Category Archives: Humor

Baking With Children

Sometimes when I don’t feel like I have enough stress in my day I will have my boys help me bake something. Today it was scones. I have long since learned that having both of them help at the same time leads to fighting over whose turn it is to break the eggs, pour in the sugar, or stir the batter, and inevitably something gets spilled.

Perhaps I should have them take turns, you might be thinking. Oh reader, I do. I do. But my kids have this uncanny ability to both forget who poured in the last ingredient, literally 30 seconds ago, and both be 100% sure that it is their turn and that we are trying to sabotage them by insisting that it’s not.

So our rule is that only one boy at a time gets to be assistant baker. Today the younger insisted that he needed to stand right next to the counter and watch even though it wasn’t his turn to help. 

So see, this was easier because I had one boy scooping flour and sugar, and the other boy standing to the side talking and asking questions constantly. Questions like, What are you doing? Why are you doing that? What kind of milk is that? Why do you keep the frozen blueberries in the freezer?

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So between trying to stay one step ahead of the boy reading the recipe and doing the things, and correcting his mistakes, I was trying to answer the other boy kindly when I really wanted him to just leave the kitchen, my goodness why do you need to be in here?

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Then after rolling out the dough and cutting it, the helper is rolling around on the kitchen floor on his hands and knees like a naughty puppy. Normally I’m okay with this, because it cleans the floor as it dirties the child, but I’d rather not have floor filth in my scones, so we pause the recipe to wash hands.

Now, when you and I wash our hands, we understand that there is a sequence of events that must take place every time in order for our hands to truly be considered washed. You turn on warm water, you scrub with soap, rinse, and then for goodness sakes, dry them.

My children, however, reserve such fanciness only for important events, like presidential visits, or Christmas.

So out of the bathroom he comes, dripping water everywhere, and when I tell him to dry his hands he rubs them down his shirt. Did you use soap? I ask, and receive a blank look in return.

Back to the bathroom he goes, with instructions to use soap and dry thoroughly.

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Blueberry scones are completed, my kitchen is a mess, the younger boy is still chattering away to nobody in particular. I hope you didn’t come here for 10 Tips for Baking With Children, this ain’t that kind of blog. You should actually head over to my friend Brit at Little Mountain Momma. She’s awesome at doing stuff with her littles, whereas I tend to say stuff like, Can you not? and You gotta get outta here, you’re making me crazy.

I guess I should end this by saying something like, It’s worth it, bake with your kids! And it is. You get to eat scones at the end, so there’s that.

 

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“Do You Ever Feel Tired?”

I had just scolded Little Guy for the seventh time in the last five minutes, this time for licking the almond milk on the shelf at Trader Joes, when I felt someone at my elbow. I turned around and this little old lady put her hand on my shoulder and said, “God’s blessings be upon you, dear!”

I buried my face in her shoulder and wept. Okay, actually I just bit back tears and gave her a hug. I thanked her for her kind words, they meant so much to me. She looked at my pregnant belly, then looked at my boys rolling around on the dirty tile floor like puppies and asked,

“Do you ever feel tired?”

At this, I burst into laughter. Like, insane woman, crazy eyed, hysterical, howling laughter. It was either that or cry. Do I ever feel tired? The night before, I got up no less than 4 times to pee, and each time I came back to bed my dog had migrated from the foot of the bed into the warm space I vacated. She growls at me when I try to move her and turns into dead weight so that by the time I have reclaimed my sleeping space I’m wide awake and so is the karate kid that resides in my uterus. I don’t sleep much.

Do I ever feel tired? That morning when my boys were praying before we started our school lesson (yes, June is almost over and we’re still doing school. Shhhh, don’t tell them, they don’t realize we should have stopped!) I almost fell asleep in the 30 seconds I had my eyes shut.

Do I ever feel tired? I live on the third floor of an old building and the hardest part of my day is climbing the stairs up to our apartment. Halfway up I have to stop and assess whether the contractions I’m besieged with are the real thing or not, because if it’s go-time there’s no way in heck I’m doing that last flight to just turn around and head back down to the hospital.

