Monthly Archives: November 2011

RTT: Getting back in the game.

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Well. I’m a little behind, I see. Not even a RTT for a couple weeks. I’m not sure I have anything interesting to say, but that doesn’t mean I won’t say it. I’ll be doing a little catch up this week, but in the meantime, here’s some random that isn’t enough for posts on their own:

  • One of my favorite winter drinks is hot chocolate with a bit of cocoa chile blend sprinkled in. I mix it in with the mix before I add hot water. It gives the warming up from the hot chocolate a little extra boost.
  • It’s strange to start listening to Christmas music and think about Christmas things without snow on the ground. But that is not a complaint. NO SIR OR MA’AM. Not a complaint in the least. I will gladly make do, because the snow will come. And it will stay. And every day without snow is a Christmas gift of its own.
  • I recently made a chili casserole and PUT THE KIDNEY BEANS IN IT. Me. Who hates beans. You know what? It was kind of good. I’d make it again. Kidney beans seem to hold up better, and don’t get quite as pasty as I was thinking.
  • Interestingly enough, what spurred my recent lack of blogging was a social media boot camp. I went to one, got behind, and haven’t caught up.
  • I am stuck on Pinterest looking at craft ideas for Christmas. I like to mix in a little homemade when I can. I’m thinking of a moisturizing hand scrub for the girls’ teachers. And I’m thinking of making my own laundry soap. And I’m thinking of roughly a zillion other projects now. That I don’t have time for.
  • Do you think this is the year I’ll send out a Christmas letter? I hope so. I doubt it.

Well. That was certainly random. More randomness at Stacy’s if you’re interested.

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RTT: Well. How do you like that?

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Well, look at that. In the same post where I said I wasn’t going to let Thanksgiving get glossed over at my house, I forgot to include my Thankful button. #fail

So. Today I am thankful for thankful reminders. I have a lot of things to be thankful for, and it’s good to remember them. It really helps take the focus off things that can be frustrating. Like…things that start with S and end in W.

And now for some random:

  • Hey, Daylight Savings! That whole “extra hour” thing didn’t work out so hot for me. The baby decided to get up twice that night, so I think I spent it rocking with her.
  • Speaking of DST, how are you with time change? Change my clock and give me one meal at the new time, and I’m good to go. I don’t even remember that the time has changed. Captain America on the other hand, will refer to it for several days. “Well, it’s really 7 am a few days ago.” “I’m going to bed, because it’s really like 11 pm a few days ago.” I’m sure I’d have trouble with a big time zone change, but one or two hours doesn’t seem to rattle me much.
  • I have zero, ZERO interest in Dancing with the Stars. That’s really random, but I guess DST kind of made me think DWTS. I have nothing against dancing, because So You Think You Can Dance has to be one of my favorite shows on tv. I think it’s just that I like to watch great dancing. Not people learning to dance. And ballroom is generally my least favorite dance genre. Plus, the people on SYTYCD are Ah. Maze. Ing.
  • Zoey has decided that now she walks more than she crawls. Goodbye, sweet baby. Hello, toddler. But, for the most part, she still has some serious separation issues. I mean, let’s not have too much change at one time. I tend not to push it in group settings because I feel badly for the care giver. She tends to rile all the other babies up so it’s just a room of sobbing infants. But we had a church nursery victory this week! After a rocky start, she ended up doing really great! When I came in to get her, she didn’t even notice. She was sitting on the floor playing with toys. ALONE. As in, not having to be bounced around by one of the nursery workers. In all honesty, I almost cried tears of joy. Even if we’re not out of the woods, it was so good to feel like it CAN be done. Maybe she won’t get kicked out of childcare at the YMCA all of the time, just some of the time!
  • Captain America is a ROCK STAR. I’m heading out tonight for a conference tomorrow, and he’s going to wrangle kids alone. Complete with bedtimes, and getting girls off to school while toting the baby. And picking kids up from school, after possibly having to wake the baby up from a nap. And I? I WILL BE WITH GROWNUPS. HAVING SLEPT IN A HOTEL ROOM. ALONE. ALONE!!
  • On another note, I’m pretty sure Captain America has somehow paid Zoey off, or just convinced her to be rotten while shopping. I think his goal was to keep me from spending time in Target, and it’s working like a charm. After she shattered everyone’s eardrums this morning, I decided a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks was in order. Because every time I take her out by myself, I feel like I need a reward of some kind. I am exhausted, and the day has only begun. But you know what? There’s a SUPER Target mighty close to my hotel tonight…MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Stacy’s got more random at her place!

