Thursday, April 28, 2011

Party All Night!

I really hate to confess... 
I can't do that anymore.  

I don't know how I did before.  

I remember how we used to go party it up, shut down the bar, hang out with friends until the paycheck appeared in the bank (it was between 5 and 6 am back then) and we would head to the 24 hour McD's for a greasy breakfast.  We wouldn't even go to sleep, just straight to work.  Then, after a full work day, head out somewhere else too! 

Or when I was pregnant with Macboy, I was working 4 to midnight every day.  I'd get off work, head to Denny's to visit with friends.  Finally get home around 5:30 am, I'd leave around their shift change, and head to bed.

I used to be able to function on no sleep, and I LOVED it.  Sure wish I knew then how valuable sleep would be later on.  How I would crave it, fight for it, beg and bargain for a few more small minutes.  It's like burning money, I swear... I am exhausted by the thought of even TRYING to stay up all night.

So, why am I considering it?  Well, I have a few reasons.  I can multitask.
  1. It is a morbid curiousity that makes me want to see this royal wedding.  I guess it's "history-in-the-making", right?  Whatever... I want to see.
  2. It is a fact that I have plenty of work that i need to get done and night time hours are the quietest hours in my house.  
  3. It is also a fact that the trucker will have me driving him to work in the morning, so I'm gonna get crappy sleep no matter what I do.
Sadly this night will not be as fun as I remember those party nights being.  I will not have a drink in hand, or dance until my feet hurt.  I will not sing until my voice is hoarse.  I will probably require extra coffee, I will likely likely end up eating a bunch of junk food to occupy myself.  I will also probably be in bed before the kids tomorrow night.

However, I WILL NOT HAVE A HANGOVER..... so I guess I can try.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wendy Can't Cook Easter Dinner

Another family tradition underway in our house.  Turkey slowly roasting in the oven, kids overloaded with chocolate for breakfast. Perfect.

Tradition tells us that Wendy doesn't cook Easter dinner, everyone prefers when my mom cooks.  I don't think I, personally, have EVER actually cooked a turkey.  I do get left with dish duty, but I think it's a fair trade off.  With mom cooking we actually get food we WANT to eat.  And it's only half the work of a normal day.

The Easter bunny went easy on us this year.  I guess he's catching on that our kids aren't really Chocolate eaters.  So instead of a houseful of candies or chocolates, we have just a small number of chocolate eggs (the kids found them all in record time this year) and a few gifts instead.  Miss Angel Baby got a new tricycle, I guess the bunny saw the broken one in the back yard.  Macboy and Art got new video games.  And Trucker Dad and I get the remaining chocolate to eat at our leisure.  Which I am going to try NOT to do, I need my weight going the other way now.

She's been on the tricycle since she woke up!
It seems that the Easter bunny has a little more $$ backing him up this year than ever before.. Neat, huh?  WE quit smoking and EVERYONE has more money to play with.

We have had a nice quiet morning.  Every one is occupied in some sort of quiet activity.  This is incredibly unusual around here, 6 people in a house is almost always NOISY.  But Grandma is reading, Art is watching Bugs Bunny, Macboy and Angel Baby are playing downstairs.  Trucker Dad is out "playing" in the garage.

So, before anyone figures out that I am sitting peacefully and comes to interrupt this moment, I am going to go fill my coffee cup, put my feet up and do NOTHING for awhile.

I don't want flowers or chocolate, THIS is my best Easter gift of all.

I hope you all have a
and that you have a great dinner with your family too.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wendy's Mental Math - Makes Sense To Me

This is not a lesson on how to do math in your head, but rather a lesson in the logic that resides in the dark recesses of Wendy's Brain.

While I sit and enjoy the cake and celebration of small things, I realized there have been a great many questions about where I get my numbers and goals from.  In all honesty, I could just be making it up entirely so I can eat cake!

But I'm not.

The numbers aren't perfect. Some things might get missed, some things might get counted twice.  I'm not going to stress about the accuracy, I am just enjoying that there ARE numbers there.

I will answer some of the questions I've heard so that anyone who's curious will know.

1.)  Does it count as two views if I close the browser and then go back to finish reading it later?

Probably, but hey, I'm glad it was worth coming back to finish!  Thank you!

2.)  If I click the link to go to another post does that count as two or just one visit to the blog?

I think it counts as two, but I don't really know.   Thanks for not getting bored in the first story and WANTING to read more.

3.)What about people who randomly come across and hit the 'back' button right away?  They didn't read it, so does it count?

Of course it counts.... They may not stay and read, which kinda sucks, but it means that I am VISIBLE. Busy Mama has a presence on the web, no matter how small.
Like the who's that Horton takes care of "I AM HERE, I AM HERE, I AM HERE!"

