Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Door Behind Me

How often do I feel painted into a corner, only to find a door behind me, usually with a giant "EXIT" sign with a blinking neon light? I tend to assume I am trapped when in fact I am being liberated.

Consider my baby. We were having sleep... err... issues. It took hours to put the poor darling to sleep, and then she would jolt awake the second I tried to lay her down. I took a short (as in, one time) foray into sleep training before realizing I was torturing the child. I really felt at a loss, which is not normal for me. Then, a friend mentioned something about her daughter laying her son on her bed for a nap... don't remember the whole story, because little bells were chiming in my head. I don't need for Rachael to fall asleep in her own bed, just to merely fall asleep. By herself. When I tried to put her to sleep on my bed, she fussed for a minute or two before passing out. Problem solved.

Painted into a corner? No, just too sleep deprived to see obvious options. (Thanks, Tia, by the way, and I swear I usually pay attention to your stories instead of gleaning parenting tips from them).

Working from home was a similar sitch for me. I really felt trapped, by finances and my career and societal expectations. When I had my second child, I was determined to stay at home and not miss a single poop-y, spit-uppy moment, even though we really needed my income and I truly loved my job. When I tearfully turned in my resignation at work, the director suggested I continue to work, just from home as a contract employee. And I was like, Oh. The four month what-shall-I-do drama ceased as quickly as if my boss had changed the channel.

When we moved here, I obviously couldn't work for my employer anymore. At first I did what I apparently always do when faced with adversity--lamented, whined, pitied myself for being trapped. Then I started experimenting with work at home options available without being under the umbrella of a corporation. I really feel like I'm making headway.

If you'd like to read all the stuff I've tried, I made a permanent record here on my website so other mommies can benefit.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Food Fallacy Number Three: My Kids Won't Eat It

Consider the chicken nugget.

It's really a work of art. This little finger food is the product of more scientific engineering than Dolly the Sheep. When you buy them, you think--no, you HOPE--that it is a piece of chicken rolled in wheat breading. The "chicken" is actually a carefully honed mixture of chicken skin (for mouth feel), tons of salt and a laundry list of mysterious chemicals (for flavoring and preservative), and gluten (to bind the whole thing together and give it that squishy texture). Often corn syrup is added to give it a slight sweetness.

It seems like making nuggets out of plain chicken would be easier, so why does the chicken nugget company go to all this trouble? Because they want your kids to LOVE their product. To crave it. To want nothing but it. They have a staff of scientists that has informed them that humans have evolved to crave sugar and fat because of their high calorie value. Back when we were hunters and gatherers, we needed high calorie foods to put fat on our body for lean times. Now, of course, there are no lean times so the fat stays on and accumulates until it causes disease--but that's not their problem. Ditto for salt; the pre-civilization diet was low in it so the love of salt was a good thing, while now it's so pervasive we are literally poisoning ourselves with it.

An entire book could be written about chicken nuggets, but you get the idea. This food, along with other "children's" foods have been designed to appeal to your child. They aren't healthy, but the manufacturers know that most modern parents simply buy what their kids ask for.

This is where good parenting comes in. Your two year old doesn't know that the processed food dancing across her television screen will make her unhealthy and eventually kill her. You do, and you're conveniently also the one who shops and cooks. Apples and lentils aren't as 'tasty' as chicken nuggets because they lack the chemical that adds that 'tasty' flavor, but they can taste very good if your pallate isn't trained on the other stuff. Of course your kids will ask for crappy processed foods, because they are marketed to children and shoved down their throat at every opportunity, but that doesn't mean you have to give in.

It has been proven over and over that children will not starve themselves to death. Although we are programmed to crave fat, salt, and sugar, we are also programmed to want food and feel extremely uncomfortable without it. Buying your kids processed crap because they won't eat whole foods is like saying your 10 year old must have Penthouse magazines because he won't read literature. Given the choice, a prepubescent boy would always opt for the Penthouse, and that's why parents make the choices. It's your responsibility to know what nutrients children need and make sure every meal is chock full of them. It's also cheaper, so you'll save more than medical bills in the long run.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Subway Is Not My Way

I love Subway. They're cheap(er), healthy(er), and have a wide enough range that my children can each indulge their personal tastes and be happy with their end product.

