Friday, February 19, 2016

How I Ruined My Daughter's Birthday

I actually started ruining my daughter's birthday about a week before the big day itself. What can I say? I'm a planner.

But before I share all of the gory details, let me back up a little.

Actually, this whole story is me backing up a little, since it's been a full week since her birthday, and I'm just getting around to chronicling it's many failures. Anyway.

February 2004
This is Rachael. Sweet and smiley from the very beginning, the precious bundle of awesome that first made me a mom. She was a horrible sleeper, early talker, late walker, and had a larger vocabulary at age three than most adults that I know.

She has since overcome most of these things. At age twelve, she is now a terrific sleeper, walks just fine on her own, and her vocabulary is largely limited to facts about Fall Out Boy and Doctor Who. But she's still smiley, and I still love her so.

Which is why I felt so awful when I not only ruined her birthday, but just continued to ruin it through the day. Ready for the story? Okay, here goes...

Listening to the box...

First of all, I ordered a gift that arrived five days prior to her birthday. Planner, remember? And of course, when UPS delivered the large-ish box and she immediately asked, "WHAT'S IN THE BOX?!" (because she is also nosy), I told her that it was her birthday present. And that she wasn't allowed to hold the box, or shake it, or even smell it. So she listened to it instead.

Because, you know. Maybe it was going to meow at her or something.

I didn't make that up, by the way - that's what she actually suggested. So her little sister ran with it and told her that, yes, we actually got her two kittens for her birthday, and if she couldn't hear them meowing inside the box, then they must be dead.

She knew better. I promise, she did. But it still opened up an incredible opportunity for us to tease her about her box of dead kittens for five days leading up to her birthday, because that's the kind of family we are. So that's the first way that I ruined Rachael's birthday.

The next opportunity presented itself on the day before her birthday, when I decided to bake her cake ahead of time. I had a busy evening ahead of me, so I thought I'd bake the cake, let it cool, and frost it in the morning. No problem...baked the cake, headed off to rehearsal, even hit the gym afterward. I knew I'd be late getting home, so I texted the hubby and asked him to please take the cakes out of the pans.

When I rolled in around midnight, he woke up just long enough to tell me that he wasn't able to get the cakes out of the pans. Like, he tried, and just couldn't.

And immediately, I knew that my plan had gone horribly wrong.

You see, Rachael had requested the most chocolate-y cake EVER, and had picked out double fudge cake mix and some kind of fudge-y icing, but I had decided to go her one better and make it even more super amazingly awesomely chocolatey. So I dumped a whole bag of chocolate chips into the cake batter before baking. Yep. 

I mean, chocolate chips melt when they're baked, right? So wouldn't the cake be better with little bits of melty chocolatey yum baked inside?

Well, let me tell you what really happens, lest you ever be tempted to try this yourself. THEY DON'T MELT, not really. They get soft and lump up a little, but mostly what they do is make your cake dense. Think very large, very wet sponge. That crumbles when you look at it, much less touch it. It wasn't coming out of the pans without a fight.

But fight it I did, because birthday cake and midnight and too late to go back to the store for more cake mix. So I wedged the first layer out of the pan and plopped it onto the cake plate, only about half of it stayed in the pan because I am so smart. So I did what any good mother would do - I scooped out what stayed behind and plunked it back into the hole in that layer of cake.

It was at this point that I realized that there was no way - none - that I would be able to frost this monstrosity. So I manhandled the second layer on top of the first, with no icing in between, because at this point, insert-bad-word-of-your-choice-here. Then I dumped the whole can of icing on top and smeared it around.

No, I did not even attempt to put any icing on the sides, as touching them created a crumbly chocolate avalanche. So there you have it. A lump of dense, damp, but VERY chocolate-y cake-like creation, smeared with chocolate icing in exactly 1/3 of the places where icing should be present. And then I went to bed.

Early the following morning, Rachael woke me up, anxious to open her dead kittens birthday present - which I had, by the way, eventually wrapped. She was very excited to be the proud new owner of a ukelele - which she had talked about wanting to learn to play, but never actually asked for, because she probably figured I'd say no. (I will say that's one thing I'm actually pretty good at it - catching little gift ideas out of their conversations and surprising them later. Yay, me!)

