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Not My Favorite Spring Break

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Not My Favorite Spring Break

Thank goodness school started again today. Our spring break kind of……sucked. Not only that, but I’m suffering an uncharacteristic  — for me — amount of mommy guilt over the whole thing. Gotta be honest, mommy guilt is normally not in my wheelhouse (whether it SHOULD be is another question), but this week threw me for a loop.

I had all kinds of grand plans: a thorough spring-cleaning and purge of all boys’ rooms and belongings; outings to the zoo, the science museum, and hiking; frolicking in the great outdoors; garden planting and yard work. Not to mention relaxing extended family reading time, etc., etc.

We made it to the zoo Monday, but after that the week just kind of kerploofed. (It’s a word now, people, it’s perfect for the sort of imploding-while-disappointing sound I was imagining.) I had made just a few wee commitments for the week, but each of them somehow had other meetings appended to them, including meetings for and with my nieces that were really important and out of my control. Then mid-week my poor dad experienced a serious back injury that required a chaperone and multiple appointments, it rained most of the week so no one could play outside, and …… kerploof.

Lessons were learned though, and I record them here for your potential benefit, should you ever experience a disappointing kerploof of a holiday.

1. Huh, I’m raising relatively self-sufficient small people. Instead of adventures with mommy all week, my little men spent record amounts of time alone and in charge of themselves and each other. As the oldest is 13, this should be no big deal on paper, but we’re talking several big chunks of hours of time and three boys. And you know what, people? No blood was drawn, no disasters were had, lunches were prepared and consumed, and all was well.

2. Much less laundry is required when your family members spend most of the week in their jammies. This reduction in laundry was a small side benefit to the fact that the boys got dressed maybe twice between Monday and Friday……oh, look, here comes the guilt again……

3. Multiple Jammie Days??? My boys think that’s the Best. Thing. Ever. So instead of being disappointed at the lack of mommy outings, they were thrilled at the added responsibility of being on their own combined with the luxury of relatively unlimited electronics (truly not the norm in this house, honest) in their pj’s. By their accounting: SCORE.

A sleepover in the basement is the perfect end to a jammie day. Well, that and piles of Oreos.

A sleepover in the basement is the perfect end to a jammie day. Well, that and piles of Oreos.

4. Unlimited Electronics Buffet + Rainy Week Still = Squirrelly Boys. This is just basic physics, no changing that. Thank you Jesus for a sunny afternoon yesterday, or there might have been intra-familial fisticuffs.

5. I have discovered a basic, and to my knowledge, previously unnamed law of human behavior. Other people at the zoo cannot stop making up what are clearly dumb explanations for the animals’ behavior. The Corollary to this Law of Uncontrollably Fabricating Animal Behavior Explanations is the Inability to Control Mocking Others Ridiculous Explanations While Believing Your Own Understanding of Zoo Animal Behavior is Unquestionably Stellar.

6. Baby elephants are so cute, one cannot be blamed for compulsively taking what are clearly awful pictures of them….

Awww....look at the baby elephant. Well, she is cute, but there was all this glass in the way...

Awww….look at the baby elephant. If you can, through the glare, the glass, and her mother’s legs.

7. Much to my shame and dismay, I am not immune to Facebook-related jealousy. Having never really experienced it before, I was pretty confident I was above the capacity of Facebook to effect my perceptions of how fun our life is or is not. Until this week, when the pictures of Palm Desert, Hawaii and Mexico flooded my newsfeed while I went from meeting to appointment to meeting. I realized I am no better than any other Facebook user, capable of being consumed by feelings of envy and inadequacy.

A pathetic group selfie (us-ie?) of us at The Lego Movie.

A pathetic group selfie (us-ie?) of us at The Lego Movie.

I did not post that blurry mess to social media, didn’t feel it adequately competed with all of the beach/skiing/Italian spa/parasailing/rock-climbing on Mars photos. Sigh. (I am completely aware of the whiny nature of my seriously first-world problems. I am a brat. That fact just makes it all worse. More sighing.)

8. When given the chance, my boys rose to the occasion and to my expectations, whether it was helping injured grandpa walk his dog this week, managing on their own so long, or doing extra chores to help me out instead of getting to do extra adventures or fun treats. Our kids are often capable of so much more than we ask of them, and they are proud to do it.

9. This too shall pass, for everything there is a season, kids are resilient, and honestly I can’t remember ONE single spring break from my elementary or middle school years. My mom was GREAT, and I’m sure we did all kinds of super fun spring break things.  Wait, had spring break even been invented then? Anyhow, maybe in the scheme of things it won’t really matter…..

Maybe everything IS awesome….

Also, I’m pretty sure that song was composed by the folks who compose Vacation Bible School theme music. Anyone agree?

