Sunday, November 17, 2019

Three-Week Reset

Oh, hello!

Things have been a little rough around here for the past few days. Zoe is not a happy girl.

I had some serious cabin fever toward the end of the week. Zoe and I were both miserable from being cooped up in the house, so we ventured out for a bit. We went and visited her class at school (I had to teach two Junior Achievement lessons), and we went to Chick-Fil-A where she had ice cream and Sprite. She chose the destination, and then when we got there, she had a mega meltdown because she couldn't have chicken nuggets and fries.

I get it, girl. Food is everything.

She's been complaining of pain a lot more, and she's been very whiney and disagreeable. I understand. I do. I'm incredibly cranky when I'm in pain, too, and I take it out on everyone else. But I'm having a really hard time remaining patient and compassionate. Have I ever told you that I'm not a patient person?

Like, not at all.

And let's talk briefly about that tonsil breath. Whoa, Nelly! That's some nasty stuff.

We're almost half-way through recovery. Almost on the downhill side. We can do this.

(We can do this, right?)

One more week.

Some friends have asked if I think it will really take that long for Zoe to feel better. Based on how things are right now... yes, I do think it will take that long. She's really uncomfortable right now. She cries off and on throughout the day and says her ears hurt - that's the best way she can explain her pain. She thinks it's in her ears. She holds her head between her hands and curls up in a ball on the couch and cries. A small amount of it is for dramatic effect, but I know she's really in pain.

She does get up and play every now and then when she's feeling better, but for the most part, she's laying down in misery. Poor girl. The thing that gets me through is knowing that this will go away eventually. My heart goes out to mothers who have children who are in pain but do not know if and when that pain will go away. Bless those moms and those sweet children!

Anyway, I just wanted to throw out an update for those who are interested.

In other news, I've been struggling with various personal things lately, and I've decided to do a three week reset. Why three weeks? That's a time frame that works well with my calendar. In that time, I'm going to:

  • Put spending on hold. I always fail at this, so I don't know why I'm even bothering. But the goal is to continue working my way through my freezer and pantry and only spend $20 per week on groceries (for fresh produce and milk, mostly). I've already mapped out a three-week meal plan. 
  • Only make Black Friday purchases if they are on my list. I have a spreadsheet of what I would like to buy for Christmas, and my goal is to not stray from that list. 
  • Stay on track with a goal I set to read the New Testament before the end of the year. This, too, involves a spreadsheet where I've tracked where I need to be at the end of each week. The spreadsheets on my phone pretty much dictate my life. 
  • Finish a Book of Mormon project that I've been working on. 
  • Refrain from social media use. 
  • And the hardest of all... I will be stepping away from blogging. It could cause my untimely death - going three weeks without blogging - but I need to do it. Mostly because facebook is my main source of blog traffic, and a cease-blog will help me stay away from facebook with more diligence. 
Stay safe. Stay warm. I'll see you sometime around December 8!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Four for Four at 4:00

I've been doing this mothering thing for 13 years now (I'm rounding up by a few weeks). I'm not a professional, but I'm no longer a rookie. I'm somewhere in between. What does that make me? Intermediate?

The point is, I know some stuff. But I still have a lot to learn.

One thing I'm wondering as an intermediate mother is whether my kids will outgrow the witching hour. I've been enduring the 4 p.m. hell fest for a really long time, and it doesn't seem to have any end in sight. All of my kids from Nicky at age 13 to Eva at age 4 are still regular participants in the witching hour. The only consolation is that sometimes one or two of my kids will be mildly pleasant while the others are going ballistic, so it's not four for four at 4:00 every day.

