1

January 2017

Oh, look, it’s January! Time to make resolutions I probably won’t keep! Time to renew my commitment to a mental facility to do more writing, especially in my long-neglected blog!

This time, I have incentivized myself. I’ve purchased the domain “coffeeandlollipops.blog” AND made calling cards with that info, and the forwarding email “deltasierra47@coffeeandlollipops.blog”. (It’s clunky, but it’ll serve for now. Especially since I’ve already printed cards. But if you want to contact me, use that address!)

This is in anticipation of launching a big plan to, among other things, document my struggles, failures, and successes in helping my kids learn to eat. I’ve mentioned before that they have feeding issues, but it’s kind of long past “issues” now into “disorders”. As in, I feel safe diagnosing them both as having “SED” (Severe Eating Disorder), without the need of a medical professional to do it for me. Granted, SED is an umbrella term, but one that is becoming more widely known and accepted, as “SPD” (Sensory Processing Disorder) and “Autism Spectrum” have been.

Before anyone worries that I’m one of those WebMD parents who thinks they know better than doctors, I want to remind or inform you that my kids are not toddlers or speshul sneauxflaykes. They’re eight- and six-year-old boys who have been eating five foods or less since introducing solid foods, have been to a few years of OT and feeding therapy (with small progress), and who would rather starve themselves past the point of feeling hunger rather than try to learn to chew anything, including treats like Jell-O, ice-cream, or cookies.

If that doesn’t convince someone of the severity of this situation, nothing will.

They do love lollipops, though. I daresay it’s the only solid food my six-year-old eats. So there’s hope!

In addition to blogging here, I hope to start vlogging, as well, and might set up a separate blog the boys can contribute to in the far future, which will feature their own videos. I bought them an inexpensive action-camera set-up for Christmas so we can create cooking videos. I homeschool them, and realized that cooking classes would be a great way to learn all kinds of concepts, and my eight-year-old mentioned that it would be fun to put some of our cooking exploits up on a YouTube channel. (He’s been angling for a YouTube channel for months; this is one way I can cave to his request while also making it educational and limited in scope. If it were up to him, he would post videos of himself rambling on about everything and nothing, pacing back and forth in our cluttered living room, and I just can’t let him do that. I’m a mean mom for promoting meaningful web content. 😉 ) So watch this space for kitchen antics!

Before that can happen, though, I have to address another extremely severe issue in our house: Ridiculous Overabundance of Clutter (and dog hair). It has gotten so out of hand, I could ALMOST make it on the TLC “Hoarders” program. Yes, really. I am not exaggerating.

I’ve always been a messy person. I know now that it can likely be attributed to a level of ADD (and OCD, but not the clean kind) I’ve always had, but got out of hand after I had kids and lost my ability to keep up with it. Now, I fight fatigue and motivation every day, and can just manage to stay on top of most of my outside commitments, making the kids’ food (for home and travel), doing the dishes, and emptying the trash. This is compounded by the fact that my husband is on a nine-month deployment (Army, someplace that rhymes with “Little Beast”), and it’s winter, so depression and anxiety are at their highest, too. I admit I haven’t really done much school with the boys this year, even though it’s the first year I’ve had to declare to the school district that the eight-year-old is homeschooled.

I’m a hot mess, y’all.

Which is why I need to blog — or, rather, “document” — my journey back up the downward spiral I’ve been on for awhile. In about a week I’ll be leaving for the Feeding Matters Pediatric Feeding Conference, which I managed to talk myself into going to this year. I’m really looking forward to it, not only because it’s in Phoenix, AZ, in the middle of January. 😉 I’m hoping I’ll be able to network as well as learn some new things and gain more advocacy for our situation. I wasn’t happy with what I’ve had available to us in the past, but I’ll address that in a later post. For now, I need to go make lunch.

Here’s to a successful 2017! 🙂 Feel free to post your own resolutions, struggles, recommitments, etc., in the comments. Please refrain from advice at this point, however, though well-wishing is welcome. Soon I’m going to write a more comprehensive post about feeding disorders and the issues we’ve had to deal with, and why conventional advice for “picky” children just cannot work for us.

Thank you! See you again SOON!

Confessions

My kids don’t eat “food”. My oldest son has eaten oatmeal, with few variations, for every meal (for, not with) since he was a year old. He’s eight now. My youngest doesn’t chew; he drinks a nutrition shake for every meal. This presents all sorts of issues I will get into eventually, but that’s not what I’m actually going to post about this time, ’cause that’s just gonna get depressing.

No, what I’m confessing this time is my unabashed love of McDonald’s cheeseburgers and French fries. Apparently, I was a little picky as a toddler and went through a “crackers and French fries” phase, and I am still a very big fan of both. McDonald’s fries aren’t really all that special when compared to the flavor and cut of several other competing chains, but they’re always hot, extra-salty, and crispy — not to mention nostalgic and probably laced with crack, or something. The same goes for their cheeseburgers. They taste like childhood. And if that’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

Seriously, my kids don’t know what they’re missing.

