Sunday, February 24, 2013

We Are Pirates

Here are a few things I remember about today:

1) Watching my Laurels eat brownie bites topped with raspberry jam and whipped cream at church while engaging in a really good discussion. Feeling such affection and love for those girls.

2) Realizing that when anybody asks me how I am doing, within three sentences we are having a poop conversation.

3) Jeff saying, when I asked him if that grating sound coming from the garage was Jack plugging in the sander, "No, unless it's his evil twin. Jack is sitting right here on the couch. " Inwardly expressing how very deeply grateful I am that Jack doesn't have an evil twin.

4) Jack attending the nursery class today after two months of Sunday meltdowns. Yay for nursery and for his precious teacher, Susan!

5) Watching Jennifer Lawrence win the Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook (yay!) and falling down on the stairs while claiming her award. Hugh Jackman running to her rescue, making it even more charming.

6) Making Boeuf Bourguignon for dinner (yes, really!) and having Jeff say, "Look at you, going all Mrs. Patmore on me."

7) Eating the Boeuf Bourguignon. Heavenly.

8) Sharing a box of Red Vines on the couch with Jeff after the Oscars ended and the last straggler child was finally in bed.

9) Jeff saying that while he adored the dinner, he would've liked to sit and savor it peacefully; but because the boys were being so raucous (oh hi, kid with an infected ear and a constipated baby) he just shoveled it in like a pirate instead. Me laughing, because it is true.

10) Baby grinning while pointing to Jack, and repeatedly saying, "Jack!"

11) My eleven-year-old cuddling up to me placidly on the couch this evening.

12) Happy snatches of conversation with my friends at church.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Just Eat It

This evening I put my very, very crispy baby to bed and decompressed by perusing the cookbook I bought at the school book fair. I purchased it on a whim, feeling sparks of excitement about recreating the gorgeous dishes featured in the full-page photographs facing each recipe.

Why do I do this to myself?

Thumbing through a bunch of amazing-sounding recipes to get inspired for my dinner repertoire is a vestige of my old life--the one before I had four sons who, I've accepted (begrudgingly), are morbidly picky eaters.

Author's Snarky Aside: If at this point you are smugly thinking that my children are terrible, picky eaters because I haven't a) exposed them to healthy foods in all their varieties or b) shown them an example of healthy eating myself or c) involved them in choosing and preparing good foods for family consumption, then you clearly do not know the history of our strange little clan. If you are inclined to judge me and our family's odd foodways, all I have to say to you is this: Go back to pinning Green Smoothie recipes on Pinterest and take your judgments with you. Leave the morbidly picky eaters with their sensory integration issues to me. That is all. 

There I had stood at the book fair that sunny autumn day, dreaming about whipping up some new simple, delicious meals. Thinking it could be a real possibility in my decidedly NOT simple weekday routine with my uniquely inflexible children.

"This book could very well be just the ticket," I thought while standing amid my baby, my preschooler, and a library filled with second-graders. "The ticket to an array of yummy dinners which do not at all resemble the French toast, spaghetti, tacos, and Dino nuggets which have become all we ever eat. EVER."

Will I ever attempt the Moroccan meatballs with spicy tomato sauce? Or the pork vindaloo or the lamb curry? What about the chicken Proven├žal? And if I do, will the boys eat them?

Who's to say? Tonight I looked up from reading the chickpea chili ingredient list to see Jack stepping in blobs of poop on the rug.

After dealing with that dreamboat of an after-dinner mess, I spent ten minutes with a pencil and a handful of wipes cleaning more poop out of Henry's sneaker treads. While helping me search for all the offending droppings, a certain Nike made unfortunate Code Brown contact.

I'm pretty positive that tomorrow night we will have frozen pizza.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love Story

With all the ring-pops and conversation hearts littering the house, it's easy to remember that Valentine's Day is practically here. It's a happy little holiday, isn't it? Tucked into the crappy winter months, it's a brief beacon of pink and sweets in the cold, bleak stretch between New Year's and springtime.

It's a holiday I like, as long as I don't feel pressured to overdo it with the craftiness and the fancy-ness (see my post entitled I Heart Simplicity from last February). So long as we keep things sufficiently simplistic, I am perfectly happy to eat some frosted pink sugar cookies and let my husband buy me a gift.

Valentine's Day has certainly evolved in the nearly sixteen years of our marriage. As it is a holiday referencing all types of love, I've been mulling over how we define love.

Here is how I define it:

Love is the hubs who puts on rubber gloves, grabs the mop, and cracks a poop joke when a Code Brown wafts to our noses.

Love is the eleven-year-old brother who plays Xbox with the four-year-old brother, even though it's kind of high-maintenance.

Love is the same big brother who kindly points out new vacuuming venues to Jack, and who totes baby brother around all the time in order to better make him laugh.

Love is when Jacky's bus puffs to a stop at our door at 8:45 AM. He and I both really love it when Doris and Missy arrive.

Love is not freaking out when I find that Jack has done a number two on the floor of my car.

Love is keeping calm when Jack intentionally wets his pants and then laughs about it while stitting next to me on the couch during the State of the Union address. Love is cleaning it up without bitterness.

Love is a smiley, chatty, pudgy, happy baby who is SO BIG! And who loves books, brothers, and baths.

Love is the hubs who willingly sees the movie adaptations with me of all the books I've read. Love is also Date Night every single week, religiously.

Love is the preschooler watching Curious George while drinking chocolate milk and eating blueberries.

Love is relinquishing perfection's quest and finding satisfaction in the French toast and the folded five loads of laundry and the not-very-clean bathrooms and the esoteric bedtime routines of today.

Mark Twain said, "Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want."

I'm happy to report that this Valentine's Day, I am happy and in love.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Real Blooper Reel

If I could winnow the events of the past few days as though editing video of my family's life (fortunately for me, no one is actually taping us), I would essentially have a blooper reel.

These things really happened:

* Jack spent the weekend surreptitiously pooping around the house, and then quickly trying to vacuum it up before we could stop him. Curse this tiresome vacuum obsession intersected with potty-defiance!

* When we entered the packed chapel at church on Sunday, which was crowded with lots of visitors in attendance at two baby blessings, Jack saw strangers sitting in our usual row of seats at the back and commenced screaming and sobbing. Quiet chapel. Decent acoustics. Bellowing boy. Got a good mental picture? We set a new record for Jack's shortest stay in sacrament meeting.

* Upon walking in the door after church with train-wreck-tired baby on my hip and anxious preschooler attached like a barnacle to my leg, preschooler's feet tripped us both and the three of us (with baby) fell in an graceless heap on the floor by the door. Pencil skirts and pumps don't help much in such a situation.

* Jack and Charlie spent much of Superbowl Sunday bouncing on the trampoline in the cold backyard. I think they were thumbing their noses at winter. Nobody fell down or crashed into each other, but doesn't exuberant jumping fit nicely into a blooper reel? I think so too.

* Charlie climbed the bookcase filled with toys in his bedroom in an effort to reach a puzzle near the top. One enormously loud crash later, the good news is Charlie did not suffer a head injury. The bad news: the bookcase is broken. In other unfortunate news: the mom spent a good portion of Monday afternoon cleaning up and reorganizing toys and puzzles from a volcanic heap in the center of the floor.

* As I stood before my completely clean (!) kitchen counter which was void of all clutter save a glass of water, I managed to drop my iPhone. Guess where it landed.

Cue the laugh track and goofy music, Bob Saget.