And then it was time for our birthday morning tradition: birthday pancakes. These aren't just any pancakes, though - these are made with cake batter in the mix, accented with lots of sprinkles, and topped off with a sweet glaze instead of syrup. It's basically birthday cake for breakfast, but it's only a couple of times a year, and it's their birthday. So I pulled up the recipe from Chocolate, Chocolate and More and got started. Mixed up the batter, dumped in half a jar of sprinkles, things were going great!

Birthday pancake batter, with lots of sprinkles!

While the pancakes were cooking away on the griddle, I started gathering ingredients to make the glaze. Milk, vanilla, yep...hey, my kitchen cabinet was looking especially good! The hubby had just gone on a little cleaning spree and de-junked it for me, organized everything, the vanilla practically jumped right into my hand!

But, something was missing.

I had two or three half-bags of powdered sugar in there, undoubtedly left over from Christmas baking. But I didn't see them anywhere. Where could have put them?!
Turns out, he had put them in the trash. Because...I don't know, in Man World a half bag of powdered sugar equals trash?! He didn't have a good explanation for it, either. But in the meantime, I had a glaze to make, and no powdered sugar. I did a quick Google search - what in the world can I substitute for powdered sugar?! Turns out, there IS no good substitute for powdered sugar. I found a few sites that gave lengthy, scary descriptions about how you can double-boiler granulated sugar to make it work approximately the same way, but well...ya'll know how crafty I am in the kitchen. And fortunately, my children also know this, and assured me that syrup on the birthday pancakes would be just fine.

And it was, I guess. Only it really wasn't. Because they were supposed to have glaze. Plus, mom guilt.

Now, there wasn't much to do on her actual birthday, it being a Wednesday in the middle of nowhere and all. I asked her if she wanted to go somewhere, and she did. She wanted to go to Dollar Tree. To look for a headband for Valentine's Day. I tell you what, my girl knows how to party.

Determined not to mess up lunch as spectacularly as I had messed up breakfast, I took the girls to Chik-Fil-A.

And much to my amazement, nothing went wrong while we were there.

I guess the rest of her day was okay, just not exciting like I think a birthday ought to be. Which leads me to my next confession of mom guilt: I did not throw my child a party this year. It's the first birthday ever that she hasn't had an elaborately themed party with quirky decorations, games, favors, and a cake that had taken me hours to decorate and also wasn't falling apart on the sides.

There is a reason for this, though: she had decided several months earlier that she needed tickets to see Fall Out Boy in concert - even though the concert isn't until March - and that it could be her birthday gift and she didn't need a party and we could probably even not feed her any more until March, she just desperately needed those tickets. So, the tickets are a thing. It's exactly eleven days now until the concert, and I know this because she's been updating me every single morning since the countdown was over 100. So her real gift is coming. The ukelele was a bonus. But still no party. And I still feel bad about it.

But, we made it through the day, and she said she was happy to mostly stay at home since, for homeschoolers, birthdays are 100% a school holiday. 

Rachael got a ukelele, but the cat got the box.

Once the hubby got home, we had dinner (why is it that food is always the highlight of my day?) and I busted out the cake wreck. 

Less bad.

Once I added the candles a little decoration on top, it did look a little less bad. If you looked at from directly on top and not from the side at all, not even a little bit.

And Rachael was happy with it, because chocolate, and cake. Even though once we tasted it, it had an oddly coffee taste to it. And in the spirit of full confession, we each had a slice that night, and the rest eventually found its way into the trash. But there was ice cream too, so the night wasn't a total loss.

But, you know, I was feeling pretty rotten by this time. No party, token gift on her actual birthday, messed up the pancakes, just plain ruined the cake. What a stinker of a 12th birthday.

So I went to her room before bed, gave her hugs and kisses and told her how much I loved her and how proud I am of her, and apologized for the rotten birthday.

And my girl. She said, "are you kidding?! This has been one of the best birthdays ever."

I think I'll keep her.

And I'll make sure that her next birthday is even better.

* * * * *

This post is linked up at Diana Rambles and Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons. Stop by and find lots of awesome blog links at each site!