Common behaviors during the witching hour as of late include:

  • Rifling through cupboards looking for food while dinner is under way, and they've been fed a sufficient snack immediately after school
  • Arguing with each other over really stupid things. Real life example from today: are we having sloppy joes for dinner on Saturday or Sunday? Nicky says Saturday. Daisy says Sunday. (Who cares? It's Thursday!!! But if you must know, the answer is Saturday, and it's written on the fridge for your reference, but if you tell Daisy she's wrong, be prepared for her to scream in your face and possibly punch you)
  • Asking me questions that don't matter. That don't matter at all. And that I've already answered.
  • Arts and crafts explosions 
  • Begging to watch YouTube
  • Whining about chores that take TEN WHOLE MINUTES (Can you imagine?)
  • Complaining about what's for dinner. It doesn't matter if I make their favorite thing on earth, they will hate it on the day I feed it to them
  • Tantrums and meltdowns galore. Real life examples from today (i.e. reasons Eva cried): 
    • Because I wouldn't go to the Dollar Store to buy her a rubber chicken
    • Because her stuffed bunny is pink, and she wants it to be blue
    • Because she noticed that the exercise bike is missing (we got rid of it three months ago), and it was her favorite
    • Because I sang "Do You Want to Build a Snowman"
  • Lectures (from Nicky) about how I spent my day. Not sure why he cares...
  • Kicking each other
On top of that, my kids have really stinky feet, so they come home from school, take of their shoes, and stink up my house. Tantrums are much less endurable in a fog of shoe stench. 

So I ask you, professional mothers... does it ever end?

Never mind. Don't answer. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Recovery Week

We've had a lot of big events lately. We had Zoe's birthday, family photos, the primary program, and a tonsillectomy all within a matter of days. Now we're in recovery... from all of it.

Zoe's surgery was on Monday. I was really nervous for it. Her tonsils have always been huge, so I've planned on having them removed since she was an infant, it was just a matter of when. Daisy had hers out when she was three, and it was a really rough recovery. I dreaded putting Zoe through the same thing. We decided to wait until Zoe was a little older. Our ENT said it wouldn't hurt to wait, and he prefers to wait when possible.

Over the summer, while Scotty was traveling, Zoe kept sneaking into my bed after I fell asleep. She would end up waking me up repeatedly with her boisterous snoring, and I knew it was time to finally get the tonsils taken care of. I made her an appointment with the ENT. The next week, I took her to the pediatrician to address some asthma-related issues. In the past, when I'd asked the pediatrician what she thought of Zoe's tonsils, she'd say, "They're generous." But she didn't push for me to have them removed. This time, without me even asking about the tonsils, she said, "Her tonsils are touching. You should really get her into the ENT." This reassured me that I was making the right move, and I was pleased to tell the doctor that I already had Zoe's appointment with the ENT lined up (oh the rare and beautiful feeling of being one step ahead!)

As I said, I was really nervous for Zoe to have surgery. I am scarred from what we went through with Daisy, so I was planning on something far worse. The procedure itself went really well. The doctor told us that the tonsils were a lot bigger than they appeared. He removed her adenoids which were very large as well. This was great to hear because it validated our choice to do the surgery.

Zoe has been doing pretty well. She doesn't want to talk much. She's kind of mopey, but her complaints of pain have been minimal thus far. She's had some diva moments, but overall, things have been manageable. We're only two days post-op, so there's still a long road ahead, but we're much better off than we were at this point with Daisy's surgery.

Since this week is different than our normal routine, I'm having a hard time knowing what I should be doing. I'm trying to keep things calm at home and just lay low, but I'm "mom bored." This is the term I use when I don't know what to do with my time, and my choices are limited by my children's needs. There's plenty to do, I just don't feel like I can start any tasks because I don't know if I'll be able to finish anything. I'm kind of mopey, myself. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Donkey Mom

I'm currently sitting on my couch wearing donkey ears, courtesy of my children. Note to self: remove donkey ears before leaving the house (sometimes I forget these things).

Eva and Zoe are in an intense fight about "pretend." Eva wants Zoe to be her mom, and it's time for her mom to send her out on the stage to perform. She is nervous, but Zoe, as the mom, is supposed to calm Eva's nerves and tell her everything will be okay. Eva is wearing a monkey costume. Zoe, though, does not agree on this plot. She doesn't want to be a mom. She is wearing a beautiful ball gown (i.e. a dress I bought from the DI), and she plans to go to a ball, meet a prince, and get married.

Each child is trying to act her part while simultaneously yelling at the other.

