Archive | November, 2009

The Turkey IS a funny bird. . .

26 Nov

Whine: Sorry, too full of pie  for any whine today.

Cheese: No, really, I’m too full for any cheese either. There were actually fourteen pies at dinner tonight. I’m ashamed to say I only managed to sample four of them. In my defense, two of them were gone before I even had a chance. What can I say, these guys eat like a pack of wolves (my husband’s side of the family, of course.)

About a week before Thanksgiving last year Big Sis’ three-year old preschool class hosted a Thanksgiving feast. We walked in to find a handsome table, that they had set themselves: forks on the left, spoons on the right (no knives, of course, they’re only three for heaven’s sakes) sitting atop little homemade placemats and turkeys. Being a first-time preschool parent, my eyes welled up a little to think that my BABY was setting a table. Those sentimental tears transitioned almost immediately into ones induced from giggles as they performed their Thanksgiving song in tradtional mumble-sing, stare-at-the-ceiling toddler style:

The turkey is a funny bird

His head goes wobble-wobble

He just knows one funny word

Gobble, gobble, gobble.

Speaking of those funny birds, I like them soaked in a mysteriously tasty brine and roasted until they’re juuuuust right.  And then I like to keep them company on my plate with overly-sweetened sweet potatoes, stuffing whose butter-to-bread ratio is roughly 50/50, a healthy portion of just-like-my-momma-makes sour-cream mashed potatoes, and most importantly, a  special helping of the Thanksgiving classic, the “I’ll-kill-you-if-you-eat-the-last-of-it” green bean casserole. (You gotta stand your ground when you’re surrounded by wolves. Wolves, I tell you, wolves.)

I was going to tell you this long story about how our culture has ended up calling boy turkeys “Toms” that I heard on the radio on my ten-hour traffic vomit whiny baby road trip to Kansas City. How it all started because Ben Franklin was mad at Thomas Jefferson, etc, etc, etc. But then, because here at Whine and Cheese we value the whole truth and nothing but the truth and we never exaggerate or anything, I googled it. Turns out it’s probably not true at all. But still, I can’t complain, it passed at least three of the six hundred minutes I spent in what felt like a very small car with what felt like very loud and irritated birds in the back seat.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dad is driving contentedly along. Why? You ask. Was it because he is just that zen and can tune out the whole back seat? No, though he is very zen. Was it because he loves driving that much that he didn’t care about the Antsy Pantsies constant demands? No, though he does love driving. A lot. Was it because he brought along his industrial-quality noise-reduction headphones and piped Johnny Cash in from his blackberry? Yes, that is exactly why.

After a few hours of driving in this most inequitable situation (he says it was only an hour, but time flies when you are not wishing you could rid yourself of the gift of hearing) I ripped the headphones from his head, tuned into some Tim McGraw and immediately felt my blood pressure drop from “I hate this whole stupid road trip idea” to ” why this isn’t so bad.” I could see him dealing with the demands from the backseat as I blissfully tuned them out. Which, since he was driving may not have been our safest bet, but then, hey WELCOME TO MY WORLD, MR. DAD.

But we arrived safe and sound last night to find many, many excited relatives jockeying for position at the front door as we clambered up the walk. I’m surprised nobody got hurt, really. There was actual pushing and shoving. And this morning, certain other relatives, after staying up waaaayyyy past their bedtimes chatting, got up with my kids. So I could sleep. And that is one the nicest gift I’ve ever received. We had our traditional Thanksgiving church service this morning. And this family, though we all just cram into the living room, is bigger than some actual churches. The little girls sang the aptly titled “Make a Joyful Noise” with a little bit of bicycle horn, tambourine and harmonica. (Sound familiar?) But mostly cowbell. Lots and lots of cowbell. Which is a good thing, cause I had a fever. And the only prescription was more cowbell.

This was a good day. A very good day. Full of family, food, naps (for the kids) and football. And although Thanksgiving is about all those things, it’s about a lot more too. It’s really about attitude. About being able to find something to be thankful for even when you kinda just think everything stinks, like the vomit-covered car seat positioned directly behind you. About listening to a cowbell symphony and thinking it’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard. And about tasting everyone’s pie and telling them how insanely delicious it was, even if you they may have burned the crust just a little.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, I hope you can find lots of little somethings to be thankful for today!

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She Works Hard for the Money

23 Nov

Whine: While shopping this weekend, Lil’ Sis refused to stay seated in the stroller-cart. And of course, the buckle was broken, so I couldn’t force her to sit down. I kept telling her if she didn’t sit down, she’d fall out and bonk her head. So of course she took a huge dive right into a display shelf, with scads of pitying onlookers.

