Days Of Our Lives

Friday and Strange Men

There are men in my house.  Two of them.

They’re putting new vinyl in my upstairs bathroom.

They are loud and animated, speaking Spanish at lightning speed.  I can barely keep up.  My Spanish is rusty.

I have yawned about thirty times since they arrived at 9:15.  They were over an hour late.

I waited to eat.

As I listened patiently to the compulsory explanation of lost phone messages and misplaced directions, I just wanted to pour the milk over my cereal and sit down.

Whatever, dudes!   Please do the work and GET OUT of here!

And just like that, they were gone.

Vinyl installed.

Baseboards ruined, but nailed back anyway?!  What the heck?

He did mention that one of them had swollen from moisture…

“Maybe your cat has peed in that corner?”

Um…no…but my son has, repeatedly.

Laughter.

Flushed cheeks.  Why did I tell them that?!

My embarrassment may have motivated a thoughtless answer to facilitate a hasty exit.  Did I actually tell him to nail the swollen baseboards back to the wall?

Maybe I did.  How inconvenient of me to request such a thing.  😐

The contractor will have to fix them next week.

And the plumber will drop by this evening to install the new toilet.

It’s taller.  It’s a grown-up toilet, because we are grown-ups.

The vinyl feels good to the tootsies.  It’s thicker and squishier than the builder grade crap that was in there before.

Thicker and squishier is better for my freaked-up feet.

Don’t ever get tile, you know?  It’s unforgiving.  And by that, I mean that your feet will never forgive you.

Saturday and Upset

The little boy had a three-hour, house-destroying tantrum tonight.

He smacked the computer monitor in anger, he got a warning, then he smacked it again.

So I shut it off.  And he lost his mind.

LOST.

HIS.

MIND.

The husband had to follow him around to be sure he didn’t break anything of value.  That angered him more.  He really just wanted to rage through the house as he pleased.  I guess he thought that would get us to turn on the computer again.  It didn’t.  But it did make me cry.

He finally tuckered out and fell asleep, but not before breaking a couple of toys, putting fresh gouges in his bedroom wall, busting a small chair to pieces, and further destroying his window screen and curtain rod.  It was a long night for all of us.

I must exercise first thing tomorrow.  It will help me to deal with another trying day, if we are meant to have one.

Sunday and Familiar Men

I woke to find the husband and the boy in the kitchen making pumpkin bread this morning.

We only had one really large can of pumpkin in the cupboard, so husband almost doubled the recipe.  Almost.

He employed some impressive mathematics to get the measurements right for the rest of the ingredients.  I admired his painstaking care, but suggested he throw out half the can of pumpkin next time.  I hope there is a next time.

We ended up with two small loaves, two big loaves, and a bundt pan full of batter.  We have lots of bread.  Lots of really delicious, oh-geez-how-will-I-ever-lose-weight, warm, cinnamon-scented loaves of yummy.

I love these familiar men in my kitchen.

The little one has basically recovered from his upset and is actually very huggy.  Sweet pea.

We stayed in our jammies all day long, except for twenty minutes this morning when I followed through on my exercise vow and took a brisk walk through the neighborhood.

It was a good day.

Monday – Exercise & Veggie Burgers

I walked again.  Twenty minutes of cardio.  Yea!

Then the husband and I took the little boy to the popper fountains.

He loved it.  He always loves it.

He’s always hungry after playing in the water, so we actually got to go to Island’s and enjoy a meal without pancakes for a change.

He ate some fries and an entire chicken strip.

For him, that’s a LOT.

Tuesday and We’re Back to Square One

The boy didn’t want to go to school this morning.

I think that Friday tired him out.

His class spent two hours at the new little park adjacent to the campus – sort of a treat for being good this year.

Unfortunately, it opened a whole new can of anxiety for him.

He likes clouds and there really weren’t any, so he was in the sun for two hours.

We sent him to school with sunscreen, but he won’t wear glasses or a hat.

He just doesn’t like to be out in the open with the sun in his eyes for that long.

It’s sort of the intersection of all of his sensory issues.

I explained this morning that today was a regular school day and there would be no extended time in the shadeless play structures of the park.

He calmed enough to go, but even the regular schedule proved too much for him. He came home with a yellow card.

Yellow is just a cut above red and way below the much coveted purple.  He hates yellow cards.

