Friday, February 26, 2010

Angie: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Angie asked about Rhett's breakdown at the Unique Thrift Store (a.k.a "Bizarre Bazaar"--yes, Amanda, we call it that sometimes too because, really, it's so bizarre).

The trip took place on Monday, but it has roots in Sunday. This year, church is at 8:30 in the morning. This is the perfect time for us and Rhett. We love it. As he gets us up around 6:30, it gives us enough time to eat, bathe, and get ready. We are easily able to get our one child to church on time. He happily goes to nursery and then he and Chuck get to go home (I have meetings). Chuck feeds him lunch and puts him down for a nap. When I get home around 1/1:30, Rhett should already be napping.

This did not happen on Sunday. Not only was he still awake when I walked in the door, he chatted in his crib until we got 3. At not even two years old, this kid still needs his naps and we need him to nap. Napping makes for a much happier household. As far as the rest of the afternoon, well, Rhett did okay. A little fussy, but okay. We put him down an hour earlier than normal and he had no problems.

Apparently this didn't make up for the lack of nap, as evidenced by his actions the next day.

Because of still-snowy sidewalks, I'm not able to take Rhett running in the jogging stroller. I hate this for many reasons, but the biggest is that I'm at a loss as to how to spend my mornings with him. Remember, the snow makes anything outdoors impossible so please don't tell me to take him for a walk or to the park because we still can't do those things. I love my son and I love being with him, but I can only play with Little People (Fisher Price Little People that is, not midgets or toddlers) for so long before I go crazy. This particular Monday morning was shaping up to be bad. He got up early and was dressed and fed by 7 a.m. How was I going to spend the five hours until lunch time?! When stores opened at 10, I was dying to get out of the house. We ran to Target and then the grocery store.

These days he hates being in a shopping cart, so I knew I was pushing my luck to add one final trip to the thrift store. But it was Monday--you know, the day where everything is 25% off. I had to go. And when I asked him if he wanted to go to one more store, he said, "yeah." (Nevermind that he says "yeah" to basically everything.)

So. The Thrift Store. He's immediately put into a cart (therefore he's already irked) and we go directly to the little kid clothes. I found a t-shirt, but that's it. Then to the books. We spent a lot of time here and I was reading to him as we shopped because he was starting to get fussy. We found some great books, as evidenced in the previous post. (Angie--I too love the Little Golden Books and buy them whenever I see them there. That particular one was "The Poky Little Puppy"--a personal favorite.) We passed by some toys and of course he wanted every single one. When we're at this store I let him hold one toy at a time and at this point he wanted a horse (which he adorably calls "neigh"). But then he saw a Beanie Baby skunk and wanted that. I was able to get the "neigh" from him and trade it for the skunk. Fairly happy boy.

Then I pushed my luck and I knew it. Having previous success in finding cute dresses, I can't leave the store without checking. We walked over there, skunk in hand, and I began looking. By now he's starting to get very angry. He sees a bright yellow, stupid "Joe Boxer" hat with a smile on it and since he's obsessed with all things "happy" he has to have it. I ask him if I can put the skunk away since he's trading it for the hat and at first he's okay with this. We keep walking. Not 50 feet away, he starts screaming for the skunk. I told him we put it away and that just makes him madder. He's yelling "skunk away" over and over again. I rush to the front of the store, realizing I probably should have left without buying my books, but I couldn't do it. I had spent so much time picking out those books and I knew they wouldn't be there when I could get back on Wednesday. So I stupidly persevered with Rhett screaming the entire time. The store manager even came to see if she could help me. When we were done with the cashier and the cart, he didn't want to walk or be held, just cry. But I know we need to get home ASAP, so I'm dragging him by his armpits out the door. I finally get to my car and am strapping the screaming boy in the seat when a very very helpful lady gave me a granola bar. What a saint! The child is finally pacified!

Of course, that is, he's pacified until his granola bar breaks (as granola bars are wont to do) and he loses it all over again. I get him home, mend the bar, give him another bar for lunch (since it's all he wanted) and put him to bed without even changing a diaper (a diaper that hadn't been changed since morning).

His normal naps last from 1ish until 3ish, and we generally let him wake up on his own. However, at nearly 4 o'clock, I knew that if I wanted a normal bedtime, I had better wake him. And I did. And he went to put fine three hours later. And so did I.

