Once you make the connection, you may thank me for replacing the Jofess soundtrack that is circling in your brain with some of John William's Olympic fanfare.
My husband is on a 5 day holiday in Eugene, Oregon to watch the Olympic track trials. He kindly sent me this photo of the view on his descent into Portland:
And in the spirit of Olympic competition, I challenged him with my daily view:
Honey, you may have one window with a stellar view, but I have two screens and a nursing curtain still tacked to my office window. Winning! (Um, not only did I just reference Charlie Sheen's drug-inspired, tired, and overused quip...but I also did it on an uninterrupted night of sleep. Listen, I have a soft spot in my heart for Sheen since Hot Shots Part Deux. And we are also talking about a girl who catches any and all entertainment news during the aftershocks. I may have just heard about that song "Call Me Maybe" within the past two weeks. And that's only because I saw my non-sexual boyfriend Jimmy Fallon with the Roots perform it on YouTube after a lead from a Facebook friend of a friend...of a friend. Move over Olympic score, and I bless you with Carly Rae Jepson and some mad plastic toy xylophone-age. )
Eric called me from the Portland airport to show me how bucolic it was. (I mean, as pastoral as an airport can get.) I guess the weather was like 70 and sunny, and I think there were airport shepherds laying their BPA-free sheep out to pasture.
Again, in the spirit of competition, I threw a little Mr Sun in his face, too. (Emphasis on Saturday.)
During his layover to Eugene, he had an organic beer and I think some locally grown dinner harvested and made by a commune of kids who go to farm school. He was slightly delayed because I think they had to refuel the plane with the leftover organic barley, hops, and cannabis (whatever they make beer out of), which served as the clean jet fuel alternative. Eric passed the airport security's mandatory BMI screen and cycling time trial (though I hear you can opt for a Segway if not a seasoned cyclist), and was off to the land of health and fitness.
Listen, I'm envious and secretly want to live in the northwest, but until they get that whole Wonkavision out of beta testing and secured for the mass market, I'm not moving any farther away from family.
But I am also really happy for Eric. He deserves this break and I cannot imagine a more invested spectator.
More importantly: we have been promised souvenirs.
The obvious choice?
I want that hobbit's* Galen Rupp's Hannibal Lecter mask...signed. We still have the occasional bite with Felix, and I'm thinking this is a workable solution. That, or I'll MacGyver it into a "two-for" jock strap/reusable pull-up.
Enjoy the trials, Eric. We miss you. *Listen, before you sick the Hobbits of America on me, hobbits are in my wheelhouse of things I can make fun of: cancer, pre-term labor, anxiety disorder, adult acne, and lutropublicaphobia. My brother played one in elementary school. And in the world of fictional characters, hobbits are totally on the cute end. Also, Rupp just happens to be a sick a$$ runner who can look like Sloth from Goonies and the world would still admire him. (Oh, I can make fun of Sloth, too.)
I'm on this "title your posts after your children's inability to say
words correctly" kick.
Jofess = Joseph
Cinnamon = Simeon
You-dah = Judah
Jen-ja-min = Benjamin
Anyone know where I am going with this one?
Nope, we didn’t sign up for vacation bible school this summer (um, did you know
VBS is free?) and the book of Genesis hasn’t replaced Ickle and Lardee at night.
Let's just say there is a lot of Technicolor bible-thumpin' happening in my house.
It started innocently with the middle school version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at my boys’ school the other month. I have to
say, my boys have seen their fair share of musical theater courtesy of Marist
School, but this one sparked their inner A.L.Webber.
After the Marist production, I searched YouTube to find some video snippets
and stumbled upon a full length version. Except there was a 4 second delay
between the movement and singing, and it really started to bristle me.
Bingo-bango-magic. The DVD showed up at my doorstep, and within a week I started singing about fratricide, butle-ing and children of Israel
on my commute in to work.
Our family is obsessed. INCLUDING ERIC. And yes, I just screamed at you through capital letters.
Last night at the urging of Miles, we started role playing “Jofess” and the scene where the Technicolor dreamcoat is ripped to shreds and doused in goat blood. (Bee tee dubs. All you need is a colorful
towel, willing participants, and a healthy imagination.)
