The Icing on the Cupcake

Birthday Cupcakes!

Homemade White Cupcakes with White Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

As far as my children’s birthday parties were concerned, I used to be perfectly content making brownies from a box for classroom celebrations and buying jumbo-size sheet cakes from the nearest Costco for birthday parties. Such pre-packaged goodies were tasty, cheap, and – of the utmost importance in my chaotic life – QUICK. But now? Now there is PRESSURE.

I blame Pinterest.

Also Instagram. And the Food Channel. And even cookbooks.

But mostly, I blame all those (indecently) savvy food bloggers out there, toiling away at creating such pinnably delicious recipes, and all those (obnoxiously) talented friends of mine (you know who you are – and really, how can you call yourself my friend and torture me so?!) who happen to be (offensively) ingenious bakers; especially those (annoyingly) gifted bloggers and friends who upload beautiful mega-pixel photos – nay, photographs – of their drool-worthy sugary confections and mouth-watering baked ooey-gooey goodness on all the social networking sites I can’t keep myself from haunting on a daily (okay, hourly) basis.

So when my youngest child’s 2nd birthday rolled around last week (2nd birthday?! How did that even HAPPEN??), I knew in my heart of hearts that I could not, COULD NOT, buy a store-bought cake this year for his birthday party.  I felt compelled to bow to the pressure of all those Kitchen Gods and Goddesses and make something from the HEART with my very own HANDS.

But here’s the thing. I’m a terrible baker. Baking is a science (which is SO not my subject; I’m a language arts kinda gal…) where even a pinch too much baking soda or folding in the wrong size eggs (really – until recently I thought all eggs were the same size… who knew?!) can relegate an entire batch of butterscotch chip cookies straight to the compost bin. I’m way better suited to the world of COOKING, where an extra dash of salt or some spilled tarragon won’t ruin the dinner I’ve just spent an hour making (which my children won’t eat, anyway, but that’s another matter altogether).

So, I’m taking baby steps in the baking arena. Thanks to Pinterest (I fully acknowledge my addiction to this site; someone should probably stage an intervention), I discovered a yummy (even if I do say so myself) cupcake recipe that modifies a boxed cake mix. Yes, yes, a box is pre-packaged, and that’s BAD, but I give myself credit for going “homemade” – even if not fully from scratch – because the recipe still takes FOREVER to make.

Which brings us to the night before the party (you obviously know that nothing in my life goes smoothly… so here’s the fun bit…). I tucked the youngest two kids into bed (Bill had taken the oldest to roller derby practice), and poured the cake mix (the kind with pudding in it – did I say yummy?), into a mixing bowl. Just as I was about to add the other ingredients, I remembered the sage advice of the expert-level food blogger who provided the recipe, and set out the buttermilk and eggs (two large eggs, if you were wondering) to warm to room temperature before starting. Baking is so NOT a quick process… So, I poured some wine (just my first glass, I swear!), and sat at my computer to work (finding my dream wardrobe on Pinterest) for the duration.

After a few minutes (and some really adorable striped dresses pinned to my style board – I’m way into stripes these days), I heard this odd, repetitive sound… it was like a lick-lick-lick sound, but not “wet” (no sloshing or slurping) if that makes sense… not quite like sandpaper, but (Ooh, that’s cute… every dress should have pockets…) – what WAS it? It’s not outside… it’s in the house… I pinned another dress (or maybe it was a fedora – but am I really brave enough to sport a fedora?), and got up to solve the mystery of the dry lick-lick-lick sound that wasn’t stopping. I wandered into the kitchen…

AND FOUND MY DOG WITH HIS NOSE IN THE CAKE MIX!!!!!!

I almost had KITTENS, I swear. I’ve never heard my body make the kind of noise that burst out of my mouth. The stream of curse words I used should’ve woken the children (and scarred them for life), I was so loud. My 80-pound dog lifted his huge head out of the mixing bowl, his big brown nose smeared with white powder (like a canine version of Al Pacino pulling his mug out of a giant pile of cocaine in Scarface…), saw me (in crazy lady mode) coming toward him (I do crazy lady a little too well I fear), and, dropping to all fours, couldn’t follow my directions to “Get out, get OUT, GET OUT!!!!” fast enough, scurrying past me on his way to the back door, cowering, his large body somehow now the size of a tea-cup Chihuahua…