And now I can't eat there ever again, because of this clause in their latest children's storywriting contest rules:

"2. ELIGIBILITY. Contest is open only to legal residents of the United States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted."

All I can say is, Subway, you suck.

I don't know who wrote that in, or why, but I think you are going to lose a lot of business over it.

Homeschoolers may be one of your most loyal markets. First of all, we actually have studied biology and therefore understand why vegetables and low fat foods are better for us than a starchy bun with a charred piece of cholesterol on it. We are all about processes, so we don't mind waiting and watching you make the sandwich. It takes longer than watching an employee grab a paper bundle from under the warmer, but we know it produces a better product--just like homeschooling.

While the libertarian in me recognizes your right to act in a discriminating manner, I am going to exercise my right to vote with my checkbook by NEVER visiting a Subway again. Nor will my parents, or my siblings (there's six of us), nor any of the friends I've told about this so far.

Homeschoolers are a growing group and our families tend to be large and on the go. If you don't want us to come to your party, you're excluding a rather substantial and growing group. Not good business sense, but that's not my problem. I've heard Quizno's is better anyway.

Here's a petition to show Subway what we think about their contest rules, if you also think they suck.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Food Fallacy Two: We DESERVE...

This one actually comes in three forms:

1. I (or my husband) work hard and I need/deserve a meat and potatoes dinner (or gourmet meal, or going out, you get the picture).

2. My kids love out-of-season cherries/$8 English cucumbers/smoked brie and they are, after all, healthy.

3. Everyone deserves a treat every now and then.

So I will address them one by one. The first fallacy is one I have encoutered in my own home. My husband is a meat-and-starch lover who thinks iceberg lettuce is about the only pallatable vegetable. And he works hard, so who can begrudge him his desire to spend a portion of that on steak?

This is one of the reasons we have spouses: because two minds are better than one.

A meat and potatoes diet is not just expensive; it's also incredibly unhealthy. Even if the person eating this stuff is at a healthy weight, who knows what kind of polyps are forming in their colon? Or what damage their arterial walls are suffering as their body struggles to process the cholesterol?

You don't deserve giant chunks of red meat as much as your kids deserve to have you at their wedding. You don't deserve it as much as you deserve a balanced budget. So if your entitlements are infringing on either, it's time to get a little less entitled.

Okay, now for fallacy two. If your bills are paid off, your retirement and college funds are on track, and you are generally financially secure, exotic produce is a great way to blow your money compared to other alternatives. But most people who read articles on cutting grocery bills aren't quite there. In this case, you have to decide: cherries today, or college tomorrow? Would you like a side of supporting-two-ailing-elderly-parents-and-all-their-medical-bills with that artichoke? How about some lifelong-money-issues-because-your-childhood-home-was-foreclosed-upon with your salmon?

Treats are nice when they are treats, but a child who eats cherries every day views them with the same enthusiasm my children have for much cheaper bananas. You are not buying them a happier or healthier childhood; merely mortgaging their future so you can feel better as a parent. Worse, you may be setting them up for a lifetime of expecting "the best".

Last, everyone DOES deserve a treat every now and then. Budget for it, keep your bills down, and have that treat as often as you can afford it and as often a you can while maintaining the "specialness" of it. Cheetos every week are not a treat; cheetos every few months are sublime. Even I take my kids to fast food once a month.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Food Fallacy One: You Get What You Pay For

Also known as: Healthy food costs more.

I want you to think of two snacks, one really unhealthy and one really healthy. In my family, potato chips are the coveted junk food that we rarely eat. Carrots and yogurt come to mind for a healthy snack because we eat them a lot in my house.

Right now Lay's potato chips are on sale in my area for $1.99 for a 10 oz bag. These are ultra-low, Memorial Day weekend loss leader prices. This makes potato chips on sale $3.60 cents a pound. Baby carrots, not a loss leader and not generally included in holiday sales, are available at most of my area stores for $1.50 per pound regular price. All natural Mountain High yogurt in a big family sized 2 lb. tub is on sale for $2.50.

Chips: $3.60/lb
Carrots: $1.50/lb
Yogurt: $1.25/lb

Still think healthy food costs more? Consider breakfast cereal.