So, you’d think that having two children who do not eat McDonald’s fare and cannot be bribed with food would keep me from falling into the temptation of using the Golden Arches as a reward or incentive — but you’d be wrong. 🙂 When I bribe my children with McDonald’s, it’s not because I’m going to fill them with junk food and let them act like monkeys in the Playland while I play on my phone and ignore them for half an hour. It’s because I’m going to fill me with junk food and let them act like monkeys in the Playland while I play on my phone and ignore them for half an hour.

I will have paid less per person to have access to a covered, air-conditioned play environment, compared to the age-limited, expensive indoor playgrounds we have around here. And I’ll get food I didn’t have to cook for myself. What’s not to love?

More importantly, I’m not having to buy them each a Happy Meal or something else they are not going to eat, that I would only end up eating in addition to my own meal — because one does not simply waste delicious McDonald’s food. I watch the other moms and dads in the Playland, coercing their child into eating just one more chicken McNugget, or take another bite of their cheeseburger before they can go play. (For the record, I was that kid, too. Mom would tell me I had to eat my whole burger and at least half my fries before I could go outside — there were no covered play areas when I was a kid — but I liked to eat all my fries first. And then I had no room for my whole burger.)

Now that I’m an adult with aliens for children, I’ve realized there’s not much point in begging them to just tryyyy a French fry. I simply feed them at home, then buy the Happy Meal for me. I get to satisfy my junk-food craving with very small portions of the yummy food I love there. I mean, have you seen those cute little fry boxes? It’s, like, half a small fries off the adult menu. It’s probably less than they served in Happy Meals when I was a kid. Instead of a small soda, though, I get a juice box and apple slices with it. Boy 2 gets the juice box, Boy 1 gets an order of small orange juice, and I order a medium drink for me. If the Happy Meal contains a kind of toy I might want (like My Little Pony) the toy is MINE (what? I’m a fan; don’t judge). But if it’s something they like, I’ll just buy an extra toy. I have, in the past, ordered two Happy Meals to avoid questions from the cashier, but eating two Happy Meals while my kids play seems a little too indulgent, even for me. An extra toy costs less (in money and calories) than another Happy Meal, so it just makes more sense, overall.

After that, they go play in a covered, air-conditioned (albeit ridiculously loud and germ-ridden) Playland while I eat and don’t do the things I brought with me to do…because phone.

Win-win, right? 🙂 Tell me you’re not jealous. And if you’re not, turn your thermostat up until it’s 85°F in your house and tell me how much you look forward to cooking for yourself, and how much you don’t wish you could get into your air-conditioned car and go to an air-conditioned place where your crazy children can get their energy out and you can sip iced-tea and not sweat. Because that is what summer is like in our house, and it is miserable.

Honestly — why suffer? McDonald’s has more seating than any of the playgrounds in our area, and it’s fully covered so I don’t have to bake in 85° sunshine because the postage stamp-sized covered area is packed with a bunch of moms who want to socialize. I do not go to the playground to socialize (with the exception of the few times I’m meeting a friend so our kids can play together, but none of my friends down here homeschool). Often, I’m taking my energy vampires to the playground for a break (from them — so they can feed off someone else for an hour or so). But if it’s 85° in my house and 85° outside, the playground is not a break — it is torture. I wrote an entire post that didn’t end up getting posted (I don’t know why, and it was stupid-long and I’m kind of glad it’s too out-of-date to post now) about adventures at a playground, including no seating anywhere and having to wait for the porta-potties to be washed out before Boy 2 could go pee (with help, because I have nightmares about my tiny boy falling into one of those) — and sometimes that hassle is just not worth it.

Besides, I don’t feel like I can be as readily judged by other McDonald’s parents. We all know we’re there for the junk food and leisure time. High-five, McDonald’s Moms! Now leave me alone.

BONUS:

I’ve been itching to blog more. (Yes, again. I know, I say it every time. I really do mean it this time! Probably.) I have more content that isn’t stupid day-to-day stuff, and a lot of crap to work through, especially where it concerns my children’s eating habits. We’re also staring Real Homeschool in the face this year, and as much as I’ve been looking forward to it, I’m terrified. McD’s might very well become my office and the boys’ recess some days.

Therefore, I’m embracing my new tagline in the banner: “I am the very model of a major modern-mother fail.” Not that I think I’m a failure, but I’m a failure at modern mothering. I love my kids and they’re great, but sometimes I love them more when I don’t have to pay attention to them. Anyone who thinks that’s bad parenting doesn’t have kids. Search your heart; you know this to be true.

Meanwhile, I’ll be at McDonald’s, ignoring my kids. 🙂

3

I Rule at Pizza

Not to toot my own horn, but I make a darn good pizza. (Okay, I totally am going to toot my own horn, but I don’t do it that often, so it’s okay right?) Even if it’s a cheapo cheese pie from Costco that I put the fixin’s on, myself, pizza is a subject at which I excel.