It was 8:00pm. Bill couldn’t run to the store for me, and wouldn’t be home from Paisley’s practice until 10:30pm. Also, he had the car. Even if I DID have the car, I couldn’t GO anywhere, because it’s not like I could leave the boys home alone (not that I didn’t think about it! I know… bad bad bad mama!). I needed to make two batches of cupcakes (for 48 total cupcakes) before I went to bed, giving the cupcakes plenty of time to cool before frosting them in the morning (turns out, frosting is very good at melting into, and sliding – yes, sliding – right off the top of, any cake product that has even a touch of warmth left from the oven… a lesson, if you were curious, I did indeed learn the hard way), before taking the birthday boy to the zoo after his nap. And the dog had just eaten, in essence, half the cupcakes…

THE DOG HAD EATEN THE TODDLER’S BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES!!!

So there I was, hyperventilating into a brown paper lunch sack (okay, not really; I was just guzzling my wine, which looks way more pulled-together than the paper sack thing…) when my best friend from high school, who was visiting us for the weekend with her daughter (quick aside: it was SO nice to see them, and not just because of the service they were about to render), came home from touring some of the local sites. They kindly offered to stay at the house while I walked to the grocery store a few blocks away. Phew! Maybe I could pull this fancy-schmancy cupcake thing off as planned!

I got to the store (luckily the perpetual rain had finally stopped, so I wasn’t soaked to the bone in the process), and guess who didn’t have the cake mix I needed? Naturally…

So I walked across the street to the big chain drugstore, hoping that just maybe they had the cake mix with the pudding in it… No luck – they only had the chocolate version, which my tricked out recipe didn’t call for…

Okay, all of you (outrageously) overly-accomplished bakers out there, I know what you’re thinking: I should’ve just made the cupcakes from scratch!! First: baby steps, remember? Second: Hindsight is 20/20. I didn’t have time to scour the blogosphere for a new recipe! And what if the new recipe called for some elaborate pantry item that I didn’t have, like fresh lemon zest or vanilla extract imported from Madagascar or strawberry preserves that I had canned myself from last summer’s bountiful harvest (and I don’t even grow strawberries!)?? I needed that cake mix, I needed the cupcakes made, and I needed them NOW.

PRESSURE.

At this point, my lovely friend, seeing that I was totally about to crack, or perhaps just worried about the health of my liver if I kept guzzling wine, offered to drive to another grocery store to find me the elusive cake mix with pudding. And now you know why she’s been one of my dearest friends for more than two decades: the gal who memorized Lita Ford & Depeche Mode lyrics with me in high school (her hair was even bigger than mine – she rocked!), who survived a firetrap of a roach motel in Amsterdam with me during college (honestly, one of the scariest nights I’ve ever experienced – I still get shivers down my spine thinking of that place), who sent me a “mama care package” that included a fashion magazine and Skittles (my faves; she knows me so well!) in addition to her handmade baby gift on the arrival of the soon-to-be birthday boy (yeah, she’s one of those exasperatingly talented friends I mentioned; she bakes, too… sigh), was now helping me indulge my (completely irrational, if hopefully endearing) need to make not-quite-homemade, but-totally-from-the-heart cupcakes for my son.

The best part? She’s vegan; she couldn’t even eat the (I did mention yummy, right?) white cupcakes with (insanely decadent) white chocolate buttercream frosting I spent the rest of the night making and the next morning frosting. She was just willing to help out an old friend, and celebrate the life of my child.

Which is what it’s all really about, isn’t it? I mean, yummy food and decadent desserts are wonderful and all, but birthdays (and baby showers, and anniversaries, and graduations, and holidays, and all those other festivities that call for an abundance of goodies and treats) aren’t about food and desserts – about how gourmet the pizza was (or not, as the case may be – look, I used up any kitchen skills I had with the cupcakes, okay?!) or how “from scratch” the cupcakes were – such special occasions are about families and friends coming together, about celebrating togetherness, about honoring the milestones and accomplishments of those people we want to be together with

Me with the birthday boy.