So really, my math logic is simple.  The numbers could mean anything... It's by no means an exact science.  Breaking 500 views of a blog is absolutely minuscule in terms of the internet as a whole.  It's just nice to have a goal.

Realistically, I might only get 15-20 views of each post...Maybe I have to post 50 articles to get 500 visits... Possible, sure.  But that just gives me more reason, more motivation, more desire to keep writing.

Even when I don't want to.

I'd still write, even if no one looked.  But on days when I'm feeling lonely or small, It is great to have a sense of belonging.

Because YOU ARE HERE.... I know that I am too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Busy Week. Let's Make A Plan!

I have a lot of stuff going on this week.  Partly from work, partly from home and hugely because there is no school Friday, so I have less time to get MORE done.

On the bright side, I have already done (or had help with) the majority of my regular weekly cleaning.  The kids rooms are taken care of too.  I just have to complete the office space set up now.

So, first step -  freezer inventory.  What do I have that I can cook for the rest of the week.

Step 2  - master list for errands.  When I go out, I want to get everything I need in one trip. I do not want to have to run out again.

3. Get some laundry going!  Keep up to that, one load a day and I won't go crazy. And I won't lose my Sunday to Mount Washmore again this week.

I had a relatively productive day, especially considering I had almost no sleep last night.  I did get all my errands done, I also bought some items that will be good for Macboy's lunches.  Things he can make himself or we can make fast, so I can keep my momentum going longer in the morning.  Instead of stopping at 11:30 I can work until 12.

I am going to put Angel Baby in her room again for naptime the rest of this week.  She is back to waking up at her earlier, more normal, time in the morning, so I am hopeful that we can reinstate the afternoon naps.  Even if she doesn't sleep, we were both benefiting from the quiet time.

Today I also got most of the furniture place for my 'office'.  At some point in this process I hope I stop feeling the need to add quotes to 'office!'  I have a need for some shelving.  I asked the Trucker if he could do it in a simple way.  If it can't be done by him in less than 5 minutes, I don't want his help.  It would mean he has already complicated what I asked for.  I need a couple peices of wood, a certain length. (I think I'll just do it while he's at work tomorrow)  I don't want permanent, or even pretty.  I just need functional.  And I don't want 'ideas' involved. Just do what I asked you for.
He said he'll try to make something work for me on the weekend.

Since I have a list in place, I know what laundry to start in the morning.  I know what to take out of the freezer too, while I'm in there.  I have no cleaning that I need to worry about. Art is a fan of the vacuum so I plan to give him that job on Friday.

I hope to be ready and able to WORK all of Wednesday and Thursday.  No, scratch that...
I WILL be ready

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some Days You Shouldn't Ask

More specifically, TODAY.  
When I am running down the list of the furniture I moved, the organizing I've done, the million things I've accomplished, it is not advisable to interrupt and ask 

"What's for dinner?"

I did have dinner options ready, I just hadn't started yet. teeheehee. (sounds good, right?)  It was a quick prep day, taco pie.

And there you have it, the details of my day as the trucker would prefer to hear it.  I'm smart enough to admit that it is probably ALL he heard out of everything I said today anyway.

The problem with asking about dinner today is that it came out during our discussion about reclaiming/creating my home office.  You see, I've never really had an 'office' here.  I have a portable workstation, a binder that keeps me together and a laptop. Most of the time, my office is in my dining room or living room.  But there are supplies that I need, paper and pens, I have a bulletin board and whiteboard, the big calendar, the printer... and so on... that were residing in our guest room/office space.  

My oldest son, Macboy, is 11 now.  He doesn't want to share his space with his younger brother.  I lost the argument with the trucker a few months back about the boys sharing their space.  I had even tried a 'private' space for each boy. One had a large closet, the other had a play area under the stairs.  But, my attempts to keep them sharing were all in vain.  My dearest trucker has 6 sisters. No brothers.  I bet all of the sisters would agree with me, but he is the only boy and always had his own room so he just doesn't get it.  I always had to share with my sister... why can't the boys?

We finally agreed that he could SLEEP in the guest room. Not every single night, but some nights when the younger one was being difficult.  It didn't take long before it was every night, except if we actually needed the guest bed for guests. 
A few weeks go by and he has taken over the surface of the dresser and the bedside table is buried under lego and books.  

Trucker, always the helpful sort, decides to swap the contents of the guest room dresser with Macboys clothes.  Just three days before, I cleaned out the top drawer for my growing stock of office items.  Now, my office supplies (well, half of them) just got relocated to the CLOSET of my youngest boys bedroom!  A week or two later, when I was complaining about the placement of my things... it was suggested I quit my job.  Seriously!! Ummm.... okay?