Do I ever feel tired? Through my laughter I replied, “Every #*@%  day!”

Okay not really. This was a sweet old granny. “Pretty often,” is what I actually said.

I don’t remember much of the exchange after that, but when I left the store I felt so much better than when I came in. God keeps sending the right people at the right time into my life to encourage me. Throughout the last couple months (this pregnancy has been challenging, it’s been rough) I have lost track of the number of people who have stopped me at the park, grocery store, parking lot, library, everywhere to compliment my children, or tell me how amazing I look, or just say, “You are doing a great work!”

I’m trying to become that kind of person. If I’m thinking something encouraging, I pray that God would give me the boldness to say it. To the mom struggling with the screaming two year old at Target, “You are doing a great job!”

To the pregnant mom at the park struggling to keep up with her energetic kids, “You look amazing!”

Encouraging words leave a positive mark that can help erase all the negative self talk we’re capable of. Let’s make use of them.

Do you enjoy being complimented by strangers? Does it creep you out? Tell me about it.

The Time I Let My Poker Face Slip

Yesterday I made a devastating parenting mistake.

Tim and I were sitting in the shade in his brother’s backyard, sipping cold drinks and reading. Beautiful summer morning. The boys were playing on a slip-n-slide a ways off. A peaceful moment.

We had no idea what was coming.

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Pile o’ worms

Now here’s the thing about my boys: They love bugs. They are constantly catching bugs and creepy crawly things. This doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I’ll even help them.

We’ve caught ladybugs, worms, lizards, even snakes together.

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Have you ever seen anyone so in love with a snake?

There have only been a few occasions where they’ve stuck something right under my nose (literally) that has horrified me, and I’ve managed to keep my cool and breathe slowly until they take it away.

I have a pretty good poker face. This comes from years of youth ministry of all sorts. I can usually hear or see something outrageous and not react. This is a useful parenting skill. As long as you can keep your kids from surprising you, you keep the upper hand.

So. Back to yesterday.

Our blissful reverie was interrupted by our two children running over yelling. Big Brother had something clutched tight in his butterfly net, and Little Guy was proudly yelling that Big Brother caught “a huge spider!”

Before that phrase could even register he shoved the net under our noses and we saw this. IMG_0755

Look closely. That is a big, nasty wolf spider. It was frantically running around its little net space on top of Big Brother’s hand looking for someone to kill.

I immediately screamed and tried to keep from throwing up.

Tim calmly (of course, the man is never ruffled) said, “Umm, buddy, that kind can actually bite. You might want to let that one go.”

At this, Big Brother opened the net and dropped it right where we were sitting.

I screamed and flew out of my chair (I’m extremely pregnant, it usually takes me awhile to move anywhere) and shot across the yard away from the angry spider now bent on revenge.

This is when I realized my mistake.

I let my poker face slip. Not just slip. I destroyed my calm, parenting face.

They can smell fear, you know. I’m talking about the children, not the spider. They saw what makes their mom lose her mind and scream in terror. And they. did. it. They have the power now. If you have boys, you realize how dangerous this is. Boys love to make their moms scream. I think this is considered loving in their minds? And I freely showed them what I’m most afraid of.

What have I done?

If you are a mom of boys, can you relate? I want to hear about it.

Chee Charlie: The Fish Who Dreamed Big

Alternative title: The Fish Who Flew Too Close to the Sun.

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One year ago today I wrote a Tribute to a Dear Fish Friend, Road Tractor, so it seems only Fitting that I choose today to write Another Fish Eulogy for another Dear Fish Friend: Chee Charlie The Second.

Chee Charlie, Beloved Fish Friend, passed on to the Great Fish Beyond on October 8. His Exact Age was unknown, but he was believed to be at least Five or Six years old, ancient in fish years.

Chee Charlie dreamed Big. In fact, it was believed that his Desire for Big-ness, might have contributed to his Death. He lived in a Small Tank in our living room, but dreamed for Bigger Things. He was made for the Ocean. His desire for Greatness led him to believe he could Be Anything. And so he grew. And grew.