Celebrating the 2yo’s birthday at the zoo! After raining all morning, the skies cleared up just as we arrived; it was a lovely afternoon…

For a few minutes there (okay, a few hours, but who’s counting?), I lost sight of the important stuff: the day wasn’t about how scrumptious or photo-worthy my cupcakes were or weren’t; the day was about how joyful we were that Broder came into our lives TWO fantastically fun-filled years ago and how grateful we were to celebrate his birthday together with beloved family and friends.

The cupcakes (somehow and rather shockingly, I know, given my utter ineptitude when it comes to the science of baking) came out just like I wanted – yummy, pretty, plentiful (I was forced to hide the cupcakes in the oven to keep them away from the still-opportunistic pets; and in case you were worried, my dog suffers from no Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or any other ill consequence engendered from my little crazy-lady outburst: his big brown nose, licked clean of all white cake powder, was in the compost bin only an hour later…), and even photo-worthy (even if I do say so myself!).

But as delicious and photogenic as the cupcakes were, it’s Broder’s smile, his happy face, his giggles of appreciation and delight that make the photo… and the day. The enjoyment he took in seeing the penguins and jaguars and elephants on our trip to the zoo, the pleasure he expressed in playing with all the friends who came over to our house to share the occasion with him, the awe in his face as he stared at the two lit candles atop his cupcake, were the real icing on the cake…

A birthday party for a 2yo!

“For me?!”

In less than four weeks, Liam will be celebrating his 6th birthday (6th birthday?! How did that even HAPPEN??), and I know that I will once again feel the PRESSURE (and as much as I’d like to blame Pinterest and Instagram and the Food Channel and cookbooks and all those indecently, obnoxiously, offensively, annoyingly, outrageously, and exasperatingly savvy, talented, ingenious, gifted, overly-accomplished Kitchen Gods and Goddesses – bloggers and friends alike – that fill my life and computer screen with drool-worthy and mouth-watering culinary images and recipes, I know I, and I alone, am responsible for my own freakish, obssessive, borderline-OCD ways…) to avoid the pre-packaged, store-bought, and QUICK dessert options.

And really… How hard can it be to be to make those handmade, from scratch, definitely not store bought, chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches (with the ice cream edges rolled in mini-chocolate chips – so decadent!), the recipe for which I just strategically pinned to my Pinterest board?

But this time? This time I think I’ll ask the birthday boy to make those ice cream sandwiches with me. I’ll even let him eat a few of the chocolate chips. And maybe a chocolate chip cookie or two (hey, I might be new to this whole baking thing, but I still know I need to make sure everything tastes good, right?!). Just as long as we’re enjoying the process… and having fun… Together…

(The dogs, however, can wait outside…)

An Uninvited Guest

I love having houseguests. I really do.

I love being surrounded by my favorite people – family and friends who come to visit and stay, to share their mornings and evenings, their adventures and stories, their laughter with us. I love how the rooms in my house suddenly feel cozier than usual; the addition of extra bodies in the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, just makes the house feel warmer, friendlier, happier. For me, guests help make a house feel like a home.

Also, to be perfectly open with you (and isn’t that the point of having a blog?), if I never had houseguests, I don’t think I’d ever clean my house…

Don’t get me wrong; I do clean my house regularly – I set aside every Tuesday morning as my cleaning day, when I vacuum and wash the floors and scrub the bathroom and do as much as I can in the four or five hours I allot for this task. But as I’ve mentioned before, with each subsequent (messy) child and (messy) dog entering my (messy) life, I’ve had less time (and less energy, no matter how much caffeine I suck down, and let’s admit it, less interest as well), to wipe crayon and pen and sticky-finger marks off the walls with the Magic Eraser (which really is magic…), scrub the muddy paw prints off the glass patio doors (they’re just going to get muddy again in an hour – we live in Seattle for crying out loud), or dust the… well, to be quite frank, to dust anything (what is it that I so despise about dusting?!).

But when houseguests are expected, the OCD Hostess in me rears her June Cleaver coiffed head, and I feel obligated to really DEEP CLEAN my house (we’re talking breaking-out-toothbrushes-to-clean-the-grout—between-the-tiles-on-the kitchen-counter kind of deep clean, here) and provide my family and friends with a nicer place to stay than my own ever-lowering standards deem acceptable for my spouse and my children (I know, they deserve better, but there you have it…). With the impending arrival of company, I usually take about five or six days to DEEP CLEAN the house: Day 1, tidy the guest room and bathroom; Day 2, tackle the kids’ rooms and bathroom; and so on until I can proudly open the door and usher my welcome guests to a house that is top-to-bottom, spic-and-span clean.