Homemade, from-scratch pizza is a labor of love, but no one has time for that every time a pizza craving rears its ugly head. So I’ll share a few pizza-making secrets, which can probably be found on the Food Network, either as Rachel Ray shortcuts or looked upon with disdain by Emeril Legasse. But pssh. Who cares? This isn’t a food blog!

The first suggestion is find a decent base. If you’re not picky, even a Totino’s cheese pizza will do (and, despite my quarter-Italian heritage, I’m so not picky). Costco’s cheese pizzas are great, and come in a four-pack. Hey, if D’Giorno can claim to be gourmet, so can your homemade concoctions. Just sayin’. You know what you like, so go with that. I make mini pizzas with Orowheat Oatnut bread, because it’s what I’ve got.

I can make my own crust — and I’ll post a recipe — but I do it in the bread maker, because I also don’t have the patience/attention span to do it by hand. 🙂 Unfortunately, I have not managed to develop my own sauce that tastes right, so to save myself time, I’ve used Contadina’s “Pizza Squeeze” and Kroger’s “Pizza Sauce” in a jar (the latter is my favorite so far; it has the fewest additives and tastes yummy). As for cheese, fresh mozzarella is tempting to use, because it’s SO delicious, but it is also labor intensive, because you have to drain all the moisture out of it or it will “weep” all over your pizza — and no one likes soggy pizza. Alternatives are block mozzarella and pre-shredded. I’ve used both and they’re fine. However, you have not lived until you’ve tried pepperjack on a pizza. Trust me and do it. You will wonder where it’s been all your life.

ANYway, back to the base… Regardless of how you do your crust, sauce, and cheese, the toppings are the most important part. I can make gourmet out of cheapo, with just the right toppings. And you can, too! So here is a list of toppings we have used to “decorate” our pizzas, with great success:

  • Canned chicken, browned in butter or oil (make sure it’s a very chunky variety. Kirkland is my favorite, and you’d do well to avoid Hormel)
  • Bacon (sliced and browned)
  • Garlic
  • Onions (I use Mayan Sweets and sauté or caramelize them in butter. Scallions work well, too)
  • Mushrooms (sautéed in lots of butter, with herbs and maybe a little wine)
  • Hamburger (browned — in a pinch, you can slice frozen meatballs in half)
  • Herbs, like sage, rosemary, basil, savory, chives, garlic powder, thyme
  • Sauces, like Smoked Chipotle Tabasco

Honestly, the best thing to do is to use your imagination. For instance, we usually do some chicken/bacon combination that includes onions and garlic. Tonight, I made bacon, onions, garlic, and sautéed mushroom (with sage, basil, thyme, and red wine), and put them on a cheapo Costco pizza, then sprinkled it with grated Asiago. It was excellente! If I’m feeling super-lazy, but also super-hungry, I’ll just cut frozen meatballs in half and place them evenly over the top.

I am by no means a gourmet cook, so don’t think I learned any of these techniques anywhere but the School of Hard Knocks. So when I say “caramelize”, I’m probably not doing it right. The onions are lightly browned and soft, and crazy delicious. Good enough for me! By the time they reach that stage, our mouths are watering and we couldn’t care less if they’re properly caramelized.

However, it has taken a bit of trial and error to get the crust just right. I have a basic recipe, which I have tweaked shamelessly until I got rid of the bitter taste and dense texture. Again, this is for a bread maker. I’m really not one to ask for tips on how to do it by hand, so that will have to be something to look up on your own, unless you already know how to do it. More power to you if you do!

BASIC 12″ Pizza Crust (with tweaks in parentheses):

* Put these ingredients in the bread pan in the order given, unless your bread maker says to do otherwise:

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (substitute with a dollop of yogurt)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar (substitute with a dollop of honey, in a corner of the pan)
  • 1 tsp yeast (in a divot in the center of the flour)

* Set to the “pizza dough” setting and check once to make sure it’s wet or dry enough while mixing (I tend to eyeball the yogurt and honey, which add extra moisture content, so you might find you need a little more flour than just the 2 & 1/4 cups). It should take about 55 minutes, or so; about as long as it would take doing it by hand.
* When it’s done, dump it out on a floured surface (wet fingers will make this easier) and coat it in flour. Squish it a little, then ignore it for a minute (go pour a glass of wine — or another, if you’re like me 😉 ).
* I’ve discovered that rolling pins do not work well with fresh pizza dough. Lift the lump of dough and balance it on your fists, letting gravity stretch it while you kind of walk your fists around the edges (I should probably do a video on this…)

Now for the rest of the pizza!:

* Preheat the oven to 425°F
* Once the crust is the right size and even through the middle (don’t let it get too thin!), place it on your pizza pan or pizza stone, in a circle LARGER than the finished product will be.
* Brush sauce over the whole crust, and sprinkle cheese (pepperjack, I’m telling you!) over the entire circumference.
* Start rolling the outer edge of the crust inward, folding in the sauce and cheese. Gently pull the crust in the direction you are rolling (left or right), and it will stay rolled better than if you just roll it toward the center.
* Finish cooking or prepping your toppings and spread them evenly over the cheese.
* Brush the outer crust with a thin layer of sauce. Finely grate Asiago or Parmesan over it, or sprinkle with garlic powder or garlic salt.
* Depending on your oven, cook for 15 minutes or so, checking after 10, until crust is golden brown and cheese is thoroughly melted. Sometimes, I’ll start it on a low rack to make sure the crust is well done before transferring it to an upper rack to brown the rest of it.
* Take it out when it looks done and let it cool as long as you can possibly stand it.

