Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day, you are dead to me. DEAD.

Well, I was all set to force upon you the story of one of my many, many crushes, an older gentleman, whom I loved unrequitedly (ha!) with abandon.  (I’m not entirely sure that ‘whom’ is right.  Should it be ‘who?’  What Up, English majors?)

But that entirely entertaining-to-no-one story will have to wait.  I am currently in recovery.  Yes, recovery.  If you live anywhere near where I live, you are aware that we had a morning filled, FILLED with tornado warnings and watches and wind and rain.  FILLED!  I think at last count there were four warnings.  Or five.  But it doesn’t matter because the children and I did not leave the basement for TWO GODDAMN HOURS. 

Holy hell, you guys.  Now, my basement is not some cushy, television- and couch-filled, fun extravaganza.  Nope.  It’s a dark, unfinished, concrete-floored, full-of-dangerous crap, cold space.  In other words, not childproofed. 

We went down first from about 8:30 until 9, I think, which wasn’t too awful.  I turned a show on the ipod for Sebastian and Adele just wandered around a bit.  We came upstairs, and I had just enough time to fold a load of laundry that has been sitting in my dryer for three days, and then it was time to go back down to the basement.  Now, if I’d known there would be tornado warning after warning, over and over again, maybe I would have packed a bag or gotten some snacks, or at least brought down the phone/ipod charger. 

Cause the ipod that was keeping Sebastian entertained died real fast.  And then it all went downhill.  There was whining from both children.  I spent the majority of the time keeping Adele from climbing back up the stairs, or keeping Adele from turning the radio off, or keeping Adele from knocking off the hundreds of beer bottles we have stacked on a shelf for Chris’ homebrew, or keeping Adele from breaking anything and everything in her path, and then keeping her from biting me or pulling Sebastian’s hair when she got mad at me for keeping her from doing something she wanted to do.  (This age is so much fun, isn’t it?)

I guess Sebastian was feeling neglected that I wasn’t correcting him, so he started fussing and crying.  I thought maybe singing together would calm everyone down, but I forgot that when he’s being his wonderful, grumpy self he wants no music of any kind on, be it on the radio or live from his mother.  I attempted to sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ to distract everyone from the whining Olympics that were threatening to take over, but he stopped that right quick.

Apparently, ‘That’s a bad song.  All songs are bad.  DON’T SING IT BECAUSE IT’S BAD.’

Oh – kay?

At this point we’d been down there for an hour and I was desperate for something to distract them.  So I got out the dried beans.  And a bowl.  And said have fun, don’t bother me.  As a result, of course, now the floor is covered with them, but I’m leaving them for my husband to take care of since he spent the entire tornado warning-time in a cushy hallway at work with adults and also the ability to lay down and cry on the floor if he chose to do so.  I’m guessing he didn’t, but he could have, without permanently scarring his children.

I periodically ran upstairs to get snacks because I don’t know if you have children or not, but mine are super-extra grumpy when they’re hungry and follow me around whining at my feet until I give them food.  So I grabbed whatever I could that was fast and our picnic took a few minutes of torture away, but didn’t last very long.

At one point I started wondering if maybe braving a tornado would be easier than what I was doing.

The debate is still out on that one.

That's when I texted Chris and told him I was going to need a large shot of vodka after this was over.  He very helpfully reminded me that we have moonshine in the basement.  
I refused to go back downstairs for the last tornado warning that popped up 30 minutes after we’d already emerged from the depths of hell.  Actually, I refuse to participate in any more tornado warnings that happen today.  That’s right.  I REFUSE. 

The children are currently in their beds and will stay there for awhile.

Here, have some pictures of my children torturing me in the basement.  I’m tired and I’m going to go drown my sorrows in cheese.


Picnic.  And beer brewing in the background.

Pissed at me because I won't let her go upstairs. 
Also notice all the crumbled cereal at her feet.  I'm
pretty sure that was intentional.