Cheese: She has a really hard head, so it was merely a flesh wound. Of course, if her head weren’t so hard in the figurative sense, she wouldn’t need such a hard head in the literal sense.

 

So last weekend we had a garage sale. You see, while technically I no longer “make a living” or “contribute to society” or “bathe regularly” I am still really good at one thing: not throwing things away. I was green before the environment was even a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye. As a kid, I saved every happy meal toy, every note passed in fifth grade science and most importantly, every gum wrapper from the gum given to me by that cute boy on the playground (ok, so that one was actually in college.)

Over the years, with the addition of a hubby and a few kids, the combination of my over-sentimental attachments and my relentless adherence to the code “Waste not, want not”, you can imagine what my closets look like. Recently I just found the little sticks that told me I was having each of my kids. Ewww, right?

So, in preparation for our new little family member, I decided the loving thing to do would be to actually find a place for him to sleep and store his diapers/cute boy onesies. Some people call it nesting, I call it 1600 square feet and three kids. But also, I figured that a little extra money wouldn’t hurt either, since our microwave is currently on strike. It’s hard to be economical and reheat your leftovers when the only button that works is the Popcorn button. So I began going through closets and drawers, digging under beds and through the attic. We filled my parents’ entire 1983 conversion van to the roof with all my old stuff.

And guess what? People bought it.

They bought my old comforter set that I had for nine years, whose stuffing has all begun migrating to the bottom. Cha ching.  They bought all those photo albums I’ve never gotten around to filling. Cha ching. They even bought little samples of Clinique lotion that I got for free. Cha ching.

Unfortunately, they also bought all my girls’ old clothes by they boxful. The outfit Big Sis wore home from the hospital. And the one Lil’ Sis wore when we took that family picture. At one point, a lady who was buying stuff stopped on a particularly cute pair of footie pajamas (you know how I feel about footie pajamas) and said as I choked back a cry, “Why don’t you hang onto this one?” I nodded gratefully as I clutched it to my chest.

In honor of my recent entrepreneurial endeavors, I’ve posted this old school music video for your enjoyment. It’s monstrously cheesy, and gets especially awkward/amusing at the 2:39 mark. I swear she stole her moves (at 2:55) straight from my old roommate Katja, even though Katja was only a little tyke when the video was made. Anyway, the song in the video (in case you couldn’t guess) is “She Works Hard for the Money” and the chorus says “She works hard for the money so you better treat her right.”

I work very hard for the money. I usually don’t actually MAKE any money, but still there is lots of working and it is very hard. Reheating dinner in a one-button microwave, clipping coupons so we can afford Christmas, referreeing squabbles over an empty laundry basket. Unfortunately, this song predates my kids by a few decades and they do not understand that they are supposed to “treat me right.”

**They do not understand that when Mommy posts a blog about how they are all potty trained, that they are not supposed to go out that VERY DAY and pee all over the playground.

**They do not understand that Mommy prefers them to not harbor murderous thoughts, especially about each other.  I currently hear Big Sis in the other room singing (to the tune of Frere Jacques) “I am going to kill you, I am going to kill you. . .” When I asked her about whom she was singing, she pointed in the direction of her little sister and said “Someone.” Sigh. For the record, I’m pretty sure she does not know what “killing” actually means, but we’re still going to have to deal with this. Someone please tell me that your kids act like this, too.

**They do not understand that when you are being kind enough to make them an actual breakfast, like pancakes instead of a bowl of dry cheerios for once, they should very, very grateful and docile, and not fighting over the knife you accidentally left out on the counter. (In Big Sis’ defense, she was trying to get the knife away from her baby sister, for her protection, of course.)

**They do not understand that Mommy likes to shower in peace. On Saturday I shared the shower with Lil’ Sis. Big Sis, not wanting to be left out, stood outside the shower and simultaneously played the harmonica, honked a bicycle horn and shook a tambourine. Seriously, I should put her on a street downtown with a little hat for donations. She’d make a killing.

 

P.S. There will be a special Thanksgiving post on Thursday, so stop by sometime this weekend and check it out.

Chances Are

9 Nov

Whine: I’m pretty sure most of this post is too embarrassing to publish, even for me. Now that’s saying a lot.

Cheese: I bet lots of people will read it, though. You know what they say about train wrecks. . .

Chances are . . .

