my quote of the moment: "if you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness." ~julie-jeanne-eleonore de lespinasse

October 27, 2010

thoughts on trick or treating

no, this isn't going to be about whether there should be an age limit on tricking or treating and whether it should be imposed or not. though i do believe that it's the parent's responsibility to enact age limits, both with their own children and to not hand candy to anyone they think is too old. just because as a child you can go out and get free candy doesn't mean you should, it doesn't mean it's always appropriate, and it certainly isn't something you're entitled to do. so don't be surprised that if you look too old a door or two gets slammed in your face. or at least that's what would happen if you came to my house.

and don't think that if you're too old to get treats, you should put the trick back in the night. keep in mind that causing petty damages, like egging a house or smashing pumpkins, are all fun and games until the cops get called.

not that i know from personal experience or anything.

no, this post is actually going to be me whining about how i wish that someone still made a certain product that i think is perfect and brilliant for trick or treating children. i know, it might seem much less interesting, but hear me out, because maybe you, and only you, can help in my quest to find these awesome buckets again.

yes, buckets, the kind that little kids carry around and hold out while yelling "trick or treat!" these buckets were bought for my boys three or four years ago, and i've carefully kept them ever since, simply because i can't find them anymore.

they are a brilliant design, a little impression in the bottom holds a small light bulb powered by two AA batteries. when you turn them on, the whole bucket glows, and with the light bulb on the bottom, it lights the ground where they're walking at the same time.

i know that a concern for parents is the fact that some costumes are hard to see in the dark, and we worry about our kids getting hit by a car when running from house to house. but these buckets make them easily visible. and they look much nicer then hanging glo sticks around their neck.

also, i think that they're better than flash lights, because kids are going to be carrying something to put the candy in anyway, so by making the bucket light up, it still leaves a hand free so you can hold hands when crossing the street. or to ring door bells.

i can't tell you how many people have commented on how great they think my boys' buckets are when we go out on halloween. i really wish i could still find them somewhere, simply because fishie needs her own now too. maybe someday the manufacturing gods will hear my pleas and start producing them again. until then i'll keep an eye out, because finding one would certainly be a treat for me this time of year.

October 25, 2010

not all girls wear pink

anyone that knows me knows without a shadow of a doubt that i am not a girly girl. there are times that i wish i was, and there are times where i question why i am not and my sisters are, but still the fact remains that i am not, and at this point probably never will be.

which makes me wonder about the fate of my own daughter. with two older brothers, there are times that she's worn blue hand-me-downs. and there are times when i've gone shopping and really wanted to get her an outfit that i thought was totally adorable, even though it was definatly made for a boy. i am thankful that the "in style" now seems to be light pink and brown in some combination, because i can handle dressing her in a little bit of pink paired with something else. i don't think i could ever bring myself to dress her in something frilly and ruffly and glaringly pink from head to toe. it's just not my style, and unfortunately for fishie, it's not her's until she tells me otherwise.

if she gets older and decided that she's totally into princesses and wants to wear pink and bows and ribbons, i'll be ok with that. but right now i don't want to treat her like a baby doll, something to dress up and show off, i personally think that mentality is silly. unfortunately, there are some in my family that think that i am crazy for acting like that.

i don't feel the need to reinforce what i consider to be stereotypes. if fishie wants to dress in pink and play with dolls, i'm ok with that. if she wants to wear blue jeans and play with trucks, i say go ahead. for example, my boys had wanted a plastic tea set for christmas one year, which i was more than happy to get for them. sadly though, i lost out on that battle and they got a train set.

just because something is labeled for a boy or a girl doesn't mean that only a boy can play with boy things and only a girl can play with girl things. if it's something they're interested in and something that they enjoy doing, i say we should let kids explore and have fun and be creative. most importantly though, we should let them do what makes them happy and not worry about what society might say.

this line of thought always brings to mind what my hubby and i call the "billy elliot debate." billy elliot was a movie about a boy who's father signs him up for boxing lessons. in the same gym there is a ballet class. billy eventually desides that he'd rather dance then fight. there's much more to the movie than that, but the point that my hubby and i have discussed at length is the fact that eventually the father accepts the fact that dancing makes billy happy and he supports him, and we talk about what we would do if our children decided that they wanted to persue an activity that others might label "not for them."

thankfully, my hubby and i agree on this point, that we don't care what our children do or how they choose to live, as long as they are happy and healthy. not that we don't have hopes and dreams for them, but we know enough other people that have pushed their children into activities because it was something they wanted, not their kids wanted, and we don't ever want to be like that.

so what that i'm dressing up my little fishie as a dragon and not a princess this year? she's going to be the cutest little pink girl dragon ever, and i'm even dressing up as a mommy dragon to go with her. if she wants to be a princess next year, i'll buy the tiara. but if she wants to be a race car driver, i know where i can get a helmet.