There you have it! I hope you have success in your future pizza-making endeavors! If you have any interesting tips (especially on how to make sauce), post them in the comments! 🙂

My Incompetent (or should I just say “high maintenance”?) Eyeballs, Take 3

I had written about this before (Take 1 and Take 2), without ever completing the story. It did have a happy ending: I went to a place called “Pro-Optix” in the mall, and the guy not only helped me pick out a cute pair of glasses, but hooked me up with a polycarb/plastic blend that worked absolutely perfectly with my eyes, as well as added a slight magnification in the bottom of the lens to combat eye fatigue and the difficulty my eyes sometimes have adjusting from far to near. It was wonderful, and I don’t know why I didn’t just go back to him when it was time to get new glasses again, especially since the total for everything, even having to send the lenses to two different labs for all the optimization my prescription required, was only $145. (It did take two weeks for them to arrive, and then he had to send them back because they reversed the lenses – right was left and left was right – so it did take a total of four weeks for me to finally get them. But I did not have to send them back again!)

I’ve had these glasses I’m wearing now since late 2012, and, as much as I love them, I realized recently that I seem to be squinting more and getting more headaches when focusing for a long time. When it occurred to me that it had been almost three years since I’ve had an exam and new lenses, I looked up a new doctor (because we have different insurance now) and had an exam at our local Target Optical.

Problem #1: I did not get a referral from my doctor for this clinic, so even though it is listed as a partner, I only got a discount on the exam, and still had to pay $75 out of pocket. Not what I was expecting.

Problem #2: New glasses, even with $100 discounted through insurance, are INSANELY EXPENSIVE. I was kicking myself from here to the mall, where I happened to be going the very night I reluctantly purchased the frames and lenses from Target, which came to well over $300. I’m sure Pro-Optix could have fetched me a better price (and since then I’ve learned that they make the lenses onsite now, though I imagine my speshul snowflake eyes would probably require the same amount of exactitude and coddling they did last time).

Problem #3: Insanely expensive materials for lenses do not guarantee your eyes will adjust to them. I just went back for a re-exam today, because the new lenses weren’t quite as bad as my first experience back in 2012 with material incompatibility, but they were still pretty bad. At least this time, both the optician and the optometrist understood that it was my astigmatism that was making my eyes incompatible with even the most advanced lenses (my last eye doctor never came to that conclusion, or if he did he never told me). The frames – which are super cute, and totally not something I would have ever chosen for myself without help – are going back to the lab to have the lenses redone. Hopefully it will be done just as quickly as the last ones, which came a few days after we ordered them.

For $300+, they’d better!

(I just posted over in my other blog, Seeking Aleithia, if you are interested in taking a look: “Christian Feminism and the Modern Church“. God Bless!)

2

A.D.D.? Me? Why do you say th––hey SHINY!!

My husband was listening to a radio station the other day, and a woman was speaking about how ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) usually manifests differently in girls and women than it does boys. Female ADD tends to show itself through clutter (can’t concentrate long enough to finish a project), being late to everything (no real good concept of time), and traits that tend to characterize a person as flighty, lazy, undisciplined, and directionless. She also said that it’s extremely underdiagnosed in women, because usually one sees, say, a homemaker with the above traits and just thinks she’s a slob who never learned how to run a house. And the woman characterized as such believes that, and addresses the fallout (depression, anxiety, shame) instead of the root cause (inability to focus long enough to Get It All Done).

Now, I’m not advocating more medication for women (or anyone) with ADD. I still believe ADD is as overdiagnosed and overmedicated as autism. But just because it is overdiagnosed does not mean some people don’t struggle with it. Adult ADD has kind of become a thing in recent years, and I’ve joked about having it in the past (never taking seriously that this could be my problem, too), but I have to face something in my life: There is something about my brain that does not function like a normal human’s is supposed to function, and it is Making. Me. Crazy.

I’ve always been cluttered. AL.WAYS. I have always been a daydreamer, a people-watcher, more effective at night when it’s dark and quiet and I can pinpoint what I need to focus on. As an adult, I get overstimulated very easily, and I’m anxious, scattered, HORRIBLY cluttered, and exhausted by a busy day — especially a busy morning. I have always sabotaged myself and as much as I intend to finish some things, it just never happens.