In the Three Years he was a part of our family, he almost Doubled in Size. He was Too Big for his tank. Yet, he continued to Dream Big. Those who knew him were Inspired by his Big Dreams.

Unfortunately, his Largeness would in turn be his Downfall. He was Too Big to survive outside of his Controlled Environment, and when taken out for a Cleaning, he Failed to Thrive in the Alternative Tank in the Short While he was there. When he finally made it back to his Own Home, it was Too Late. His spiral towards Death had Begun.

He is survived by his Friend and Roommate, Katniss, who still lives in the Tank, alone. She is looking forward to getting some New Roommates soon. She also Dreams for Greatness, but Knows When To Quit.

Chee Charlie was Preceded in Death by Road Tractor, who died almost a Year exactly before Chee Charlie. It was Believed that he was Attempting a Finding-Nemo-Type Escape, as he was Found Dead inside the Filter. He was Mourned. He was also Preceded by Chee Charlie the First, and Hobo, who lived Years Ago for Five and Two weeks respectively.

In Life, Chee Charlie loved to Eat. He would Literally Vibrate when someone sat next to His Tank in Anticipation of Eating. In Death, he will be Remembered as The Fish Who Dreamed Big.

Rest In Peace, Chee Charlie The Second. You were Loved.

Snapshot of My Day: Tornado Alley

I realized recently that a true “snapshot of my day” is literally Instagram…And a lot of the time I don’t even include a photo when I title a post Snapshot of My Day. So I guess I just need you to know that I realize how ridiculous this all is, but I don’t know what else to call it. And Creating a Mental Snapshot of My Day With Words was too lengthy. So this madness will continue.

Like many of you, we have emergency sirens that routinely go off in a “practice run.” Unlike many of you, ours is directly across the street. It blares once a month and we try not to be outside when it does because it is so loud that my ear drums literally hurt and when it’s done I’m dizzy and sick to my stomach.

This happened a while ago, when it was still warm out, but it came to mind recently and I wanted to write about it. I was taking dog, kids, and garbage outside. My arms were loaded down with a full bag as well as the overflowing plastic recycling bin. We made our way down the crazy amounts of stairs to the alley door where I asked Big Brother to hold the dog’s leash as well as hold the large metal door open for us all.

At that moment, chaos broke loose.

The siren went off, the dog panicked and ran, which pulled Big Brother away from the door, which shut on Little Guy’s leg all the way up to the knee, who was terrified because he hates loud noise, which caused the door to hit me, making me lose my balance and drop the garbage everywhere, which spread all over the alley.

The door opened again, and our apartment manager stepped out and looked at me.

This is what he saw: I was sitting on the ground in the alley, garbage strewn about, holding my screaming, hurting child, who was sure he was going to lose his leg, as the older one stood there holding his ears and yelling, because he thought if he yelled enough the siren would stop, while the dog ran in circles around us barking, because when there’s noise and chaos she likes to add to it.

I looked up and gave him a big smile, because what else could I do?

“That’s loud!” He mouthed.

I nodded.

He went back in and shut the door.

And I sat in the alley with the sound of a bomb raid in my ears and tried to piece my life back together.

Happy Thursday!

My life is full of awkward moments, I would love it if you shared one of yours. This is a Call To Awkwardness. Bring it on!

Scariest Halloween…Ever.

I’m writing this because I’m not sure we all realize or appreciate the perfect storm of events that’s happening this weekend. If you’re a parent, this will be the scariest Halloween yet. This only happens a few times in your lifetime (okay, my fact checkers have told me that’s not true, it’s more like every 6-8 years or something, I don’t know how to calculate time with Leap Year thrown in there obviously, and when I tried to use Google to see how often this has occurred all I got was Fox News telling me not to die in a fire tonight and change the batteries in my smoke alarms because an extra hour in the night means an extra hour to die in a horrible fire) and should be viewed with the awe and terror it deserves.