The aide explained that he doesn’t like to wait, so he pushes the little girl in front of him quite forcefully if she stops in line.  Not good.  The line stops frequently.

I just had a conversation with him about this, but I don’t know if it will make a difference.

As I type, I can hear him freaking out in the other room.  He’s on the computer and not exercising the greatest restraint when it comes to displaying his frustration.

Husband is sitting next to him, so today I am deferring to his judgment and closer proximity.

I’m drained this afternoon.  Don’t know why, really.

Perhaps a diet of pumpkin bread and stress?

Just heard a more chipper, musical sound from the little boy.

Maybe it’s safe to venture back out there after all.

Are you still here?

This is a long damn post.

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  What are you reading this week?  I just started The Help.  So far, sooo good!

♥♥

Gentle, Slow and Careful

It’s 7:25 a.m.

The little boy is in the kitchen, pouring and scooping water back and forth between a large loaf pan and my Tupperware batter bowl.

He is using a giant black ladle and the spoon side of my cheap plastic salad tongs.

He is humming Christmas music and stopping every few moments to repeat our water pouring chant, “gentle, slow and careful.”

He’s getting better and better.

Maybe next time we make pumpkin bread, he will be ready to hoist the heavier pyrex bowl up over the pan.

I didn’t let him do it today and he couldn’t handle my decision.

His spiral into compulsive, trembling obsession started immediately.  And the wet eyes.  The wet eyes kill me.

“Do it today.  Do it today.  Do it today!”

“No, sweetie, it’s already done.”

Do it today.  No do it tomorrow.  Do it today.  Do it today!”

“The bowl was too heavy for you, so Mommy had to do it.”

“Do it today.  No tomorrow.  No tomorrow!”

He covered his face in despair and kept on shaking.

Hence the need for an alternate pouring activity.

He loves to “help” me in the kitchen.

He wants to pour and measure and stir and say the names of each ingredient and tell me the colors and crack the eggs.

I let him do most of it, though I draw the line at the eggs unless we have plenty of extras.  Today we had only four and I needed them all, so I couldn’t gamble on my his still-developing skill.

Oddly enough, that didn’t seem to bother him as it usually does.  It was the batter into the pan part that got him instead.  It had to be something.  His life is full of tiny, frequent disappointments.

Again, I must thank God for the child’s cheerful disposition and his ability to recover faster and faster, the older he gets.  With age, he bends more easily to an appealing distraction, like the other pan and a different bowl.  And water.  He’s kind of a sucker for water play.

He poured for a while – enough to let me escape for this post even  – and just now he floated past me up the stairs, humming, headed for his room and its bounty of Christmas toys.  Tantrum crisis averted, avoided, evaded.

And now I can smell the bread.  Nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin.  Heavenly combination at this hour.

So glad my big bundt pan didn’t quite hold all of the batter.  There’s another little loaf in there just for us.  The big one, which I hope will turn out in one beautiful round piece, will go with husband to the office.

I was going to make a loaf for each one of his coworkers, but he has too many of them now.  I would have to get up at 4:00 a.m. to do that.  No thanks.  They get one big loaf to share.  And even that’s a miracle these days.

I never have time to do anything anymore, what with training the child to chant and pour.  😐

Speaking of the child, he just came to me and asked for tape.  He’s holding his first homemade 2010 Valentine’s Day decoration.  He ripped down all of those green paper trees and now he wants to put up this funny little heart he drew.

Already?

Really?

I haven’t even put away Christmas yet.

Sigh.

There is never enough time.

I feel stressed.

Breathe.

Gotta remember how to deal with my emotions, my life, and my kid.

Gotta remember the chant…

gentle, slow, and careful.

Happy Monday!

P.S.  We used our fireplace this weekend.  It was the first time in about six years.  We were cold!

P.P.S.  We also watched movies.

Inception wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, though I love Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard.  None of the characters was very compelling, but I was entertained enough to see it through.  Husband was equally unimpressed.  Kind of a forgettable movie, really.

I watched Garden State by myself.  I actually enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I would.  I’m certainly glad I didn’t pay full price for it at a theatre and I don’t think husband would have loved it, but I found it sort of charming.  And it did have a few very memorable scenes.

Did you see Inception or Garden State?  What do you think?

♥♥

Motherhood is a lot like the military.

Sometimes, you just follow orders…

“Mama make the white vanilla cake.”