Nicky is downstairs playing "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" over and over on the piano. My kids have been in piano lessons for years. I'm just going to give it to you straight - they suck at playing the piano. We have no natural knack or drive for musical instruments in our family. We are subpar or mediocre at pretty much everything we do. But lately, Nicky has lingered at the piano a bit longer than normal, and I am hoping he's developing some sort of fondness for it.

Daisy is laying on the couch next to me rolling around, moaning in boredom. In moments like this... I sure wish my kids had friends. Sadly, we are a bunch of loners.

But back to the donkey ears...

Eva and Zoe have been calling me Donkey Mom.

Here are a few facts about Donkey Mom:

Donkey Mom has a sinus infection

Donkey Mom has food all over her shirt

Donkey Mom has no energy today

Donkey Mom wants to know who smashed Cap'n Crunch in the living room rug and whose candy bar wrappers are on the couch

Donkey Mom needs to take her kids to the library to pick up some books on hold

Donkey Mom really doesn't want to

Donkey Mom's new name reminds her of Donkey Kong, which makes her wonder where the "Donkey" in Donkey Kong came from

Donkey Mom is glad her kids are calling her Donkey Mom instead of Jackass Mom

But maybe that will come a few years down the road...

Friday, November 8, 2019

Further Proof That I Should Never Bake Again

The other day I told you that I am not a baker.

Several years ago someone asked me if I enjoy cooking or baking more. I didn't realize there was a difference. I thought that "food prep" of all kinds just fell into one category. But now I know differently. I definitely prefer cooking over baking.

I'm not great at baking for several reasons. For one, I'm not patient. That makes it hard to work with yeast, in particular. I think the dough can sense it. It's like an infant who can perceive all the anxieties in a mother. Dough will not rise for me because it can feel my impatience.

In addition to that, I am a very messy person. I leave a trail everywhere I go, so spooning up powdery substances like flour and baking soda is just a bad idea. I'm notorious for dropping eggs, spilling milk, and splattering oil. I constantly pick the wrong size bowls and end up having to dump the ingredients into a different, bigger bowl. I use every dish in the house.

I do all these things with cooking, too, but the thing that makes it worse when baking is that baking isn't usually necessary. Baking is extra. I have to cook because I need to feed my family. Of course, there is leeway in how intricate that cooking needs to be, but when I cook I know I'm meeting a need. A must-do.

Baking, though, is extra and frivolous. As much as I hate to say it... no one needs cookies. Cookies are extra. Cupcakes are extra. Muffins are extra. Rolls are extra. Which means if I choose to bake, I'm basically choosing to make a mess that isn't necessary. So when I finish, I look around and think, What have I done?

Since I'm such a mess maker, I always double or triple batches of anything I make. I figure I can make a huge mess for two dozen cookies, or I can make a huge mess for six dozen cookies. Either way my kitchen is trashed, so I'm going for six dozen!

That reminds me, I have a friend who once said she didn't like a certain recipe for chocolate chip cookies because it made three dozen, and she only likes to make one dozen cookies at a time. In all of my life, I'd never considered that a person would only want to make 12 cookies at once. I always think in terms of "make enough to give away" or "make enough to freeze for later."

All of this is leading to my announcement that I made muffins today. Why? Good grief, I don't know. I had a can of pumpkin, and I thought, Hey! It might be nice to have some pumpkin muffins. Plus, I'm on this "use up what I have" kick right now where I'm trying to cook and bake my way through my entire pantry and freezer and not go grocery shopping (it's killing me - I just want to buy all the foods! I'm a food hoarder).

Anyway, I searched through some recipes and found an oat-based one I wanted to try. It called for 8 ounces of pumpkin, but I had a 29 ounce can, so I tripled the recipe. Twelve muffins? No thank you. I'll take 40!

Here's my kitchen 20 minutes in:

Pardon the bad lighting. And yes, I leave my cupboards open while I work in the kitchen. I know some of you would rather die than see an open cupboard. You probably should never come over.

In the end I dirtied every dish in my house and half my appliances, and I have 40 flourless pumpkin muffins that aren't that good.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

How To Make Your Child Happy in 12 Easy Steps

Step 1: Take the child to Walmart.

