Friday, February 17, 2017

Getting Myself Together

Or rather, getting myself plus every other member of the family together so we can all leave our house at 4:15 tomorrow morning. We're going to Arizona. For a week.

I am so not ready for this.

I mean, I'm ready to be there. Hello, 68 degrees and sunny in February! But I am not ready to get there. Then again, can a person ever really be ready for a 16-hour cross-country odyssey with three small boys? Not really.

My feeling of unpreparedness is exacerbated by the fact that I basically lost Wednesday due to Jack's stomach ailment affecting both A. and me on the same day. I managed to repair most of the chaos from that episode yesterday, but it put me behind in my laundry and bread baking and so forth.

Anyway. Who cares! Tomorrow we're going to wake our small children hellishly early and get on a plane (three planes) with whatever I've thrown in our bags for a week of fun in the sun!


This one is psyched to swim in a pool. And that Valentine's chocolate he's holding that came from my parents? I bet there will be PLENTY MORE where that came from. Because we're staying where that came from. Vacation, here we come.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Romance Report

Well, we kicked off Valentine's Day by pushing A. out the door at 4 a.m. so he could make the five-hour drive to Blackrock with the dog in tow.

Okay, I didn't really push him. He went voluntarily, because he has a court appearance in that county today. I even got up to offer a mumbled "Happy Valentine's Day," and a limp hug before I stumbled back to bed.

I know. My devotion is really inspiring.

He has the dog with him because we're leaving Saturday for a week in Arizona (!), so Mia is going to stay with the MiL and Sky while we're gone. As irritating as old dog Mia finds Sky's relentless energy and attempts to play, she'll be much happier there than in a boarding kennel.

Cubby and Charlie have Valentine's Day parties in their respective classes today. Thankfully, I am not on the hook for any required treats for these parties, but I did, of course, have to provide the Valentine's Day cards for all the classmates. When I surveyed my choices at the grocery store, I found that my only non-branded option were cards that can be folded into paper airplanes. Since I have Big Issues with branded children's anything, I could not bring myself to buy anything with Barbie or Ninja Turtles on it. So airplanes it is!

When I opened the boxes last night so Cubby could write the names on them (and I could do Charlie's), I looked at the instructions and realized I am NOT going to be beloved of any parent who has to fold these things for their kid. They're all, "Fold A vertically to B, Fold B left to C" and on and on for an entire page.

Sorry, parents.

A. did one for Cubby and Charlie, and they are pretty good planes. If you can manage to follow all the directions.

Really, though, my only hope for today is that Cubby and Charlie actually GO to school. Charlie has been sick with a mysterious malaise for two days now, Jack woke up yesterday covered in vomit, and Cubby was complaining last night at bedtime that his stomach hurt. So if no one is throwing up today and the two older ones go to school, I'll consider the day a success.

Happy Valentine's Day, my lovelies! Doing anything fun to celebrate?

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Happy birthday to
the amazing Cubby.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Comedy of Baking Errors

My mission this morning was to bake, assemble, and decorate 24 cupcakes and an ice cream cake. The cupcakes are for Cubby's birthday celebration at school tomorrow. The ice cream cake was his request for his actual birthday on Saturday.

Okay. I can do this. I may be The World's Worst Baker (title confirmation pending), but I will focus and follow a recipe and make cake. Lots of cake.

I quadrupled Grandma Bishop's Chocolate Cake recipe (found in the comments of this post), which did require a lot of concentration so I could make sure that I actually quadrupled every single ingredient and didn't, say, only double the amount of eggs or something.

I didn't do that. But I did realize I didn't have enough sugar, so half the sugar was light brown sugar. And I didn't have any buttermilk, so I used yogurt and regular milk. And I used butter instead of lard (sorry, Grandma Bishop). And I forgot to add the flour.

No, seriously. I forgot to add the flour. Do I get my title now?

Luckily, I realized this in time to actually add the flour, not, like, when I was baking them or something.

A quadruple recipe made 24 large cupcakes, plus two thin layers for the ice cream cake. The frosting was just butter, powdered sugar, and milk.

I decorated the cupcakes with M&Ms. The reason I decorated them with M&Ms was that when I took Jack to the store with me early this morning specifically to get colored sugar and that gel stuff to write on cakes (what is that called?), the store was closed.

Oh yes. It was.

So I stopped at the gas station instead and got some M&Ms. The kids will probably like those better, anyway.

Also, I made sure to put exactly six M&Ms on each cupcake. You know why I did that? Because I have three children, that's why, and I know damn well that at least some of the kids in that class are going to be counting M&Ms to make sure they get as many as everyone else. Because that's what my children do.

Also also, I actually shifted the colors of the M&Ms around so as to have a pleasing variety of colors on each cupcake. Because who wants the cupcake with only brown and orange M&Ms? No one, that's who.

I haven't yet actually decorated the ice cream cake, but we do indeed have cake. Lots and lots of cake.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fun in the Snow . . . I Guess

In which Charlie learns that bikes are useless in a foot of snow.

Cubby gets a harsh physics lesson on gravity and momentum courtesy of the sled and a steep incline.

And Jack avoids the whole scene by escaping to the barn to sit on the riding mower.

Sorry, kids. Better get used to it. We won't be seeing bare ground for months yet.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

My Life in Three Words

Yesterday when I was sitting on the couch looking at the laptop computer, Charlie came to sit by me and announced disparagingly, "There are about 150 things that are more important than staring at a computer."

"You're right," I said, shutting the computer and pulling him into my lap. "And you know what the names of three of them are? Charlie, Cubby, and Jack."

"Yes," he said with satisfaction. "And us . . . we're your life."

Truer words have never been spoken. And what a sweet life it is.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Skunk Boys at School

Today is "Crazy for Kindness" at Cubby and Charlie's school, which meant they could wear crazy socks or have crazy hair for The Great Kindness Challenge. They do not own any crazy socks, and it's sort of hard to have crazy hair when you have a buzz cut. Except . . .

I was planning on giving them their monthly head-shaving this weekend anyway. So last night I shaved everything except a strip down the middle, thinking it would be like a mohawk. The contrast in length wasn't enough to really look like much, though, so this morning I added some of my mousse, sifted some cornstarch over that, and then hair sprayed it in place.

Possibly the lamest crazy hair ever, but I didn't have much to work with.

Jack of course demanded that he get the same thing his brothers did, so I sifted some cornstarch onto his head too.

Isn't he lucky to have such an indulgent mother?

They then spent the time before the school bus came crawling around and sticking their, ahem, dupas* in each other's faces to spray like a skunk. 

Sorry, teachers. This was maybe not my most thought-out plan. But hey, you want crazy hair? You get crazy boys. 

* Do you know the word "dupa"? This is a Polish word my Milwaukee-raised father used when I was a child in place of the word "butt," which was a word we were not allowed to use. Except when I looked up dupa just now, I found that its most common meaning is actually "ass," so he was really swearing in Polish throughout my entire childhood. HA.