Friday, June 26, 2009


My kitchen sink is approximately 4 feet from my hallway. The hallway is guarded by a gate. This morning, as I was washing the breakfast dishes (okay, and some of last night's), a certain someone managed to sneak across those 4 feet, breach the security gate, and plop down in the middle of his sisters' bedroom to play with choking hazards. While I was standing right there! You can just imagine the things that happen when I'm another 10 feet away at the dining room table.

I'm obviously raising ninjas.

The incredible stealth abilities of my children often leads to frustration and the throwing up of my hands, which inevitably leads to more chaos. You can tell me they need more discipline, that I must command obedience or that I should beat these traits out of them, but I believe you should be thanking me instead. I'll probably continue to grit my teeth and bear the insanity that comes with raising the incredible secret agents who will one day save the world.

You're welcome.

In the meantime, I'll keep finding myself in situations that make me look like a Real Bad Mommy. That doesn't mean I AM one. My kids are happy and healthy despite the fact that I now refuse to dig for the chewed up crayons in my toddler's mouth and I often overestimate their ability to handle horror movies (though I still consider Shaun of the Dead to be more of a comedy).

I take comfort in knowing I'm not the only mom who has WTF moments. It keeps me semi-sane. Contribute to this cause by sharing your own Real Bad Mommy stories here. The Baddest of the Bad has finally resurrected the site! You'd think she'd been busy or something for the past couple of years.

Now I have to try to stick 180 tissues back into their box. Yup, I'm 10 feet away!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A dose of reality

All of this hoopla surrounding a certain reality tv family has somehow managed to forced me to look at my own family from an audience perspective.

If I had complete control over the editing, this is what you would have seen today:

-The husband spending the early part of the morning helping out by walking the dogs, getting C some milk, making the coffee, and writing a list of things I would like for him to bring home after work.
-Me doing dishes, laundry, sweeping, picking up toys, jotting down some ideas for our curriculum in the fall, and marking the kids' height on our laundry room door.
-H flipping through a cookbook, looking for new things to make.
-H and M climbing trees, playing with bugs, and making a hopscotch board on the deck.
-C being all cuddly and cute, saying "please" repeatedly, using the potty, and hugging the cats.
-J helping with a few morning chores and drawing his own comic strip.

If I had no control over the editing, this is what you would have seen today:

-The husband walking around like a zombie this morning (poor guy had to spend last night getting paid to hang out in bars), completely 'forgetting' to feed and water the dogs, and telling me we already have plenty of milk (not what the fridge told me at 3:00).
-Me doing last night's dishes, boiling cloth diapers because I let them get too much soap build up, sweeping 3 times and still having crumbs, tossing toys into the mound we call "the toy pile", debating whether or not the girls can handle anatomically correct illustrations I wasn't really expecting in one particular book, and making C cry every time I tried to straighten his knees to be measured.
-H having every recipe she chose shot down because we're missing at least 3 ingredients.
-H and M getting yelled at for hanging upside down in trees, throwing bugs at each other, and for shaking the entire deck while I'm trying to write this.
-C trying to convince me to play trains while I try to distract him, running around the house nekkid through most of the morning, and choking the cats.
-J willing to do anything to escape the bedroom he's supposed to be cleaning, and thinking I don't know that he's drawing instead of cleaning.

Then there are the things I wouldn't be able to decide on. What would the world think if they saw my girls announce that they were going to potty train their brother? They even set up a folder to time his potty trips and track his successes, and they decided to reward him with honey roasted peanuts. Adorable kids? Slacker mom? Inappropriate mixing of the sexes?

How about the theft of the red Jell-o packet? Would that shot catch me in the background, playing Bejeweled Blitz?

And would it even be possible to get any of this on tape without hearing Annie, iCarly and Thomas the Tank Engine through the vast majority of it? Not to mention the 4-letter words I can't seem to keep from slipping out.