The “S” word. And I don’t mean “stupid.”

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Today I left the house in a sweater again. That was plenty. When I picked the girls up from school they didn’t even bother with sweatshirts. Their jackets from the morning were shoved into their backpacks.

Tomorrow night? WINTER STORM WATCH. Oh, Midwestern Weather. You are fickle.

So, you know what a Winter Storm Watch means, right? Me, too. I’m not really ready for it. But I am determined this year to sweep myself up in Holiday Excitement. The moment I see the S word, I’m listening to Christmas music. I’m throwing my usual Post-Thanksgiving rule out the window, because I feel like a month just isn’t quite enough. And I feel like Christmas music could make the S stuff a little more bearable. Time to start warming up that Swingin’ Christmas Pandora station!

We’re getting excited for Thanksgiving around here. We’ve started a thankful fishbowl. We’re tossing in slips of paper with things we’re thankful for, and we’ll read them after Thanksgiving. Or before. We’re winging it. I won’t let Thanksgiving get glossed over, but December gets a little crazy. There just isn’t time to watch all the Christmas movies a girl needs to watch.

In any case, that’s how I’m going to get through this. The first go around of icy precipitation. Holiday Excitement! More pumpkin! Do you think they have pumpkin cheese? Being from Wisconsin, I am in charge of bringing some cheese to the Thanksgiving Feast. I will distract myself with finding pumpkin cheese.

Sweaters and crockpots

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First thing’s first.

Today I am thankful for my crockpot. Because I like taking 5 minutes to toss some things in, and having dinner ready at a flexible time.

 

It’s definitely getting chilly here in Wisconsin. Come March, this would be a tropical heatwave. But right now it feels like it’s time to pull out warmer sweaters. Time to buy new shearling boots. Maybe even a down coat. Because we could have a few more weeks like this, or we could wake up tomorrow in a snowstorm. Welcome to late Fall in the Midwest. Some of the trees are clinging to their last bit of color, and some have given up so we can see the shape and color of the rock in the river bluffs. That’s one thing I will never get tired of here – the bluffs. Even in the dead of winter, they’re pretty.

It’s always nice to pull out the totes of sweaters and see the Old Friends. We have such a bitter parting in the Spring, when I am so sick of wearing sweaters I could cry. Or, sometimes, I have actually cried. As I first start to get cold in the Fall, they seem to welcome and cozy. But by Spring I don’t want to see them ever again. I’m tired of thick sweaters. I’m tired of putting a down coat over my wool sweater. I’m tired of putting Smartwool bedecked feet into shearling lined boots. I’m really tired of bundling up three children.

But not now. Now it all just seems cozy. Just throw on those boots with no socks. Wear a sweater coat to pick up the kids from school instead of an actual coat. Have another cup of tea. Even though I’ve burnt my tongue so many times this week I should probably just suck on an ice cube. Throw something in the crockpot. Watch a tv show under a blanket, or read a book snuggled up in bed. If it would stay like this for 6 more months, I would be so happy. But I know better. The Cold is coming.

I survived the solo parent road trip!

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More thankfulness! Let’s see. Today I am thankful for a mug the size of a small bucket from which to drink my tea.

 

I survived! I mean. I guess you knew that. Because I’ve posted since then. But I wanted to share with you some things that I learned road tripping with an 8, 6, and 1 year old. It was about 5 hours each way, but we have really beaten down the path, so we were very familiar with where to go and stop.

