Tag Archives: blogging

Dear Whine and Cheese

23 May

Whine: Ever since the Great Hail Debacle of ’95, when softball-sized hail came hurtling through our kitchen window (and also the windshield of my  brown 1983 Ford Fairmont), I have been just a teensy weensy bit scared of spring storms here in Texas. And also I hate getting my hair wet.

Cheese: Between the T-Storm/Large Hail warning on the radio and the peals of thunder overhead, I was very motivated to make my trip to Target quite brief. Who knew mortal danger could be such a money saver?

Dear Whine and Cheese,

I know as a family we are supposed to be spending lots of quality time together, but I’m not sure what to do. Got any suggestions?

Sincerely,

What Do I Do With All These Children

Dear What To Do,

I want to give you credit for desiring more Quality Time with your family. We all know that without enough Quality Time each and every day, all of your kids will grow up to either disown you or live in your garage indefinitely, so I think it’s important to do what you can while they are young. The good news is that Quality Time can come in many different forms:

Taking advantage of free activities in your community is one easy way to spend time together. Arriving two minutes late for the town Easter Egg hunt will allow you to park far enough away so that not only do you miss the actual egg hunt, you will also be able to push your emotionally exhausted 5 1/2 year old in a stroller while carrying your fussy toddler on your hip while your spouse carries your middle child on his shoulders, which is excellent for your cardiovascular conditioning. You will then have the opportunity to go to a local discount store to spend money on your own eggs and candy in order to recreate the hunt at home later that day in lieu of the free hunt you missed.

Doing arts and crafts is another way to stretch your children’s creativity and your patience simultaneously. Painting, gluing, eating thumbtacks and dropping loaded paintbrushes on your hair are all great ways to build fine-motor skills and digestive tolerance. Not to mention the gift-giving potential of a nice homemade gift, because who wouldn’t be touched to receive a repurposed juice bottle filled with tiny pom-poms and covered in streamers? It’s eco-friendly too!

Letting your family assist you in the kitchen also builds strong communal ties. There is something primal about letting your child mix the chicken salad and then wail unintelligibly as you wrap it in lettuce to make cute little chicken salad boats because (you discover much later) the boat lettuce was not cut at the correct angle. Baking cookies and cupcakes is also fun, as your family will develop a keen sense of when it is time to appear (when there are tastes to be had) and to disappear (when there are counters full of sticky dishes to be done).  Perhaps the disappearing act will someday transfer to the time while you are trying to shower or use the bathroom.

In the end, anything you can do to kill time enjoy each other can be considered Quality Time. Just remember, even the Von Trapps didn’t sing all the time. Sometimes they made clothes from curtains or escaped evil political regimes.  So just keep that in mind when planning your next family ordeal outing.

Sincerely,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

How do I know if the time we’re spending together is Quality Time or if it’s just Regular Time?

Sincerely,

Does TV Count

Dear TV,

Determining the nature of your time together can be tricky business, so I have devised a Quality Time checklist for your convenience. Score one point for each item, unless otherwise noted.  If you score a ‘3’ or higher, you’ll know you have achieved Quality Time.

1. Forced participation of family members (1 point for each unwilling person)

2. A preparation/clean-up time to actual time spent ratio of at least 5-to-1 (i.e., At least 5 minutes of prep for each minute of actual enjoyment.)

3. Misunderstanding/miscommunication resulting in total meltdown. (1 point for each door slam, frustrated head banged on wall, or tantrum; 2 points if tantrum is in public or  full-out, flat on floor screaming fit.)

4. Arguments regarding trivial details

(Examples: type of sandwich for picnic, seating arrangement in vehicle, choice of dvd for road trip, color of game marker in Candy Land)

5. Exorbitant and unexpected cost (1 point for each unplanned $25 spent)

6. Pictures that make it look like you actually had fun. Pictures assist in creating the Magic Memory Filter all children need in order to look back on their childhoods with that happy, rosy glow. (And yes, pictures from the ER totally count.)

I hope this checklist can be of assistance in your quest for Quality Time.

Sincerely,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

A really good friend of mine just published her 100th blog post and I’m very happy for her (even though it took her 2 1/2 years to do it and her posts mostly revolve around getting stuck in windows and the clean up of bodily fluids). What should I do to congratulate her?