Today, I just threw in the towel.  I finally gave up.  

I had a conference call on Skype.  I was sitting on a selection of Mario plush toys and using the top of my new filing cabinet (which has not yet been given a home) to support the laptop. I had to set my coffee between a couple of Sega cartridges and had a heck of a time trying to find a pen and a flat writing surface.

I need my office back 
I need my office supplies in ONE spot, in ONE room 

This is what I'd LOVE
I took Macboys dresser into the guestroom, switched the contents back where they should be.  I brought up the smaller dresser from the basement and swapped the larger one out of there. I donated the large dresser immediately.  After returning from Goodwill, I moved the lego landslide upstairs.  I moved my office items downstairs. I moved almost all of our play area from the basement and divided it between the two boys.  

I moved three dressers today, including hauling one up a set of stairs and one to my vehicle.  I moved a large rolling cart down stairs, and I took about 50 trips up and down those stinkin stairs moving the office down and the play area up.  

With a toddler underfoot all day and two boys after school too. 

This is what I get :)

 All I wanted to say was
I really DON'T CARE what 
YOU make for dinner!!!
But I didn't get a chance.

The only help I've asked for, is no more help.  And after a full day of moving everything all over my house...
My boys have clean rooms but I STILL don't have my office.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Successful Birthday On Record

As I mentioned before, I don't have a picture of the birthday cookies but they were great and you have to take my word for it.  If they weren't good, I'd have had leftovers to show.
So, in an effort to keep things streamlined throughout this birthday, I repeated the balloon decoration  on the cupcakes.  I am one to have a small family birthday party and a separate 'friends' birthday.  Anyone who knows us, knows that we do our best to have cake on the actual birthday with family.  This is often the day that my brother and his family will come by.  And normally it is a fairly quiet day.  

On the odd occasions where a birthday falls on a weekend, I tend to have the school kids for a party in the afternoon and then invite friends and family for later in the evening.

This birthday was a Thursday.  We had a great meal at home, even though the trucker got tied up out of town and missed most of it.  We had our cupcakes, our visit with my brother and his family, and our family gifts. It was a quiet evening and very relaxed.

I am also a huge advocate for planning and hosting a birthday party at HOME.  I am loathe to plan or pay for some business to plan a crazy, hectic, noisy party.  I have had theme parties for most of my kids parties so far.  A bit of time spent, and a great quality party was enjoyed by all.  For Macboy's last birthday, we had just 2 boys come over for a sleepover instead.  Dad and 'the guys' went mini golfing that night.  It was a great time.
For Art, this complicated things

He still wanted more friends, but he really wanted to go out like Macboy.  We settled on a compromise.  A shorter guest list, but still a trip out.  I was looking for a fun place, found an indoor jungle gym and play area but the party cost was outrageous. Just over an hour, 1 small pizza, 2 jugs of fountain pop, no real extra games or anything... For 
$250 or MORE!! Really?  

No, thank you.

I instead opted to offer transportation as needed to the kids we invited.  Go for a short play time, then come back and finish the party here.  Because of the 20 minutes of driving each way, this really stretched out our party.  I didn't want to be the type of parent to fill kids up with cake just before dinner, so our party lasted from 1 pm until 6. Quick hot dogs, veggie tray, some chips and pop and juice.... 
Total cost?  
Under $100.  6 kids, counting my own and 6 adults.  Super fun, super busy.

What did we get? 
45 minutes to play before we left, 2 full hours of play at the indoor play centre, 240 game tokens, juice boxes and water to drink while there.  We split the prize tickets between all the kids and each got a pretty good assortment of toys and treats.  We got back home shortly after 4, ate dinner, had cake, opened gifts and had time to play freely until parents arrived.

It was totally worth it to do it this way.  I was close enough to the party rooms to realize that it most definitely was NOT worth what they wanted. And the kids still had a great time.
But at the end of the day, discussion with the kids reveal that the best parties are the ones at home.  

For Art, with a spring birthday we usually have good weather and can be outside. This year, we had snow.  It was fun to have a place to play freely.  The kids didn't snack ridiculously through the party, they all ate a decent dinner, and I didn't have any sugar high children to contend with.
Next time around I go back to my way.  I still had to spend the same amount of time planning or shell out a huge wad of cash. 

I made the cake, I made the food, I planned out the timing, coordinated events, watched the clock.

If I'm putting in the work, I want it to be easier for ME. And since the kids say it was fun, but they like it 'about the same' I am confident that no one will be disappointed to have their parties here.