Of course, sometimes, just sometimes, the houseguests aren’t welcome… Not welcome at all…

Shall we talk now about the uninvited guest that arrived at our house this past weekend?? On the top of the 9yo’s head??

That’s right, on Sunday evening, my adorable and sweet (and long-haired) daughter mentioned that her head was itching…

I think I actually suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the last time my daughter mentioned her head was itching – indeed, whenever I hear “itchy head,” my eye starts twitching and I begin to hyperventilate. You see, six months, two weeks, and two days ago, amidst an outbreak at her school, I found one tiny little lousy LOUSE on Paisley’s head, and I have been a jittery bundle of nerves ever since, just waiting for the next time our home was invaded by these nasty little parasites.

I realize it’s rude and impolite and perhaps a bit hostile, but (vile, disgusting, shudder-inducing) lice are UNWELCOME VISITORS in my house.

So, there we were, it was Sunday night, Paisley told me her head was itching, my head immediately started itching (I apologize if your head is now itching – the word “lice” seems to have that effect of people), I took a deep breath, grabbed the lice comb (purchased six months, two weeks, and two days ago), and started going through her hair (did I mention she has really long hair?), section by section. After about fifteen minutes of searching and finding nothing, I started feeling confident we were in the clear. HUGE mistake! Huge… I know better than to let my guard down… As I held in my fingers the very last section of hair to go through, (you know what comes next…), I combed out one (loathsome, awful, evil) sandy-colored, six-legged, adult louse.

I said a bad word.

I said a few more bad words as I stomped downstairs to put the (offensive, monstrous, horrid) louse into a plastic baggy. And then I said a few more bad words as I stomped back upstairs to tell my now crying daughter that everything would be fine, and I would do the best I could to get her to school on time so she could make her much-anticipated low-tide beach walk (she is currently obsessed with anemones, and absolutely NEEDED to be at that low-tide beach walk). I also mentioned that she shouldn’t repeat any of the bad words I had used… She said she understood. She’s good like that.

After tucking her and the boys into bed, I made an appointment at the (very friendly and most wonderful) Lice Knowing You Salon for first thing the next morning. And then I broke out the vacuum cleaner, pushed up the sleeves of my sweater (it might be June in Seattle, but it’s still sweater weather) and started cleaning the house… Surprisingly, given my lice-induced PTSD, it wasn’t until I was vacuuming the cushions of the couch, chair and ottoman with the upholstery attachment of my cruddy vacuum cleaner that I finally succumbed to the emotional breakdown I’d been attempting to hold at bay by swearing repeatedly under my breath while sipping (read: gulping) my wine, and BURST into tears. And I’m talking the streaming down my face, couldn’t stop if I wanted to, pathetically wet tears. It’s ridiculous, I know!! But I knew what the next day would bring…

From the First Lice Outbreak

My Facebook Status from November 22, 2011: The First Lice Outbreak. Who knew so much work could be generated from discovering something so small (adult lice are the size of a sesame seed) on one child’s head??

I stayed up until 12:30am that night cleaning…

And woke up at 6:30am the next morning to continue cleaning…

I used the timer on my phone to know when the washing machine and dryer finished any given load of sheets, towels, jackets, recently worn clothing, pillows and stuffed animals currently on rotation in the kids beds (though the 5yo checked out lice-free, he shares a room with Paisley, so his bedding got the full treatment – as did Bill’s and my bedding, as Paisley often climbs into our bed to do her nightly reading while her brother falls asleep); both washing machine and dryer were in use the ENTIRE day.

The Costco-sized bag of flour tortillas had to be removed from the overstocked freezer to make room for Paisley’s beloved snowy owl stuffed animal, being too delicate for the dryer, which was zipped into a plastic bag and placed into cold storage for eight hours. As was her hairbrush and comb. We will be eating lots of quesadillas and burritos for dinner this week…

I cleaned all the bathrooms in the house. I cleaned all the floors in the house. I cleaned the stove top and the kitchen sink (because Paisley has really long hair… the fallen strands of which can be found everywhere, including cooking and washing surfaces). I dusted headboards and baseboards and windowsills and shelves (because I can’t help but believe my abominable-snowman sized dust bunnies would make a perfect hideout for any renegade lice that have managed to avoid the washing machine, the freezer, or the Clorox wipes). And it took me an hour and a half (AN HOUR AND A HALF!!!) to even FIND the floor of Paisley’s and Liam’s room in order to VACUUM IT.