Friday, February 12, 2016


WOW, I posted two recipes and you guys actually kinda sorta liked them! I wish I could say that it inspired me to try a bunch of new recipes this week so that I could share them all with you...but, nope.

I do still have two more that I made last weekend, though, and have been meaning to share all week. This week has just been all of the insane...but I'm here now. And if you love peanut butter the way that I do, then you are in luck.

First up: peanut butter pie. My mom has loved this for as long as I could remember. There was a tiny local restaurant that made a killer PB pie, and Mom would order a slice every time we went, whether she was actually hungry or not. Mom is one of those tiny people who can subsist for days on three M&Ms and a sip of Mountain Dew, so eating a meal and following it with dessert is practically unheard of, for her. But she loves peanut butter pie that much.

So this year, instead of the heart-shaped cake that I usually make for her birthday, I made her a peanut butter pie. I also made one for the hubby's birthday back in January. And now my 8-year-old wants one for her next birthday. Thankfully, there's no real "cooking" involved, and you can whip this up in just a few minutes, plus chilling time.

Peanut Butter Pie

graham cracker pie crust
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (4 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
chocolate syrup (optional)

Obtain large-ish bowl. Place brown sugar, cream cheese, peanut butter, and vanilla inside bowl. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip until everything is well blended. Spread into pie crust, drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired, cover and freeze for about 8 hours. Let thaw for about 15 minutes before serving.

And for the love of all that is good in the world, LICK THE BEATERS before throwing them in the sink. Do not waste a bit of this deliciousness!

Variation: Arrange 1 1/2 cups of sliced bananas (about two bananas) in the bottom of the pie crust before adding peanut butter mixture. Great for those who love bananas and peanut butter, and those who feel better about eating pie when they can call it "fruit."
Ready for the freezer - sans chocolate syrup for my mom, the peanut butter purist.
See? Easy. Absolutely, positively, 100% my kind of "cooking." And based on the glowing reviews and repeat requests around these parts, it's working well for me.

Want another amazingly peanut butter-y, almost kinda sorta good for you, and MULTI-PURPOSE recipe? Here's one that Rachael dug out of my recipe book and whipped up for Super Bowl snacking purposes. Don't be scared by the name. They're ugly, but they're harmless:

Monster Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups rolled oats
6 ozs. M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350. Beat sugar, brown sugar, and butter until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking soda and mix well. Add peanut butter and keep's where you'll start to get a good bicep workout as the dough starts thickening up. Now add oats and M&Ms. Once well blended, drop by spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, about 2" apart, and bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned on edges.

RESIST the urge to cook longer, even if they don't look quite done in the center - it'll sort itself out as they cool, and if you overcook, the oatmeal will dry these bad boys right out. So don't do it.

Blobs of deliciousness, ready for the oven.

Then clean up the mess that your kids waltzed off and left on your kitchen counters, if you let them attempt this recipe. Or maybe it's just my kids that do this? I guess I should consider myself fortunate that they have the kitchen skills to bake cookies for me and not complain about the clean-up, though...

Sugar, sugar, everywhere.
Now, about that multi-purpose claim, because I know you're still wondering, right? Well, first of all, oatmeal is just plain good for you. Fiber, minerals, et cetera, et cetera. So these are practically a health food, and it's a good thing, as fast as they seem to disappear.

The most awesome benefit, though, occurs if you happen to be a nursing mother. You see, I actually found this recipe on a parenting message board when my youngest daughter was itty bitty. Someone shared this specifically because oatmeal also boosts a nursing mom's milk supply. And I mean, I guess you could just go eat a bowl of oatmeal or something, but cookies

It was then that I originally tried this recipe, and - without delving into all of the gory, sticky, damp-shirted details - by golly, that mama was right. It didn't take very long/very many cookies before my supply was noticeably increased. Poor baby Milly didn't know how to handle the surplus and may have coughed and sputtered a bit in surprise, but then she was a happy girl with (I assume) oatmeal and M&M flavored milk.

So if you're a breastfeeding mom - first of all, YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR - and second of all, whip up a batch of monster cookies and enjoy them GUILT-FREE, and tell your little one that s/he is welcome.

That's it for tonight, although now I'm behind for the whole week and still have to tell you all of the myriad ways that I screwed up my daughter's birthday this week. Spoiler: ugliest cake in the world.