When my husband told me about this woman who was basically describing me, he said he began to think that, maybe, ADD wasn’t some kind of throwaway diagnosis, after all. I did a little research on my own, and realized that, sure enough, I now had a name for my dragon! This beast I’ve been fighting for years, and that’s gotten worse with the chaos of having children (and subsequent hormonal and activity changes).

What I don’t want to do with it is use it as an excuse. It’s not that I was poorly disciplined as a child or never taught such-and-such — I’m an adult, and have access to anything I want to learn about how to conduct my life. It’s that I have only ever faced these problems as things to be ashamed of, reasons I am a lousy, unproductive individual — character issues, rather than issues of brain/hormone/emotional dysfunction. What I need are strategies to overcome it. To harness that dragon and make it MINE.

I’m reading a book now called “Your Life Can Be Better: Using Strategies for Adult ADD/ADHD”, written by a psychiatrist with ADD. It’s probably one of the most straightforward, ADD-friendly self-help books I’ve ever read, and I’m enjoying it so far. 🙂

I want to go on and on, but part of my problem is the inability to judge the flow of time. I have ten minutes before I have to leave, but I don’t know if I have ten minutes’ worth of tasks to do to get out the door. So I’ll wrap this up for now, and write something more later. See? Progress! 😀

2

Rebranding Time?

I’ve neglected my blog forever. There are many reasons (the biggest one because I’m lazy), but one of them might be because I created it with a niche mindset. “Oh, I’m a mommy now, I should blog about my life with kids!”

Bleh. Other people have kids, too. I spend all day with the kids, and they probably spend all day with theirs. I need a blog more oriented toward life in general. Absurd life. Ridiculous life. Stupid things that run through my head that don’t make sense to anyone but myself. Stories. Jokes.

So, welcome to Coffee and Lollipops — a place where stuff doesn’t have to make sense to be funny. I can observe the ridiculous that tickles my funny bone and it doesn’t have to have anything to do with my kids.

Except that they both like lollipops. It’s the only solid food my three-year-old will eat.

Oh, there will be kid-related stuff here, too, because they ARE part of my life — and they are ridiculous on a grand scale — but this isn’t a “mommy blog”. It’s a ME blog.

I always have big dreams for blogs. We’ll see how I do with this one. 😉

Testing!

Six months — wait, maybe seven — since I last blogged. Batting a thousand with this one!

I’ve been dying to do more blogging, but I’m blocked every time I start. I have also been ignoring my laptop more during the day, opting to check and reply to social media on my phone. I just got a new one, so typing isn’t even as big a hassle as it was on my old one, which didn’t have Swipe. However, I’m far more prone to typos when typing on my phone, so I haven’t even tried blogging from there at all.

I have a tablet, too (it’s gadget-tastic around here), which also has Swipe, but I guess I just kinda decided that blogging from something that doesn’t have a real keyboard attached to it is just too much of a pain.

The real problem is that I’m lazy and uncreative right now, so blogging is WAAAAAY down the to-do list, along with “dusting”.

However . . . my laptop is getting a little long in the tooth for traveling. The battery is wonky, and it requires a backpack with a padded pocket. It’s just not as great a travel companion as it used to be. It takes up a lot of space on the kitchen table (or anywhere, honestly), and I can’t go more than an hour or so without having to plug it in. This is not good for use on a plane, in a car, or anywhere else I might not be able to plug in for several hours.

Enter the Bluetooth Keyboard! I’d thought about picking one up a while ago, so I wouldn’t have to lug my computer everywhere if I felt like working on a story or blog post when I got a free minute. We went on a trip in April, and I really didn’t want to bring the computer along. I almost left it home, except that it played DVDs (which we didn’t watch, anyway). I realized later that it would have been MUCH more convenient to just have my tablet and a keyboard, which might just fit in my purse.

I’m about to go on a trip to Texas, which will require a couple of long flights. I decided it’s time to find a good keyboard to go with my tablet, so I could reduce the number of devices (and chargers and accoutrements) I’m bringing with me.

I went to Best Buy to see what they had, and out of, like, 25 choices, only two were Android compatible (it felt like some kind of gadgety Brady Bunch tagline: “iPad, iPad, IPAD!!”). They were good choices, but not great prices. So off to Amazon.com I went, to see if I could find the same thing or something similar for a better price. I found a bunch, but nothing quite struck my fancy until I saw the Sharkk Backlit Keyboard, which has a bunch of different backlight colors (it comes with all the colors, and you can change them with a button!) and great reviews. Even better, it was on sale and fulfilled by Amazon Prime.

I ordered one, and it came a day early. I plugged it in to charge while I was gone this evening, and it was ready to pair with my Google Nexus when I got home! 

It’s a sturdy little thing, but it will require a more robust carrying case. It came with a cloth pouch to store it in, but that won’t protect it from being jounced around in a bag. My husband is a leather worker, though, so I might be able to talk him into make me a cover. 🙂 There are tablet cases you can buy that have the keyboard already installed, but since I already have a great case for my tablet and don’t plan for my tablet to actually fully replace my laptop, I wanted something separate. However, this will be perfect for traveling! And the occasional blog post when I can’t sit in front of my computer. 🙂

2

Whippersnappers

Oh . . . hai der, Blog. Totally forgot about you for ages. How’s it going? 