I finally stopped cleaning at 8:30pm that night when I finally made the kids’ freshly laundered and vacuumed beds… you know, so that they could finally go to sleep, as they were exhausted from a busy day at the beach and afterschool activities; yes, I’m pleased to report that I performed a Major Mama Miracle and got both of them to school, lice-free, in time to make their class outings to the beach and explore the low-low tide, and that Bill earned Major Papa Points for leaving work early in order to pick the kiddos up from school (so I could continue cleaning) and take Paisley to her art class and the boys to the park (so I could continue cleaning uninterrupted).

I tucked the kids into bed, and poured myself a (much-deserved and delicious) glass of wine. I surveyed my now spotless (well, as spotless as it gets) house and felt very pleased that I had accomplished in a little over 24 hours what it usually takes me four or five or six days to complete. I sat down, put my feet up, and took another sip of my (much-deserved and delicious) glass of wine…

And felt like something was wrong… Like I’d missed something…

No, I’d put all the pillows through the dryer… No, I’d removed the stuffed owl and hair brushes from the freezer… Ah! I hadn’t ironed the mattresses!! But that’s because the experts at the salon had been very surprised we were even there, Paisley’s lice infestation was so mild (they only found a few nits – lice eggs – and I had discovered the only (revolting, repulsive, hateful) adult louse she had; as most people don’t feel itchy at this stage, they thought she must be highly allergic to the lice bites to feel it so early on), and they only recommend ironing mattresses if the outbreak is severe…

The 9yo at Lice Knowing You Salon, Seattle

The 9yo at Lice Knowing You Salon here in Seattle. Our second visit in a year – this time she knew to take a book with her, so she was pretty content for the hour and a half treatment. It’s a good thing they don’t do haircuts at the salon, or she might have gone home with a crewcut!

So what was (sorry, I have to say it, I just can’t help myself…) bugging me?

Oh! Oh… Oh, that’s kind of sad… As I took another sip of wine (and honest, this time I was sipping and not gulping – I was rather enjoying the stillness of the moment) I realized that there was no impending arrival of company. No visitors my June Cleaver coiffed alter ego could usher in through the door to the now top-to-bottom, spic-and-span clean house. No friends or family to help fill the now tidy rooms with laughter, chatter, and warmth, and help make our house feel cozier than usual, the way a home should feel. In short, I had a clean house, but no houseguests. And I love houseguests…

Feeling a bit discontent and unsettled, I meandered into the kitchen and started unloading the dishwasher (you’d think I’d have had enough, right?!). As I put some glasses away in a cabinet, I spied the plastic baggy in which I’d sealed the (heinous, odious, detestable) louse and (for some unknown reason) left on the counter.

Huh. Not to gross you out or anything, but yeah… the (icky, bloodsucking, trouble-causing) louse in my house was STILL ALIVE. Turns out, I had a houseguest after all. I shuddered.

And tossed the baggy into the garbage can.

I might love company. And the clean house that comes with their arrival. And it might be rude and impolite and perhaps a bit hostile… but uninvited guests? They’re not welcome in my home. Not welcome at all…

When the Tooth Fairy Met the Easter Bunny

Liam, Age 5

The child responsible for introducing the Tooth Fairy to the Easter Bunny: Liam, Age 5 and 1/2.

It’s not that some days are tougher than others… It’s just that, some days, I let it get to me more than usual.

Some days the sink is full again as soon as I finish washing the dishes. Some days I can’t see the floor underneath all the soccer balls, basketballs, and assorted other potentially ankle-twisting balls that have been unceremoniously dumped out of their basket for the umpteenth million time. Some days I can’t figure out why I’m tripping over what feels like every single pair of shoes in the house, which for some unknown reason have been removed and left directly in front of the door, rather than put away in the mudroom where they belong (and you know, thereby actually allowing anyone to USE the door – novel concept, I know). Some days I just want to vacuum up all those little Lego pieces, rather than continuously battle with the 5yo to pick them up.  Some days I wonder if my kids just like to fight. Some days (actually, this one is EVERY day) it makes me absolutely WACKO to nag and nag and nag my kids into putting their coats and shoes on (please, oh please, why do they require me to repeat myself at least 285 times?!).