Right before the fight broke out.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Homemade Friday: Sock Infidelity Numero Dos

Okay.  It might be getting a little ridiculous.  It’s just that ever since I pulled out my old jewelry making supplies to get some elastic so Sebastian could make a necklace, I’ve gotten the bug.

Jewelry making was a HUGE part of my life in high school and college.  It started with the hemp macramé, and continued on to beading.  I’d bring a bag of freshly made necklaces to school to sell, which I’m not entirely sure was allowed, but I did it anyway. I used to set a table up at craft fairs and festivals and sell lots of stuff I made.  One time I set up with a girl who also made jewelry, but her stuff didn’t sell as well as mine did.  That could be because she spent the whole time hungover laying on a bench behind our table.  Or it could have been, like her oh-so-helpful brother said, because ‘those people’ just didn’t appreciate her craft, and her stuff would sell much better with people who weren’t from Brandenburg, KY, implying, of course, that my stuff was of a lesser quality because the people were buying it.  Maybe he was right, and her stuff was much better than mine, but I was the one making money and she was the one pouting.  

(Not still bitter.  Nope.)

I even made all of my wedding jewelry, including the jewelry for all the girls in the bridal party.  But at some point I just stopped.  I don’t know if it’s because I had kids, or if it was because knitting kind of took over my life.  But I lost interest for awhile.

Until I saw all that stuff.  I’ve got tons and tons of supplies, sitting unused.  And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I tried to resist the call.  I mean, it’s not like I have nothing else to do.  I’ve got the sock to finish.  I’ve got a bunch of clothes I’m selling at a big, fancy consignment sale to process and label (holy hell, that’s been a task.  Never doing it again.)  I’ve got a house to clean, food to cook, kids to keep from running around like someone slipped them Mountain Dew. 

But last night, after the kids were safely in bed, I couldn’t resist any longer.  I got out my supplies and started.  I want to make a many-stranded bead necklace.  I didn’t have the supplies that would make the task easier, but I did have some that would let me do what I wanted, but in a much more irritating and difficult way. 

You probably can’t see from the pictures, but the beads are purple.  They are purple because that is what I had. 

And when I started, it was like a release.  I’d been refusing to give in, but tying that first knot was like reclaiming my youth.  Of course, it took me 45 minutes to attach a stupid jump ring, but it’s on.  And my kids and I made a trip to the craft store today to get some more supplies, because I may be beginning an obsession. 

It’s one I can live with.

But I am still working on the sock, too.  I promise!  See?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Motherhood & More: Kids' meals a source of anxiety*

As a parent, I hate being mostly responsible for making sure my children are given the nutrition they require.
I mean, no matter how many kale and spinach-infused fruit smoothies I force down their little throats, I’m not sure it makes up for the ridiculous amounts of plain macaroni noodles they eat. Or the peanut butter sandwiches.

And I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about their nutrition. Some call me, let’s just say overenthusiastic, which is probably much nicer than what they say behind my back. I like to be conscientious of their diets. I try to buy and use as many natural and whole ingredients as I can find and afford and I limit snacks to fruit or pretzels, yogurt or cheese. Sometimes there are some crackers thrown in.

They do not drink any powdered drink mixes, which in my childhood days were referred to as “The Kiss of Death” by my parents, so I have absolutely no desire to share that nutritionally worthless, overly-sugared drink with my still-developing children.

Heck, even juice is limited in my house, and when it is given, it’s 100 percent, no-sugar-added juice. And really, I don’t understand why there are other options available. What’s the point? It’s all sweet enough without high fructose corn syrup.

But my point is that it’s stressful. Some days the kids eat whatever is put in front of them. And then there are days like a day last week when pretty much everything I’ve tried to give them has failed miserably and so to compensate — and also put everyone in a better mood — we went out for milkshakes.

So I’m almost positive they are not receiving the ultimate nutrition they are supposed to, even with the kale smoothies, which are delicious, by the way. But I want them to at least have a good base. When they are older, I want them to know carrots are better for them than a chocolate bar, and to more often than not choose the carrots. I want them to know nutrition is important, that when you eat better, whole foods, your entire body feels better.