For some kids it is Spiderman.
Others it is Thomas or princesses.
For mine, it’s Potiphar,
Naphtali, and Issachar.
And for me? It has taken me a month, but I am ready to admit that I now have an
unhealthy obsession with Donny Osmond.
He has joined the ranks of my non-sexual crushes:
Lester Holt (only when he wears those dark-rimmed glasses)
Anderson Cooper with the giggle fits
I double toucan dare you to watch this video and not feel that rush of warm pass over you at exactly 4:01.
According to Miles, Felix is the little girl boy dressed up like Luigi with the green shirt and white hat, circa 2:36, while Miles is one of the more refined "big boys" in the white button down shirt. I don't think either of them want to be Joseph because they keep distressing and lamenting to me that he must be really cold in jail. Or maybe they are afraid of what looks like a glorified diaper. (You know, I did mess them both up with all that diaper/potty brouhaha.)
Boys...if I were a male in my 40s and had that body, I wouldn't want to wear clothes either. C'mon...admit it. He's got a better rack than I do.
Say what you will, but there is something about the permed extensions and the loin cloth.
Felix made it through an extended lesson without releasing the contents of his colon.
And Miles had his first swim lesson.
Yeah, yeah, it was book ended with tears, but apparently he floated on his back, used a kick board, and last night he told me about 10 times he wanted to invite his teacher Jack over to our house.
And then the switcheroo today.
Apparently Miles's class was a little too full (read: he was totally a drowning threat whereas the other 4 year olds were perfecting their under-water-spinny-things. I know, how does a nascent swimmer like me throw around that professional lingo so easily?).
So Jack went back up the beanstalk, and Eric had to drop him off with 2 new teachers. A young girl, and a guy with wicked long dreads.
Luckily, this kid likes playing with hair and young girls.
Here's hoping to work the switcheroo in our favor.
I was sure Miles was going to be my nightmare kid; his imagination is rich. Quite a long time ago I made a passing comment to friend, Mama S, that I was preparing myself for years of middle of the night imaginary fire balls falling from the sky with Miles because he had such a ripe imagination at such an early age. She (someone who is trained in early childhood development), calmed my nerves and told me that imagination is less of a predictor for nightmares than restless sleeping.
Phew! Miles is pretty "still" sleeper. So far, we haven't had any bad dreams.
But remember that kid who did trapeze stunts off of his umbilical cord?
Yeah...I think he has nightmares.
Miles was a challenge to get to sleep as a baby, but has honestly turned out to be a predictable and good sleeper. Sure, he gets up between 6 and 6:30am, but he still can take an almost 3 hour nap and doesn't give us too much trouble with sleep.
Felix was a better infant sleeper, and then turned into what can lovingly be described as a, well, a $hitty sleeper. He tosses, and turns, and moans, and whines, escapes, silly screams, and is anything but predictable...
...and apparently has nightmares.
Scene:3am, and Felix starts bawling. I go in and try to unravel the mess of tears, screams, and thrashing. I use my super-dee-duper Mommy decoding skills and realize he is saying, "I WANT A LOLLIPOP!" over, and over, and over.
Whaaaa? Lollipop? First, I cannot stand the toddler entitlement tone. It drives me bananas. And both my boys know I will never respond to threats or demands from those under the age of 5. (And until they can reach the knife rack, I'm sticking to that.) Second, who wants a lollipop at 3am? Third, I swear to Yahweh that if he wakes Miles up (yup, they share a room now!), I am going to go postal.
I pick the him up, and then bring him in the hallway and just rock him in my arms while walking up and down the hall. (It's the universe getting me to exercise more regularly again. We are just having trouble with the timing.)
He is sort of falling in and out of sleep, but still hanging on to this whole lollipop demand. Finally, I go back into his room, plop him on his bed, and he is OUT.
Sweet dreams, eh?
Scene: 6am and Felix starts moaning again. I nudge Eric to respond this time, and I hear him look for Felix in his room and he is GONE. Eric finds Felix down the hallway curled up next to a vacuum, pining for his mother. He brings him into our bed where Felix proceeds to thrash around, Ninja Warrior style on me.