  • We don’t have a DVD player, but audiobooks are awesome. I ran to the library the day before and checked some out. On this trip we enjoyed Judy Moody Saves the World. We also started Harriet the Spy, but it didn’t seem to capture their attention quite as much. The Secret Garden had zero votes. I’ll get you next time, my pretties…
  • I over prepare for road trips, especially on my own. I purchased all manner of small activity books, and packed up crayons and pens and pencils. I also bought paper masks that the girls colored in the car. I pack a ridiculous amount of snacks and water. But we still had to buy McDonald’s cookies when we had a bathroom break, because it was a trip. On trips, you do things you don’t normally do. Suddenly that grocery tote full of snacks seems mighty dull. And the pumpkin pies are 2/$1 or 99┬ó each. What’s up with that McD’s? Are you trying to add to the saved baby weight?
  • I would rather take all three girls than just the baby. Zoey is a lot of work. And it takes a village. The girls handed her toys whenever she made a peep. They were there for the diaper assists. Which was especially fun at McD’s. We always stop at a very quiet, out of the way McD’s when we reach the Minneapolis area. I took all 3 into the stall with the diaper changer. Zoey hates those. With a flaming hot passion. So I had Zoey on the table, one girl on each side. Zoey was screaming. Ella & Natalie were singing. “YOU DON’T NEED TO CRY…AT ALL…BECAUSE YOUR BIG SISTER’S ALWAYS AROUND YOU…YOU DON’T NEED TO CRY…AT ALL…BECAUSE YOUR BIG SISTER’S ALWAYS AROUND YOU…” Those are all of the words to a song Ella wrote for Zoey when she was born. There was a lot of sound coming out of that small bathroom. And I think we gave the other girl who came in a giggle fit. Because when we came out of the bathroom, she sharply elbowed the guy she was with and gave him the “that’s them!” look. I have three children. I am so over embarrassment. I know for a fact you’d rather hear the singing than screaming from all three, so I don’t harbor the least bit of ill will at someone’s amusement like that. Please, enjoy my side show. Mostly because I know how lucky I am that in this moment, it’s cute and funny. It could just as easily be a meltdown of epic proportions.
  • I am really committed to my love of the McRib. I got one in the car on the way back. A McRib. While driving. It CAN be done, but that doesn’t mean it should be. Only, what else are you supposed to do when it’s a LIMITED TIME? SCARF IT DOWN NOW, I say. Don’t think about what’s in it.
  • I have LOVELY children. Zoey got a little fussy from time to time, but it was never anything a bottle or a diaper or toys and books handed over from sisters couldn’t fix. Ella and Natalie were the most gracious helpers. There was actual help, and no sighing. They were happy to do it. Or they faked it really well. When Zoey would fall asleep, one of them would whisper loudly, “ZOEY’S SLEEPING!” Until she woke up there would only be whispering. It was more quiet than being at home. While we were out, I got another “you’ve got your hands full!” To which I always smile and nod. But I made sure to add, “I have a couple of very good helpers.” It felt like such an undertaking before I got on the road, but they made it feel almost easy.

All Hallow’s Eve

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First:

Today I am thankful for my dad. I am thankful for both of my parents, but it’s my dad’s birthday. Happy birthday, Dad! I don’t think you read my blog – but still – I hope this counts for something! Thank you for knowing the answer to everything, all the time. (I’m actually not being facetious. He knows everything.)

So.

Ella got all excited on Sunday. “It’s Halloween Eve!” I didn’t have the energy to get into how Halloween is actually an Eve in the first place.

Why, you ask? I’d spent the entire day finishing Halloween costumes after a 5 hour, solo parent drive the day before. The costumes didn’t take all day. But at some point in the morning I remembered I was in charge of decorated brownies for Natalie’s class party the next day. Decorated brownies. Does that just mean brownies with orange frosting or some sprinkles? I don’t know! So I hopped on Pinterest for some Pinspiration. I ran to the store for supplies. We ended up with orange pumpkins, green Frankensteins and purple monsters. Pinterest saves the day! I even made my own frostings. Except for the wretched black decorating gel that I thought would be so very cool, but NEVER EVER SET. Does gel always never set? Doesn’t matter. I won’t use it again.

I don’t think I ever sat down on Sunday. Because from 3-5 we let the girls beg for candy with all the other kids at the mall. I like to pack as much Halloween fun in as possible, because we’ve got the costumes.