The major cereal brands offer both healthy and unhealthy versions. When they go on sale, you can choose to buy Cheerios instead of Froot Loops. Or, you can go ultra cheap and feed your family bulk bought oatmeal served with in season fruit for half the cost per serving.

Last, dinners. Consider chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken breast indeed is more expensive than whole leg quarters, usually twice as much. However, when you strip the leg quarters of skin, gristle, and bone, there is very little meat left. If you use unwanted chicken parts for stock, the leg quarters may be a good deal, but the breast generally costs about the same per pound. But you know what's even cheaper? Legumes. Beans and lentils generally cost between $1 and $1.50 per pound, and unlike meat, they swell when they cook to about four times their dry weight. This means that cooked beans are costing you 25 to 37 cents per pound cooked. That is the true bargain, and it's why we eat legume oriented dinners twice a week at my house. The nutrients in plant foods are also more easily digested, which for me has meant that adding more legumes to our diet helped me to win a lifelong struggle with chronic anemia.

I'm not even going to address packaged things like lunchmeats and desserts. The more unhealthy ones are often cheaper, but all versions are extremely bad for you. These do not comprise a necessary part of the human diet, and you can substitute healthier things that also cost less. If you have not banned processed foods altogether, they should take up a marginal part of your diet.

Check back tomorrow for another fallacy. If you want to argue, agree, or tell me about a fallacy you run into, leave a message on this blog or email me at

New Project: Food Fallacies

I have to hope that people truly want to save money on their grocery bill, but this hasn't been my actual experience. On the contrary, many people hold up their expensive bills like badges of honor. With food prices rising, more people seem ready to be aggressive about cutting their bills, but I still will not post a blog about saving on groceries (yet) and here's why:

I can give people tools and list concrete actions that together will likely cut their bill in half, but if they are not ready in their mind to really make changes, they will respond with excuses. Over the years, I have repeatedly heard the same excuses-even used a few of them myself.

So here's the plan: I will dedicate one blog every day to food fallacies, and when I have addressed all the crappy excuses, we can move on to the nuts and bolts of how I feed my household of seven a healthy, balanced diet for $100 a week or less.

Have you heard a food fallacy lately? Or do you think you can stump me with your really, really good reason to blow your budget on food? Email me at and I'll make sure to add yours to the list.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Half-@ssed Environmentalism

I truly believe it will save the world, and here's why:

My parents live in a tiny home powered by solar panels, reuse their bath water to nourish their organic garden, and always have the latest green gadget. They are devout Buddhists, so minimalism is their thang. It's ironic that minimalism requires so much expensive stuff, but that's a subject for another blog.

Minimalism is NOT my thang. And I can't scrape up the cash for solar panels or electric ATVs or any of the nifty stuff Mom has. Nor do I seem to find time and energy for the more hard core green practices I hear about, like raising organic turkeys or bicycling the ninety blocks into town with four kids in tow.

This probably sounds like all of my readers. Middle class Americans are a time and money strapped bunch, or at least we think we are. So should we give up? Unfortunately, many people think so.

I advocate a middle ground that I like to call "half-assed environmentalism." That is, I do what I can, when I can, to the extent that I can. I hang out laundry... when it's warm. I use cloth diapers... when we're at home and I'm not behind on laundry. I cook organic, vegetarian meals... unless we're craving cheeseburgers. This summer we'll be trying out the bus... sometimes.

If you do a half-assed job of conserving only half the time, you'll cut back your carbon footprint by a quarter. If you do a really great job half the time, you'll be cutting back by about half. If, like me, you do a half-assed job one-third of the time, a great job another third, and lapse into wastefulness the rest of the time... well, you'll have to ask a homeschooler to do the math because I'm too tired, but you get the idea. It all makes a difference.

So let's get out there and show the world the power of mediocrity! Together, we can conquer the planet! Or at least part of it! Or maybe just France because they have great wine and cheese!

Mmmm, cheese.

got leftovers?

I am always appalled by how much food Americans waste.

Not to brag, but we throw away very little food in my home. One of my secrets is "kitchen sink soup". I keep a tupperware container in my freezer for vegetable peelings, meat bones, and the little odds and ends that are left after meals. When the container is full, I boil it, pick out the bones and icky stuff, then add a little rice or pasta. It has never failed to make a really good soup.

