Saturday, May 26, 2012

Monkey Town Bakery

I am not a baker. There is one kind of pie that I've yet to screw up (Caramel Apple) but beyond that I do not have the patience or finesse in the kitchen to perfect a pan of bars or frost and decorate anything that looks and tastes good. Even my Grandma (who can cook and bake blindfolded with her hands tied behind to back) wised up to this phenomenon a few years ago and gifted me some gear for the kitchen, including an oven thermometer. She was certain the only explanation for my floppity baked good was that my oven was baking at the wrong temperature. (She was right, but it didn't make a bit of difference in the end.) I feel this admission is pertinent to the discovery I made this morning.

Fifteen bananas.

I found fifteen frozen bananas in the freezer waiting for someone to bake them into deliciousness. I used to throw bananas away when they got brown, but then someone told me you could put them in the freezer until you were ready to use them. It turns out you still have you use them. If you don't use them, you wake up one morning and find yourself one frozen banana away from an episode of Hoarders.

There are now fifteen bananas thawing in the kitchen sink, waiting for me to screw up a bag of flour and sugar trying to bake something.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

20 Questions Would be a Vacation

Something has changed.

Since Gage finished up with preschool a few weeks ago, something has definitely changed. I am beginning to think normal, everyday life in the lap of luxury playing whatever he wants at daycare does not stimulate his brain. Or perhaps he yearns for structure like the program he participated in four days a week for nine months. But in the last three weeks, I have answered no fewer than 12,000 questions.

I try.
I try really hard not to discourage the conversation because Lord knows that soon enough, he will want nothing to do with me.
I try to encourage him to think for himself, answer what questions he can using common sense.
I try to allow him the freedom to choose for himself whenever possible.

Somehow, we have been derailed and demoted to simple questions that fly out of his mouth faster than my brain can process.

Here's a sample from this morning:

When are Grandma and Grandpa coming?
How many days are they staying?
When are they leaving?
How many days do I get to be with them?
Are you coming to pick me up?
What should I wear at Grandma and Grandpa's house?
Can I take books?
Can I take sweatpants?
Will they know what to feed me?
What can I wear today?
What's for breakfast?
How much do I have to eat?
Do I need a jacket?
Does Max need a jacket?
Where are my socks?
Can I sit at the counter?
Is Max going outside?
Are you going to put Wrangler away?
Who is going to be at daycare today?
Are you listening to me?
Why did you change your shirt?
Why did you close the door?
Can I wear this shirt?

It. Never. Ends.

And I have no idea where he gets it from - this incessant need to talk all the time. I have tried asking Jack 100 times, in 100 different ways, but I am not sure he is listening.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Best of Intentions

I don't think our fridge has been wiped down since I was pregnant with Max. I took care of it when I was nesting and the next thing I knew there was a baby, and then a toddler, and then preschool for the toddler's brother and then an unknown substance of a color not found in nature spilling down the interior wall on the second shelf. In an effort to ease the shock of this experience I started planning ahead and purging outdated things ahead of time. Next, I went on a grocery buying ban. And for the last week, we have searched a bare bones fridge full of grossness for something to eat while putting off restocking until it was cleaned.

Last night I finally mustered the courage to tackle the job. I cooked extra sloppy joes so the boys would eat their fill while I labroed away and leave plenty of leftovers for lunch today. I started grabbing things from shelves to rest on the counter and found a few more mysterious pieces to add to the garbage can. In an effort to prevent freezing of the kitchen, I turned off the fridge's cooling so I could clean to my heart's content. And boy is it clean.

I delicately placed the jelly and other condiments on the shelves and in the door so we could read the labels, reorganzied the produce drawer and packed up the leftover sloppy joes to ready them for transport to the office in the morning.

At this point in the evening, its fair to mention that I gave Max a bath, Gage a shower, took something for my headache, hauled too big/too small clothes upstairs to restock the boys' drawers, put the kids to bed and sorted said clothes. Then I went to bed.

This morning, Jack kindly reminded me that next time I turned off the fridge, to turn it back on when I am finished.

Note to self: pick up perishables on the way home. Your fridge is empty.

Looks like frozen pizza for lunch.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ten On Tuesday, Solo Kim

Back with a Ten on Tuesday after a break. These are actually older questions, that I answered a while back and filed. I figured I might as well post them since the work is already done!

1. What’s your variety of apple?
Braeburn, or as Gage calls them “the red AND green ones”. They had a unit on apple varieties at preschool examining colors, textures and taste so now he’s an expert. Duh.