Shameless plug: If you like the look of these recipes, please share them on Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter/wherever and share the joy with your friends! Also, please comment if you try them (or intend to) and let me know what you think. Who knows? Maybe one day your awesomeness will actually inspire me to try something new and blog that too. Maybe. Stranger things have happened.

This post is linked up at Family Fun Friday, Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons, and Diana Rambles. Lots more awesomeness at these links!

Monday, February 8, 2016

See, I CAN cook.

I CAN cook. I don't like to cook. I don't choose to cook, when there are other options available.

Take tonight, for instance. The hubs was gone on a bro date to the movies (he dates this particular bro with far more intensity than he's dated me in years, likely because said date always ends with Buffalo Wild Wings whereas I prefer a little more variety) so it was just me and the girls. Meatloaf was on the menu, but none of us were feeling it. We weren't feeling any of the other $160 worth of groceries that I bought last week either, from chicken all the way down to Pop Tarts.

The youngest - being the youngest - eventually piped up that she wanted McDonald's. The oldest - being a still fairly newly-licensed driver - offered to go and procure said McDonald's. And I - not having to cook or leave the house - did manage to wait until Dots had gotten out of the door before doing a happy dance around the kitchen.

I just don't understand people who enjoy cooking. I mean, you can spend hours in the kitchen, slicing and dicing and chopping, and what you end up with is a messy kitchen and a creation that's going to be eaten and gone. Nothing to show for your work except more work.

I mean, maybe your family would be happy that you cooked something yummy for them. But my family is happy with pizza rolls, and they take 12 minutes in the oven with zero prep time. Just sayin'.

There are certain occasions when I don't mind cooking, though.

  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas (this is more baking than actual "cooking", though)
  • birthdays (baking again, although certain weirdos in my family prefer pies to cake)
  • Super Bowl (again, not so much "cooking" as "mashing ingredients together in a bowl")
This past weekend presented several occasions for me to make the foods, with a jewelry party that I hosted for a friend, my mom's birthday, and of course, the Super Bowl.

Since I actually MADE FOOD this weekend, I thought, why not be a good little mommy blogger and actually share a recipe or two on the ol' blog? So here are two for your consideration (with two more to follow later in another post), beginning with the...

Let me start by telling you - I do not like cheese balls. Like, before discovering this little sphere of heaven, I would actually shudder and gag a little at the very mention of a cheese ball. Especially the ones that were bright yellow and had little pieces of ick inside and were all covered in nuts - who does that?!

And then I started dating the now-hubby and met his lovely sister, and one of the first things she ever said to me was, "hey, try some of this cheese ball!"

I immediately started planning my escape from this family, but she reassured me that it was actually good, and not like all of those other cheese balls, so I very begrudgingly smeared a little bit of cheese ball onto a cracker and shoved the whole thing in my mouth, hoping that the cracker would cancel out the little tad of cheese ball.

And HOLY COW, IT WAS GOOD. GOOD. As my sweet friend Hayley at The Taxidermist Wife would say, it was smack yo' mama good.

I decided to keep this family after all. I also ate about half of that cheese ball before we left.

Tawni's Chicken Cheese Ball

(2) 8-ounce packages cream cheese
large can of chicken
packet of dry ranch dressing mix
shredded cheddar cheese

So here's what you do. Drain the can of chicken and dump it into a mixing bowl. Use a fork to chop it up a little. Then toss in the cream cheese and ranch mix.

Wash your hands really well, and remove any rings that you don't want encrusted with cream cheese - and then dig right in there and mash everything together. Make sure it's mixed really well, and then form it into a ball. It'll look something like this:

Now dump about half the bag of shredded cheddar on top, and mash it in all around the ball. Really cover that thing, because cheese.

Voila! You could eat it just like this, although I always wrap mine in cling wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours first, just to make sure the chicken is chilled, etc. Serve with crackers of your choice - our go-to's are Ritz, Club, and Triscuits.

I would show you a picture of the finished product, if I had thought to take one. And um, these things don't last very long around here, so pretty soon, that ship had sailed. Sorry. It's not a bad looking cheese ball, though, as far as cheese balls go. And it is so, so yummy.