October 21, 2010

all out of sorts

allow me to complain:

my neck hurts and my head hurts and i think i'm getting sick.

my house is either too cold or too hot and there's one lone fly zooming around that i just can't seem to get rid of.

fishie is on the move, almost crawling, almost standing, but getting into everything. and i'm tired of having to vacuum ten times a day because she keeps finding random little bits of things to put in her mouth.

and lumpy needs to learn the art of a conversation, not just walk up and start talking to me and continue talking to me even if i'm in the middle of doing something. and he needs to learn that if he wants to tell me something it's fine, but he randomly comes up and tells me something that he remembered from five days ago that i don't even recall, and then he just walks away, because all he wanted to do was tell me, he didn't care that i don't respond. or he starts talking and i feel the need to pay attention.

and i hate the fact that, because he doesn't care if i don't respond and that he does it all day long, i don't stop and pay attention to him all the time like i know i should. even if he doesn't realize it, i know what i'm doing and i'm more than kind of ashamed.

and i think i've been spending too much time on a message board that i used to frequent but left because i never had the time. well, i've found the time, so i'm catching up with friends and finding out all the things i've missed. but it causes me to type lyk this b/c it's shorter and easier and it's how it goes there... and it's an awful style to have... but it's mine and it's hard to stop once i get going... it's bad enough i don't capitalize stuffs >_>

and i need to learn some tricks or something that can make me focus. i've never really been able to focus on things or pay attention, my mind constantly wanders. i think that's why i have such trouble even stringing together paragraphs here to make some sort of sensical post. it's funny too, because now everyone is saying that too much screen time shortens children's attention spans, but i never watched much tv and grew up before the internet was big, so i sometimes wonder what my problem is. maybe i'll never know. or maybe i could figure it out if i didn't keep getting distracted by a shiny bit of string.

October 18, 2010

taste is the important thing... so just close your eyes and eat

i finally got around to making apple pies over the weekend. i had such high hopes, but things did not go well. normally it takes me five minutes to throw together a crust and get it rolled out and in a tin, but on saturday, it took me half an hour to scratch out something that kind of sort of worked. i nearly gave up except all the apples were already peeled and needed some place to go. if my mother hadn't stepped in i think i would have given up on pies completely and made a bunch of pans of cobbler.

still, i was able to bake two. they kind of looked like pies, though that was helped because they were sitting in pie tins. maybe they weren't really pies, they were just filling and chunks of dough pretending to be pies. secret evil ninja baked goods that sweep into a kitchen and disguise themselves as pies, plotting and scheming their take-over plans. crisis averted on that front, because they were still eaten and still tasted delicious, which is the important part, right?

i'm debating on whether or not to get more apples and try again. i have made some cakes and cobblers already this year, in addition the "pies" from this weekend. it's starting to get late in the season, and i know if i want some decent apples that i'll have to get some sooner than later. though waiting isn't always such a tragedy, because then i can just make apple sauce. of course, pumpkins are really coming into their own now too, and now that i have a food processor to play with, i'm considering making my own puree for pies and such. and then there's that old standard, pecan pie, a recipe i'm still trying to perfect. whatever i decide, i have a funny feeling there'll be a lot of baking in my future.

October 15, 2010

our zoo adventure

i went to the national zoo this past sunday with my hubby and kiddies and my dad and stepmom. it was an interesting experience, and i haven't really been sure what i wanted to say about it or how to phrase things. it's not that i want to or need to be nice, because i honestly had a lovely time. it's just that i sometimes feel like i have to be overly careful what i say about my family and what we do simply because years ago i said more than i should have about them to people that really didn't need to know any of it, and of course i had to deal with the consequences of my mouth running without the aid of my brain.

and so i shall try and stick to the facts of the case.

we rode the metro into the city, because parking anywhere in a major city is usually a hassle. and because my boys are obsessed with trains. this was the perfect opportunity to let them ride not only a train, but a train that starts on an elevated platform and ends up underground. to witness the simple amazement of children over the most mundane things is wonderful.

after we got off the metro it was a ride up the longest escalator of my life (seriously, i think it was five stories up to get to street level) to walk up the street to the zoo. and i mean up the street, as in it was a hill. but eventually we made it to the zoo!

the national zoo is run by the smithsonian institute, so like all of their museums, it is free to get in. for that it's a very nice place. the whole zoo is on a hill, so we started at the top and walked through to the bottom. which seemed like a good idea until we realized that we had to go back up the hill to get out.

my only other complaint about the zoo is that there weren't many kinds of animals. the pandas are what made them famous. and there were lions and tigers and elephants. but there weren't any rhinos or hippos or giraffes. most of the little animals were in "houses," such as the small mammal house and the invertebrate house and the reptile house and the primate house. so we had to walk in tight spaces with large groups of people, which is a pain to try and push a stroller through, and even worse to try and carry a heavy baby that keeps trying to eat your hair through.

still, like i said, i had a very nice time. bumble was pretty good overall, but it was more walking than what he was used to, so he got a bit grumpy from that. and when he got hungry there were some issues till he got some real food in his belly. lumpy thought it was great, his only problem was that we weren't walking fast enough and he wanted to run ahead. fishie was in her glory, being pushed around and told how adorable she was all day.

all in all, it was a success. next time, though, i think we'll try and tackle the philadelphia zoo, because i hear they have giraffes.