“Mama make green yoyo frosting and pink chip dots.”

“Mama make a green “T” for Thomas.”

“Mama make a pink “T” on a green “T.”

“Mama make a heart.”

“Mama make nuh-ver heart.”

“Thomas eat green yoyo white vanilla cake wiff pink chip dots.”

“Thomas eat a “T” for Thomas.”

He wore that heart on his sleeve…

“Mama give a nuh-ver yoyo frosting vanilla cake to Thomas.”

The ensuing gigglefest…

And the coma after that…

Even a yawn…

Thank goodness for Monsters, Inc!

What can I say?  It’s the last day of second grade.

What better time for cupcakes, comas, naps and monsters?

Happy Tuesday!  😀

Check out bocky bakes for a new post today!

♥♥

Roses and Boredom

Husband and I have very little luck with roses in our yard.

We don’t have the right soil, the right water sources, the right patience…the right anything.

We tried really hard the first few years, but we got rusty leaves, white fly and a variety of other problems.

We gave up.  And, I kid you not, I have cried over this.

Some people dream of white picket fences or cobblestone paths for their very first homes.

All I could think about were roses.  Lots and lots of roses.

I thought we would have them everywhere, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Their thorns scratched the husband and the little boy when they passed to mow the lawn.

Their blooms were beautiful, but not abundant.

The leaves were plentiful, but unattractive.

The yard was just not big enough.

We took the roses out.

“Good riddance” we said, but I miss them.  A lot.

We kept just one.

In the front yard, in the wrong spot, hidden from our view, there is one little plant struggling to survive.

I don’t see it when I look out the window.

I don’t see it when I pull up in the driveway.

I don’t see it when I’m daydreaming about the roses that are gone.

I don’t ever see it, but this week, husband was out there cutting and mowing and chopping things down.

I wandered outside and there it was, bare and boring.  Husband had just pruned it back.

I took the branches at his feet and brought them in to see if their blooms might be salvaged for a vase.

I was rewarded for my teeny effort.

Look at these colors.  All from the same little starving stems.

I’ve decided this is the best rose bush in the whole world.

I can even forgive it for those little rust spots on the leaves.

Not a surprise that the variety is called Joseph’s Coat.

Alleviating the little boy’s holiday boredom required construction paper and box of cake mix.

First, we made some Memorial Day decorations for the chandelier – stars and “yoyos” (as the little boy calls the curly streamers).

We incorporated his holiday school craft…

and his drawing and cutting skills…

and we wasted a TON of staples and an entire ROLL of tape on this patriotic paper chain:

Miniature cupcakes provided sweet relief from our open afternoon schedule.

They also gave me a great excuse to try out the new frosting tips I bought last week.

I’ve decided that I will only make miniature cupcakes in the future.

They’re more fun to eat (one bite if nobody’s looking – 😀 – way better than their big messy cousins).

They’re more fun to decorate (you don’t need the professional tips – just snip the corner off a ziploc bag and fill with frosting) and they’re much easier to store.

Plus, minis just seem to go better with kids.  😀

Make some, you’ll see.

All that, a fabulous Saturday with mom, Sunday coffee with the girlfriends, a quick grocery run this morning and we’ve had a pretty good weekend!

Wish us luck on getting the little boy off to school tomorrow after four days at home.  😐  Sigh.

Happy Monday!

♥♥

Trees, Mom’s Recipe and A Pretty Link

My brother sent me this article yesterday.

Apparently there are some voracious oak killing beetles poised to ruin my childhood playground.  😦

It makes me so sad that the landscape of that amazing canyon may soon be changed forever.  Darned beetles.

We used to slide down the hills above those oak trees.

A big piece of cardboard, a little bit of nerve and away we went.

My mom even did it a few times.

Speaking of my mom…

I used her banana bread recipe the other day.

If you read this post, then you know I had very low resistance to the finished product.

I had forgotten what a good recipe it is.

With mom’s permission, I thought I’d share it with you.

Click here to see it on my new blog!

In other baking news…

I made chocolate chip cookies for the teacher and the aides today.

It’s staff appreciation week at our school.

I wish my wallet allowed for something like restaurant gift cards for each of them, but it doesn’t.

Cookies will have to do.

Yesterday was a particularly bad day for everyone.

I talked to the teacher for a moment after school and also received this note on my son’s daily progress slip:

“Tantrum when asked to work in language arts.  He threw the timer and it hit another student.”