Fun and games? Live and Learn?  A bit of everything.  
The day was a success no matter what.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Kind of Blogger Forgets To Take A Picture?

Spent most of my morning working hard on the decorated cookies for Art's birthday treats at school.  Angel Baby ate 2, Macboy had 2 at lunch, the rest went to school at lunchtime for Art's class.

First time ever, not ONE leftover.

And Not One Picture To Share!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can't Post Today, I'm Waiting in the Drive Thru

Last week was too many days of driving the trucker to and from work.  I am NOT a morning person.  He works mainly from two locations and both are on opposite ends of the city.  Last week he started on the far end and ended Monday on our end.  So I picked him up. and dropped him off, and picked him up... until finally Thursday he ended on the far end again.

This week, he started on the far end, finished close.  So I drove him Yesterday morning and picked him up last night. However, being so tired of my cranky mood in the morning, he got a ride to get his truck from the far end last night.  So I didn't have to drive this morning.

But, this morning he started on OUR side.  At 3:30, as I am picking up the kids at school, he calls to say "can you come and get me?  I can't get a ride back home for at least 2 hours!"

All because I didn't want to wake up two hours early... I have to drive a good 45 minutes to pick him up, then drive him back to his truck so we can bring both vehicles home. Again.  Not only that, but Macboy, got car sick and Art very nearly followed him up. I was able to pull over so they could both get some air.  Trucker doesn't do well with those situations, and even though he wasn't with us when it happened he was super paranoid the whole drive home. 

What's worse than all the extra driving?  

We ate fast food. He stopped at one place with Art, and I stopped at an entirely different drive thru for Macboy, Angel Baby and myself.

Good combination, don't you think?  Put a sick kid in a car for 2 hours then give him a selection of greasy food for dinner.  I'm feeling proud today.

We are officially nuts.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Steak Is A Steak. Right?

I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a vegetarian, but I am most definitely NOT a meat eater.  If we buy steak around here, we buy two.  One for the trucker and one for everyone else to share.  Small portions all around and that's how we like it.

For the trucker's birthday, he wanted to barbeque.  We had a horribly long and yucky winter so BBQ season is a treat right now.  Where we are, this season will likely only last a few weeks and then we'll be headed back to winter!! (haha) Last weekend we sprung for T-Bones.  This weekend he wanted more of the same.

The trouble with not being the meat eater, 
is that I am also not the meat SHOPPER. 
Buying T-bones would be somewhat easy because I know what we had last week.  I will buy as close as I can to that, from the same store.  Cool and easy.  But it is very rare that things work out like that for me.  So of course I am standing in the meat department facing T-bones that are a fraction of the size of last week and no where near as 'nice' looking.  Thanks to the guy who works there and saw the 'lost' look on my face. He came out and asked what I was looking for. 
"I have NO idea."

I explained about the steak situation and the birthday and my absolute lack of meat purchasing skills.  He showed me a few different things.  Explained a bit about what you WANT and what you don't want.  
I should be nice, I should trust this guy. Meat is what he does. Every day.  Who knows steak better than a butcher? 
Yes, there I am in the middle of the meat department choosing to 'phone a friend'.  I call the Trucker too, to make sure he's not gonna freak when I get home with NOT T-Bones.  20 minutes later, I could have just trusted the advice of the guy in the store.  I bought exactly what he suggested.  And once I had made my decision, he also came back to help me find 4 of the nicest Rib Steaks on the shelf.

It was delicious.  It was ABSOLUTELY delicious.  A quick marinade, mainly for seasoning, and those steaks were perfect. I will have to buy my meat from that store from now on, and only when the same guy is working!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Please Excuse Him, He Hasn't Had Enough Vegetables.

It's a sure sign of a lazy Busy Mama when the kids start getting grumpy over nothing.  It can seem sometimes there is no rational reason for a bad mood. There are a small number of things I check for when my boys get grumpy.  
(Not including Angel Baby, she's in a class all her own.  I will probably never figure her out!)

First, I check for changes.  
Macboy especially is sensitive to change.  Even as a toddler if I switched the candles on my coffee table, he would switch them back.  Now as a preteen it shows more frequently in a disrupted schedule or routine.  Changes at school are powerful, even minor changes can have devastating effects.  Art  
(man, I HAVE to come up with a better nickname than that.)  
is less sensitive but still resistant.  He won't crash into a massive meltdown, but he'll sure make sure you know he's unhappy.  
For myself as well, if I have a good routine going and then get unexpected company, I'm happy to greet them but also happy when life gets back to normal afterwards.
The worst part of this situation, is that there is no quick fix.  We have to wait it out through an adjustment period.  I can step in when the number of changes at one time gets too heavy, at least minimizing the impact on all of us.