Monday I visited both girls’ classrooms. There’s a mighty big social difference between first and third grade. I’ll take the first graders, thank you. And there are some changes starting to happen in those third grade costumes. The bunnies & puppies are fewer & farther between. There’s a lot more ghoulishness. And some outfits I’m just not ready to put my baby girl in. I have a feeling we’re on the brink of some lively costume discussions in the next couple of years.

Monday evening, Captain America took the older girls on a whirlwind tour of town. They had to come back in the middle for a new bag after Natalie’s broke from the weight. Meanwhile, I handed out candy to kids who were on the verge of being to old to trick or treat. Honestly, I don’t care if you’re 18 and put on a thoughtful or purchased costume, and are polite. If you’re 14 and going to stand there in your regular clothes while you shove a bag in my face, I’m not a fan. I mean, I’ll still give you a LITTLE candy because I’m not THAT much of a curmudgeon. But you won’t get as much. Take that!

Am I the only one who uses a sliding candy scale? Generally the younger the trick or treater, the more thoughtful the costume, the more candy.

Unless you come between 6:45 and 8. By then I have started to panic at all the candy I have left, and I am shoveling it in the bags. I cannot possibly grab enough candy. Which was lucky for the pack of 6 or so teen girls who possibly drove their own car to my street for trick or treating. But they were in costume. Incredibly polite. More candy for you!

Overall I was extremely impressed with how polite everybody was. There were only a couple of kids who didn’t say thank you. And half of them had a parent behind gently reminding them (took us forever to get Natalie to break out of the shyness enough to say thank you to people). And there were a lot of cute costumes. I am surprised how much I like Halloween. It’s just so fun to see all the parents walking little kids around on the street. So Norman Rockwell-y.

 

RTT: It’s still Fall and stuff.

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So much. There’s so much going on. I’m working on getting the half written posts in my head fully written and actually on Ye Olde Blog. Meanwhile, hooray for Random Tuesday Thoughts!

First up, some friends are doing an awesome thing this month. If you know me, you know I LOVE Thanksgiving. LOVE it. So, with them, I’m committing to listing something I’m thankful for in every post this month. They made a cute little button.

First up: I am thankful for my sweet girls. And Captain America. They make my life interesting and fun, and I learn so much from all of them. I have been extremely blessed.

Now, some RTT:

  • Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is delicious. Really delicious.
  • We’ve gotten into the gift portion of Fall in Wisconsin. Every day that is Fall and not Winter is a gift. Because, really, Winter could come any minute. It was a strange freak of nature that snow hit the east coast but hasn’t hit here yet. I may have had a smug look on my face the entire day.
  • I am not a morning person. Why are we all Morning or Night people? Because I think I’m more like Middle of the Day. I’d lean Night, in the sense that I’d rather stay up late than get up early. But really, between the hours of 11 pm and 7:30ish am, I’d just rather be sleeping. And in the morning I need time to adjust to the idea of being awake.
  • Yesterday I made some kind of ravioli casserole in the crockpot. I may never make regular ravioli again, because it was FANTASTIC. Here’s the recipe I started with. I added a can of mushrooms. And I used ┬áChicken Herb ravioli. It received rave reviews from Captain America, who requested I make it again very soon.
  • I’m going to eat some more Halloween candy while my children are at school.
  • I am disappointed with my friends at Dr. Pepper. They made that stupid “It’s not for women” Dr. Pepper 10 commercial. Yes, I completely understand why. I totally get the marketing aspect. But I still think it’s dumb. I tried some of it, and I like it. But I don’t want to buy it because I don’t want to support their stupid marketing. Captain America thinks all of these drinks taste the same. I think he actually prefers…shhhh…Diet Pepsi. Poor guy. He never gets it because I am a buyer of Coca-Cola products. I don’t think he believes I can tell the difference between Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke. Only YESSIR I certainly could. I could also tell the difference between Diet Coke and Coke Zero. I happen to prefer Coke Zero. Perhaps a taste test is in order. Because I’m kind of a geek with nothing else to do, apparently.

More random at Stacy’s.