I don't understand the food waste that happens in most households. If you won't eat it, don't buy it. Or don't buy so much. It seems so simple.

Here is a fabulous UK site aimed at helping people conserve food. If you click on the recipes tab, there is this cool tool where you can list what you need to use up and it will give you a recipe. Now you have no excuse!

Hanging Out Laundry

Spring has finally arrived here in Yakima, with a showy display of flowering trees and sunny days. Don't you love it when your laundry smells like flowers when you bring it in off the line?

You aren't hanging out your laundry, you say?

Here's all you need: a long, thin rope, and a bag of clothespins. These supplies can be found for less than $5--I buy my clothespins at the dollar store, in fact.

The instructions are simple: string the rope between two trees, posts, whatever, and hang your laundry on it.

The only issue I can think off is that hung out laundry can get "crunchy" and stiff. You can remedy this by pouring a small splash of vinegar in the rinse water. For jeans, socks, towels, and other garments that (in my opinion) must be soft, I take them off the line just before they are dry and finish them in the tumble dryer.

If you miss that almost-dry time, just throw a damp dishtowel in the dryer with them.

Unless you have money to spare, an ultra-clean source of energy, and a planet that isn't struggling from the negative effects of civilization, you should be hanging out the laundry when weather allows.

If you actually have that clean, happy planet, let me know and I'll come live with you. I'll earn my keep by hanging out your laundry.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Don't Yell At My Kid

Or yell at me about my kid in front of my kid.

A friend told me in a blog comment that this happened to her. A hopefully well-meaning adult admonished her to control her child. If it's the child I think it is, she has special needs and is already way more under control than someone with a medical or psychological background would expect.

A few weeks ago, our 4-H club was almost split up by one mom. She has the dangerous combination of less-than-perfectly-behaved children, the conviction that nothing is their fault, and the belief that she has the right to discipline other people's children with the parents present. Her son was hurt--not bad, no bruises or broken skin--while playing, and she starting screaming at every other child present.

The appropriate way to handle this, in my opinion, would be to tell her own child to suck it up. There's no way every single kid there was in the wrong except for this one. They are all good kids, so if someone gets hurt I chalk it up to rough play, maybe ask the perpetrators for apologies.

If she really thought the other kids were purposely hurting her son, the appropriate thing would have been to talk to the parents alone. It later came out that her son had a lot more fault in the matter than had been apparent at the time. Anyway, I only yell at my kids when they are in danger or they have done something truly terrible, so my son was a little baffled by the whole scene. Now he has no respect for this adult, and I am beginning share his sentiment.

If you are a disciplinarian type with other people's children, stop it. Discipline is only effective when it comes from the base of a loving relationship, and there's no way a mother can be fair when choosing between her own child and someone else's.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Non-Homeschooler's Guide to Homeschool Co-ops

Life coach/homeschooling mom/comedienne Londa Harpster once said, "I don't do co-ops. I don't even own a denim jumper."

If you don't homeschool, then you probably don't know about co-ops or homeschooling mommies' intense love/hate relationship with them. Well, here's your chance.

A co-op is an opportunity for homeschoolers to get together and learn things that can only be learned in groups. Subjects like chess, Irish dancing, and animal science either require partners of very close age or instruction from people with more skills than me. Unless you have a degree in, well, everything, and you've been popping out a baby every year, you probably can't duplicate that experience in your home. (If you have been giving birth every year, Irish step dancing is the least of your worries.)

I treat co-ops like taxes... I don't generally *like* them, but they are a necessary evil in the homeschooling lifestyle, so I accommodate them as gracefully and cheerfully as possible. But here's why I hate them:

7 AM: Homeschool moms should not be up this early because we stay up all night perfecting the trim on Shakepearean costumes, but here I am, awake and nursing while kicking back the first cup of coffee.