Next, I consider sleep.
If they have been fighting an awful lot at a specific time of day, it is usually sleep related.  For example, on school days, everyone is happy when we get home but by 4:30... It's a COMPLETELY different story!  Around 4:30 they are starting to get hungry and they are starting to get tired. They need food for energy to get through the rest of the evening.  
They want a snack but can't decide what to eat, so they try to carry on doing what they were doing... until the other brother gets in the way.  Fighting ensues.  Both end up arguing their case to me in the kitchen where I am trying to prepare dinner so they will stop COMPLAINING!!  It's not a fun circle. If I give them a snack, then I have to fight through dinner.  (see Picky eaters)

And one of the biggest factors I have noticed, especially since I have quit smoking, is that the amount of veggies we eat DIRECTLY impacts their moods.  Fish and Chips, Burgers and Fries, Pizza, convenience quick meals take their toll. The main reason this has increased since we stopped smoking is simple. 
We can afford to eat out more, and we do.  

The vegetable situation is tricky to determine sometimes. It can appear much like the sleep issues. Partly, I'm sure, because the kids sleep better when their diet is better.  But even when sleep appears to be in order, a lack of a proper diet can spiral out of control.  A good hearty chili or veggie soup will help straighten up attitudes in less than a day.  Maintaining a healthy balance and getting enough veggies into my kids is not always easy.  They are picky, things have to be prepared certain ways.  You can't mix too many things together (unless you lie about the ingredients).  One small piece of a mushroom can ruin a perfectly good balanced meal.

Who's to blame?

Well, ME.  I rush, I procrastinate, I cheat at dinners.  Failure to plan will always bite me in the, well, you know what.
If I don't plan, the meat is frozen, or the broccoli is rotten and I quickly choose something quick and convenient.  Which is never anywhere NEAR as healthy.

I'm sure even the kids teachers can tell when Wendy Doesn't Cook well, the boys are just generally unhappy.  Don't want to work on assignments, act tired, argue with other students.  Art is more likely to cry over silly things, while Macboy will rip things up or just be oppositional. Sure fire signs that veggies levels are low.

So How Do I Fix It?
hahaha.... it's a work in progress. 
  • I'm trying to expand the menu around here and trying new recipes. 
  • We shut everything off and eat together every day. 
  • I use the 'try everything' rule.  You must have a bite of everything on your plate.
  • I serve more than I expect them to eat.  This way, when they start bargaining, I look like I caved even though I didn't.
  • I plan, or at least try to.  And when planning doesn't work, I at least record.   After all, a record of what we DID eat, makes a great foundation for future meal plans.
And, I apologize.... often..
People may think I'm crazy when my explanation is "I'm sorry, it's not enough vegetables" but it's no joke. So if you are feeling kind of low, or a bit grumpy, add some veggies.  My broccoli cheese soup is delicious, easy and effective. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Profile Of A Picky Eater

There are at least 5 types of picky eaters.  I believe each of my children has test driven each  profile type and I strongly suspect that there is a definite progression of these types. I would expect to encounter each type in every child, just at different times.
Perhaps you can identify which stage your child is in. Perhaps you might even see some of these traits within yourself.
  1. The Complainer
  2. The Gagger
  3. The Silent Protester
  4. The Avoider
  5. The Ketchup Addict
The Complainer

The Complainer is the most obvious of all picky eaters.  They are generally loud in their distaste and will always make sure that you KNOW they are unhappy.  Often starting their protests before the dinner table, these picky eaters can be a great strain on a well meaning parent.  A Complainer is always sure that they "didn't like this last time we had it." Even if it is a meal that you have never made before. In which case, they had it at a friends house, but can't remember now which one.
Dinner with a complainer is often filled with lively conversation.  They are full of things to chat about.  Too much pepper, too many spices, chicken is dry... they never run out of observations!  About half way through dinner, they tend to start bargaining. "If I eat all my potatoes, can I leave the carrots?"  If successful with the bargaining, you tend to find the complainer back in the kitchen searching for snacks within an hour of dinner.

The Gagger

Thankfully, this particular form of picky eater seems to disappear as quickly as it comes.  Though less frustrating than a complainer, a gagger can be much more insulting.  Hearing that your dinner is no good is one thing, having someone gag their way through it is rough. 
Almost theatrical, there is often a big show somewhere through dinner.  This show, if done well, can be the cause of multiple lost dinners. (particularly for other family members with weak stomachs.) It is definitely dramatic, and has led to boys and girls alike receiving the title of drama queen. 
In a household where family members do not all sit together, sit in front of the television or read at the table, the Gagger can often slip by unnoticed.  Even without an audience, the show will go on.  Fortunately, this show runs out quickly if ignored and also responds well to immediate time outs.