Does anyone want to nominate me for mother of the year? Anyone?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Reason to Love the Unique Thrift Store

Even though it cost me the biggest breakdown Rhett ever had in public, I think it was worth it. I mean, really, all these books for $9.25 (including tax)? Two of these books would have cost more than that had I bought them new. Oh how I love that Unique Thrift Store.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Made by not me (again)

I sent my sister and her kids a craft package and now you can check out their work here. I love it! So much more colorful than I would have even thought to do! Man, I love those kids.

This has been yet another testimonial of the greatness of the freezer paper stencil. Need I continue? No, you say? Too bad. I'm gonna. Take that. POW!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Made by C

That's right. Made by C, not e. We found these little kid hoodies at Target for a great price. How convenient that we were going to have a Boise State fan (whose wife is five months pregnant) for dinner two days later! So we bought one sweatshirt for them and one for us. I hope Chuck is proud of himself; I am! I think they are awesome!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Can't Stop Laughing

Seriously. The kid just starting doing this at dinner. On his own. No prompting. Promise. This is as funny as I think it is, right?

If that doesn't work, try this.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Surviving 40 Inches of Snow

I've learned a lot this week. You know, this week in which the D.C. area received 40 inches of snow. You know, this week in which my husband worked a total 1.5 days out of a possible 8 and I worked not once. You know, the time period of eight days in which I left the house in a car only twice.

One thing I learned about surviving this much snow is that, as much as possible, you have to keep up on the shoveling. Unless it all comes overnight, shoveling must be done every few hours. If you wait, it gets way too heavy and unmanageable. No one should ever have to lift the shovel four times just for one-shovel's-length of pavement. It's horrible.

And know what else about this much snow? There's no where to put it. Seriously. The piles around the sidewalks and driveway are over my head. I simply can't lift the snow (remember, this is an east coast storm with east coast heavy snow) that high. I was really frustrated when I learned this.

Another thing I learned is that proper clothing makes a world of difference. To stay warm and dry is the key to being able to stay outside for any long period of time. When you're dealing with 10 tons of snow to be removed, well, you need time. I bought Chuck a pair of snow pants for Christmas thinking I was about four days too late. Thank goodness I was wrong! I love that he's been able to put them to use. I, thankfully, have all my gear from my Kirkham's days. And Rhett has some snow pants and boots we picked up during the Christmas storm. Having the right clothes has made such a difference. Even if you can't move in them.

Also, eating is important. I don't mean cold cereal either, although that's still yummy. I mean white chicken chili, tacos, spaghetti and meatballs, pizza with this yummy sauce, steel-cut oats, banana nut biscotti, chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter, and peanut butter oreo pie. I don't think we eat this good when I can go to the store. But with all the shoveling, I still think we're losing weight. At least I am telling myself that.

Finally, you have to keep busy inside. We've done play-doh, movies (Adam--anyone seen this? It would be great on Valentine's Day.), crafts, reading, television (anyone else excited for Survivor? So many familiar faces!), and home improvement projects. I've even done some internet shopping. Tell me I'm not crazy for loving and then buying this. If you don't stay busy, you might try to stab yourself (or others) with icicles. No lie.

A couple of other minor gems: Don't look at the snow for too long. It's blinding.

Don't expect the ends of the Christmas Hot Tamales to last when you're snowbound for an entire week.

It has certainly not been an easy week, but at least it's been educational.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

As Seen on KSL's Message Board About Our Storm

Apparently this article made a reference to all of us crazy east coasters going to the store for "staples." This is just a piece of the comments thread that Chuck and I found absolutely hysterical.

UtahDaze: I know that I make sure to keep a year supply of staples. Have you ever been in a severe storm and nothing to attach multiple papers together? Nightmare.

Darren R.: I remember running out once and I had to fold the pages together and then put some chewing gum on it to keep it all together. Those were some hard times.

i_hate_spam: You kids are spoiled. When I was young we didn't have chewing gum, only pine tree sap. It stuck those pages together good too!

American Rider: You had paper? You must have been rich. We only had leaves. (no staples please!)

Zablde: You just need to prepare with an emergency back up like the Staple free Stapler found at here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Choose Your Own Crazy Ending

Some time ago, Chuck and I had an experience in which I questioned how we handled the last move. Play along and tell me what you would have done.