The other student is okay, but the teacher looked drained.

I think one of my biggest fears is also one of hers – that his frustration will lead to a tantrum that seriously injures another child.

He would never harm another student on purpose of course, but the potential for accidents is there.

It makes my stomach hurt.

Maybe it makes her stomach hurt too.

I probably should have made more cookies.

And now for something completely different…

and no, it’s not Monty Python.

About a year ago, one of my all-time favorite magazines bit the dust – Mary Engelbreit‘s Home Companion.

I still have every issue I ever owned and I look at them frequently.

One of my favorite parts of the magazine was a regular feature they ran on artist workshops.

I found it fascinating to peek into the creative spaces of artists from every end of the spectrum – sculptors, painters, paper collage artists, doll makers, stampers – you name it.

Their craft rooms and studios were as varied as their work and all of it was wonderful.

Well, today I found another magazine on the stand that is dedicated to that very thing.

Where Women Create is a quarterly magazine with amazing photos.

At $15 an issue, it’s out of my price range, but the website includes links to the artists featured in each issue.

Click the magazine name to check it out.

Enjoy!

Happy Thursday!

♥♥

Banana bread, a bistro and some cheese

I’m bored.

I should be cleaning my house or reading my new book, but I don’t feel like it.

It’s a weird, blustery day outside.

I’d really like to put on my jammies and curl up in front of the boob tube with a slab of the banana nut bread I baked this morning.

But it’s only 4:00 p.m, daylight saving time, probably not going to be dark for a few hours.

Do I really want to turn on the t.v.?  Mom sort of raised us not to do that during the day.

What then?

I don’t feel creative.

I haven’t sewn anything in months.  Not even sure why.  Probably just no real time to do it.

And no goals for it.  Gotta have a goal for those kind of things.

Maybe I should be thinking about Halloween and making some friends for Sergio.  Friends to sell.

But the banana bread came out so well.

I need to paint the little boy’s room some time soon.

I told myself today that I will complete it before his birthday.  That’s two months.

I can do it!  He can help!  Or he can hinder.  😐  You know how it goes.

Banana bread.  Did I just hear my name?

The Fairy Princess is sitting a few feet away from me.  She wants her Friskies.

She’s only insistent when it’s late and I’ve forgotten, but she puts herself in my path a few minutes early to help me remember.

Her eyes are closing, but she doesn’t move because she knows she has to tell me it’s time.

Husband and the little boy don’t notice her when she sits like that.

It’s only me.  She sits there for me.  I’m the supplier of her banana bread.

Okay, I fed her.  Does she look fatter?

(Please ignore well loved scratching post and excess fur matted into curtains.)

Moving on (or back) to boredom.

Husband and I had some relief from it yesterday.

My mom watched the boy while we had a very pleasant grown-up lunch with two other couples.

No kids!  Woohoo!

We went to the Stone Brewing World Bistro in Escondido.

It’s a huge place with interesting food and a zillion different beers.  Even the iced tea tasted kind of hoppy.

If you go, be sure to order the mushroom pillow appetizers.  Yummy.

It was nice not to worry about the little boy and whether or not there were chicken stars or pancakes on the menu.

Wish we could do that more often.  Sigh.  Someday.

Maybe you can babysit.  🙂  No pressure.

We might still have banana nut bread left for you.

Don’t forget to watch 24 tomorrow!!  😀

It’s the last one.  😐

Cheese!

Happy Weekend!

♥♥

And the winner is…

undecided!

Darn it!

I was all set to share my
flourless chocolate cake experiences with you yesterday.

After all, I made three of them last weekend.

Yum!

That’s one a day, for three days.

That’s right – three flourless cakes in three days.

However…

in the gigantic pile of neglected mail we finally brought in from the box yesterday, I discovered yet another recipe!

This one was sent by a friend and it sounds really good.

Unlike those I’ve already tried,
it includes a chocolate ganache glaze recipe with it.

Uh oh…will power go bye bye.

I bought the ingredients this morning.

I’ll be making the cake sometime in the next few days.

Yippee!

I owe you all a more substantial blog
and a return to my old morning post routine.

With my son home from school for two weeks,
I fell behind on a host of solitary activities and left myself no time to type in the days after.

Things are getting back to normal (whatever that is),
so please don’t abandon me!

More soon.

I promise! 🙂