Of course, I do not always practice what I preach. Unfortunately I am a little too addicted to coffee and sodas are my not-so-secret guilty pleasure, only indulged in on the weekend.

But for the most part processed foods are limited as much as possible. Lord knows I love sweets, but when we have them, mostly they are homemade. Except of course for that pile of Valentine’s Day candy my son brought home from preschool.

And so I worry. Every day. Which is why I’m excited about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill. From what I’ve read, it seems school menus will be filled with healthier options. As much as I loved my high school’s chicken patty sandwiches, they are not what I would prefer my children to eat.

So maybe I can breathe a little easier when the oldest starts kindergarten. That’s one less meal I have to worry about. I will not be in control of it, yet I can trust he still will be eating food I would consider worthy of his little body.

I am not naive. I know there’s only so long that I can force my kids to eat broccoli by hiding it in spaghetti sauce, or spinach by hiding it in fruit smoothies or pizza sauce. And you’d probably be surprised to know that I am not as rigid as this essay would sound. We do eat chicken nuggets on occasion and both the kids love mac and cheese.

But nutrition is important. And fast food, while both fast and food, is not an acceptable, everyday option.
And the more diligent I am about it now, hopefully, the easier it will be for them to make the right food choices later in their lives.

But even so, there’s always a place for milkshakes on a bad day, right?

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on February 22, 2012.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Talking about my hair again. What of it?

I didn’t realize how much grey* hair I had until the latest batch of cheap, washout, at-home hair dye started to, well, wash out. 

Either I haven’t been paying attention or it’s been a stressful few months.  Or maybe my age is finally catching up with me.  I am an elderly 30 year old, you know.

Way back in my mid twenties I used to leave the grey hair be.  I thought it looked neat to just have one or two white hairs in my otherwise brownish locks.  Recently, however, I’ve been taking a different, more painful approach. 

I pull them out.

But at this point it’s getting a little ridiculous.  I find at least two new ones every day.  So I think it might be time to dye again.  I am scared to go permanent, though, because the color I use is dark.  Actually, it’s black, but mine doesn’t usually look black, more of a super-deep brown.  But don’t we all remember that trend in high school where people would dye their hair black, then it would grow out and they’d have about 4 inches of light brown roots and black ends?  I do not want that.  And I think I’ve established already that I am lazy when it comes to taking care of my hair, so I would be the one with the embarrassing roots and really, I’m not sure I need another issue to worry about.

But at some point most women dye their hair regularly, right?  The greys start taking over before we’re ready, and before we want to look like a grandmother.  How do you know when to take that step?

And before you suggest it, just know that I am way too cheap to have it professionally done.  I have a hard time paying the $20-30 just to get it cut, so there’s no way I’m going to pay to have it dyed. 

And I’ve got a box of my usual, washout hair dye, which actually will last for a couple of months, instead of the 28 washes it says on the box.  Or maybe I just don’t wash my hair often enough, which is probably more likely.  But I haven’t done it yet because I am waiting until I get a haircut first.

Do you remember how I feel about going to get my haircut?  It’s extremely awkward for me, as I am a socially awkward person in general.  But I want to have it cut before I dye it because inevitably I will mess up the hair dye, leaving whole patches undyed.  More than likely it will only be noticeable to someone who is close to my head, thus I don’t want to have the stylist roll her eyes at my botched dye job behind my back.

I realize that I am crazy.

It’s not something I can help.

Guess who didn't get much sleep last night?
Also, if you make the photo black & white you can't see all the grey hair.

*spelled with an ‘e’ because it’s prettier

Monday, February 20, 2012

Did you hear? My life was planned at 14.

It’s Monday, and my brain is mushy and I’m a little mopey,  so I think to cheer myself (and everyone else) up on a deceivingly sunny Monday that is not nearly as warm as it looks outside, let’s have another of Jaimes embarrassing journal entries about boys she loved and also how much she wanted to get her period.