. . . if you put on your workout clothes first thing in the morning, the only workout you’re gonna get is cleaning poop out of the bathtub.

. . . if you can’t convince your kids to drink their water and/or milk at meals (or ever) you will have an equally difficult time convincing them NOT to drink the bubble bath. Repeatedly. That Johnson and Johnson’s stuff is non-toxic, right?

. . . if you behave as a concerned citizen and call the utility company’s emergency line when your whole neighborhood smells like gas, they will come out several hours later (talk about emergency response time!) after both you and the smell have vacated the premises, and upon not finding you home, will turn off your gas. Meaning that everyone in your house who has not bathed in a day or two (which is everyone) will either be bathing in cold water or not at all. (i.e. not at all)

. . . if you finally clean all that junk out of your purse, you will then be at the grocery store late in the evening with two snot-nosed kids (literal, not figurative) and be forced to wipe their noses with a pair of socks that you found in your purse.

. . . if your husband, who for nine years has slept like a log, suddenly cannot sleep without the white noise of a box fan, you will no doubt be kept awake all night by its incessant rattling and will have to resort to stealing the kids’ humidifier as white noise to cover up the white noise.

. . . if you scour the sale papers, clip scads of coupons and save yourself lots of money on groceries, you will inevitably rack up a gigantic fine at the library and cancel out any and all money you saved paying for late fees.

. . . if you pay your credit card bill on time for once, you will inevitably forget to move money into the appropriate accounts and bounce a bunch of six dollar checks (yes, one to the library). 

. . . if you take your kids to the doctor for non-existent ear infections and pay two copays, both checks you wrote (because you forgot to pay for the second kid at the first window) will trigger an overdraft on your account (see above) and cost you double the double copays.

. . . if you wait long enough and give up on your children ever growing up, you will look up one day and realize that they can dress themselves, brush their teeth and are completely potty trained, which means you will save lots of money on Pull Ups, which is handy since you keep bouncing all those checks.

 

I’ve humiliated myself enough for one day. Now it’s your turn. Put your very own “Chances Are” in the comments section. The best one(s) will get a highly coveted Gold Star on the next post.

 

Gold Stars

7 Nov

Whine: This morning I managed the impossible: I took a shower, styled my hair and applied makeup (not in the car!) and was running on time to a birthday party. Then I found the glob of pink toothpaste in my hair.

Cheese: At least I found the toothpaste before I left the house. . . .

I’m giving out a few Gold Stars today, complete with pictures!

1. To Grandma Pam. For making the cutest Halloween costumes EVER! For handbraiding every strand of Lil’ Sis’ horsey mane (and tail). For choosing the sweetest red yarn to sew into Big Sis’ cowgirl hat, so that Big Sis could think she was Jesse from Toy Story 2. And for overnighting the costumes here so we’d have them in time for our many, many parties!!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Soule Halloween 2009
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2. To my friend and former roomie, Heather. (This one is quite overdue!) For hosting me and my two wild, barfing, pants-peeing, trouble starters in her home for five days. Our trip to Wheaton wouldn’t have been the same without her unflagging hospitality (and her washer/dryer.) Her boys, the same age as my girls, were sweet and funny. Especially when Big Bro was kind enough to play with Big Sis’ princess dolls (don’t you know his dad loved that) and said to her during one of her melt downs “Don’t panic, just talk to me.” (He’s four.)  Big Sis kept calling him the “THAT Caleb” (in contrast with the one from school), but by the time we got home she was calling him “that NICE Caleb.” Awwwwww. (Sorry the picture is so small. I’m an idiot.)

heather and boys

My Roomie and Her Boys

 3. Mr. Dad. For giving me the night off last night for some looooonnnnggg overdue girl time. Dinner, shopping, AND a movie? I had so much fun that I felt a little guilty. For taking the girls to Chuck-E-Cheese while I was gone. For not being mad when I came home (pretty late) with a, ahem, souvenier from my shopping. For keeping his eyes open well after midnight to listen to me recount every detail of my evening, then recounting every detail of his trip to Chuck-E-Cheese. And then for getting up early with Big Sis this morning. He’s a keeper, folks.

David and Me

Look! A Picture with No Kids!

 

4. To my friends out there. For staying on the road, even when it’s bumpy. For being transparent, even when it would be easier to pretend. For walking through the sad places of life and still choosing to mix joy with the tears. For sharing with me your broken places and helping to heal mine. For hoping in the One who gives instead of in what you can get. I send out my love to and prayers for you today.  

 

P.S. Stay tuned. Look for another post on Tuesday morning!