Step 2: Tell her you will not buy her ANYTHING. But offer to give her a quarter for the twisty machines if she is good in the store.

Step 3: Shop, check out, head to the exit, and discover that Walmart has gotten rid of their twisty machines (but don't worry, they still have all those stupid claw machines).

Step 4: Walk crying child out to the parking lot and buckle her in the van.

Step 5: Drive to Smith's because you know they have twisty machines.

Step 6: Attempt to enter the west doors. They will not open because they haven't been unlocked yet, even though it's past 9:00 a.m. when they are supposed to be unlocked.

Step 7: Walk to the east doors, go in, then walk all the way back to the west doors where the twisty machines are.

Step 8: Watch child put the quarter in the machine. Cringe at the feeling in your gut that this isn't going to work out.

Step 9: Sigh when the machine eats the quarter and doesn't give a prize.

Step 10: Walk back out to the parking lot to get another quarter from the van.

Step 11: Walk back into the store (good news! At this point you will have been there long enough that the west doors have finally been unlocked!)

Step 12: Rejoice when the kid finally gets a gumball, and it only took you 45 minutes, two quarters, and a half-gallon of gas to make it happen.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Everything I Can Say Before We Go To The Dentist

My girls have dentist appointments this morning, so I had the option to take them to school and check them out forty minutes later, or keep them home for the morning. Normally I take them to school because then they don't get marked absent or tardy, but today, we're gonna take the tardies. This allowed me to slow down my morning - something I rarely do. I gave everyone a thorough bath, they all ate two (if not three) breakfasts, I did all their hair (not sure why - in Zoe's case it never really helps), and now they are watching Odd Squad which allows me a few minutes of blogging time.

Here's everything I can tell you before we go to the dentist... a post I would normally format as Bla Bla Bla and Ten Other Random Facts, but I haven't allowed the proper amount of buffering posts since I last took that cop out.


In the past few years, I've learned this about myself: I am not a baker.

I used to try so hard to make all the bread things. I baked about twice a week - buns, rolls, bread, even soft preztels - and I was never good at it, but I really felt like it determined my value, so I kept trying. I gave it all up when I went back to school. A few weeks ago I baked the first batch of cookies I've made in my new oven... the new oven I've had for almost a year!

I am not a baker.

And last week I tried making rolls. It went like this:

Flour belly

That was after I burned some banana muffins - banana muffins in which I tried to reduce the sugar content and ended up using over $6 worth of raw, unfiltered honey. No muffin is worth that!

So I have to just confess... I'm not a baker.

And that's okay.


Other things I'm not:

  • A party planner
  • A housekeeper
  • A runner
  • A babysitter
  • A hairstylist

And while I'm on that topic, I have no desire to paint. I throw that out there because I feel like everyone has an innate desire to learn how to paint. And that's just fine. Go paint! Do your thing! But me? I have no interest in it at all. 


Let's move from "Stuff I'm Bad At" to "Stuff I'm Mad At."

I'm mad at Sam's Club. 

First, I'm mad that they are now requiring us to show our memberships at the door again. A few years ago they stopped doing that, and I thought it was the most marvelous and innovative move of all time! Perhaps I'm a diva, but I loathe having to pull a card out of my wallet while pushing the biggest shopping cart known to man full of the rowdiest kids known to man. Or at all. I don't want to take a card out of my wallet and put it back away when I have a mission ahead of me - a mission to buy mass amounts of milk and tortillas! 

So boo to you, Sam's Club, for taking this step backwards.

Second, they have rearranged the floor plan. Sigh... Don't mess with my stores! I have a system! Now I don't know how to effectively walk through Sam's Club. 

And lastly (until I have more things to add to my list), they got rid of their photo counter, and they only do photo services online now. No more same-day photo.

But in the end, Sam's Club wins because I will still shop there.

Grumble, grumble. 


And thus ends my free time. Off to the dentist we go! Fingers crossed for a cavity-free visit!

UPDATE: The visit to the dentist yielded 8 cavities and a tooth extraction, and on top of that, the dentist was just called as a mission president, so he's outta there. Sigh...