* * * * *

The second recipe I had to share is my husband's favorite - there can absolutely, positively not be a Super Bowl without it. Most of you have probably tried this before, especially if you like buffalo sauce and/or spicy things.

Frank's Buffalo Dip

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Buffalo sauce
1/2 cup ranch dressing (or blue cheese, if you'd rather)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

YES, all of my favorite recipes include copious amounts of cheese. Now that we have that out of the way...

Preheat your oven to 350. Throw everything into a shallow @ 1-quart baking dish. Mix well and give it a taste test. Sometimes I'll add more Frank's sauce to make it a little more spicy, but if you're not into the spicy, you may want to add more ranch. Then bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. Stir well before serving with tortilla chips.

Alternative: If you happen to have the Pampered Chef covered baker (like I do), then you can mix everything in the baker, microwave for about five minutes, stir, microwave another minute or two, and you're done. That's my kind of cooking!

I don't have a picture of this dip either, and I'll confess that it looks like an orange, bubbly mess, but it is oh so tasty.

There. Proof that I do, indeed, create edible concoctions from time to time. Let me know if you give either of these a try - I'd love to hear what you think!

This post is linked up at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth, Tidbits of Experience, and DIY Adulation - stop by any of these for tons of awesome links!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Very Pinteresting.

Okay, I admit it. I have an addiction.

It's not drinking, although a tendency toward alcoholism does run in my family, and some days I'm so over the sibling bickering that I start wondering if just maybe they were onto something.

It's not chocolate, although it has been in the past, and certainly could be again in the future.

It's not even reading, although I love books more than 99.9% of everything else in all creation, humans excluded.

No, I am addicted to...Pinterest.

Fortunately, I am clearly not alone in my addicted state. Ask any mom blogger anywhere, and chances are good that she, too, has succumbed to the siren's call of an endless array of recipes, beauty tips, home decor, recipes, parenting advice, funny e-cards, and did I mention recipes?

But I wonder how many handle their addiction in just the same manner that I do - which is, honestly, creating a board for darned near everything under the sun.

I submit to you Exhibit A:

That, friends, is what 222 Pinterest boards looks like when you zoom waaaaay out so that you can see them all on one screen. 

Those 222 boards are neatly arranged in alphabetical order, from "2:12 Designs" (my now defunct Artfire shop, although I'll still make custom graphics if you want 'em) and "Adoption & Foster Care" all the way down to "Zombies." 

Yes, I have a whole board dedicated to zombies. Because, you know, this is important information to have, and I share because I care.

It's also about categories. I mean, sure, I could have added my 10 zombie pins to my catch-all "LOL" or "Misc (I just like it.)" boards, but when there are ten of them, they clearly deserve their own little space.

This also explains why I felt the need to separate my homeschooling pins into 26 distinct boards, Frontier Girls ideas into 10 boards, photography into 12, and even my bookish boards into nine categories to differentiate between books that I love, books that I need to read, books about certain series, and bookworm struggles.

Y'all. When I was a kid, I aspired to grow up and be a librarian so that I could pretty much live in the library and read every single book on the shelves. I didn't realize how much my clearly superior classification skills would have fit right into that particular career. Alas, that dream did not come to be, and I now have a lovely librarian friend who assures me (rather frequently) that the job isn't the dream that I made it out to be. But I digress.

I have Pinterest boards that I will never use again. Examples of these include Milly's 4th Birthday, Milly's 5th Birthday, Milly's 6th Birthday, Milly's 7th Birthday, and Milly's 8th Birthday. Those ships have sailed. But you know, what if other people out there are planning Candy Land/pig/rock star/Ever After High/Minecraft parties and neeeed ideas? It would be selfish of me to deny them the pins that I so painstakingly hunted down and separated from the pack, n'est pas?

I even - and this is a little embarrassing - have a board called "Pinterest Addict" which is just shamelessly devoted to this habit of mine. It has 28 pins. I'm sure more are coming. Actually, I'm feeling the itch to go and look for some now.

The most important board, though, is the one called "KNOW This (To My Daughters)" and if you are really, truly my friend, then listen to me. Should anything happen to me, please please be sure that all three of my girls know about this Pinterest board, and tell them that it's full of important things that their mom dearly wants for them to know and live by. I'm not even kidding. TELL THEM. Or I will haunt you, probably while you're in the shower. For always.