The Silent Protester

Frequently found in larger or busier families, time restraints often get this picky eater off the hook.  Toddlers seem to be almost professionals at this game.  And can wiggle through an entire meal without actually taking a single bite. 
Experts in the art of distraction, they can breeze through dinner by simply focusing your attention elsewhere. In the example of a toddler, they may point out that an older sibling has dropped something on the floor.  Many times, you won't realize that they didn't like your dinner until you are cleaning up the kitchen and see how much is still on their plates.
The Silent Protester never actually tells you that they don't like your meal, but it becomes clear when they devour a plateful of their favorite dinners.  With a less desirable meal you know they are capable of eating it, they are hungry enough, they just don't want to.

The Avoider

Another of the quiet types. This is the child who is most likely to attempt dinner bargaining.  They will try to get through dishing up without taking the unsavory offerings.  Once served on their dish, you will see a game of fork skating ensue as this child will draw invisible barriers between this particular undesired item and all other foods on the plate.  It is as though the avoider believes that if it touches any other food item, that item, too, will become unsavory.  A situation involving a premixed dish of vegetables can cause quite a stir.
Closer to the end of dinner, the Avoider starts counting.  Conversation slows down as they attempt to uncover the best "deal" possible.  They are slightly more practiced than the Complainers at bargaining and will often clear everything else off their plates before beginning the bargaining process.

The Ketchup Addict

A great many parents have fallen prey to this picky eater.  In essence, they eat everything. This child will not ask whats for dinner, argue about servings, bargain over veggies.  They simply drown every item that touches their plate in Ketchup.  There are varying degrees of this addiction, starting with a small amount of ketchup on the side of a plate and escalating to bathing of food into an unrecognizable red soup.
This Addiction grows slowly, almost invisibly, and many parents don't realize they can help until it is much too late. The parents mean well and often excuse the behavior with lines like "I think it's gross to put ketchup on broccoli, but at least he's eating it!"
Be patient, this too shall pass. Your ketchup addict will eventually lose the taste for it. Or, at least, so much of it.

So What Can We Do?

There are no quick fixes for picky eaters and there are a great many lines of research out there to review.  If you want help, it is there to be found.  Whether you become the 'one bite of everything' parent or the 'don't make dinner time uncomfortable' parent, your child WILL BE OKAY.   The worst side effect of a picky eater is a parental headache.  It is been said that it takes a good ten, yes TEN, attempts at trying a new food before a small child will really make a decision about it.
So, instead of beating yourself up over what to make for dinner, just plan healthy.  Eat dinner as a family as often as you can and play fair as much as possible. Try to balance some tried and true meals with the hated ones. 

Breathe slowly and deeply.

And keep the Tylenol handy!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Grand Finale Of April Fools Pranks

I must give credit where credit is due.  So first of all, I send a sincere thank you to all of the staff at my children's school who were in on this one.  Specifically our fun-loving principal and our great office staff.
Thank you.

A couple weeks ago, I walked into the boys school hoping to get my hands on a piece of school letterhead.  Little did I know the staff at the school would completely support my endeavor to fool my boys!  I shared my idea with the principal, who jumped at the opportunity to be of assistance.  She drafted the letter that I needed and the brilliant 'office ladies' addressed and mailed it, so that the smart boys of mine wouldn't notice a missing postmark or stamp.  We know that my boys are a bit too smart to buy a poorly planned joke.  We also know that they were on guard, knowing something was coming.

Waiting for this letter was harder than waiting for Christmas!

I received the ammunition for this stunt on Tuesday morning in my regular mail. On Friday, when I heard the mail carrier come up our steps, I grabbed my hidden letter and slipped it in to the middle of the mail as I brought it in the house.  I weeded out junk mail, placed a magazine on the counter and 'noticed' the letter from the school.

I slowly wandered to the boys room and inquired "Anything I should know before I open this?  It's a letter from the school." 
Like deer in the headlights. They respond together "No....."
So I sat down on the bed between them and opened the letter. "Oh, oh no... no, you guys aren't in trouble... guess what this says? This is awful."

Dear Mr & Mrs. Busymama

This is to inform you that starting next year, our super cool school will be moving to year-round schooling.  We have made this decision because we believe that this increased time in school will prevent the loss of knowledge and skills that happens over the long summer break.  This increased time at school will be of great benefit to all students.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

Awesomest Principal Ever

It took a few minutes for the message to sink in.  I could see it slowly slip over their faces.  Eventually I hear 
"Well, that's dumb."  
"I'm not one of those kids." 
"I don't forget stuff."
"I remember it ALL!!" 
By that point, I had to walk away to keep my secret.  The boys decided to get dressed and go play outside.  If you read April Fools Phase One , you'll understand why getting dressed wasn't easy.  Thank goodness for my other pranks, or I would have been caught already!