Picture this: I'm driving my car, Chuck was in the passenger's seat, and Rhett's in the car seat in the back. We were stopped at a red light and were in the right lane, with a right-turn only lane on our right and no other shoulder. Out of nowhere, BANG! The driver immediately behind me didn't stop in time and hit us. As she was not moving that fast, I didn't even realize it was a fender bender. (I though my engine had fallen out. Silly me.) Did Chuck:
a) Just wave to her and say, "No problemo!" (You know, because he speaks the Spanish.)
b) Get out and jump up and down and scream and yell obscenities, or
c) Get out of the car and check for damages like a normal and sane human being.

Here we both agreed that (C) was the only right answer for us, although (B) would have been fun too. Upon car inspection and finding no real damage to the bumper of my car, did Chuck then:
a) Just wave to her and say, "No problemo!" (You know, because he speaks the Spanish.)
b) Approach the driver of the car and inform her we're calling the cops, or
c) Approach the driver of the car and ask for insurance information, you know, just in case.

Again, we both agreed that (C) was the only right answer. No need to involve the cops because nothing that bad had happened. If Rhett hadn't been in the car, we probably would have chosen (A). But if something latent happened to Rhett, well, we wanted to be safe. I still think it's the right decision. So, the driver rolled down her window and said that she'd like to pull off the side of the road. It was a Friday around 4:30 p.m., we were on a pretty major road, and the light had already changed to green. Clearly we were going to become a traffic hazard very quickly. And in D.C., you don't fool with traffic, so Chuck said fine. As Chuck got back into my car, we realized that she drove away! I'm not even lying. She. Drove. Away. Do I:
a) Just shake my head and exasperatedly say, "People!"
b) Get out and jump up and down and scream and yell obscenities, or
c) Start following that car!

Again, we both agreed that (C) was the only right answer. We made it through the light and then the next. At this point, the road starts going up a hill and we can see her little car flying and weaving through traffic. I thought I'd keep going through the next light, but I certainly won't commit to drive to West Virginia over this. We came up to a warning signal alerting us to a red light up ahead. We know we got her. Because she's in the right lane and we know we need to be along side of her, not just behind her, I pull into the left-turn lane and park the car (no one was behind us). Did Chuck :
a) Shake a fist at her to let her know we are most definitely NOT pleased,
b) Pull out a knife and stab her tires, or
c) Get out and approach her car and speak in a slightly louder voice.

Chuck chose (C). I'm not sure this is what I wanted him to do. I mean, it was afternoon rush hour and there were cars and a light that was soon to change to green. But this woman hit our car (a car with a toddler inside) and then she drove away. I was angry, and I knew Chuck was too, so I wasn't that angry with his decision. When he got to her car, she screamed that she wasn't going to stop and started to move when the light turned green. Chuck still tried to get her to stop by putting himself in front of her car and had he not moved, she would have run him over. Thankfully he moved. He safely got back in my car. Meanwhile, we wrote down her license plate number. Did we:
a) Just shake our heads and exasperatedly say, "People!"
b) Put up fugitive posters with her picture all over town, or
c) Call the cops to report a hit and run.

We chose (C) and even now, I think it was the right answer. Chuck and I have strong feelings that one of the problems with the world today is that people simply don't take responsibility for their actions and here was a perfect example of that coming true. This woman HIT OUR CAR and thought by driving fast and mean that she was going to get away with it. We were not going to let that happen. Later that night when the cop came to our house he took our report. He then put the decision on us. Did we decide to:
a) Drop it and nothing more happened, or
b) Ask the officer to pursue her and issue her a set of tickets that will have to be paid for in person in front of a judge.

Here's where I wonder if we did the right thing. We chose (B). What would you have done?

P.S. Chuck's out of school through the end of the week and the government is closed today for the third day in a row. Three days people. This is huge. More on our stormy week later.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snowpocalypse, Part 2

First, Chuck's school has already been cancelled for Monday and Tuesday--yippee! More chores for him. :)

Yes, this really was a "Randy" situation like A Christmas Story. I'm a mean mom.

How do we still have power after something like this?

That's the depth in the backyard--crotch level.

We're even meaner dog parents.

The awning collapsed when we were outside. We're glad we weren't underneath it at the time.