Sincerely,

Loyal Reader

Dear Loyal,

Your friend obviously sounds like a delightful (although perhaps slightly disturbed) person. After showering her with lavish gifts and diet coke, I recommend spending some Quality Time commenting on her 100th post and reading through some of her old stories. I hear her take on potty training is informative as well as her handy tips on procrastinating and grocery shopping. I was in the mood for a good laugh-cry, so I read this and this.

And I’m sure, being the delightful person she is, she would want you to know how grateful she is to have a reader friend like you. I would hazard a guess that she really enjoys getting to tell her stories and feel so accepted and encouraged both in parenting and in writing for such a nice person as you.

With Much Love and Gratitude,

Whine and Cheese

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Recovered, part I

2 May

Whine: Big Sis has decided the (pre)school year should end in April. What started with a simple case of I-forgot-to-give-Mommy-a-goodbye-kiss tears last week in class has blossomed into a full scale meltdown. Her crying jag this morning started before she even got out of bed.

Cheese: She actually likes school. So as much as it causes me physical pain to drop her off with those red, puffy eyes dolefully stabbing tiny daggers into my heart, I know that as soon as I round the corner out of sight, she’ll be ok. Her sweet teachers will give her as many hugs as it takes. Her friends will wave excitedly and draft her into the playground battle against the Evil Boys. Plus, I’ve got an ace up my sleeve–I put chocolate pudding in her lunch. It’s hard to be melancholy while eating chocolate pudding (trust me.)

You know those people who are at significant family events and just as the action is getting good and the camera lenses start snapping, they are in the corner furiously making room on their memory cards and missing the actual event?

Those people drive me crazy.

But a few weeks ago I was one of  Those People. I blame my new computer, it’s photo storage-thing-a-ma-bobby is very confusing and so I had not been erasing pictures as I went along. And for our family, March is birthday season, so there were cakes, cakes, cakes and parties and presents and whatnot to photograph. I’m a little bit of a Memory Hoarder, which means that I had approximately 1, 374 pictures of Brother Bear eating his first bites of chocolate birthday cake. (So sweet, yet so disgusting.) Finally, I decided to get it over with and unload my pictures/memory card.

Well, due to a very scientific process called User Error, I managed to swipe that card clean. Except that the pictures I had swiped off hadn’t actually been moved to the computer yet, and therefore no longer existed in the history of the world. Which means that none of it ever happened. Lil’ Sis had never had a Rapunzel party and turned three. Brother Bear certainly hadn’t turned one. Because without the pictures, there’s no proof. No memory.

My stomach lurched, and I started spewing incoherent epithets at the evil trolls who live in my computer waiting for me do dumb stuff (it’s not a long wait). Big Sis was hovering nearby and trying to distract me by pecking me to death with questions and requests. I can honestly say that I regarded her with calm composure as I told her to GIVE MOMMY A MINUTE PLEASE BECAUSE I AM THE STUPIDEST PERSON ON EARTH SO PLEASE STOP ASKING FOR CHOCOLATE MILK RIGHT NOW. (SOB)

In that moment, I did the smartest thing I could do. I put the camera away. Didn’t touch it, didn’t use it. But banished it to the top bookshelf so it could think about what it had done.

I spent the day berating myself (and the  evil trolls, of course), but managed to come back to my senses by day’s end. The thought of never getting to revisit those precious birthday faces (and the cakes, oh, the cakes!) made me sad, but I realized that mourning over memories to the exclusion of the actual, living people in the pictures was somehow ironic. And kinda stupid.

So I moved on.

But then, a few weeks later, I had an idea. (Cue lightbulb.) Call it denial, call it genius, it doesn’t matter. I googled my little fingers off and discovered that there are really briliant, benevolent people in the world who expect people like me to do really dumb stuff, and they have designed good trolls, who can go root around and find your lost/erased/destroyed pictures and bring them back. Oh how I love benevolent geeks.

I got my precious pictures back. And what kills me with gratitude is that I didn’t just get the big moments back. The chocolate-smeared hair, the twinkly princess festivities. I got back the ones I didn’t even remember were there. Like Big Sis’ first (successful) ride on her bike. And Mr. Dad giving Valentine’s roses to his girls amidst an avalanche of smooches.

When I had kids, everybody warned me how fast they grow up, and this is true. But what no one prepared me for was the forgetting.