8 AM: I am picking out clothes for the kids, which on co-op day always puts me in a bind. Do I put Grace in "town clothes" knowing she will turn them into technicolor masterpieces in painting class, or shall I dress her in ratty, stained play clothes and let everyone see what a slob I am when no one's looking? I opt for town clothes until I realize that she has no clean shorts because I haven't got around to summer shopping yet. I end up cutting off a pair of too-small jeans and rolling them up--isn't that look back in style? Please say yes. But the shirt is cute enough to carry the outfit I suppose.

8:30 We are pulling out of the driveway when Malcolm announces that he didn't eat breakfast. "Of course you did," I inform him. But then, looking back, I don't know... Too late now, anyway.

9 AM: You will know you have made it to co-op when your speech begins to sound staccato. You know, like this: Stop TALKING and sit DOWN and keep your HANDS to yourself. I am not the only mom who has this voice; it is the only mom voice you hear at co-ops, except for the sticky-sweet voice we use with other people's children: Oh, honey, could you please put down my purse and--oh no, don't push that button, it's the alarm--

If you could see through my eyes, you would see a room full of children and mothers, with mine pushing each other and arguing conspicuously loud. We say morning prayer and sing Onward Christian Soldiers, which is ironic because I'm not feeling too Christian, but I am feeling like killing someone.

9:30 AM: You know it will NOT be a good day if your child's co-op teacher asks you to bring an extra change of clothing for that morning's lesson. Not if you have particularly excitable children, and certainly not if they have jealous younger siblings. So Grace is plotting new ways to mess up her town clothes in whatever extravaganza they have planned, Malcolm is crying because he wants to go to Grace's class and not his own, Rachael is whimpering because she is hungry, and Tyler--wait, where is Tyler?

10:00 AM: All children located and handed over to their teachers. Even my preteen who thinks I won't notice if he slips out to skateboard between classes. I am settled in the nursery, where the only toddler who isn't whingeing for their mother is determined to play with every toy my baby picks up. Rachael, of course, is not taking this well. The sticky-sweet other-people's-children voice is inching closer to the staccato my-own-children voice.

10:45 AM: They gave them nachos for snack? NACHOS? The only kid who doesn't have a bad reaction to food coloring and preservatives won't touch them because they are spicy--coincidentally, that's Malcolm, who didn't eat breakfast either and is acting like he belongs in a Ritalin commercial. Grace is climbing the walls because she really needs that whole foods diet, Rachael is on her last nerve because she just wants to play with a toy, any toy, darn it, and Tyler--if he is out skateboarding again, I am going to have a conniption fit. Okay, he's not skateboarding, but he is having some sort of angst because these girls he likes keep hitting him and he can't hit them back, doesn't want to leave the group, and is too young and male to talk his way out of it.

Not my problem. It's my "free period"--the only half hour I have without children every month. Of course I still have the baby, but that's one paltry quarter of my usual child-to-mom ratio. So the little heathens can take their medical issues and their tween drama to their teachers because I need a cup of coffee, thank you.

11:15 AM: Free period already over. Now I help teach Irish step dance. You didn't know I could Irish step dance? That's because I can't.

We actually hired a professional to teach this one. I am merely a helper because the teacher is about fifteen and too sweet to deal with a room of squirrelly kids. I took dance lessons for eight years, so I can at least do the steps without humiliating myself... if I wasn't holding a baby and entertaining Malcolm the whole time.

Why is Malcolm with me? I made the mistake of checking on him and he dissolved into I-want-Mommy bawling. I couldn't take it. He's barely four, you know.

12 Noon: It's over. Rachael is a frustrated, whiny mess, Malcolm is still bawling for Mommy even though he has her (I think I grabbed the right kid), and Grace is twitching from her healthy snack. I am wondering what they did to produce such a brilliant hue of green on her t-shirt and how to wash dried nacho cheese from her hair while assuring poor Tyler that the girls just act this way because they have massive crushes on him and that he should be glad he doesn't attend a real junior high, where this would be his life forty hours a week.

As for the denim jumper, I don't own one either, and I won't consider it until True Religion starts making them. Even then...

But we will continue going to our co-ops because I think I actually enjoy this on some masochistic level.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just another service I offer...

Turning my kids into serial killers, that is.