It's interesting trying to view the day from two different perspectives. You can't edit anything and then still call it reality. You can't boil hours down to 20 or 40 minutes of clips and pretend it's honest.

If that sounds like I'm trying to defend anyone, I'm not. I am, and always will be, against selling childhoods.
But I'm having fun picturing our 1-hour special!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gung ho?

Apparently, this term doesn't mean what I thought it did.
" This unofficial motto of the US Marine Corps is an abbreviation for the Mandarin Gongye Hezhoushe, or industrial cooperative. The term was used in China, starting in 1938, to refer to small, industrial operations that were being established in rural China to replace the industrial centers that had been captured by the Japanese. The phrase was clipped to the initial characters of the two words, gung ho (or gung he, as it would be transliterated today), which means "work together." This clipping became a slogan for the industrial cooperative movement."

Here I was, thinking I was all gung ho over bread making, but it turns out I'm probably just mildly OCD with a very addictive personality.

I made my first loaf of sandwich bread yesterday. I'm really excited about it, because it is 100% whole wheat, and I was told that could be tricky to master. Not that I actually mastered it. All I had on hand was a Pyrex loaf pan, which really isn't the best tool, and I think that's why the bread was slightly more chewy than I would have liked. But still.

I really hate cooking, and I only slightly tolerate baking. And the only reason I put baking above regular cooking is because baking always tastes better.

I do feel that it's very important to feed my family healthy foods, but it's always so damn expensive!
I have high hopes for our organic vegetable garden, and I'm extremely grateful to have children who prefer raw vegetables to cooked! I'm also trying to figure out ways to cut back on meats, which is really hard when you already spent a good 6 years trying to get a child to eat a frickin hamburger and finally succeeded! But my big thing lately has been the cost of whole grain breads. Our family goes through so much bread that I actually did resort to Shoprite's completely nutritionally void 99 cent white bread. And anyone with half a brain knows that the only thing that's good for is $hi! on a Shingle. A meal that also involves way too much fat and a million preservatives. And I've been craving it for days now!

So, I bit the bullet and tried my hand at bread making. So far, 3 out of 4 kids have given it the green light, and the fourth is on her way home from Grandma's.

But then comes the obsessive aspect. I found Pleasant Hill Grain.

Making an average of 7 loaves of bread each week sounds like a monumental task. Certainly a Bosch mixer would help me out. And, instead of buying bags of flour that have sat on the store shelf for a while, wouldn't it be great to buy 45lb buckets of wheat berries and grind them fresh every week in a Nutramill? Of course, I'll also need a great set of loaf pans, and I may as well throw in a few cute bagette pans. I could use decent cooling racks. That gadget for slicing bread evenly would be awesome! And, while I'm thinking about it, I'm in the market for a knife sharpener.

I'm also busy thinking about all of the great recipes I should try. Whole wheat bagels, sandwich rolls, english muffins, waffles (oops, need a new waffle iron while I'm at it!), pita pockets, pizza dough...

I wonder if I can call it "gung ho" if I'm able to rope the kids into cooperating. I'm going to need a lot of help!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Publish a blog post. Check!

For the record, I have about 8 blog posts sitting in draft. I have major issues with follow through. I'm an ideas person. I'm all stimulant with no sustenance. This is why I'm going to have multiple assistants when I win the lottery. I'll explain my wonderful visions to them and then they can go figure out how to make it happen.

I'm also going to have a housekeeper, because I suck at that job. I plain don't like household chores. I've spent so much time avoiding them, it's almost as though I've forgotten HOW to clean.

With our school year technically being over, I don't have as much of an excuse to ignore the clutter and filth as I usually do. I spent about a week looking over my house, trying to figure out how to prioritize. Instead, I just overwhelmed myself and spent another few days with my head in the sand.