Sooo...anyone got any secret salve I can slather on him to prevent these nighttime episodes? Preferably phthalate-free, no parabans, and organic. I'll pay a premium.
Apparently, I make all life decisions with the guidance of Pinterest (okay, and maybe my husband, mom, good friends..and a lil prayer.)
Life has stabilized (thank jeebus), and I am enjoying relative calm these days. What that also means is that my anxiety (what? me get anxious?) is not such a demon anymore. What that also means is that I don't look quite as much like [fill in with a celebrity who went through a too thin phase, but with more acne and less money]. It's a tricky little angle, that anxiety plays on me.
Ha! Not only are you going to be anxious 24 hours a day, but I am going to make all food unappetizing and let you loose a bunch of weight. But instead of being able to complain to anyone about it, you have to suffer in silence because NO ONE LIKES A THIN GIRL TALKING ABOUT WEIGHT. Besides, no one is going to believe you, and instantaneously diagnose you as having an eating disorder, and whisper to each other about how you secretly love being thin. You see previews for NBC's Biggest Gainer? That's right, Ali, it doesn't exist.
Before you all follow-up your eye rolling with the mimicked finger in the throat "gag" number, I'll stop.
And for the few peeps who have dealt with this as well, my condolences. Society can be so, so, so cruel to those struggling with weight...and that's at both ends of the spectrum.
Part of my Biggest Gainers plan (without the help of Trainers Bob of Dolvett, unfortunately) has been a philosophy of carte blanche: eat whatever I can stomach, whenever. A calorie is a calorie...even at midnight, and the bigger bang for my buck, the better.
The trouble is, I tend(ed) to lead a relatively healthy lifestyle, so this wasn't the easiest plan to adopt.
Then it got fun.
Then I enjoyed ice cream far too often each week.
Then Thursday became Papa John's night. (Is it bad the delivery guy knows me and my kids now?)
Then cheese became my third child.
But then I finally gained back the weight I had lost, it just didn't follow the strategic geographical location plan I had hoped for.
I don't mind the weight, I just mind the distribution and composition. I'd rather it be muscle (or fat in my bra). But there was that whole exercise thing I reduced.
So now I am on diet detox.
And (hopefully) an exercise binge. Okay, a comfortably overstuffed experience would be better.
I hate the word diet, because it's not about restricting calories, but reassigning them. And I hate the word binge, because it's followed up too often with the word purged, and I have a pathological fear of throwing up.
And I have decided that before 2013, I am going to do one of two things: run (and hopefully PR in) a half marathon, or increase my family.
I know...totally equal in proportion and responsibility.
But I figure, before the decision is made (with the consult and participation--duh--of Eric in both), cleaning up my eating and getting a little more sweaty will get me closer to one of those goals a lot easier.
You still here?
Okay, so I've been obsessed with Pinterest surfing at night in my bed. (I told Eric that there would be consequences to getting rid of cable.)
I've pinned a handful of really decadent food items, but am trying to focus on the more "healthy" side. (I write this while I sip on a, yes, you'll be shocked, a CAN OF COKE). And I know, healthy is subjective depending on who you talk to, and what food philosophy you subscribe to.
My promise is that if and when I pin a healthy-as-defined-by-me idea, I must try it within the week.
*Note: I made no promises of anything related to posting about it on the blog. That's too much accountability at this point.
We had a lovely Saturday spent up in Canton where Eric ran a 10 mile trail race. Despite his fever and URI, he finished 2nd. (The irony in Miles's chanting "GO NUMBER 2!" all weekend is not lost on anyone. )
The boys anxiously awaited seeing him a few times throughout the course. Felix calmed his nerves by inhaling dried fruit, and Miles went the spiritual route and kept doing "Namaste" for him.
We've been battling a few sniffles, coughs and fevers over here, but Eric summoned the energy to do some experimentation with the boys courtesy of the never ending fun of vinegar and baking soda. And we got a twofor: entertainment and a ceiling cleaning.