As my little sweeties jump at warp-speed to the next stage, I barely remember the one we just left. It’s hard to focus my minds-eye on what they looked like then, what little things they did to crack us up, how much they’ve changed. And I think that’s why I hold so tightly to my pictures (as poorly-focused and full of accidental thumbs as they are) and to this blog, because as young as my kids still are, I’ve already forgotten so much.

But I comfort myself in the idea that even the memories that seem ‘forgotten’ have woven themselves into the patchwork of our family story. That most of the memories are good ones. And when my kids and I look back, we’ll see ourselves, albeit through a somewhat-fuzzy lens, as a family that loved. So I guess if there’s a sequel to this movie (Evil Trolls II: Revenge of the Hungry Trolls) and I lose all my pictures (and heaven forbid, blog posts) I can grieve my losses and move on. Right after I kick some serious troll booty.

I will post two of the recovered pictures today. But come back on Thursday for the follow-up picture post. (Hint: there will be pictures of cake! And chocolate-covered baby!)

Every thorn has its rose(s).

Brother Bear's Get Out of Jail Free Card. Because who can resist a baby in a tie?

Man of the House: Guest Post by Brother Bear

25 Oct

Whine: I don’t mean to brag, but I’m actually pretty good at this “whine” thing. I whine for milk, I whine for clean diapers, I whine when Mommy takes her undivided attention off me to check on whatever she’s burning cooking.  Mommy says I sound like this when I whine, so she calls me Wookiee. Isn’t she mean?

Cheese: She pretty much gives me whatever I want.  So I don’t really care what she calls me, as long as she keeps the food and snuggles coming.

Mommy is pretty busy these days. What with Big Sis constantly trying to remodel the house and Lil’ Sis working on her sly ninja skills, she barely has time to brush her teeth, let alone string together coherent sentences for the entertainment of the people. So I figured I’d step in today and give the lady a break. Mostly to make up for the fact that I may or may not have boycotted naptime last week and I’m afraid she might decide to let me ‘cry it out’ if I don’t pitch in.

I’ve been keeping busy since I last wrote. I’m still pretty much bald. I can’t sit up or scoot, but I look real cute rolling to hither and yon. I love to grab the diapers Mommy takes off me and try to stick them in my mouth. I’m really good at working hard in my baby office–I get a lot of important stuff done. Need me to push that light- up thingy? No problem. How about grabbing that other doo-dad? I’ll get it done by 5. I’m the picture of baby efficiency.

I’ve grown two teeth and I’m not afraid to use them. On baby food? No, that stuff is nasty. I like to bite stuff. And Mommy. Speaking of baby food, though, who eats that stuff?? Seriously. I admit, I was curious the first few times they gave me the cereal. But upon further review, zpfttttffffffffffffff [insert raspberry noise and violent spewage]. No way, Jose.

The world still seems to pretty much revolve around me, that much hasn’t changed since last time I wrote.  Mommy and I are pretty inseperable–I even get to go to work with her. I help her ‘type’ and ‘file’ and ‘take calls’. She’s pretty lucky to have me around. My sisters still operate by the 6 millimeter rule, which is that if I am around, at least one of them is within six millimeters of my face. But now that I am getting all grown up, I get to do more stuff with them than my last update.

My dad is pretty cool. I like to ride around in his (very manly) baby carrier and do man stuff. Like cook hotdogs on the grill. And clean the garage. He and I watch LOTS of sports together, but he gets a little scary and loud when the blue guys with the stars on their hats actually catch the ball. Then I get a little loud, too, but not in the same way. Ok, I admit it, I cry like a baby. But hey, I am a baby.

I really like Big Sis. She always gives me her blankie and her teddy bear, which is especially good for chewing with my awesome little teeth and is almost as awesomely gross as chewing a diaper because who knows where that blankie has been. Big Sis likes to drag me by my onesie onto her lap. Then she gets in trouble and has to go to timeout. But that doesn’t stop her from doing it the next time Mommy’s back is turned. Although today at the post office she stuck a postage label on me and told the clerk I was a package that needed mailing, so perhaps there’s some latent hostility in there.

I’m not quite sure about Lil’ Sis. She really seems to like me, although I think she’s trying to toughen me up. Seeing as how she gave me my first bloody nose. Mommy was reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyy mad. But I think mostly because she got blood on her shirt.

Now I have street cred for the nursery.

But Lil’ Sis also gave me my first bite of cake, so I think that pretty much makes it even. And surprisingly, Mommy was reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyy mad about that, too. But probably just because I didn’t spit the cake in Lil’ Sis’ face like I do strained peas.