For an hour or two, there was no mention of it.  So, when I was tidying up after lunch, I put the letter on the fridge door.  Just a little reminder....hehehe.

We talked about how we might have to change our vacation plans.  Macboy Jr. states "Well, in my opinion, it's still a really bad idea.  I'm not one of those kids who forgets stuff."  Art quietly agrees.
I explained that there really wasn't much we could do.  We would have to talk to dad when he gets home from work.
Ever suspicious, Macboy asks politely if we can go out for dinner.  "Then at least I know what I'm getting for dinner!"  We agree to go out for dinner after we pick Dad up from work.  We even visited a McDonald's Restaurant that we have never eaten at, since Mom was so hard on them through the morning. Sitting inside at a McD's is something we very rarely do and they've been scoping out this play room for months.  The tables in most of these places are designed for 4 and now that the angel baby is so big we don't fit.  I offered the boys the chance to sit at their own table, but Macboy doesn't want to. Art and Dad sit at the second table and I sit with the other two.

Art brings up the subject with Dad.
"Mrs. Awesome Principal wants us to go to school all year!"  he complains.
"Really?"  Says Dad.
"Yeah.  I think it's dumb.  Its Not Fair!"
Dad jumps in "I think it's fair.  I have to go to work all year."
"Sure you do.  But WE DON'T GET PAID for school!!" Dad had to get up for a minute and 'get napkins'.  We are both starting to enjoy the full benefits of this prank.  

On the way home we have to stop and pick up Dad's truck.  The boys want to ride home with him, but there is too much stuff in the back seat so they are stuck with mom in the van. Everyone shuffles one seat closer to the front.
"What do you guys think we should do about this school stuff?" I ask on the last stretch of our ride home, "It might not really be a bad thing."
"It's a bad idea."  Says Art.  "It's just a dumb idea."
"It's not nice, not fair.  Summer holidays is like the ONLY thing to look forward to in the year besides Christmas!"  Says MacBoy.
"I think I'm gonna Boycott! 
I always wanted to that, I just never had anything worth
protesting until now!"
Both boys are starting to get pretty emotional by the time we get home.  And I'm starting to feel like it's just about time to fess up.  We get in and sit down to make a list together of things to do about this problem.
1. Transfer Schools
2. Talk to Mrs. Awesome Principal
3. Write a Letter to Mrs. Awesome Principal.
4.  Call a bunch of people.  Form a big group like a rebellion.  Then PROTEST. Make SIGNS. Write LETTERS!! (Macboy's plan)

We start with a letter.

Dear Mrs. Awesome Principal.
We received your letter today about school changing to year round. We don't like this idea and would appreciate if this didn't happen.
Here are our reasons:
1. We don't think it's fair that you would agree to be part of the BEST APRIL FOOLS JOKE EVER.

And that's where I stopped.  I asked BOTH boys to read what I had so far and if it was good enough for them to sign at the bottom.
They both SIGNED.  
Didn't even look at what I wrote.  Just signed away their lives.  I'm so proud. I try again.  "Can you guys PLEASE READ what it says?"
They turn around, look at the paper and agree it looks good.
(shaking my head now....)

One Last Try....
"Okay, Macboy, I don't think your brother understands a few of those words.  Can you read it OUT LOUD for him?"
He starts reading...
"We don't think it's fair that you would agree to be part of the best April Foo--MOM!!!!"

Yep, I'm rolling around on the floor howling, now.  I couldn't even confess easily!!  I get the 'death glare' from Macboy.   "NOT FUNNY." And for the rest of the night, I barely got more than a grunt from him.  Not a funny joke in his opinion.

Art, on the other hand wasn't sure. He didn't trust me at all after our morning adventures.  He asked several times for almost an hour afterwards.
"So that was just a joke?"  "yes."
"And there's really not school all year?"  "really."
"And we still get summer holidays?"  "Yes we get summer holidays."
"And the principal helped you?"  "yes, she's Awesome!"

"well, that's just rude."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Fools Phase One

The story you are about to read is true. 
The names have been changed to protect the innocent.  
(and the guilty).  
Parental discretion is advised 
(you may wish to re-use some of these ideas!!)

I put forth HOURS of research for my latest project until I had just the perfect mix of tools ready.  My project was payback.  You may recall the challenge. Reread if you need a refresher!  As I promised, this year I was going to get those boys of mine.