Anyone else know the "chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee" call? Anytime I cook with garbanzo beans, I romantically call to them with a "chick-a-pea-pea-pea-pea!" They like that.
Apparently they also like being baked and devoured by Felix and me.
I just came up with the great idea (read: I hunted Pinterest and found this recipe): bake chickpeas!
We've tried to reduce our canned food consumption, but now have a pantry full of organic beans. Problem is, a girl can only eat so many black beans and chickpeas by herself. No one else in my family likes beans very much.
I stumbled upon the whole baking garbanzos/chickpeas on Pinterest, and gave it a whirl. I am more of a salty snack person, so was glad to base my cooking off of this recipe.
I made some adjustments after a few rounds of cooking. (And eating. Protein and fiber overload.) Best part is that Felix likes them, too! Not thrilled that I tripled my BPA exposure over the last 2 weeks...but am guessing my colon is happy.
After a bit of experimentation, I realized that I needed to make adjustments to the above recipes in order to get them more palatable. I am going to try dry beans at some point, but I need to get through the gaseous stockpile I have in my pantry first...
Open and rinse garbanzo beans WELL. (Like, get all of those farty smelling bubbles off of the beans.)
Spread them out on a towel and pat dry.
Preheat your oven to 400.
Go read a trash magazine, take a shower, or catch up on the Bachelorette. Basically, wait about an hour until they are dry.
Put beans on parchment paper and pop in the oven for 30 minutes without a thing on them. (This helps dry them out.)
After 30-40 minutes, take them out, sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and minced garlic. OR, any kind of seasoning that sounds good to you. In terms of amounts, just go all Top Chef and guess. I like garlic breath, so I used quite a bit.
Bake for another 20 minutes, then turn off the oven, and let them sit for another 10 minutes in the oven.
Remove and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. (optional)
They aren't super dee duper crispy, but forgoing olive oil and salt (at least until they are done cooking) helps them to dry out. I don't love Parmesan cheese, but that's all I had on hand. My guess is the powder Parmesan cheese works better, but that rarely enters my house. (Stinky beans, sure...stinky cheese? Nope.)
They don't store well, which to me translates into: you must eat them all in one day. Done and DONE.
And they are dry and do make you rather parched. (They'd probably pair well with a nice summer ale...or on days your toddler has nervous diarrhea in a public pool, a few carafes of wine.)
Although, yesterday Miles asked me why some poop sinks and some floats.
Ummm...I copped out like I did with his "what's behind the sky" inquiry and said, "God made some to sink and some to float."
Ah yes, sinkers and floaters...
Is it illegal to post something like this?
If it is, please let me know so I can tell these boys' mother to take it down.
Look at how happy these two anonymous boys look in the bath water!
Okay, so the tub isn't full, but look at how close their faces are to the water's edge.
Like me, you must be thinking that they love swimming.
You'll notice that one boy's great reach--like he already knows how to do the crawl.
(You'll also notice the different skin tones and that any toddler seasonal color analyst might pin the big one on the left as a "winter" and the scrappy one on the right as an "autumn.")
You know that literary device where I take all of these superlatives and brew up my interpretation of life and then you as an observer respond with a mediocre "meh?" (That wasn't *really* the worst diaper blowout, Ali...and that wasn't *really* the best penning of a name by a 3-year-old).
This isn't one of those times.
I'm pretty sure we have had a string of the worst-est toddler swimming lessons in history. (Now that's a made up literary device I call redundant superlatives.)
Teaching Felix to swim has been worse than teaching Bob to swim.
What do you call a man with no arms, no legs and is in a pool?
I just went there; it's midnight...when my brain turns back into a pumpkin.
Both my children are sinkers.
Eric and I are sinkers.
If we had a dog, he'd be a sinker.
And sinkers do not like swimming lessons.
Swimming lessons with Felix have proven to be torture for all involved: Felix, me, the teachers, and the poor other parents/toddlers who look at me with scorn.
Actually, one father laughed in my face and said, "whoah, he's un-HAPPY!"
I was all, "Thanks from the Department of the Obvious, Dude."
And this is my extroverted, fearless child.