Here’s the first.  The second.  And third.


6:30 p.m. 8-3-95 (14 years old)

I was just looking through my 8th grade year book, and I realized that those times are gone, and I will never have them again.  I’ll never get to watch Mr. Walton’s temper go off again, I’ll never be able to complain about the cafeteria food again.  Things will never be the same.  My life as I’ve known it for the past 2 years is changed forever.  I’ll be moving on to High School.  I’ll never enter that too small building as a student.  Things in my life are changing.  I have a boyfriend, since 7-28-95.  His name is Scooter Boston.  I’m not real sure that I want to be going with him.  I just don’t know.  (Present-day Jaime says he was kind of gross and the ‘relationship’ didn’t last very long, mainly because my parents made me break up with him because he was 18.  I did not protest.  Cause he was gross.)

I’m enrolled in an acting workshop in Fort Knox that runs 8-7th-11th.  I’m really looking forward to it.  I’m hoping to get some acting pointers.  I really hope that I become an actress.  What I’m planning on doing is to go to college while I act.  I want to get a photography degree, so if acting doesn’t work out, I can always become a photographer.  I guess I have my life all planned out!  (Present-day Jaime says HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Homemade Friday: Carrot Stew*

Well, not really Carrot Stew.  More like ‘Let me find whatever leftover vegetables are laying around, heavy on the broccoli and cauliflower, cook them in a pot of water then use an immersion blender to make it soupy’ stew.  Or soup, I guess.

But in our house we refer to it as Carrot Stew because of Tawny Scrawny Lion.  If you don’t know the story, Tawny Scrawny chases lots and lots of animals and even though he catches everything he goes after he’s still too skinny and is always hungry.  One day a bunch of animals send a rabbit to ‘talk things over’ with the lion.  Rabbit invites lion over for dinner, and when lion learns that the rabbit has nine brothers and sisters at home he decides that instead of eating the one rabbit, he would hold out until he gets to all the other rabbits.  But by then he’s too tired to chase the bouncing rabbits and just eats the delicious carrot stew and becomes ‘Fat as butter, sleek as satin, and jolly as all get out.’  A reformed serial murderer, if you will.  Except of course for all the fish that are put into the stew, but no matter.  I don’t think fish count as real animals in this story.

So Sebastian has been asking for Carrot Stew for awhile now, and has been asking me to read this book quite a bit lately.  So I made this soup.  It’s not very orange, but Sebastian helped me with the ingredients so he knows there are carrots in there.  He even cut up the celery and the two leftover mushrooms I had laying around. 

Other ingredients were one package of frozen broccoli, one package of frozen cauliflower, about a half of a cup of spinach I had in the freezer, about 4-5 carrots, an onion, roughly chopped, a bunch of water to cover the veggies, maybe a little garlic, if you like, and as much chicken bouillon as you think you’ll need.  I think I used 8 cups of water and about 6 teaspoons of bouillon, maybe more.  Just taste it and if it isn’t salty or flavorful enough, add more.  Or you could be fancy and use chicken stock, but whatever.  (I’m lazy and bouillon is easy.)

Sebastian isn’t very consistent on whether he thinks this soup is worthy of his discerning palate.  (You know, the one that only likes peanut butter sandwiches and apples).  One day Chris got him to eat a whole bowl while I was at the gym, and another day he had one bite and wouldn’t eat any more.  He seemed more excited about helping make it than he actually was eating it, but that’s okay.  I love the soup.  Adele, of course, isn’t fond of it at all. 

On word of caution, though.  This makes a TON of soup.  I’ve got two gallon bags full of it in the freezer. 

*At least this isn’t more knitting, right?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Writing makes me feel pretty. Sort of.

I have been told quite a bit recently that people enjoy my blog, that it makes them laugh (hopefully only when it’s supposed to.  It’d be kind of weird if you were laughing at me telling a story about crying.  Weird and kind of cruel.  Don’t be cruel.  To a heart that’s true.)