So there, my secret is out...and you are welcome to come have a look and follow meif you dare. But I must warn you - my interests are varied. Man, that's actually kind of an understatement. Drop down the rabbit hole into my Pinterest craziness and you're gonna find alpacas, Queen Elizabethduct tape, grammar, Phteven, and even things about childbirth because yeah, once upon a time I was a birth doula too, and that's one miracle that will never cease to fascinate me.

And now, hit me up with your Pinterest links, because I want to steal all of your pins visit you too.

This post is linked up at Dare to Share Saturday and Saturday Sharefest!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Well, poop.

I think that since it's Thursday evening, I can now safely say that it has been a long. week. The to-do list has been ridiculous, the children have been off the chain crazy, the house is a wreck (well, okay, that's really nothing new), I'm having nightmares about our show opening before I've finished memorizing lines, and my patience level through it all has been spectacularly minimal.

But then something happened this morning that reminded could always be worse.

So much worse.

A good friend shared a link on Facebook and, based on the title alone, I absolutely could not resist clicking. I bet you won't be able to resist either.

Are you ready? I dare you to try.

Resistance is futile.

You clicked, didn't you? Oh my goodness, if you didn't, GO NOW. I will wait. 

It is the most hilarious thing I've read in ages. And man, I needed that laugh. I can't wait to read more of her blog.

I also needed the reminder that even though my week has been...not great...well, at least it hasn't been that bad.

Now, once upon a time, I would probably have hesitated to share a blog post about poop. But let's face it, poop is funny. 

And as a wise mom friend once pointed out during a game night (which I have not experienced in far too long and really need to host again, especially being that my house is actually clean-ish at the moment), whenever you get more than two moms together, the topic of poop is going to come up. I mean, it's just going to, right? Maybe we haven't all pooped in our closet, thank goodness, but we all have horror stories to tell. 

And that is why I did not hesitate to share the hilarity with you, my lovely mom friends who inexplicably keep showing up to read my rantings. You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Who needs sleep?

That's a loaded question, coming from someone who adores sleep the way that I do.

Let's be real here for a moment: the best part of getting out of bed in the morning is when I can get right back in it. I am not, never have been, never will be a morning person. Any day that I have to be up, dressed, and out of the house before 10 a.m. is a bad day. There are also few things in life that I enjoy more than a good nap, with Sunday afternoon naps being both the sweetest and the most necessary.

On the flip side, I could easily stay awake all night long. I would be absolutely darling at pulling off a third-shift schedule, if only I could get the children and out-of-the-house activities on board.

You would think that after a day like today, I'd be ready to hit the pillow...but no. I require a little bit of downtime in which to unwind first, and 1 a.m. is the first downtime I've had today.

This morning, the girls and I were up bright and early to head to our homeschool co-op. I adore our co-op - the kids are fun, the moms are great, and my girls actually learn a thing or two about writing and science. The only problem is, this gig starts at 9:15. In the morning. I know, I know, that's not early for most of you. But it is for me. And worse, it's early for my grouchy non-morning-people children too, which makes the whole getting-there process a bit of an ordeal.

After co-op, it was errands - hooray, my library fines were only $7.50, and not the $20-ish that I was expecting! (It's a homeschooler thing. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) Home for lunch and schoolwork and chores. Time to cook dinner and then I was back out the door for rehearsal.

Side note: this show that I'm rehearsing for now? The Odd Couple? It is so. much. fun. The sheer amount of dialogue that I still need to memorize is a little bit terrifying, but when it all comes together, this show will be hilarious. Report coming forth once I actually survive it.

Rehearsal ended at 9:30, and I headed to...the gym. Yep.

I cannot begin to express the magnitude of out-of-character-ness that this is for me. Wanting to go to the gym? After a full day of mom-ness? Staying there until nearly midnight? Weird.

Bonus: there aren't a lot of people there late at night, and I really like that.