Okay. Here is how a typical swimming lesson goes:
We sit on the edge of the pool and happily splash and kick.
I do the teacher directed "entry" into the warm indoor pool water.
Felix fuh-reaks out and refuses to get in.
I force him in while he screams "NO! NO! I WANT DADDY! I WANT DADDY!"
His screaming does not abate, but crescendos during the hello song.
Then comes the required DUNK. I blow on this poor child's face, and drown submerge him.
We proceed to practice blowing bubbles. HELLO! I just drowned my child and you expect him to put his face back in voluntarily? Apparently, other kids have no problem doing this.
Felix starts the visible shaking/teeth chattering in addition to the screaming, and his lips turn blue.*
Ah, respite! We have about 5 minutes of relative calm when they bring out a bucket of balls and we motor around the pool reaching and grabbing the floating balls. What can I say. My kid loves balls.
Balls disappear = epic screaming commences.
I secretly hope Felix defecates in his FLUORESCENT hot pink Speedo reusable swim briefs, just to get us out of the pool. Or fired from lessons. Yes, I just admitted that.
Screaming carries us through all concluding activities and the good-bye song.
The teacher says to me, "he's getting better." (lie.) "You are doing the right thing by keeping with it." (lie x2).
We get out of the pool, I unknot my stomach, and for the first time am looking forward to the awkwardness that is the locker room and lots of adult female nudity with my 2-year-old who has no filter. I'd take a "why do I see that Mommy's nipples?" over 30 minutes of screaming in the pool any day.
*Lesson #3, Felix's teeth chattering stopped for 10 seconds when he honed in on someone out of the pool with a sucker. He was all, "IS THAT A LOLLIPOP?" After I provided him confirmation, he started chattering again.
You all...I expected the first lesson to stink.
And thought that the second one he would do a little better, in fact.
Third time's a charm, right?
Third lesson was just about as bad as the first two, except now all the other parents know my name, Felix's name, and have seen me in a Speedo with a poorly manicured bikini line.
Firstly: I hate it when people say "firstly"...
Secondly: While searching for a free stock image of a public restroom, the above surfaced on freedigitalphotos.net. Ummm...I've never used a urinal, but I'm pretty certain not many urinals look like this. Actually, I did just walk in on an adult using a urinal at Miles's graduation at the high school.
Yup. Taking him to the potty, and it was one of those "no door/walk around an L shaped brick wall" kinda bathrooms. I walked right in and saw who I am sure was either a teacher or a parent peeing at the urinal. In an attempt to score some lemonade out of the whole situation (strike that...bad reference), thought, "at least it wasn't one of the Fathers at the school."
But let's get real--is this honestly an accurate depiction of a urinal?? The males in my life usually decorate urinal stories with words like "trough" and "sticky."
Thirdly: (yup, hate that one too...) if urinals looked like that, I'd want to use them! (As long as I could still reach the flusher with my foot.)
I've talked before about my neuroses related to public restrooms. I've created some rules/systems:
always use the first or last stall.
opt for any available seat cover.
flush with your foot.
One of the nice things about coming into work early is that I get to walk into a bathroom and see the toilet seats up. Do you know what that means? It means that I allow myself to make the assumption that the toilets were just cleaned. My bottom is the first hit of the day! It's as close to "fresh" as one can get.
Plus, our bathroom is always ice cold. Another score! This makes no logical sense, but it seems cleaner when cold. Warmth reminds me of petri dishes...breeding...incubators...college chemistry. And I have convinced myself that cold makes all the E.coli, Shigella, and flesh eating bacteria (all cases recently have been from GA!), slow down so if I go fast enough, they don't even have time to reach my pikachu.
But here is when we run into a little problem. The last stall at work, "my" stall, has had this tiny #8 circular sticker on the floor for weeks now. It's like the kind you find in pants after you buy them: an inspector sticker.
Aaaaand this is what follows in my brain:
Is my bathroom really being cleaned?
Why hasn't this sticker been swept up by the breeding ground for bacteria that is the cleaning person's mop?
Are they just putting the seats up to humor me?
Should I leave a note asking them to clean the floor?