And then there’s Mommy. I grin like nobody’s business when I see her. I just can’t help it. She’s my favorite. My favorite person to bite, to spit my sweet potatoes on, to wipe my snotty nose on. My favorite person to make kissy mouth at (or maybe it’s hungry mouth, I get confused), to try to escape from when it’s time to change clothes and to say “da!” to when we’re up at 5 am . She calls me “Aaron Earl(y) Bird”.

My Favorite Mommy

Also, this weekend was my Mommy’s  BLOGIVERSARY. So she decided to dust off her blog after a month of non-writing to celebrate two years of sharing the wealth of insanity with all of you.

As her BLOGIVERSAY gift to you, she wants me to hit some of the highlights of the last two years and to thank you for making the memories with us through your reading and your comments.

Remember that time Big Sis was potty training? Or the time Lil’ Sis locked us out? Or the time that Mommy got a root canal the week before I was born? Also, here is last year’s BLOGIVERSARY post. And one about procrastination (since it’s Monday and all) and ear infections (since it is sicky sick season).

I hope you enjoy strolling down Memory Lane, even if it is strewn with dirty laundry and amoxicillin. Here’s to another year of ‘good times’.

PS Mommy says to come back later this week for what she says is incontrovertible (isn’t that a kind of car?) evidence that my sisters are the most destructive little girls on the planet. And she says she’s got pictures to prove it.

Radio Silent

26 Aug

Whine: I feel a little guilty. I should be rustling up some grub for my posse instead of writing.

Cheese: They’re not going to eat it anyway (we’re having fish). See? It’s magic. The guilt is gone.

I am not unaware that my most regular posting streak has been interrupted by a most unfortunate lapse in any and all communications. If I were a spy (which I totally am in my fantasy life) and my blog were a sat-phone, the last few weeks would be what we spies call “radio silent.” Which is a tactic by which a super-smart (and ridiculously good looking) spy decides to throw her enemies off the trail by no longer communicating with command central. Which is totally why you haven’t heard from me in such a long time.

While I’ve been out thwarting dastardly plans for world domination, life in my house seems to march on. Brother Bear continues his improbable growth spurt. 28+ inches at his four-month checkup. Which explains his ongoing need to wake me in the night. Last night’s hourly awakening being no exception. Except the night before, he slept all night. Which just goes to show you that he is quite clever, because he knows that changing up his attack each night will be the quickest route to insanity for me and therefore I will be pathetic and defenseless and prone to feeding him whenever he makes even a tiny peep. And yes, I am complaining about him sleeping through the night. Hate me if you must; it is very hard to save the world when you are sleeping in 1-hour increments, although it never seemed to bother Sydney Bristow.

Apparently all this world-saving has me neglecting proper nutritional education, as Lil’ Sis just pulled a lime half out of my drink and said “I love cherry limes” right before giving it a big lick. Yes, she thinks they are called cherry limes, since she only ever sees them at the bottom of my 44oz styrofoam cup.

Another byproduct of my super-awesome alter-ego is that there is quite a heap of big news to share, but I’ve been too busy kicking bottom and taking names (this is a g-rated blog after all) to share it.  So here are three of the biggest news items, in no particular order.

1) I have a job. It pays.

2) I have a ‘new’ vehicle. It does not require that the three car seats be stuffed end to end in the back seat.

3) Lil’ Sis is 95% potty trained. Goodbye Pull-Ups.

Both item #1 and #2 seemed to drop out of the sky and into my lap. #3 is as big surprise to me as it is to you.

The job is very part time. It is for my church, working with the elementary kids’ program. And every day is Bring Your Brother Bear To Work Day. Which is especially awesome, as I sit through a planning meeting with Slurps/Burps McGee attached to me. But it works for us, and I (ahem) LOVE my new boss.

The vehicle is new to us. It’s a minivan and it used to belong to some very generous people who also happen to be closely related to me. (In other words, my parents got sick of watching us cram their precious grandkids into the back of a sedan and gave us their car.) It is so much easier to get from Point A to Point B without having everyone have to hold their breath just to fit in the back seat. Also, the lock has a clicker. Which I realize is soooo 2001, but my old car didn’t have one, so I’m just saying it’s nice since I usually end up trying to unlock my car looking like a pack mule and/or bag lady (it’s one of my undercover disguises, you know).