And usually I am fully aware that none of these common, little irritations are particularly dreadful; they are (thankfully!) not life-changing incidents or horrific accidents. Most days, even if I am a teensy bit whiny, I’m also grateful for having good food to put on those dishes in my sink (even if the kids would prefer to live solely on goldfish crackers), that my children prefer playing soccer and T-Ball to spray-painting their names on the neighbor’s dog, that some of those shoes in front of the door are mine, that I’d much prefer Liam to play with his Legos than goad his sister into another cage-fight style kicking match, and that someday I just might miss nagging my kids into putting on their coats and shoes (well, no, probably not).

But sometimes, some days… well… all those pesky annoyances, when added all up together, can just really make a person – or at least this person – a tad grumpy. Okay, maybe spectacularly grumpy. Oh, fine. Grumptastic, if you will.

On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, my husband, perceptive guy that he is (poor, poor man…), realized that I was about one “You’re the meanest Mama ever!” away from sweeping every single toy in the house off the shelves (and floors) and into bags, to be carted off to some charity that would give the playthings to children who just might actually appreciate them, and suggested that we head to my mom’s house in Gig Harbor (a little over an hour’s drive south of Seattle) a day early; we were already planning on going to her place for Easter, so why not just make it an overnight stay? Why not? Do you have any idea how long it takes to pack up a family of five and two dogs, even for just a one-night getaway??? But… as the sun was starting to make an appearance (and who knew how long that would last?), and my mom lives on the beach (truly one of the prettiest places ever, I could admit in spite of all my grouchiness), I couldn’t think of a better place to at least try and get away from it all. Or rather, get myself a little much needed perspective.

So… three hours later we were packed and finally on the road.

My mom poured the wine as soon as I arrived (at 4:30pm; c’mon – I’m not that bad!). Bill took the kids and dogs down to the beach to collect pockets full of shells (the 9yo), discover sea stars and crabs (the 5yo), eat rocks (the 21mo), and fetch tennis balls (the dogs).

A crab on the beach

Liam (5yo) and Broder (21mo) and a crab (age??) on the beach in Gig Harbor.

And I felt my grouchiness just melt away…

Letting my troubles slip away...

Can you see my grouchiness melt away? There it goes...

It was a PERFECT WEEKEND.

The kids had a fantastic time rediscovering all the awesome toys that make Grandma’s House the most thrilling of adventures – and please understand, Grandma is very strategic about buying “the best” toys for her beloved grandbabies, toys about which she can proclaim, in mock innocence, “Oh, that’s too bad it’s so big you can’t take it home; you’ll just have to come here to play with it, I guess.”

Broder in the Jeep

"Hey, baby, wanna take a ride??" Broder waiting for one of his older siblings to drive him around in the battery-powered Jeep. They all particularly enjoy spinning out at the bottom of the driveway. Of course.

Paisley & Liam in the Bouncy House

Paisley and Liam (aka, the older siblings) were busy tackling each other in the bouncy house that takes all of two minutes to inflate. I so wish this would fit in our playroom!!!

After what feels like a decade of non-stop rain (I know I shouldn’t complain, after all it’s my decision to live in wet Seattle, but still – it’s been a particularly dreary spring!), we couldn’t get over the amazing, warm weather that compelled us to remove the fleece coats and stay outside all day long. While the baby napped and the big kids splashed in the hot tub (another “toy” I can’t take home!), I read a magazine (decadence!!) and finished the New York Times Sunday Crossword (my favorite!!) in the sunshine (sunshine!!). And did I mention that my mom made every meal that weekend (decadence!!)??

Spring in Seattle

The magnolia trees are in bloom - every once in a while it's nice to remember that the rain is definitely good for something!!