Eric always told me that all guys have done something like use a Gatorade bottle to pee into when bathrooms aren't accessible.
Emotionally, I'm kinda feeling like my bathroom is not accessible anymore.
And my empty Odwalla bottle is looking mighty tempting.
One of my favorite blogs is Scary Mommy. I hesitate directing you to it, because then you'll realize how a real blogger is supposed to write. But I do giveaways for my sub par crafts 1.5 times a year! And I have no filter! And I've tried to convince you over and over that grammar, spelling, and content are bullocks! (Or at least overrated). Nah, she's good. And today's post was so spot on, I invite you all for a little blog hop over to 50 Lessons In Parenting Young Kids.
For me, I was all "WORD!" on the following:
4. Don’t use Google to diagnose illnesses. Ever.
6. The terrible twos are bullshit. The terribleness lasts through at least
age four. Or, forever.
17. Accept the fact that you will turn into your mother.
26. The four year old check-up is brutal.
Let me just interject and provide a recommendation to #26 as we went through it first-hand this week.
Don't warn your 4-year-old of the pending doctor's appointment. He'll tell you he "no longer has a headache."
Oh, and have your husband take him so that the said 4-year-old doesn't absorb your anxiety knowing he is going to get FOUR SHOTS (yup, I'm one of those terrible vaccinators), have to PEE IN A CUP (that's a fun parenting experience apparently), GET BLOOD DRAWN, and do EYE AND EAR SCREENING.
Bring a 2-year-old for entertainment; especially when you are trying to get a clean-catch of urine from a 4-year-old who is terrified of the office potty.
Thankfully, he's healthy, normal and his only memory of the experience was the lollipop he got from the nurse. And yes, we have confirmation that he is just painfully shy. Dr. G. Love (that's no joke. It's his real abbreviated name Eric came up with) gave Eric advice for me: "get over it." Although I am less inclined to fear speech therapy, I'm now overwhelmed with the anticipation of finding "little person" summer camps and conventions for shorty. He gained some ground with weight (20+ percentile with a hefty 33lbs!), but his current height trajectory puts him at 5'7" after puberty.
38. Walk away from temper tantrums. Or, record them for future enjoyment.
49. A bathroom in a house with boys will never smell clean.
Four years ago, I had to drop this BABY off at childcare...
And then this week I watched while this BIG BOY had his childcare "gradulation" (as both boys call it).
I'm at a loss for words at the moment in terms of expressing my gratitude and feelings about his childcare, the Early Learning Center.
The center materialized (like, literally and figuratively) right before I went back to work...and the beacon in many a dark day has been another member of my "chosen" family, Ms. JoAnn (or as Miles calls her Mrs. JoAnn. Finally acknowledging she's married!)
(Can you hold children back in childcare? If so, I'd like to apply to do so.)
We are leaving with lifetime best friends.
I mean, can it get more precious than two little boys holding hands while watching a video montage of their first years of life?
Thank you Marist ELC, and a special thank you to Ms. JoAnn--the first woman outside of our family that he fell in love with.
I do have some comfort in knowing that Felix will still be at the ELC next year. It's like a slow weaning process for our family. Without the clogged ducts and awkward letdowns. And just because Felix will always play second fiddle...I had to recount some cute Felix moments.
When Fr. H. opened the ceremony with a prayer and asked all of the kids "why are we here today?" Felix screamed "MILES!!" Insert cute laughter from the peanut gallery. Then Fr. mentioned something about graduation, and then Felix said "BRAD GRADUATING!" Brad, you see, is his babysitter and Ms. JoAnn's son, and he just graduated from High school. It was very cute. And then to top it off, he screamed to Ms. Beth (another teacher), "MS. BETH! BEES LIKE HONEY!!!" I mean, the kid has no filter. Nor does he have any volume control.
Finally, I just needed to recount one (of many) moments I welled up with tears. Ms JoAnn was giving her speech about each of the children and said that when Miles looks up to her and says "HAND!" reaching out to hold her hand, she is not sure if she is holding his hand or he is holding hers. TEARS!
I cannot imagine a better situation in which my children to have spent the first years of their life.