I’ve been babysitting a couple of cute little kiddos for a friend of a friend since the beginning of December until the end of this week: A two-and-a-half-year-old girl and a (now) eight-week-old boy (he was six weeks when we started). They’re both awesome. The girl plays so well with my boys and naps as soon as you put her down (I MISS THOSE DAYS), and the baby is so tiny and pwecious and snuggly (I miss those days, too)! At first I wondered if I was a little insane by agreeing to take them on, but it’s been great. I love holding a baby all day, and four kids really are easier than two! In some ways. Only difference being that I do not have a car big enough to go out anywhere with all of them, so I don’t get the experience of taking a big brood to the supermarket, or anything.

Of course, kids are little germ factories, and these are no different. My own boys were getting over their colds at the beginning of December, and my new little charges came in with green boogers and coughs, which my boys shared immediately with them, even while resisting sharing their toys. Being around that much snot and bodily fluids, there could be no way that I would dodge the inevitable. Sure enough, it hit like a Peterbilt Dec 7th and 8th, idled for a day or two, then started to back up over me just before my choir concerts the following weekend (14th and 15th). Despite the ick, I had enough voice to sing out a bit in both performances — unlike our concert in October, when I had no voice at all. That was miserable, and I discovered I am very bad at lip synching.

My mom and dad had my kids Saturday night, since it was Sweetie’s drill weekend, and I had concert commitments that would probably go late. Saturday night we sang just before the Symphony, and then I stayed for most of the Symphony concert. I left at intermission, because it was getting to the point where I couldn’t breathe without coughing, and just wanted to go to bed. We had a concert the next day, too, so I knew I would need the rest. Sunday, I slept in (Sweetie had his Unit Christmas party, and my parents were taking the boys to church) and took my time getting ready for my concert. The concert didn’t go as late as I thought it might, so I went to my church Life Group afterward, where I thought Sweetie might meet me (he never showed up; too tired after drill). I talked too much, stayed there too late, and then finally went home to spend a little quiet, decompressing time with Sweetie before we both passed out from our exhausting weekend.

Monday I did not have my two little charges, because there was a scheduled eight-hour power outage for our street so the power company could replace some lines, and I knew it would be too cold to have little kids in the house. Since Mom still had the boys, Sweetie and I slept in a little (been getting up at 5-something in the morning lately, so 7am was late!), had some coffee, and left the house a little after 8:15, when they shut the power off for the day. We went out to breakfast and wandered around various stores until it was time to pick the boys up from my parents’ house to take them to their doctor appointments that afternoon. Then we went to Sweetie’s parents’ house so he and the kids could join them for dinner, but Sweetie had to take me to the mall a little while later so I could help out with a gift-wrapping fundraiser for my choir. I was supposed to be there from 4pm to 10pm, but was feeling pretty horrible by 5pm (the left side of my throat was becoming quite painful). It wasn’t too busy that evening, and there were enough hands without me, so I had my husband pick me up on his way home from his parents’ house instead of staying and riding home with my friend who was working till 10, too.

That brings us to yesterday (Tuesday)! It was a long, active weekend with no time to recuperate, followed by another day of babysitting (not hard, just not restful), and I didn’t get as much sleep Monday night as I should have. When I woke up, my throat didn’t hurt too badly, but as the morning progressed, I couldn’t chew, swallow, or open my mouth very wide because it hurt too much. It didn’t hurt talk, only to move my jaw and tongue. This bothered me enough that I figured it was finally time to go see a doctor. I do have a new-patient doctor appointment scheduled for the end of January, but we have Prompt Care! It’s a new and exciting development in civilian medicine! (Okay, it’s not, but it’s new to me after having to go to the Navy Hospital ER for everything not pre-scheduled). I made Sweetie come home early (he works late on Tuesdays) to watch the boys while I took myself to the Prompt Care, where up till yesterday I’d only been to for my kids.

Had to get the icky throat culture, but I kind of expected that. It’s not strep, thank goodness; probably just a mild throat infection and/or a touch of tonsillitis. I got out of there with an Rx for amoxicillin and Cepacol lozenges, which I needed to pick up at my pharmacy, on the other side of the highway. Oh, and I got my right ear irrigated, because it was too waxy to see its condition. I didn’t get dizzy, either. Go me. I’m just so glad they used water. The last time a doctor cleaned my ears out, he used a stick, which was the most horribly uncomfortable, icky thing I’ve ever had done to me and I never went back to have my ears cleaned. Strangely, the doctor I saw yesterday (who was quite young, probably her early- to mid-20s) seemed surprised when I told her how uncomfortable it was. My ear canals are sensitive, I guess.