2. Do you prefer Long-English or Field cucumbers?
Umm, burpless?

3. Tomatoes – Delicious or disgusting?
Delicious, all forms, varieties, canned, sauced, etc. My Grandma grows loads of tomatoes every year, and has my entire life. When I was a wee little girl and helped in her garden (Grandma, are there any pictures of this?) she taught me how to eat fresh tomatoes: pick, polish, bite, spit out that bite, suck out all the juice, pitch the remaining fleshy part over the white washed fence, repeat.

4. What’s one fruit or vegetable that you can’t stand and why is that?
Do mushrooms count? My tastebuds have grown up enough to embrace everything but mushrooms. (It took about 25 years for them to enjoy peppers.)

5. What’s your favourite way to prepare veggies? (Grilled, boiled, roasted, sautéed, etc.)
Grilled on almost everything. Not lettuce. And potatoes…probably mashed.

6. Sweet potato pie: Love it or hate it?
I love sweet potatoes.

7. What’s your favourite “style” of French fry? Wedges, shoelace, curly, crinkle-cut or other?
Thin and crispy.

8. What’s your favourite fruit-pie filling?
Strawberry (served cold). Or peach (served warm a la mode). One more story: my Dad begged my sister and I ride along to an auction sale when we were in high school. It was an hour away and we weren’t real excited about it. But we tagged along because it meant we didn’t have to stay home and clean/mow/scrape out hog pens for the day. When we got there and discovered they had an entire building filled with every type of pie imaginable we were hooked. We kept dragging him back for more pie. So much that we missed the sale of the one thing he actually wanted at the auction. We went back with him again another year to the “pie sale”.

9. When you were a kid did your parents make you sit at the table until all your veggies were eaten off your plate?
I don’t remember, so probably not. Honestly, I don’t remember pitching fits about eating. My kids? It’s a constant battle to get them to eat something (sometimes ANYTHING) at a meal. Help me?

10. Do you drink veggie & fruit juice blends (such as V8, etc.) or make them yourself?
I like to make my own fruit smoothies, but haven’t done anything with veggies. Also, I bring my own gravy (it’s a MONK pun...)

Monday, May 14, 2012

What They Hear

A few things about Gage.

1. He fights getting dressed almost every day and has since the minute he started breathing. Either his clothes aren't right, or he'd rather be naked, or the wind is blowing too hard, or a squirrel farted it threw off his entire morning.

2. Gage has always had a funny way of interpreting a song, story or movie. I suspect he only listens to what interests him. The same can be said of his desire to listen to my voice. He has impeccable memory, and yet the listening skills leave room for improvement.

3. We have taken Gage to several events in large venues with loud music, flashing lights and excitement. Being a male an adrenaline junkie, he's caught on to some of that music and made it his favorite. One of our favorite activities as a family is to relive the opening sequences in our living room (with minimal pyrotechnics as an obvious fire hazard). These experiences include flashlights, light sabers, lasers and music.

Let me share what happens if you combine these three Gage Effects and share with you how he sing a popular song by Queen.

We Will Rock You
Originally recorded by Queen
Interpreted by Gage

Mud on your face
Ya big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place
We will
We will
Rock you.
Boom boom chh
Boom boom chh

He actually hollers, "Put your pants on" at the beginning of the song. I assume when he initially sang the song I barked that common order and it married itself to the song lyrics in his brain forever.

These quirks that belong to Gage, make me love him all the more. He adds so much adventure and humor to our lives with his active personality.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to you all. Whether you are my mother, someone else's mother, want to become a mother, or had a mother you deserve to be celebrated.

I know it sounds Gouda Cheesy, but it is true. (A dairy foods pun for my former students.)

As I begin my 6th year of motherhood, and have permanently moved out of the challenging infant phase, I find myself reflective in the people who have impacted me as a mother themselves, or influenced my role as a mother.

So thank you.

Thank you for guiding me. Teaching me to nurture. Teaching me responsibility. Showing me how to be vulnerable and encouraging me to learn.

Thank you for listening. And then telling me that my children are normal. Telling me that their habit of sorting things doesn't make them weird. Encouraging me by thinking my children are interesting. And funny. And bright.

Thank you for your consultation. Peeking at a strange rash on the back of his leg when I see you in the grocery store? Pouring over sleep remedies when you run into me buying paint? Answering seemingly obvious questions when I find you online? Offering the suggestion of your favorite drink after a particularly challenging day? Those things matter.

Thank you for sharing. Your insight and experiences are a goldmine. Even if you do not have children, I'm fairly certain you used to be one and that means you hold information that could potentially be helpful in my quest to not screw up these children. I appreciate you telling me how you did not eat the food off your plate either, and still grew up healthy.

Hundreds of miles may separate us, or I might see you nearly everyday in our hometown but our interactions are important.

A special thanks to my kiddos - without them, I would celebrate Mother's Day by sleeping in. Instead I will celebrate by getting up way too early to enjoy another day as "Mommy! Mommy! Mommmmmmmy!"