went on for quite a while even after this. It’s a good thing I’m fond of that kid.

monkey-fish-puns

(Eventually I told him I had to go. He responded, “Sea you later! I’ll reef you abalone now.” Internet, HOW DO WE TEACH HIM TO USE HIS POWERS FOR GOOD?)

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I bet my Monday was Monday-er than yours

Yesterday was rife with complaints about the time change and how Monday is so completely awful and now it’s Monday-plus-a-time-change and EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. I was busy bathroom-wrangling, or rather, trying to wrangle what’s happening with the bathroom and the contractors and when oh when might we have a working bathroom up there… does anyone know? Plus there was the usual work stuff and getting the kids back to school stuff and some other stuff and I remember thinking, yesterday afternoon, that it was a pretty terrible day and I would be very glad once it was over.

But then it got worse, which was—oddly enough—also when it got better. Sometimes you just need a reminder about what really matters, I guess. (At least I do.)

You can read more about it over at Alpha Mom, though I’ll go ahead and give you the spoiler: Everyone’s fine. And, as my dad always says: Never a dull moment.

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Just a regular day (but extra snot)

Monkey—sweet, darling Monkey—has changed SO MUCH over the last few years that sometimes I forget about the things which haven’t changed. Like, say, the fact that he now towers over me does not change the typical trajectory of: it’s a minor cold, it’s a minor cold, it’s a minor cold, MOM I THINK MAYBE I’M DYING MOM I FEEL AWFUL. Good job, me! My streak of sending that child to school even though he’s sick as a dog remains unbroken! WOOOOO! Yesterday had an added bonus of his doctor mentioning that it may be time to go back to the ENT and discuss sinus surgery… I think… I was too busy screaming “LALALALALAAAAAA I CAN’T HEEEEEAR YOOOUUUU!”

Yeah. Um. Yesterday afternoon was spent picking him up from school, taking him to the doctor, going to the pharmacy to get his antibiotics, and then stopping to pick him up a milkshake (flavor: MOM GUILT). But at least while I was doing all of that, Chickadee texted me to say she thought maybe she was sick, too. Because of course.

This is all true, but also a good introduction to this post I wrote for Alpha Mom about figuring out how to balance working and mom-ing. Spoiler alert: There’s no one right answer. But I do appreciate having the flexibility to deal with a sick kid or two without worrying I’m going to lose my job, obvs.

Also! If you’ve been paying any attention this election cycle (with mounting horror, one assumes), you may be struggling with how to talk to your teens about it, in which case I’ll suggest this Alpha Mom post, instead. My kids are asking hard questions, and they’re forcing me to figure out better answers.

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I wrote you some things

Somehow I never linked you up to my Alpha Mom advice column last week, probably because I was busy dealing with non-writing things as if I actually have a life outside of the computer. HAHA. Anyway.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that today you get a twofer from me!

First, I’m answering a reader question about the value of labeling autism, and I think you know which side of that argument I come down on, but it’s hopefully worth a read, anyway.

Second, no one asked me, but because I know how to make sure your kids don’t have sex before they’re ready, I’m telling you. (Disclaimer: Results may vary. Do not come yell at me if your precious snowflake does something naughty. To parent is to accept that you can never really control another person EVEN IF you know better than they do, and probably that’s how it’s supposed to be.)

Third, there is no third. Just those other two. Go read those, please.

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3 things about The Vagina Monologues

1) Although this year was my fourth time being part of my local production, everything was different this time because Chickadee was in it with me, too. We could not have picked a better way to come full circle from the first time I was in it, years ago. (And if you want to read more about her, head over to Alpha Mom. I don’t know if you know this, but I am awfully fond of that kid.)

2) I’m not sure how (lies, I know how; I am largely oblivious), but my ENTIRE FAMILY conspired with Kira and kept me completely in the dark until SHE APPEARED AT MY FRONT DOOR ON SATURDAY and I started screaming loudly enough for her to hear me outside. This is because Kira lives 2,000 miles away, and I had no idea she was coming, and in fact I hadn’t even asked her to try to get to the show this year because we’ve never been able to manage it before AND she went back to college this year and went from being insanely busy to actual, like, truth-is-less-believable-than-fiction levels of swamped. But she came all this way to see the show and spent less than a day with me because she is the best.

3) There is video. [Editing to add: NSFW video, obvs.] My husband set up shop the night he came to see the show and so if you missed it but are dying to see my piece (and if you are, I am both flattered and slightly uneasy, but that’s another matter…), you can. But Imma put it after the jump, here, because I don’t think we need it sitting right on the front page. If you don’t need video, you’re done. (more…)

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How to get your kid into college

I’ve been threatening to do this for months, but I finally wrote a counterpoint piece to all of those “HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR SCHMOOPYKINS GETS INTO HARVARD” articles. It was surprisingly cathartic.

My distress over various “experts” in this area is threefold:

1) Who says you have to go to an Ivy or other generally-rated-as-one-of-the-very-best sorts of colleges in order to succeed? That’s dumb. If that was true, none of the other colleges would exist, or no one who graduates from them would ever make a living. These pieces are rife with a snobbery about education that I find really distasteful.

2) It always seems to assume a trajectory that begins with laser-focus even before your kid hits high school. Call me crazy, but I think it’s okay to let kids be kids.

3) I don’t remember my parents doing all of this college stuff with me… because they didn’t. I picked the schools I went to. I wrote my applications. I handled it with minimum input from them, because honestly, if a kid can’t get themselves through the process here without mommy and daddy pointing out every step of the way, they’re unlikely to succeed at ANY college, much less a “top” one.

Want to know what needs to be happening through high school for your kid to be on track for the right college? Here you go. I may not be an expert, but I’m a realist—and unlike a lot of folks I know with high school seniors, we haven’t really found this year stressful.

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