 And some have even said that I should print it all out and make it into a book.  Now, most (all) of these people saying such nice things I either am related to and/or went to high to high school with, but still.  Compliments are awesome and make me feel pretty and possibly like it might be worth it to spend all the time during my children’s naptimes writing instead of sleeping or watching NCIS and knitting.

I mean, not monetarily worth it or anything since no one so far has offered to give me money for these thousands of nonsensical words I type on the page three to five times a week.  (HINT HINT anyone who has the ability to hire me.  I work cheap!  And will possibly spend most of whatever I write talking about my children’s poop!  EVERYBODY WINS.)

And not to get all sappy and whatever, but I really do appreciate the people who read this every time I post something, and who take the time to comment here.  It’s nice.  I’m sure it’s obvious but I don’t get out of the house much.  Most of my adult conversations are with someone on twitter or facebook or maybe the neighbors whenever I can trap them into talking to me.

And the people who comment on my blog.  It makes me feel like I’m a part of something, be it ever so small and worthless to the public at large.

But it’s mine.  And I’ll take it.

So thanks, guys.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sebastian says Happy ValenDays Times

I know, I know.  It’s not entirely hip to like Valentine’s Day.  But I can’t help it.  I do.

Even in high school when everything was so very hormone and drama-filled and I didn’t have a boyfriend and so every time the holiday came around and I didn’t have someone to give me a bright red bear holding a heart that said ‘I love you Beary Much’ or even a small box of chocolates, I would tell everyone how it was nothing but a greeting-card, sappy, stupid holiday and who really wants red roses ANYWAY, but secretly I would cry and really wish I had someone to send me those cheesy roses because I am a ROMANTIC PERSON, DAMNIT.

And even when I did have someone on this holiday, I was lucky enough to get the guy who thinks it’s a ridiculous holiday and completely pointless because who needs a holiday to tell me to tell you how much I love you, anyway?

I get it.  I do.  But that doesn’t stop me from wanting a sweet, special, romantic day because at this point date nights don’t happen as often as either of us would like.  Most of our weekends are filled with housework catch-up and entertaining children who need constant interaction. 

And I think he finally gets it.  Or at least he’s faking it, which I’m fine with.  He and the kids got me a really pretty necklace and we may have some kind of date out in the near future.  And I bought him a gift that I won’t tell you about because I haven’t given it to him yet and though he never reads this blog, this would probably be the day he would start.

Sebastian had a party today at school and was allowed to wear a red shirt instead of his usual blue.  And we bought Valentines for all the kids in his class, but in true Jaime form I forgot to get something for his teachers. 

I also forgot to get something for my own kids.

(Cause I’m awesome, obviously.)

Actually, I thought about it but couldn’t get to the store before today after dropping Sebastian off at school.  So he got to come home to this big, orange dinosaur he named Ceratops, naturally.  Adele was much less interested in her pink dinosaur and much more interested in the gummi bears I sat out for her to look at and not eat and was incredibly pissed at me when I wouldn’t give her one because Sebastian snuck her one of his and she figured out how good they taste. 

Yesterday Sebastian glued hearts on some blank note cards and stamped them and colored on them with markers.  We put them in the mail to his grandparents and I hope they get there today. 

As much as I like this holiday, and all holidays, I can’t seem to plan ahead and while I still do crafty-type stuff with the kids (or at least the one who doesn’t eat the paint), it’s all entirely too rushed for my taste.

So while my heart cookies are sort of weird peach color instead of the pink I was going for, at least they aren’t burnt.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I’m ignoring the fact that I accidentally yelled at Sebastian for throwing bananas on the floor

I’m not entirely sure what has happened today.

I mean, it’s Monday.  It’s supposed to be awful and stressful and horrible and full of me wishing I was drunk alone on a beach somewhere.