 

 

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Misadventures in Chia: Crunchy Little Balls

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Misadventures in Chia: Crunchy Little Balls

I’ll admit, introducing a new dessert by saying “Here’s a yummy pudding with crunchy little balls in it” to four boys  was a strategic error. A HUGE strategic error from which there is no recovery or return. I don’t mean to offend any readers with delicate sensibilities, but if you don’t immediately know what I’m talking about, then you definitely do not have an 8-year-old, 10-year-old, 13-year-old or 44-year-old little boy at home. That’s all I’m saying. ‘Cause “crunchy little balls” will last them ALL NIGHT LONG. It’s the verbal gift from mom that just keeps on giving.

But it was my first attempt to cook with or serve trendy new ingredient (buh-bye kale, so 2013!) chia seeds to my clan. I made this chocolate chia pudding recipe, and knowing that some family members (HELLO HUSBAND) are particularly tentative about new textures/flavors/dishes/shirts-I-gift-for-Christmas I was trying to make it sound FUN. And chia combined with liquid makes these tiny gelatinous balls that are like mini-tapioca or the boba in bubble tea, but with a little crunch to them.

For what it’s worth, I liked the pudding. The texture is weird but cool, and it was very chocolatey.

photo credit to Robynowitz at allrecipes.com

The fam, not so much. Three out of four did NOT like it, and I’m pretty sure the 8-year-old was just being nice to me. My middle “blessing” actually said “Mom,with this dish you have ruined the concept of pudding. Ruined it.” So dramatic…can’t imagine where he gets it.

So, clearly, I’ll be forcing them to eat the HUGE bag of chia seeds I got at Costco yesterday as often as I can, in as many ways as I can imagine. I’m quite looking forward to it. {cue evil laugh}

(What’s that you say, perhaps I should have purchased a slightly smaller bag for my first foray into chia cuisine, to be more reasonable, rational, moderate? Really? Have you met me?)

If I can’t convert them, I can always just grow a new clay family. Maybe this guy.

chia guy

I wonder if the seeds are cheaper this way from Amazon?

PS – Kale, I’m just kidding. We actually all love you, you’re not going anywhere.

Sweet Halloween Victory

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The best opening line of a joke EVER

So, a hillbilly, a pickle and a Lego man walk into a bar…….

Isn’t that the BEST set-up for a joke? It’s been crackin’ me up all week. And I don’t even have a punch line! (And technically, it’s a Lego mini-fig, but that just doesn’t roll off the tongue the same way…..)

But yesterday was one of those magical moments when the parenting stars align. When it doesn’t matter how NOT artsy or craftsy I am, or how much laundry didn’t get folded this week, or how grouchy I or may not have been the day before.

What mattered yesterday was the fact that my sweet husband and I (with an assist from the teenager) pulled off some serious Halloween 2012 Costume Victory. Three boys, three costumes that actually resembled what they were supposed to resemble.

The nature of the victory? The usual. No contests were entered, no medals awarded. Honestly, the three costume recipients weren’t even effusively grateful. But when for even a brief moment I feel like I’m doing this parenting thing right, I claim that little victory!

Highlights from Halloween 2012

  • Hillbilly costume – triggered by four unfortunate though necessary pre-orthodontic dental extractions that left the 11 y.o. with two front teeth surrounded by large gaps of empty space on both sides. This costume was a no-brainer. (Except for my lingering “first-world problem” concern that maybe the costume really just made fun of poverty and people who cannot afford dental care? Neither of which were my intentions. I stand firmly against both poverty and lack of access to dental care.)
  • Pickle costume – a specific request from the six y.o., as it is his favorite food. If you can’t tell, he was a dill pickle. Not sweet. I don’t know why. I just know I’m eternally grateful that the dollar store had vaguely pickle-colored laundry bags, cause I don’t sew.
  • Lego costume – this was a lot of work, but I asked for it. Middle child always wants to forgo a creative homemade costume for a PC costume from the store. No, not politically correct. Plastic crap. I was protesting this consumeristic approach when I naively said “hey, let’s look online for costume ideas, I’m sure we’ll find something cool.” Cool, yes. Easy, no. But at least if I ever need to pour a four foot cylinder of concrete, I’m totally ready with the remnants of a 10″ cardboard concrete form. (The tube for the head.)

Lessons learned, 2012

  • If you need suspenders, always ask Grandpa. Where else are you going to get a fashionable pair pre-printed with hunting scenes – ducks, deer AND rifles?
  • You can hot glue gun warts on a pickle at a rate of about 20 warts per 15 minutes, if you are not picky about quality and are moderately careful not to glue costume to small child within.
  • Lego man may need to sit down at some point. Check this out before he wears costume to school for the day.

Another Halloween has come and gone, and I am keenly aware that I don’t have many years left to enthusiastically craft poor quality costumes, or supervise candy sorting and trading, or scrape sugared-up little boys off the ceiling and pour them exhausted into bed and kiss their sticky cheeks. So forgive me, but I’m going to sit back and savor this for a spell. Pass the Reese’s Cups, would you?

Sweet Halloween memories made here

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