Here’s why you should approach tonight with fear and trembling. You are dressing up your little minion and sending them door to door to fill up with high fructose corn syrup right before bed. This is terrifying in itself, but it’s Halloween, so anything goes. Put your hyped up child to bed, after hours of waiting for them to “come down” from their high. Iff they’re old enough, fill them with Pepto Bismol and leave a bucket by their bed along with a bottle of Gatorade and an aspirin for their impending morning hangover.

If your kids are like mine, they won’t go to sleep until closer to midnight, because candy, and you will tiptoe into their rooms and smile over their sticky faces and fingers clutching their favorite candy, which they can’t let go of because they are covered in a syrupy layer from head to toe. So sweet, sleep tight little minions.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.

Every parent knows that the end of Daylight Savings Time is the worst day (week) of the year. I found this Canadian article, which puts forth the conspiracy idea that the candy industry is behind this weekend. I believe them.

And I’m pretty sure Daylight Savings Time was designed to torture parents, I mean, I know things like this are usually designed in such a personal matter that I should be personally hurt that my kids are forced to (not) take an extra of sleep and get messed up in their schedules for a week a lifetime. I’ve seen enough parents complaining about this on social media (because WHY have social media if you can’t let everyone else know how miserable you are?) year after year, so I know I’m right.

Here’s why this is terrible. Last year, Tim and I were excited about our “extra hour of sleep.” So naturally, we stayed up an extra two hours, because math, and went to bed with visions of the whole household sleeping until a late hour, then a leisurely breakfast, and angelic children (because you know, an extra hour of sleep can work miracles, probably), dancing in our heads.

Instead. Our kids woke up two hours earlier than usual. Instead of their usual ten hours, they slept eight. If you’re keeping score at home, that means they woke up before 6:00. And they were crabby. We looked at each other, What just happened? Where did this coveted extra hour go?

Oh, and if you’re wondering if they ever adjusted back. They didn’t. And when we got to the spring we had hope that they would start waking up at their usual time. Nope. Even earlier. I blame the government.

This weekend, you guys. This weekend we get the Halloween Hangover (I call that for a band name!) AND the Sleep Schedule Destroyer (again, I call it).  These two together equal the spookiest Halloween you can imagine.

Emily, you might be wondering, what do we do?

The only thing you can do. Vote Republican. This is clearly the fault of the Democrats.

 

On a serious note, if you’re curious how we do Halloween at our house, check out this post from last year, leave me a comment telling me how your family does this holiday, and have a Happy Halloween!

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Last year’s costumes. Batman and Super Cat.

Parenting Fail: The Litterbug

One of the hard things about being a parent is that you constantly have an audience. And they are paying attention. All the time. I’ve written before about the stupid things I’ve done or said in front of my kids that have come back to bite me. That’s part of parenting.

wpid-img_20150628_181030.jpgThe other day we were riding bike home from Union Station, where we had stopped to play in the fountains and eat ice cream. A favorite Sunday night activity for Sheppards. On the way to the street, I rode by a trash can to throw away the ice cream cups I had in my hand. I hit a bump and one of the itty bitty plastic spoons fell out of my hand onto the sidewalk.

I kept riding.

I left the plastic spoon on the sidewalk three feet from the trash can.

I know, I know. I’m the worst. I should have just stopped, bent down and picked it up.

But here’s the bigger problem.

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Big Brother was right behind me. Watching me.

After I dropped it, he started yelling ahead to his dad to stop, because we had to pick up the garbage. Only we didn’t stop. And I told him it was okay, we weren’t stopping, Tim wouldn’t leave us.

“You’re not gonna pick it up?”

“No, buddy, it’s okay. We need to catch up to Dad,” I replied.

“Oh.”

We rode in silence for a few moments. Then he spoke again.

“Is littering sometimes okay?”

“Yes,” I answered, then immediately thought of all the times they’ve just wanted to leave their picnic messes at the park. “I mean no. Well, maybe sometimes.” Well no, actually, I can’t think of a time when they should litter. “Um, no, never. Ugh. Nope, I was wrong, I should’ve stopped and got it. That was my bad. Never litter, okay?”

Fail.

Have your kids caught you littering? Or something else? Want to share your latest Parenting Fail?