And Lil’ Sis has just decided to make my life easier. At least in the bodily fluids department. I still clean up messes from time to time, but she has pretty much single-handedly potty trained herself. And for that, she will get a car when she is 16. (The minivan will still be running then, right?)

We have been jetsetting and swimming and living it up this summer, and I sure hope I eventually get a post out of that excruciating day of travel (only one excruciating day of travel? surely you jest.), but first we have to go on one last road trip because the all the other ones we just finished weren’t enough. And also because fantasy football drafts are just better when you’ve driven 8++ hours each way over a long weekend to do them. Heh.

My name is Aaron and I like to boogie. At 5 AM.

We got free hamburgers for dressing like this. So there.

A picture of my uber-blonde alter ego. But shhhhh, don't blow my cover.

Charlie Bit My Finger: Guest Post by Andrew

1 Apr

Whine:  I haven’t blogged in a really long time – and I’m suffering from performance anxiety.

Cheese: At least I’m not mother to a hungry newborn where I’m forced to take a blogging sabbatical due to a sore body, irrational crying and sleepless nights.  With that being said, inspiration can often strike in the middle of the night.

Hi, I’m Andrew Clogg… and my name rhymes with blog. I imagine my daughter will grow up hearing cyber jokes instead of plumbing jokes like I did.  I’m Sarah’s brother-in-law, and in addition to being a guest blogger, I serve as her part-time technical support guy (though she really doesn’t need my help). I am father to Avery (aka “Aves’ the Brave”) and Charlie (aka “Char Char”) and a beautiful wife who I won’t mention (because we once had an internet stalker – no kidding).

I am also the first male ever (besides Brother Bear) to post on Whine and Cheese… so don’t expect any acronymical anecdotes referencing OBGYN’s or PMS. I wanted to take this time to encourage all of you aspiring bloggers and internet junkies to continue following your passions. Your time will come – even if it’s not what, or when you expect.  I’m living proof of this.

About a month ago, a production company in California found my youtube clip titled “dog disaster” which profiled my dog’s “while-you-were-out” escapades, involving a large living room plant and my study bible.  They asked if they could use it in an upcoming mini-series for Animal Planet about dogs who behave badly.  Yes, it’s not exactly “good press” and no, I didn’t make a killing ($50) – but it was my first lucky break!

Shortly after, I was contacted by the Science Museum of Minnesota to use a different clip of my daughter, “Avery talking to Mommy”. The video footage will be featured in an upcoming exhibit on childhood speech development (…If you knew Avery, she couldn’t be more perfect for the role!). It’s not as though these clips have a TON of hits -only a few hundred – and yet, they were still FOUND; even though they were a couple years old.

As a proud daddy and dog owner I’m thrilled that there are others out there who find MY day-to-day moments worth commemorating.  Whether it’s a spontaneous video, or witty blog post – I think we ALL have equally memorable moments that are worth sharing.

So, keep blogging, tweeting, and youtubing,  friends! You never know when your story will become the next internet sensation!

 

Andrew (aka Uncle Andrew) sells trash cans for a living. Really big trash cans. Ok, they’re actually dumpsters. In his spare time he likes starting “discussions” about taboo political topics, teaching his dog funny tricks and playing every board game Germany has ever produced.

 

A Double Shot of UnWord Fun

5 Feb

Whine: I’m totally smungover from being up past 1 am the last few nights. And when I tried to nap today, I found myself battling wicked sminsomnia, as my brain twittered around planning this post. [To translate this statement, see below.]

Cheese: After owning my current cell phone  (which I bought for its mp3 capability) for almost two years, I have finally downloaded some music onto it.

 

smangover [smang-oh-ver] -noun

smungover [smung-oh-ver] –adjective

The lingering effects of physical exhaustion, including crabbiness, headache and bloodshot eyes, resulting from overuse of social media such as text messaging, facebook, or blogging. Usually effects those over twenty-five years of age, as those younger usually have more stamina and fewer jobs.

“I’ve got a killer smangover,” she groaned, “I was up all night cyber-stalking my fifth grade teacher.”

 

And just because I love you guys (and who knows when I’ll post again), here’s a bonus UnWord for today.

sminsomnia [in-som-nee-uh] -noun

sminsomniac [in-som-nee-ack] -noun

An inability to fall asleep or stay asleep as a result of obsessive thoughts about and overuse of social media.  Often causes a nasty smangover.