Thursday, March 28, 2013

Do Tell: Maid, Nanny, or Cook?


Sometimes I daydream about having help around the house in the form of a maid, a nanny, or a cook. I never go so far as to imagine myself with all three - that would be a little too unrealistic. Plus, I'm a bit of a control freak, and as awesome as it would be to have someone scrub my toilets, diaper my children, and prepare my favorite meals daily, I just can't surrender that much responsibility. But day to day, I stop and think which one would I pick?

A few months ago I read the book A Joyful Mother of Children: The Magic and Mayhem of Children by Linda Eyre. Now, if you're not familiar with the Eyres, they are like Super Parents. I love, respect, and look up to them all while almost hating them. The great thing about Linda is that she is very honest in her books. Just when that subdued hate starts creeping to the surface, she writes a paragraph about yelling at her kids, and I'm like Phew! I don't have to hate her. But then she writes about taking her kids to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro, and I'm like Are you kidding me, woman? But then she openly admits that her husband drives her nuts sometimes, and I'm like Wow! That was a close one!

Anyway, this particular book was about finding joy in motherhood, and at one point in the book, Linda put it bluntly: if you house is a mess, and you HATE cleaning, and you're completely overwhelmed, FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU.

(I wish I could find the exact paragraph to quote her accurately, but my intense thirty seconds of google research didn't pull it up).

Basically, Linda Eyre gave me permission to have a housekeeper.

So I got one.

Well, not really.

But kind of.

I can't afford a real housekeeper, but I can afford to pay one of my neighbor kids to come over twice a week and clean for me for one hour.

So that's what I've been doing, and it has helped so much.

Kay, my "housekeeper," takes care of some of the little things I can never tackle - like dusting the piano, cleaning the windows, and putting clothes on hangers. She can do in an hour what I take all day to do amidst taking care of children. Plus, since I know she's coming, I have a standard of cleanliness I want my house to reach before Kay gets here, so I'm more motivated to keep up on the cleaning.

So, in a way, I've chosen "maid" for now.

Which would you choose? Maid, nanny, or cook? Do tell!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Scents a Problem

I have always had a very keen sense of smell. It has been both a good thing and a bad thing.

Aside: Daisy, who is sitting on my lap right now, completely oblivious to the topic of this post, just turned to me and said, "Mommy, you smell very bad." We have now completed a discussion about morning breath. Hey! I can't blog and have fresh breath by 7:00 a.m!

Lately, though, my sniffer hasn't been very reliable. I blame this on two things:

1. Having a baby.
2. Potty training.

I love my sweet Zoe with all my heart, but there is a secret about babies that is not commonly talked about: they stink.

You know how people are like, "Mmmmm! Fresh baby?"

That is a five-minute time frame immediately after the baby has been washed. Any other time, the baby has a wet diaper, dried spit-up on her collar, and curdled milk hiding in her neck fat. Plus, people are always rubbing their greasy faces on the baby's head, and there's some funky yellow discharge behind her ear.

With that less-than-fresh situation also come poopies and sour bottles. These things enter my nose all day, everyday, and I have to admit, I've developed a tolerance.

On top of that, one of my children has been having some major bathroom issues.


I will not mention this child by name, but you can easily figure out who it is.

My life right now consists of hidden peed-in undies all over my house, gigantic non-flushed poopies left in the toilet WITH scraps of poopy toilet paper draped elegantly from the toilet to the trash can (why, oh, why do they always go through a phase where they put their poopy TP in the garbage?) and saturated pull-ups stuffed under the bed. Practically every surface of my house has been peed on. All three couches multiple times. Every chair. Every bed. Every car seat. And let's not forget the "favorite" place to pee... the floor in the closet. Which is carpeted, of course. I am constantly drowning in potty laundry, and my carpet and every inch of upholstery in our home could use a daily shampooing. And maybe if I could PUT A SHIRT ON without having to stop and soothe a crying child, break up a fight, or clean up spilled milk, I could spend a few minutes cleaning up the constant flow of pee. But that's impossible.

So in addition to a baby that smells a bit, my entire house if covered in pee.

And my nostrils are fried. I can't smell anything in my own home anymore. I can't even tell the difference between fresh and soiled laundry because I have smelled so much pee in clothing lately that our laundry soap now smells like pee to me.

My nose? Broken.

My house? Reeks.

Yeah... Don't come over.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Have a Heckuva Sunburn on My Neck (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: Did you notice I haven't been blogging much lately? This is because I've been sick. I made it 29 years without getting strep, and BAM! Just like that! I got strep last week.

Fact #2: Well, actually, I never went to the doctor, so I don't know for sure that it was strep, but Scotty got it the day after me, and did go to the doctor. Plus Zoe had impetigo, and Nicky had strep the week before.

So strep.

Fact #3: Don't worry, I had a stash of amoxicillin.

Fact #4: I am freaking out that Google Reader is retiring. It is one of the few Google... uh... thingies?... that I use. So... experts, which feed reader am I supposed to use now?

Fact #5: It's yard work season! I'm so excited for the garden.

Yard Work
Prune, prune!

Fact #6: Speaking of blogging (you know, way up there...) I've decided to no longer post pictures of my kids on this blog. I've bounced back and forth on this for years, and what it came down to is this: there is an individual whom I do not want to have access to photos of my children. I have no reason to believe that this person reads my blog, but you just never know. Also, I have been getting some search engine traffic lately that I'm not happy with.