Oddly, I've really started to enjoy my gym time at Planet Fitness. Maybe it's because it's the one place that I can actually be alone, but then, I think a little of it is because I'm actually starting to see some progress. I can walk for longer and faster on the treadmill than I could a month ago. I can handle more weight on the arm and leg machines. I still can't do a thing with the elliptical, because that thing is evil incarnate. But progress is gratifying, and that gratification keeps me going back for more.

Home, shower, tuck in my night owl children who are still awake because, you know, homeschoolers again. Time for bed...but...I just need to check this one thing online first! And here I am.

Every day isn't quite as busy as this one. Co-op is only once a week; rehearsals will end and the show will end and the next show will come along; sometimes I go to the gym early - it just depends on what funky schedule the hubby is working on any given week. We manage to keep a loose schedule - I love having a plan and sticking to it. But I'm also learning to be more flexible, and do what I have to when I have to, in order to get it all done.

Even if it means staying up all night when I don't have to be up early the next day.

P.S. - This post is linked up at the Works for Me Wednesday and Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hops. Go check them out to find all kinds of amazing blogs other than mine! ;)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Mama Bear

I have always been fiercely protective of the people I love. Even back in elementary school, when rotten little boys' best insults came in the form of "yo' mama" jokes, my quiet, bookwormish little self would get fighting mad and threaten to rip them apart if they said it one more time.

I've never been one to stand up myself, mind you. But say something or do something to a family member or friend, and the claws came right out.

Becoming a mother did not help this tendency.

During Rachael's first hours on earth, I wanted to rip out my IV and gouge it into the throat of the nurse who was pricking her heel for the requisite blood tests. You make my baby bleed and cry, I make you bleed and cry - it seemed perfectly reasonable. (I didn't do it. But I really wanted to.)

When Amelia spiked a fever at just two weeks old, warranting a trip to the emergency room, I may have actually growled at the doctor who wanted to perform a spinal tap on my teeny baby. They coerced for hours; the answer never changed. And two days later, when we were still there and they refused to discharge her despite her fever being gone and no reason for it ever found, I threatened to remove her IV myself and leave anyway.

Her pediatrician called me "adversarial." Now we attend the same church. I still can't bring myself to be friendly when I run into him.

Today, our foster daughter - who I'll just call "Dots" for blogging purposes - called me from school in tears, with severe pain and swelling in her right side. I picked her up and headed straight for the doctor's office. Worried about her appendix, they sent us to the hospital instead.

Now, Dots is terrified of needles. She pales at the mere thought of getting a shot, she has to have a hand to hold for a finger stick, and I've seen her very nearly pass out onto the floor during a blood draw. So when the topic of labwork came up today, her otherwise pleasant demeanor took an immediate nosedive. After four sticks in her arms with no good vein found, she was...well, not being pleasant to the nurses who were trying to take her blood. She told them that could try one more time, and that was it. (She will be an excellent Mama Bear someday.)

Although she freaked out more than a little at the idea of a needle in her hand, I reassured her that it wasn't as horrible as it sounded, and it worked great.

But once put my child - whether she's my child or not - in a situation like this, and someone will inevitably incur my wrath. In today's instance, it was the Physician's Assistant (PA) who grumped into our little cubby and immediately told Dots that she'd need a pelvic exam - something that she was not physically or emotionally equipped to handle today. She immediately told him that that would not be happening, and I confirmed her opinion. At that point, he started questioning us - asking, "what do you want for me to do for you then? How are we supposed to know what's wrong with you? If you already know what's wrong, why are you here?"

He left just before my claws and fangs appeared...but then, he came back. And he came back at Dots' worst - when she was crying and terrified of the needles attempting to find a vein in her arms. He grumped back in and started criticizing her for not being more calm...and that's when Mama Bear appeared in all her glory.

I wasn't rude. I detest rudeness. But I was firm. And maybe just a hair louder than usual.

And I told him to GET. OUT.

He did. And he didn't come back. Lucky for him.

Don't mess with Mama Bear, people. Especially don't mess with her kids.

Dots is fine, by the way. It wasn't her appendix. Being a reliably crappy hospital, we still don't have definite answers, but knowing what it isn't is a load off for today.

* * * * *

In an interesting side note, here's a pic of me in one of my favorite roles to date. 

Last summer, my girls and I performed in Shrek: The Musical.

I, of course, was Mama Bear.  :)