But what really put the cherry on top of the weekend was the 5yo losing his second tooth on the night before Easter, just as he was being tucked into bed. His little body was literally quivering with excitement as he shouted, “THE TOOTH FAIRY IS GOING TO MEET THE EASTER BUNNY!!”*

The kids were so jacked about this meeting that they woke us up AT 3AM (!!) on Easter Sunday. Liam proudly showed us the Sacajawea dollar the Tooth Fairy had left him (our kids always get Sacajawea dollars from the Tooth Fairy; in a rare parenting win – woot! woot! – I’d actually brought one of the coins with us in anticipation of just such an event). Though both kids were more than eager to go discover their Easter Bunny loot, we sent them back to bed; I don’t believe they actually slept, but at least they didn’t return until 6am…

While I hooked up my coffee IV drip, the kids squealed in delight as they hunted up all the plastic eggs filled with M&Ms and Peeps the Easter Bunny always hides in my mom’s living room (as it’s usually raining in the Pacific Northwest, the Easter Bunny kindly keeps the egg hunt indoors). This was, Liam loudly proclaimed, “THE BEST DAY EVER!!”

Their enthusiasm was infectious…

And I thought: if only I could bottle up that pure, innocent, unadulterated BLISS in a bottle, to bring out and use to spike my coffee (or wine, depending on the time of day!) on “those” days where I, for some reason or another, let all those dishes-in-the-sink and balls-on-the-floor and shoes-in-front-of-the-door and Legos-in-the-toddler’s-mouth and siblings-making-each-other-scream and repeated-admonishments-to-put-on-your-BLEEPITY-BLEEP-BLEEP-coats get me to the point where I just want to throw a good, old-fashioned, foot-stomping tantrum that would rival any of my children’s melt-downs…

Well, I guess I’ll just have to look forward to the next time the Tooth Fairy meets up with another bigwig childhood legend to get another hit of such bliss. The kids still have lots of teeth left, after all.

Or, I could just run away to my mom’s house again. Now there’s a thought…

Bald Eagle

One of the resident bald eagles flying by "Grandma's House" on Easter Sunday. Gig Harbor, Washington (April 2011)

* My 9yo daughter would like me to inform everyone that she was responsible for the Tooth Fairy meeting Santa Claus, back when she was “little” (she was 6yo) and lost a tooth on Christmas Eve, also at Grandma’s House, and that that, too, was a VERY VERY EXCITING time.

 

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In apparent attempts to keep today from being one of those “tough” days, Off Duty Mom (you can read her blog here) has kindly nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award. Thank you!! It’s so nice to hear that my stories are even read, let alone enjoyed. You made my day!

Daylight Savings Time to the Rescue??

Wine Time

I can't keep the toddler off the table (I pluck him off at least 1,057 times a day), which is another reason why I need WINE TIME to hurry up and get here!

As I do most weekday afternoons, I went to the school today to pick up my sweet, adorable kids (read: urchins).

I went to the 5yo’s classroom – but he wasn’t there. Huh… Turns out he’d been sent to the After Care room, for disturbing the class during reading time with two of his friends. Great.

Went to the 9yo’s classroom – and she came out with thumb-holes CUT into her sleeves, creating fingerless gloves OUT OF HER SHIRT. Really??

Thinking that just maybe the kids (read: little monsters) had some wild and crazy energy that needed to be worked out of their systems (obviously), I took them to the park, even though it’s cold enough that it’s snowing off and on here. Good Mama points, right?

Within FIVE MINUTES – I kid you not – they were going at each other, kicking each other’s shins like they were practicing Muay Thai* in an MMA cage fight (!!!). Can you HEAR the blood vessels at my temple THROBBING??

Anyway, though I’ve been cursing Ben Franklin and his whole “Daylight Savings Time” dealy-bob that has all of our sleep patterns completely out of whack (and there’s nothing okay about messing with a toddler’s – or a Mama’s – sleep patterns), I’m thinking that maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all. I’m thinking that we could, you know, just “Spring Ahead” an hour… TODAY…

Just to get me a bit closer to wine time, ‘cuz it’s looking a long long long long long way off.

 

*For those of you who don’t follow Mixed Martial Arts (What?? You don’t follow UFC?? Well, neither do I, yet, but I read a very entertaining book about a month or so ago by Matthew Polly – “Tapped Out” – that just might make me a fan), Muay Thai kickboxers often condition their shins using various methods, sometimes by kicking hard objects, but always with the intent of hardening the bones to make them more resistant to blows from other fighters.  Though my kids DO take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, their martial arts experience hasn’t yet covered kickboxing, shin conditioning, or the rudiments of Beating The Daylights out of Each Other.