I had a few other errands to run, since I was already out and about. First I got a Jamba Juice, because it was close to the doctor and I didn’t think I wanted to try to swallow anything harder than a smoothie for dinner. I’d totally forgotten about the crazy Christmas crowd, which made parking exciting and annoying. Despite that, I did manage to get some close parking spaces — which was helpful when I accidentally left my wallet in the car at Target and had to be That Person who has to suspend her purchase and run out to the car Just Real Quick. *sigh*

I’d also forgotten that I hadn’t put on any makeup (just some powder foundation) and probably looked a little harried and pale. Not my best face forward — but I didn’t care, because it had been a long day, and I was tired, sick, and just picking up a few things at some stores on my way home from the doctor. At least my hair was brushed. 🙂 So when I was at my last stop for the night, picking up some stuff at Costco, and I had to have the youngster (mid- to late-20s?) check my age for the case of beer I was picking up for my husband (mmm, winter beers . . . ) he did not choose to check my ID, but instead looked at my face and punched in — no lie — 01/01/1961.

NINETEEN SIXTY-ONE.

SIXTY. ONE.

I boggled for a second, but didn’t say anything. No, the thoughts going through my head were: Do I REALLY look that old? (I did the math later, and 1961 would make me 52 years old — eight years younger than my dad.) Is that guy just that bad at judging age? Could he not have had the decency of erring on the side of 1970? Might he have asked me, and given me the opportunity to lie (not that I would have), or just not risk it and asked for my ID? I know I have some grey hair and could stand to lose a few pounds, but SERIOUSLY? And why am I freaking out about this, anyway?

I know I’m only 35. I have as much grey in my hair as a 50-year-old, but I really didn’t think I could pass for anything older than 40. Maybe 45. I wasn’t insulted or offended — not really — just surprised. The guy couldn’t have been that much younger than me, but either he wasn’t good at math, he just picked the first year that popped into his head, or he really thought I looked like I was in my 50s. I mean, I remember when I was little and 35 was SO OLD, but I don’t think he can claim that excuse, since he didn’t look that far from it, himself.

Whippersnapper.

(Here’s my Gravatar photo — though I’m wearing makeup in it. How old would YOU say I am?)

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Why Do I DO This to Myself??

My blog title and theme have everything to do with today’s post (“momsomnia” and “I Could Really Use a Nap”). You know how some nights, especially after a little too much caffeine consumption the day before, you just don’t feel like going to sleep? That you could happily sail through the midnight hours, watching Netflix episodes and reading until the wee hours before dawn?

I hate when that happens. 😛

I love it at the time, but the morning after is brutal. Last night, I thought I might try to go to bed as close to before-midnight as I could. Preferably still within the ten o’clock hour. Perhaps the eleven. I’ve been sleeping in a lot, which probably doesn’t help, but I thought that I could at least make an effort to get up before 6:30am.

Not so! First, I watched the last episode of season two of Sherlock on Netflix. It was frustrating and touching, all at the same time. I want to watch it again. Maybe the whole series again. (Hurry it up, BBC! Season three needs to come out SOON! Not that I’d be able to see it till it comes out on DVD, but whatever. The sooner the better!) Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are my new favorite British male actors. I was delighted to see that Katherine Parkinson, one of my favorite female British actors, had a role in this last episode, though she was not an endearing character by any stretch. But I digress. If you haven’t seen Sherlock yet, YOU NEED TO.

It finished around 11:30-ish, and I was not yet tired. And my foreign-accent fix had not been sated. I decided to peruse my queue to see what I had available that wouldn’t take long, require much concentration (I love Psych and Eureka, but I really have to pay attention while watching), and had foreign accents. I’d already watched all The IT Crowd episodes available (starring the aforementioned Katherine Parkinson). And then my attention landed on McLeod’s Daughters, which I’d tried to watch once while feeding Beanie in the middle of the night, and couldn’t quite get into. It had been since recommended by someone as a great show, so I decided to give it another shot. 45-minute episodes meant I could get to sleep around midnight and still get enough hours to not feel like a total zombie when I woke up this morning.

THREE EPISODES LATER . . . Beanie had come running into my room around 1:30 (I think), very clingy. I couldn’t tell if he’d gotten up because he’d had a bad dream or because he was cold, but I couldn’t very well put him back to bed when he was being such an adorable snuggle bug, so I held him and finished watching the third episode. When that was over, I shut my computer, put it alongside the bed, and laid Beanie on Sweetie’s side of the bed (it’s empty while Sweetie is out of town 😦 ). I still didn’t feel tired, so I picked up a short Christian romance novel I’d started a couple days ago, intending to read a chapter or two and go to sleep.

TWO HOURS LATER . . . Beanie was taking his half of the bed out of the middle, kicking me in the kidneys, and I was finishing my book. I realized that birdsong had started up outside the window, so I looked at the sky was just beginning to get light, around 3:55.