October 13, 2010

"but i don't want to"

have you ever had something you really needed to get done? something that was important and nobody but you could do it? and did you ever feel like you'd be willing to do anything other than that thing you are really really supposed to be doing?

come on, you can't tell me that i'm the only one that feels like that.

i mean, what sane person likes to do laundry? but it needs done. especially since my boys are running low on clean socks. and pants. and hubby needs some clean work uniforms. and the towels could probably stand for a wash.

so what am i doing right now?

baking of course! in the oven right now is a pecan pie. and i had plans for other projects, but i ran out of eggs.

soon though, i'll tackle the laundry. i think i've put it off for just about as long as i can. and it'll save me from washing the dishes i've dirtied in the kitchen.

October 12, 2010

can i get a mulligan?

today is a bad day. it started off rough, having to fight to get the kids out of bed and to eat breakfast and to get ready for school. the only thing they were looking forward to was the fact that i told them it was still raining this morning and they love rain.

of course, they're young boys, so rain equals mud equals fun stuff to jump in, preferably on the way to the bus stop so they get nice and dirty before they even make it to school. these are days where i wonder why i even bother making sure they have clean clothes and take baths.

needless to say, when we opened the door and found the rain had stopped, they were very bummed, which is not a good way to start the morning, it leads to problems later which will be explained in a minute.

anyway, after the boys got on the bus, i got to run home and have some coffee before driving all the way down to the doctor's office so fishie could get the second half of her flu shot. flu shots are very important for us, as it seems to be the flu that triggers pneumonia in lumpy, and we're really trying to stay out of the hospital this year. so we all get flu shots, even my little fish. it was funny, when she got the shot, she just gave the nurse a look like "why are you holding my chubby leg still and sticking sharp things into, don't you know i like to kick?" no crying from her, just that look. and all the way home, she was laughing and cooing. so it was nice that she enjoyed the hour round trip for a five minute office visit.

now though, she's super grumpy. crying and screaming so much she woke up her daddy. which isn't good because he didn't get to sleep until late this morning, and he has to go out to work early tonight. and on top of a very upset baby i'm having to deal with an angry lumpy. he's not allowed to feed the fish anymore, as he was over feeding them, and he had a total meltdown, so much so that i made him go lay down in bed for an hour of quiet time. this is what usually happens when he starts the day off on a bad foot.

so yeah, i've just been waiting for this day to be over. in truth, halfway through i wanted to go to bed and get back up and start over from the beginning. i'm really hoping tomorrow will be better.

October 11, 2010

a random bit of everything

there were a million and one things i wanted to talk about here over the past few days. but i didn't. and now i shall commence with the lame excuses.

i wanted to mention that i do not have, nor probably ever will, any pictures here. i know i know, pictures make a blog more interesting, it draws in readers, mostly because i'm realizing "normal people" aren't down with reading walls of text. (i put quotes for normal people, because i am totally fine with reading walls of text, or maybe just looking at walls of pics and making up my own text, but i think i'm just weird like that) i've never been much of a photographer. growing up, my dad always took crazy amounts of pictures when we went on vacation, and now my hubby takes all the pictures of the kids that i could ever hope to need. maybe eventually i'll get in the habit of taking pictures and there'll something pretty to look at here, but i think i have to stop shaking so much when holding a camera first.

i also was going to talk about how my dad's birthday is coming up, and i'm trying to figure out what to make. in truth, i might not being doing all the cooking this time around. still, i volunteered to make the dessert for the meal. i'm trying to think of something yummy that'll be a little different. my dad is not a big cake fan, so i'm thinking some kind of pie, maybe something seasonal. i'll try and let you know what i come up with.

we also went to the national zoo in washington yesterday, but i think i'll save talking about that tomorrow, because there's so much to say. and fishie is almost crawling, though she's also almost able to pull herself up to a standing position, so i think she might just skip the crawling and start running soon. it'll be the only way she can keep up with her brothers. and speaking of brothers, it's that bad time of year for lumpy again. here's hoping he doesn't get sick again, keep your fingers crossed.

so add all that to all the school work and house work, and trying to figure out how to make a bumble into a dancing bear, i've been busy. i'll try and do better with keeping up with posting here. this incarnation of my blog won't be like all the rest, honest! still, i think that's all i've got time for today. stay tuned for a longer description of our zoo trip, coming soon.