Rhett sitting in his snow chair. We used to make entire houses when I was little.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Freaky Winter

It's official. My sister (who has some exciting news to share so I'll wait for you to go read her post and then come back to me) and I have somehow, inexplicably changed locales when it comes to winter weather. She lives in western Colorado and has seen barely any snow this season, but has had a lot of cold. Chuck and I, on the other hand, just finished shoveling only 1/4 of the snow we'll need to do today, and that's before the predicted eight additional inches fall. Then we'll have to start all over. (Good thing I'm getting this workout because now I don't feel so guilty about my three-donut breakfast.)

This season so far has delivered two storms of about four or five inches, the Christmas storm of 20 inches, and this one which will end up at two plus feet. And if that's not enough, we're expecting another storm Tuesday night. Chuck thinks it will get him out of school for next week entirely. We're certainly not having any church tomorrow. We can't even help Chuck's power-less parents.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mother Nature 3, Us 2

Well, Mother Nature can keep us from running an "official donut race," but she can't keep us from wearing our shirts and eating donuts. And running (I got that in early this morning). Take that Mother Nature---POW!!!

Here's my effort to say something nice about the snow: Because we thought we'd be running a crazy donut race this weekend, we bought tickets to the Banff Film Festival for last night (a Thursday). If we weren't going out of town, we'd never have picked a weeknight to go DOWNTOWN. But we did. And boy are we glad! Because of the snow, it's unknown whether Metro would be able to get us there, meaning we would have missed out. Instead, we got to see five great films, the best of which was this guy who drove a tandem bike from the top of North America to the bottom of South America, picking up friends along the way. Hysterical.

Thanks to Chuck's mom for the donuts. And thanks to Aunt Mary for watching Rhett overnight so Chuck and I could go on a date!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Go Ahead, Call Me Frosty the Scrooge

I used to love it when it snowed. In Utah, the snow was guaranteed to be soft, white, and fluffy. In Utah, it was awesome to go out and play in it. You can snowshoe or ski and could easily do those things, you know, because roads were plowed and you could get to places to do them. In Utah, people know how to drive and they have myriad snowplows working to get the roads cleared lickety split. In Utah, I ran in a gym--a warm, dry gym where I'd wear shorts, even in January. In Utah, residents know how to take care of their property and clear snow off driveways and sidewalks.

But here, none of that is true. The snow is not guaranteed to be soft, white, or fluffy. (Although, in fair disclosure, this season's snow has been. The one consolation.) There's nowhere near us to snowshoe or ski. In Maryland, people don't know how to drive (which I understand because whenever would they learn?!) and have three snowplows to clear the entire county. Since mid-January, I no longer belong to a gym, so I have to rely on my neighbors to clear the snow so Rhett and I can run. But alas, my neighbors don't know that BY LAW they must clear the walks within 24 or nasty neighbors could report them. (Just puttin' it out there that it could happen.)

So as much as it saddens me to say it, I don't like the snow. Of course I say this just as we got another small storm last night. Sigh.

In full disclosure: The one good thing about Maryland snow and my life is that I happen to be married to a school teacher. A school teacher who teaches in a school system where school is cancelled for threat of snow. Or for the three inches we got overnight. Snow days also give us scenes like these:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Did It!

The crumb topping went off beautifully last night; thanks for all the support. Never mind that it took about an hour to create. I did it. And it was YUMMY. See the recipe here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Please Tell Me That This Has Happened To You

Saturday night I got an opportunity to try a dessert recipe I've been waiting to try. The snow kept planned dinner guests at their home, but we decided to not let that stop us from trying it. Why? Because it looked too yummy. It involved fried bananas, ice cream, and a crumb topping.

But first a little history: Crumb toppings and I are not friends. In fact, maybe we're unrequited lovers. I love crumb topping, but he/she does not love me back. At all. In fact, I think crumb topping hates me. If a crumb topping has butter in it (which any good crumb topping should), it just ends up as a crumb ball.

Last night was no different. First, I cut my butter into little cubes and placed it back in the fridge, in case my hands had at all warmed it. Second, I mixed the dry ingredients. Finally, I had Chuck blend in the butter. But when he was done, I knew it was ruined. I in no way blame him, though. It was guaranteed to turn out that way had I done it. At least with him it had a chance.

Nevertheless, I was devastated. This particular crumb topping also had a cup of nuts. A full cup. Do you know how much that costs? More than I'd care to throw in the trash, that's for sure. It killed me. I was near tears and snapped at Chuck all night because of how upset it made me.

So basically, please tell me that cooking can be this dramatic for others. And then wish me luck as I try it again today for FHE.