But that hasn’t happened.  It’s especially surprising since Chris had to be at work early so all the dealing with crazy, hungry children first thing in the morning fell to me. Plus I was up all night dreaming zombie dreams since 'The Walking Dead' is back on TV.  (Dream spoiler alert: The zombies are defeated, but then we have to deal with thousands of starlings that are coming to attack us. That part may be that we saw a flock of them when we were driving yesterday that LITERALLY WENT ON FOR MILES.)

So really, we were supposed to have an over-the-top rough morning.  Now, the oldest didn’t get out of his pajamas until 10 a.m. and neither of the kids have brushed their teeth yet (because I FORGET TO AND THEY DON’T REMIND ME) but still, I think we’re doing okay.

Sebastian, all morning, has asked if Adele could play with him.  I’m not sure why he’s asking me, unless it’s maybe to get me to physically put her where he wants her to go, but whatever.  I’ll take it.  For the longest time I worried that they wouldn’t have a good sibling relationship.  Adele’s babyhood was mainly spent with her brother ignoring her presence unless she was keeping me from doing something he wanted me to do, which is basically all the time.  So I worried, which is what I do best.

But he’s been taking an interest in her more, lately.  It helps that she’s older now and can run around with him.  Also, I highly recommend tents.  Yes, tents.  We have an old one of Chris’ set up in our back room/play room and they both love that thing.  I don’t know what it is, but they jump around and laugh and lay down and drag toys into there.  It’s a good distraction.

And so today, so far, has been excellent.  They’ve played together while I washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen that should have been cleaned last night but that I was too tired to mess with.  They played together while I folded and put away their laundry.  They played together while I spent five minutes checking my email.

Sebastian voluntarily went upstairs to play in his room, requesting that Adele go with him.  Hell, I even got both of them to eat peas for lunch.  Unless you think I am supermom, however, I will let you know that I hid them behind the chicken nuggets on the fork to get Adele to eat them.

So, the proverbial shit may hit the fan later, but for now, I’m gonna call this day a success. 

I snapped this blurry picture of them playing together to
send to Chris because I'm not sure he would believe me otherwise.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Homemade Friday: Sock Infidelity

I tried.  I tried so hard to stay true to the large, pink socks.  But I just couldn’t do it.

It’s not that I don’t like knitting the sock, it’s just that the miles and miles of stockinette stitch can get a little, well, boring.

And so I strayed.  I strayed hard.

But it was worth it.

You see, I’m firmly convinced that people from Meade County are some of the best people you will ever find.  They are kind and giving and thoughtful and just good.

So when a friend from high school (who I probably haven’t seen since then) posted a photo on facebook of a knitting needle case and I casually, ever-so-demandingly said I WANT THIS GIMME IT NOW, she sewed one for me.  Because she’s a nice person.  And from Meade County.

I stole these photos from her and I hope she doesn’t mind, but I just wanted to show how gorgeous it is.  And it’s perfect for me because I currently have an old makeup bag full of random DPNs, some of which are actually grouped according to size by the handy rubber band.

This is much better.  And so, so much prettier.

So I wanted to do something for her to convey how much I appreciated what she’d made for me.  Because, honestly, I’m usually the one making things for other people.  It’s not very often that someone takes time out of their day to think about me, to hand-create something they know I’d like.

But I wanted a quick turnaround because I didn’t want to mail this to her in June, when more than likely wool isn’t the best fashion accessory.  So I chose a hat.  It’s the Meret hat from Woolly Wormhead.  It’s super quick, super easy to memorize, and super cute.  It’s kind of a slouchy beret, but I wish I’d made it just a little bit slouchier.  But I think it still works.

It fit fine on my tiny head before I blocked it, but how it’s a little big.  So it won’t be as tight as I’d like it to be, but it will at least stay on her head.  Unless of course she has a normal-sized head as opposed to my toddler-sized one.

And I hope she likes it.  Also, I hope she likes the color orange.

Melissa, thank you!  This will be in the mail as soon as I can get to the post office and as soon as it’s completely dry.  (Yes, I did put it on my head damp.  Because I’m dedicated.)