Friday Morning started as any other morning in our quiet little house.  Just a bit earlier and more rushed.  We are a household full of people who usually require a good chunk of time to 'wake up'.  (I think I've told you that before!)  I had set the angel baby down to her breakfast of Reese Puff's Cereal.  Not a cereal I often buy but certainly necessary to ensure the boys would EAT CEREAL.
I hauled the boys out of bed with the big lecture about getting too comfortable with Spring break and how there were only a few more days left before we are back to regular early mornings.  They slowly shuffled their way to the table and started eating.  It took a good 5 minutes before Macboy jr. (the oldest) says

"Hey! Where's the glue?"

I had frozen their bowls the night before and in the morning, just sprinkled a little bit more cereal on top.  I added a little dribble of milk to the surface to hide the frost.  Quickly I attracted his attention to his brother who hadn't heard us yet and was still sleepily trying to dig piece by piece in his bowl.  Finally catches up to the conversation and says
"I was wondering why I couldn't get much!"
I let them take their bowls to the kitchen. Macboy jr. feels he's already been burned and goes for the Fruit Loops.  Safe move.  I almost think I've been foiled until Art (the youngest, so named because he loves arts & crafts) goes for more Reese Puffs.  They get their bowls, Macboy gets the milk ready, Art gets a big bowl of Mini Wheats.
"Well, That was Just Rude."  Says Art.
Score #2 for this mama.

Perfect set up, angel baby thinks they are crazy since there was nothing wrong with her breakfast!  Priceless.

An hour or so goes by, and I can hear Macboy and Grandma in the kitchen.  He's got that look like something's up.  Shortly after, I hear the conversation between brothers. "Art, Mom bought some cookies. There are Oreo's in the cookie jar.  You should go get us some."  Art replies "No, I don't want any right now."
I call Macboy to the other room.  "Did you get into the cookies?"
"Yes," he says.
"Did you get a surprise?" I ask.

"yeah, something was wrong with it, I wasn't sure what. It tasted kind of minty."

"Like Toothpaste?"

"Aw, MOM!!"

I put about 10 cookies from the package in the cookie jar.  Three of those cookies were tampered.  Only one was discovered.  One had the filling replaced with entirely with toothpaste.

Now it's time to get dressed for the day.  I send the boys in to their rooms and wait... 1, 2, 3, 4, OH there it is!!!
"Oh, Man, MOM!  How am I supposed to know whose dresser this is!!!"  Art ultimately decides that he's going to wear Macboy's shirts since that's what I put in his drawer.  Macboy, upon discovering that I had switched their shirt drawers, foiled my plan. I now know that he doesn't put his laundry away properly.  When he found Art's shirts in his drawer, he pulled an extra shirt of his own from his pants drawer.  Good plan, well played!
Now dressed for the day, I step in to argue that they didn't change their underwear.  I supply the full argument about WHY they should change them and that I KNOW they didn't.
I'm a mom.  I KNOW when they are lying to me.

Full of grumbles they reluctantly go to change.
Macboy is quick.  To his drawer, only to find that MOM got him again.  But, he's a stubborn boy. If I hadn't followed him, he would have gotten away with it.  I catch him silently trying to undo the pins so he can deny that any joke was played.   After being caught, I remind him that I got his brother too and we both sneak off to Arts Room to wait for his discovery.


It took 26 safety pins in total.  And a good 15 minutes to get each boys drawer done.

I pinned each boys underwear together, end to end, and returned them to the drawers.  So when they pulled it out, it ALL came out.


Macboy Jr. and Art have had enough of me.  They decided that they were safer outside.  Until they tried to put their boots on and they didn't fit. I also stuffed the toes of their boots with paper towel.  Again, Macboy snuck through and took this out and hid it.  Jokes on you mom, there was nothing wrong with my boots!

Eventually, I concede that enough is enough.  I step outside and sit down on the stairs.  I call the boys over and explain:
"Somewhere it is said that April Fools Jokes need to be confined to the mornings.  So, if you boys are willing to admit that I CAN AND DID FOOL YOU, I will tell you the last of the secrets that you haven't found."
I even made them say it twice!
"Yes, mom, that was awesome.  You definitely got us fooled."
I slowly take apart the other two unfound Oreo cookies. One had salt inside and the other one had pepper.  And in the spirit of April Fools, Art ATE the cookie filled with Pepper, ON PURPOSE. Just to gross me out! 
I also told them that I have now rinsed their toothbrushes many times, but as the salt water I soaked them in had completely dried, there might be some salt flavor remaining. If it tastes funny, just rinse it out more.

The best part of this entire process, was that PHASE ONE was only the ground work for PHASE TWO. If I hadn't played this part well, they would not have bought the big one.

Read about the grand finale of April Fools!