Normally I am into what parenting experts call attachment parenting. I try not to yell at my kids or hit them or do things that interfere with our bond. I'm selfish. I'm all about the bond. It's why I became a parent. And, to be fair, I think the kids benefit just as much from having a close relationship with their primary caregiver. Anyone who knows us will confirm that my children are veritably bursting with self confidence and exuberance for life.

On a concrete level, this means I breastfeed and have awesome biceps from lugging my babies and toddlers around, and that the babies generally end up sleeping in my bed until another baby kicks them out. Or, in Rachael's case, they don't sleep at all.

It's probably from all the caffeine she receives in her breastmilk, but that is ENTIRELY beside the point because I cannot experiment with my caffeine intake. I must have it at a certain level or bad things happen. That's how addiction works. And I don't care that I'm addicted... in fact I would take something stronger if it were legal. But back to the point.

Rachael will be an exhausted, grumpy little troll and still not sleep. She'll nod off while nursing, but snap back awake as soon as I move. The kid NEEDS some sleep. And Mommy NEEDS to get a few things done with BOTH hands. So I pulled a Ferber and put little Rachael in her playpen. She immediately freaked. I did what those Baby-Must-Sleep-When-I-Say-So people say to do and told her she would be okay and that it was nap tme now.

She continued to scream.

So I left the room and have gone in every ten minutes or so to let her know everything is okay and that we are taking a nap. Yep, every ten minutes since noon, and now it's 1:40 PM. She is in such hysterics that I'm afraid to go in the room, like her head will be spinning or something. I'm sure her cortisol levels are through the roof and that I am damaging some important part of her brain as well as chipping away at her emotional health. And all for a nap.

Tell me I'm doing the right thing. ?. No, don't bother, I won't believe you anyway.


What is up with the freebie world lately?

As most of you know, I add new freebies to the Freebie Section of my website every day. Usually I check out what's out there through message boards, then narrow down the long list to just the really cool ones. It usually comes to between ten and fifteen a day. Lately, I'm having trouble finding ten, and that's posting whatever legitimate deals I find without holding out for the really big ones.

Usually I send for all the freebies, even the stuff I can't use. I know a lot of people, so I doubt I'll have trouble getting rid of, say, dog food. But how many religious books can someone have? And I have a freezer-sized ziploc bursting at the seams from all of my little skincare tubes--should I hold off on ordering more? Because it's all face cream and religious literature lately.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Green Election

Green is the issue this year, especially among the presidential candidates. Each has their unique plan for saving the planet or at least our little patch of it. Each plan sounds equally inefficient and unrealistic, and completely out of touch with the lives of everyday Americans.

I know I say this every election, but this time I really mean it: Is that the best they can do?

Of all the sensitive, intelligent, socially-minded people in our country, these are the best three? Really?

I won't go into the specifics of why I consider each candidate an absolutely terrible choice for president, just to avoid offending the one or two people who actually have a favorite and not a 'least-worst-choice'.

We have to get the politics out of politics. Here's an idea: Let's start a Blog Party. We can pick the smartest bloggers, hold a primary to choose the best one, and then run them using net-only advertising.

Why net-only? Because this year, one of my top pet peeves is that people who claim they want to save the planet feel like hopping all over the globe on fuel guzzling planes is the way to do it. It's such an obviously bad idea that I immediately lose respect for anyone who has it.

My advice to the candidates: hold a net-only election. Stop the trips to podunk towns that don't care about you and are really just touched that someone would pause in their neck of the woods. Quit the rallies--you know you're preaching to the choir, right? That only people who already love you would go to your rally in the first place? Save the time, save the money, and for heaven's sake stop flooding my mailbox with pleas for donations. Stick with TV commercials and webvertisement. That's all most Americans have time for, anyway.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My New Least Favorite Era... the Elizabethan era. Because their clothing was horrendously difficult to make.

Honestly, did William Shakepeare have one of those nifty doo-hickeys that punches eyelets into his doublet? And if not, how the $%^* did he get them in his vest, because I can't do them with every tool sold by Sears. Every inch of the doublet has some sort of complicated trim, which I guess is why the pattern doesn't say "easy" on the front like every other pattern I buy. And I just have to wonder how women who worked all day in fields and didn't have sharp scissors much less a sewing machine programmed to do 140 different stitches managed to pull together entire Elizabethan wardrobes for their huge pre-contraception families.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Joy of Sewing

I should have seen it coming. Like an out of control semi with the horn blaring. Danger, danger! Or in Yakima, cuidado!