I finished my book, got up, used the bathroom, repositioned Beanie so I could have more room on my side of the bed (especially since the cat takes up a quarter of my half, too), turned off my alarm, and fell asleep. Three and a half hours later, Pie came into the room and laid down at the foot of Sweetie’s side of the bed, thankfully quiet for a while. Then Beanie woke up. Then I got up to start making breakfast for everyone and COOOOFFFFFEEEEEEEEEEE for me. 🙂

I don’t feel too badly — right now, anyway — for having gotten so little sleep, but I’m sure tonight might be a different story. Maybe I’ll try to go to sleep right after the boys go to bed tonight. Maybe without another episode of McLeod’s Daughers and the closing chapters of the next Christian novel I picked up today . . .

Good luck with that, right? 😉

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My “Hero” Name . . . if Heroes Worked for the TSA

Fair warning: This contains humor a fourth-grader might enjoy. I will not take the blame for snort-laughter at work. And make sure you’re not drinking anything, mmkay?

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It seems the older my boys get, the less mature I become. Not younger, mind you — they have the ability to age me severely some days. I mean, I will laugh at immature jokes and phrases and subject matter I might have just given a courtesy chuckle to or just outright rolled my eyes at in the past.

But my kids say some hilarious things. What makes it even funnier is that they often don’t even understand WHY Mama is suddenly snorting, gasping for breath, and running to her phone to text someone or post to Twitter/Facebook (if they even know that’s what I’m doing. I’m sure they’ll be onto me someday). Sometimes, the only person I can tell is my husband, because I generally consider Facebook to be “mixed company”, where not everyone is going to fully appreciate the fact that I have suddenly reverted to the fourth grade.

It took me a long time to figure out where my oldest son could have gotten the imagery for this gem, uttered last year sometime:

“I smell a green floppy thing. It’s just my butt. It does that sometimes.”

See? SEE? How can you possibly read that and not feel the urge to titter, even a little?

I discovered later, while actually paying a modicum of attention to one of the movies they were watching, that “a green floppy thing” that smells bad most likely came from a description of Sid the Sloth from “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”. Aha! The imagery is something to avoid thinking too hard about, but it’s still funny!

I fight the urge to chuckle every time my kids talk about Beanie throwing up, even when I’m telling them not to. It’s a big mess to clean up (and he’s talented at hitting as many targets as possible), Mama gets a little excited over the fact that it always happens at the most inopportune times . . . It’s become kind of a household event. We’re brushing teeth? Get ready to clean the bathroom and change everyone’s clothes. Touching food? Watch carefully for the signs and be ready to clean everything again. Often ten minutes before we have to get in the car, or at times when I don’t have extra clothes for him.

His most impressive display occurred one afternoon when he managed to get almost every square inch of the kitchen walking space. I was almost proud — except that I had to clean it all up. Pie’s still talking about it (but because he has no concept of time, he keeps saying “last night”, so I have to correct him for the sake of the concerned adults with whom he has chosen to share this tidbit).

One time, Beanie threw up on the rug in the bathroom, and when he was done, he told me in a matter-of-fact tone of voice, while looking at me very seriously with his huge, sky-blue eyes: “I frow up on da rug.” *Giggle, despite frustration* Yes, son, yes you did.

I also lose maturity points every time Beanie says poop. It’s so freakin’ cute, I can’t stand it! You’d think I was five instead of thirty-five. And I taught him to say, “I’m a stinky boy!” which is also painfully adorable.

But, then, TODAY. Today was a doozy. Today was the funny to top all funnies thus far. And it’s SO inappropriate and immature, I’m not necessarily proud that I totally went there. But I did, and I’ve been laughing to the point of tears ever since.

Pie’s been watching the cheesy Batman cartoon on Netflix and playing super heroes all day. I was changing Beanie’s diaper in their room, when Pie came in and said:

“Mom, your hero name is Ball Searcher!”

*Blink*

“You search for balls!”

Total loss of control in three . . . two . . . one . . .

Oh. My. Gourd. It was all I could do, seriously. I wanted to post to Facebook right then and there, but in my barely contained mirth, I managed to retain my last shred of dignity and just texted my husband. And Joy. And I almost called a few other friends, but was afraid I’d be incoherent.

I’m not kidding. My vision was obscured. I hadn’t laughed so hard since having a Tim Hawkins marathon on YouTube a few months back.

What made it better was when he called me in on a ball-searching mission (*snort*). “Ball Searcher! You need to find four balls!” (Oh MAN, the jokes write themselves!!) There’s this plastic dinosaur thingie we have that sings and bounces. You put these colored balls in one end, and they bounce and come out the mouth. It’s a baby toy, but we haven’t gotten rid of it. He gave me a hint to look in the dinosaur, then led me into the room and I pointed at them (trying not to snicker the whole time, lest he ask me why I’m laughing. Or crying. Or fainting from asphyxiation). He counted them and celebrated our success. I just barely managed to say, “Oh good. I’m glad my super powers have not gone to waste.”

Then, redoubling my fits of laughter, I came up with my catchphrase:

“It takes balls to be a super hero!”

Oh dear . . . *wiping tears away*

This is the fine, quality content you get here at Chez Mom. Don’t you just feel so lucky? 😉