October 6, 2010

squashing my fears... one snack at a time

i am fierce and fearless, and yesterday i proved it to myself again. yes, that's right, yesterday i roasted up a butternut squash for the first time ever. i know, you might need to step back from the awesome.

yeah, i'm not exactly sure how i've made it this far in my life without cooking up butternut squash before either, but such was the case. part of it might be due to the fact that i never remember to pick one up when i see them for sale, but i'm thinking a larger part is the fact that my boys are not fans of trying new things. the biggest one is especially picky. and yes, i'm talking about my hubby here.

if it was something green and leafy, bumble would be all over it, he'd actually rather eat vegetables than meat most meals. and i might have gotten lumpy to try it if he hadn't seen me prepare it. his comment the entire time was that squash smelled just like pumpkin, and if i wasn't carving it or making a pie, what was the point? that left a whole squash for fishie and i.

now i have eaten squash many times before, and i really enjoy the flavor. i have made acorn squash, which is very yummy with a little bit of maple syrup, and just this past sunday i made spaghetti squash for the first time. a yellow gourd that, when properly cooked, will shred and look like pasta just fascinated me for years (not a hyperbole, i will obsess about a food for a long time before i attempt cooking it). making it was an interesting experience, and i think it definitely would have benefited from another 15 minutes in the oven.

anyway, a few fridays ago when i went to the farmer's market, i saw bunches of lovely looking squash and picked up a few to try out. all i had left as of yesterday was a butternut squash, and i kept debating in my head how i wanted to prepare it. i knew i had to think of something sooner or later because it wouldn't stay fresh forever. i really wanted to try my hand at making soup, because that's how i've had it before and always enjoyed the flavor. the problem with that was i wanted to share some with fishie, she enjoys the squash baby food in the little jars so much, and i knew soup would be a bit hard for her to eat. so i settled on simply roasting it.

i have to admit it turned out ok. i know some things i'd do different if i tried to make it again, like pealing it first, because i had such a hard time trying to get the skin off after the fact. i think i might also try chopping it up into smaller cubes and tossing with a bit of oil so it gets a more toasted flavor all over it. still, the squash was yummy, and fishie definitely thought it was very good. all in all, i declare that this was a success, and definitely something to attempt again in the future.

October 5, 2010

crack cookies

over the weekend i decided to make some cookies, which really isn't that unusual for me. i mean, warm and chewy, sweet and creamy fresh cookies, who wouldn't want some? truthfully, i don't think making cookies from scratch is that difficult, and my kitchen is well stocked that i always have everything on hand that i need to whip up a batch.

the sad thing is, for as much as i wanted homemade cookies, i was feeling equal parts lazy. what to do, what to do... make cookies or be lazy and have no cookies?

awesomely enough, my obsessive preparedness saved the day. i could be lazy and make cookies at the same time! enter sugar cookie mix.

i've had this bag of mix in my cupboard for months now, and i know i picked it up for a reason, but somebody help me i can't remember what the reason is anymore. so i figured i'd use it for its intended purpose and make actual cookies with it. throw it in a bowl with a softened stick of butter and an egg and bob's your uncle, or whatever fun phrase you deem appropriate.

i do have to say that i mixed up the dough and it was looking a little sad and lonely. it needed just a little something extra to give it a complete and meaningful existence. so i did what any self respecting candy fiend would do and chopped up two heath bars and threw them in also.

after that it was a matter of scooping the dough onto trays and baking them in the oven. waiting for them to bake was the longest part of the operation.

i took them with us to my moms' when we went to watch the game, and they got rave reviews. almost makes me think i try too hard when i do make stuff from scratch if these cookies that took five minutes of work were such a hit. i'm thinking i need to start cooking smarter, not harder. whatever that means.

October 4, 2010


here's a short list of the random things i'm thinking about that keep me up at night (some are more important than others):

will fishie ever start crawling, or will she move onto walking like her brothers did?

how can i get lumpy to settle down and listen? is he just a normal, hyper five year old, or is this something i need to talk to somebody about?

will bumble ever get a break in school? he tries so hard and loves to go to school, but everything is such a struggle for him.

will i ever be able to find boots that i actually like that fit comfortably that don't cost $100?

who pays $100 for boots that are more fashion than function?

will the boys go through a growth spurt and need new clothes before the end of winter, or will lumpy's skinny butt still fit into the pants that he wore last year?

is all the rain we're supposed to get this week going to cause a flood again?

will i ever be able to find a house that i can afford that's not in a flood plain?

would it be a bad thing to just make a cake for dinner, because that's all i really want to eat... gooey and chocolately and still warm out of the oven...

do i have time to make a cake right now before i have to get lumpy off the bus?

excuse me please, i think i have some very important work to do.