Whether we're shopping at Nordstrom, Target, or Goodwill, my 5 yo daughter is all about fashion. Even in odd places like science museums and theme parks, the child spends her day sniffing out a good t-shirt. Disneyland was like a colorful mall to her, a big one with a few interesting rides and shows between the racks of Princess apparel. You don't have to be a Nobel Prize winner to realize that this child should never, ever be allowed in a fabric store.

But I was sick. And on codeine cough syrup. Plus Tylenol, and Tylenol really dopes me up. My 12 year old needed a costume and I just don't feel comfortable letting the cats babysit my kindergartener.

At first my daughter was a little puzzled: why are there sheets hanging everywhere? Then she saw the books of patterns and it all started coming together. Later, as she watched me sew Tyler's Shakespearean costume, she asked if I could make her a skirt. She described what sounded like a simple peasant skirt with tiers. Sure, why not?

So we returned to the store for a pattern and material, and the girl started going crazy. I barely escaped with just the supplies to make three skirts, and she was already planning the fourth. Don't forget matching tops, dresses, hats, frilly pajamas, and maybe some matching items for her dolls.

"We are going to start sewing *all* of my clothes," the child announced to the measuring/cutting lady, who of course encouraged this.

Her next phrase will be: "I never wear prêt-à-porter." Maybe ended with dah-ling. Because my little fashionista is simply too stylish for the off-the-rack choices the rest of us are limited to.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

You'll Have to Forgive Me...

Here are things I've been doing instead of blogging, in the order that I did them since I last blogged a week ago.

  1. Entertained out-of-the-country houseguests who arrived with 3 hours notice.
  2. Ran a 4-H meeting.
  3. Dealt with significant emotional fallout from 4-H meeting. (What? You mean you don't leave 4-H crying?)
  4. Helped run a modest homeschooling convention.
  5. Selected and bought all of next year's curriculum.
  6. Bought now-4 yo's gifts the day of his birthday.
  7. Baked a very cool ice cream cone cake for the birthday, also that day.
  8. Planned and shopped for a family barbecue, also that day.
  9. Took guests on a whirlwind tour of Seattle as well as a whirlwind tour of parenting a large family (fighting preschoolers, vomiting children, ya know).
  10. Came home feeling achy and discovered my temperature was over 102.
  11. Took guests shopping and out to lunch--they're expat Americans, so they need things that can't be bought abroad like deodorant, ranch dressing, and cheap clothing.
  12. Selected and bought dd a new carseat because I literally couldn't squeeze her into her old one. Guess I put that one off a bit long.
  13. Cleaned guest rooms. Then,
  14. Collapsed and subsequently found that my fever was up to 104. But that's okay, it came down to 101 with Tylenol.
  15. Scraped together a full dinner from Mexican lunch leftovers and a package of corn tortillas.
  16. Woke up to find my upper respiratory problems had turned into full blown pneumonia. Took a Tylenol and sat in a steamy bathroom for a spell.
  17. Bought a sewing machine, as well as all the expensive crap needed to make a Shakespearean costume which must be done by tomorrow at eleven.
  18. Ordered a cake for now-4yo's "kid" party tomorrow. If you're a friend wondering why I didn't invite you, it's probably because you have all girls.
  19. Called around to announce I will not be at co-op tomorrow.
  20. Explained to concerned friends that I am NOT going to see a doctor because they always want to either put me on anti-biotics (for viral pneumonia... makes sense) or put me in the hospital. Neither of which will get me better any faster, and I have costumes to sew, parties to run, thank you very much...

So that just leaves taking one kid to cooking club, another to soccer, cleaning the entire house, sewing the Elizabethan costume, picking up cake, making treat bags, setting up healthy snack trays, getting 12yo to and from play practice, running the party, and somehow still making sure that nothing falls apart except the Thomas the Tank Engine pinata. And then I can blog.

Did I mention there's also a company party through dh's work this Saturday? And that as one of the bosses' wives, I must be there with impeccable children and a thoughtful gift for his retiring secretary? Another blog.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Writing Blog