But now I have to get serious. I've finally made a household chore list! I'm feeling pretty pathetic though. Knowing myself as well as I do, I made sure to not only list the breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes separately, but I've listed washing the laundry, drying the laundry, and putting the laundry away separately. Because I truly am such a housekeeping loser that it is entirely possible for me to leave my family living out of the dryer for 2 or 3 days (while a wet load gets musty in the washer and a pile of clean clothes gets covered with dirty clothes of course).

I'm on my third day, and I've only done about half of my list each day. I'm ashamed to admit that, while my house is still a pig sty, it actually does look noticeably better than before! How sad is that?

The truth is, my house is never going to look "company ready", even when we're expecting company. We have 28 legs living in a small house. The kids have a few small chores and the husband helps out when he can, but the majority of the work falls in my 2 hands. The math just doesn't work.

But I'm trying.

And now my list tells me I need to go pee.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

You can't check your sources if you don't have any sources

I love debating issues and exchanging ideas. I really love doing so via the internet, because it (usually) provides ample time to craft a thoughtful response. Unless you're dealing with ignorant ideas and opinions without facts. Then it just becomes a rush of banal ranting. I got sucked into one of those this week.

If you're a homeschooler, you already know about the garbage being spewed by a certain teacher. I'm not about to name names, because then I would feel obligated to provide links and quotes, thus generating more traffic for the twit and flaming my own misplaced emotions that I believe I've finally managed to smother.

If nothing else, the whole debacle has left me with what I hope will be a permanent sticky-note in my brain that reads "Teach your kids formal logic and rhetoric!"

People have a natural aversion to things they don't understand. Sometimes that's perfectly fine. But, if you're going to write about a topic, either admit that you don't understand, or make an effort to learn about it first.

My assumption has always been that most people are not interested in learning about homeschooling. And that's fine. But I don't understand why anyone would want to engage in a discussion ABOUT homeschooling unless they ARE interested in some way or another. And if one IS interested, wouldn't it make logical sense to, I don't know, ask questions rather than spew ignorance?

So, dear readers, I just want to let you know that, if you ever wonder about homeschooling, whether it be how I get any housework done (Answer: I don't, but plenty of other homeschoolers are perfect Suzy Homemakers. I'm only jealous when I'm craving a bubble bath in a clean tub.) or whether my kids have to take standardized tests (Answer: In grades 3, 5 and 8 in my state. Some states have no testing, others must test annually.), feel free to ask. I would genuinely love the opportunity to address real questions, rather than emotionally banging my head against a brick wall.

And if you couldn't care less, that's cool too. Just do me (and yourself) a favor and refrain from putting any judgments in print unless you're into that kind of blog circus. (And, if you are, you're welcome for the traffic tip!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If music be the food of love

then the husband REALLY needs to take me to see Rock of Ages!

I can't really concentrate on this post because I'm really busy rocking out to the soundtrack (in stores on the 7th, I think, but available for download on Amazon and iTunes now).
How can anyone NOT get swept up?

I've got to tell you, I was not Constantine's biggest fan, but he makes me drool in this role. Then again, you could probably put just about anyone in this role and I'd drool. It's all about the music, baby. And being able to laugh at the ridiculous awesomeness of it all!

What I wouldn't do for a banana clip and some Aqua Net right now.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Behind in blogging the birthday blur

I am now the proud owner of a 7-year-old daughter.

I have no idea how that happened.
I spent the day marveling at the fact that I somehow survived her infancy (much of it spent pregnant with her sister). H was born a non-sleeping screamer. The only time she slept for more than a 10 minute clip was when she was ON someone (which makes me marvel at the fact that she even has a sister).

I zombied my way through so many of those early days, and now I find myself scrambling to observe and imprint all of her later milestones. The trouble is, she's just hitting them too fast to keep up with.

This kid has taken my life by storm, and she's well on her way to doing the same to the world. Right now, she plans to do so by being a "pizza girl". And there's no doubt in my mind that she could.

Unless Daddy turns her into a hockey star before then.

Happy birthday, Baby. Big Girl. Young Lady.