Fact #7: People I know in "real life" are welcome to request an invite to my private blog.

Fact #8: People I know in "real life" should also invite me to read their private blogs. Sara... Lynae (not to be confused with Lynnae)... and all the rest-a-ya!

Fact #9: You know what's intense? Jenga!

Marcg 2013
Game Night

Fact #10: I am doing really well on my New Year's resolution to not buy any new clothes or shoes in 2013. In fact, every time I feel pressure to try on a pair of colored jeggings, I remember that I'm not buying any clothes this year, and I breathe a HUGE sigh of relief that I may never have to know how awful I look in them.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Currently {March 2013 Edition}

Reading: The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon.

Watching: Call the Midwife and North and South. We also watched the first episode of Jeeves and Wooster on DVD just for fun the other night.

Procrastinating: making my semi-annual dentist appointment. I have to switch dentists, and I need my wisdom teeth removed. I've been putting it off for 15 years. 

Wanting: a steam cleaner that does what the steam cleaners do on the infomercials, which is blast the heck out of dirt built up in difficult-to-clean places. I've been looking at online reviews, and they are so mixed. 

Craving: anything loaded with fat and sugar. I've gotten a little sidetracked in my efforts to lower my cholesterol.

Wearing:  my favorite slippers.

Relieved by: this season of Downton Abbey finally ending so I don't have to keep secrets anymore. I sat across from one of my best friends a month ago and said, "I don't want to spoil Downton Abbey for you, but look into my eyes and see if you can tell what happens!!" 

She couldn't tell.

Stressing about: my cell phone service. I can't decide if I should stay with my current plan and carrier or if I should change. I don't know what I need or what I want. I kind of wish I were a pioneer - the kind that wears pants and goes to the bathroom indoors.

Missing: summer. 

I can't believe I just said that.

Excited about: a fun project I am doing with Cyndi. I'll tell you more later.

Addicted to: peppermint ice cream. I've never cared for peppermint anything, but I somehow got hooked on peppermint ice cream during the Christmas season, and I was surprised when I went to the store the other night, and they had peppermint ice cream in stock. I bought some, of course, and had three servings that very night. Shhh! Our little secret.

Trying: to not gossip.

Needing: a new swimming suit. Oh how I dread everything swimming suit related. I have to get one this year, though, because my former suit got a hole in a very dangerous place last summer.

Annoyed by: how easily people's ideas are ripped off online. 

Feeling guilty about: the way I've been eating lately.  

Tired of: conflicting studies about food. 

Thankful for: all of my appliances currently being in working order.

Enjoying: the warm weekend. How refreshing!

Looking forward to: planting our garden. I miss fresh veggies.

Suffering from: dry skin. My hands have been so dry lately that they are cracking and bleeding.

Hoping: that we'll be able to pay off our car within the next month or two.

Loving: having a few moments alone in a somewhat-clean house.

Proud of myself for: prayerfully dealing with a problem at church rather than relying on my natural reaction. Funny how things turn out so differently when you rely on the spirit.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Green Eggs & Ham

March 2 is Dr. Seuss's birthday. Normally, I wouldn't pay any mind to it, but Nicky has been concerned about Dr. Seuss's birthday since last year's Cat in the Hat marathon on PBS. He has been asking regularly when Dr. Seuss's birthday is, so a few months ago I looked it up (no, it wasn't already cataloged in my brain) and was excited that it fell on a Saturday this year.

I decided to win my son's affections by having a Dr. Seuss birthday breakfast. We invited Grandma and Grandpa over, and they appropriately showed up in Cat in the Hat hats and gave Nicky and Daisy each a treasury of Dr. Seuss books.

(Three cheers for Grandma and Grandpa!)

The menu included Cat in the Hat-ish strawberry banana skewers and blue milk:

Dr. Seuss Breakfast

Green eggs and ham:

Dr. Seuss Breakfast

And oatmeal pancakes with purple buttermilk syrup:

Dr. Seuss Breakfast

We also had some colorful Jell-O and green marshmallows because a high sugar intake is totally appropriate on Dr. Seuss's birthday.

I bought a cheap white plastic table cloth from the store and traced some Dr. Seuss coloring pages onto it and then gave the kids some crayons so they could color during breakfast. I also added in some favorite Dr. Seuss quotes.

Dr. Seuss Breakfast

We had a lot of fun, and the kids (and Grandma and Grandpa) were very excited. 

I will have to deem this celebration a success.

Dr. Seuss Breakfast

If you'd like to make our version of green eggs and ham, here is the recipe (I got this from my friend, Diane, and as you may guess, put green food coloring in the egg mixture, then I filled it with... ham, of course!)

Omelet Roll
3/4 C milk
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 tbs. flour
12 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T dijon mustard
2 C shredded cheese
For inside: any combination of breakfast meats and/or sauteed veggies (pictured with ham, green peppers, mushrooms, and onions)
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper (let over-hang on every side by an inch or so). Combine milk and cream cheese. Add flour and eggs (it’s okay to have small chunks of cream cheese in the mixture – I usually run a slotted spoon through it to get the large chunks out). Pour egg mixture over parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes (until slightly brown and puffy). Remove from oven and spread with dijon mustard. Top with shredded cheese first then meats and veggies. Roll length-wise and let stand for five minutes before slicing. Serves 8-10.
The oatmeal pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast dishes, introduced to me by Mel. You might like them, too.

"Try them, try them and you may. Try them and you may I say!"