Monday, June 28, 2010


Oh man. Today was one of those days where you feel like you're just banging your head against a brick wall. Harper (yes, the FIVE year old) had at least three major meltdowns. HUGE freak outs. Mostly involving... her toys. Le sigh.

Harper has a giant imagination. The last time we went to the zoo a couple of weeks ago, every other sentence started with, "Pretend I'm..." and it would go on from there. Don't get me wrong, this is one of my most favorite things about her and comes in handy because she can often entertain herself for hours. The trouble is, she gets so involved in her pretending that she doesn't want to clean it up, ever. She's not being lazy, she doesn't want ME to clean it up either. If I move anything I have destroyed someone's home and it is a tragedy. Recently she's been on a zoo kick and building habitats for this tacky (literally, it's rubbery and kind of sticky) toy lizard, "Lizzy," she has. She keeps building homes for Lizzy, but she likes to use containers that had previously been in use storing other toys. Which is fine, I guess, but at the end of the day I would like to be able to put the blocks back in their bin.

(She also freaked out because I couldn't understand her when she was whining at me and because she didn't want to sit at the dinner table with Michael. She wanted to eat in the dining room by herself. Apparently it's difficult to be five.)

And that's it, I'm just frustrated with Harper's behavior as well as my reaction to it. So I know that we're really fine and we'll just dust ourselves off and try to do better tomorrow. And if the morning doesn't go well, we'll try to do better in the afternoon. That's how it is with little ones, no?

(Mom, pretend I found this lost baby elephant and now it thinks I'm its mother.)


Random funny Harper observation from a pre-meltdown trip to Target, "Mom, I think Toy Story 3 is taking over the WORLD!"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset

This afternoon Ann came over to stay with Michael so Matt and I could take Harper to see Toy Story 3. It did not disappoint. It was funny, surprisingly intense at times, and touching. There were actually a few moments when I found myself surprised at the G rating because I found a few of the new characters to be horribly sinister and there were moments when I was genuinely fearful for the fate of the toys . It was during one of these moments, when I honestly felt on the verge of tears because of what was about to happen to Woody and friends, that Harper leaned over, wide-eyed and asked, "Mom is that what happens to our garbage?" She was fascinated by the process unfolding before her, but not at all concerned about the toys! So I guess G is perfectly appropriate after all.

So yes, intense, funny, and so so sad. Sad because one day these darling children will grow up and leave me and how on earth will I survive without them? I have another post brewing about some of the changes we've experienced lately, especially with Harper who I swear looks taller every time she walks into a room, and well, just look at them!

There are no babies left in my house and there are times when that really feels tragic. Then again, I have some pretty great "big kids" growing before my eyes and I'm incredibly thankful for them.

(For the record, we enjoyed this latest Toy Story installment in 2D and I'm glad. The 3D glasses annoy me and I think that really would have been a little too intense for Harper.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Look Who Learned to Smile for the Camera!

He'd also like to take your picture - he follows us around the house saying, "Chee!!!" Which means we'd better turn around and say, "cheese," darn it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's For Dinner?

I don't know about you, but one of my least favorite questions is, "What's for dinner?"

I rarely have a good answer.

We eat a lot of chicken.

When we're all eating together I usually prepare some sort of protein (75% of the time it's chicken), a starch (usually rice or pasta), and a vegetable. The kids also have fruit w/ dinner 95% of the time. I'm a passable cook. We eat, no one is starving, but there is usually at least one component of the dinner that someone won't eat.

Tonight there was a dinner miracle as BOTH children, without coaxing, ate all the components of the meal. Aren't you dying to know what we had? I'm sure that it is not a perfect balance, nutritionally, so please don't email me/comment about all the shortcomings, okay?


Cheesy Garlic Chicken - Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves and some chopped tomato covered with a mixture of water, olive oil and garlic herb soup mix. Add shredded mozzarella cheese on top for the last few minutes of baking. EASY and actually kind of fancy looking.


Marvin Potatoes, so named because my mom learned to make them that way from my Uncle Marvin, I think. Slice potatoes into discs, the thinner the better IMO, and lay out on a cookie sheet sprayed w/ no stick spray. I used baby red potatoes because that's what we had around, any kind will work. I cut a tablespoon of butter into about nine little cubes and laid them around the tray (actually two trays, my oven is very narrow and only little cookie sheets fit in it), then sprinkled the whole thing w/ seasoned salt. Bake. Done.


Glazed carrots. Here is my very fancy technique for making glazed carrots (snort). I boil some baby carrots until they are pretty soft (i.e. kid friendly in my house). I dump the hot carrots, drained, into a bowl w/ a little butter and about a tablespoon of brown sugar. I stir it until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. The end.

And everyone ate all of it, even Michael, who has thoroughly shunned vegetables since turning two. They both asked for more chicken and more potatoes and tolerated the carrots without complaint. Harper actually said, "Soft carrots? I LIKE soft carrots!" She also asked me to fish extra saucy tomatoes out of the baking dish for her. She will not eat tomatoes under any other circumstances.

I'm no gourmet but there you go. I celebrate it when both the kids eat all the dinner. Heck I celebrate when both of the kids will eat some of the dinner, tonight's meal should go into some kind of family hall of fame.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

On Father's Day

Dear Matt,

Thanks for being the kind of dad that changes diapers and changes the garbage. Thank you for being the kind of dad that hugs and holds hands as well as wrestles and rough-houses. Thank you for being a reader of books as well as a thrower of balls. Thank you for being payer of bills and king of "make up stories" (term credit: Harper). Thank you for being the one to bring the biggest smiles to our children's faces.

And thank you for always, always, being willing to get in the pool.

Happy Father's Day. We love you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Distracted Much?

I just went to heat up something for Harper's lunch and in the microwave I found some rice I'd heated for my lunch - YESTERDAY.

(This sort of post is why I should think about a Twitter account.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To Explain

Last time, on Midwest Mom, I invited you to play a game.

I wonder how many of the rest of you guessed what Harper had drawn, but were too shy to share...

Those of you with babies on the brain, you were right!

A couple of weeks ago a good family friend had a third baby girl (Welcome Miriam!). As we were pulling together some items to send the family I asked Harper if she'd like to draw a picture to send to the two older girls. She greeted the idea enthusiastically and took off with paper and colored pencils. When she returned with her picture, I was a little, um, surprised? Uncertain? I asked her to tell me about it.

"Well," she said, "That's the daddy at home with the girls. And over there is the mommy at the hospital, getting the baby out!"

Yes folks, Harper drew a picture of a c-section. (And that is pretty much what the aftermath feels like, no?)

Both of my kids were born via c-section. Harper because she was breech and Michael because I was stalled at three or four (I no longer remember) centimeters after over 48 hours of labor.

But Harper knows that that's not the way all babies are born! It was kind of stunning to me to realize that that is currently her default image of birth. I'm not sure how to feel about that. And maybe I don't need to feel anything about it.

I know I should be grateful that I have two healthy, beautiful children, no matter how they came into the world. And I AM grateful. But there is a part of me that will always feel sad that I didn't ever experience giving birth another way. I think about Harper having a child someday and I feel a profound sadness that I only have one kind of birth experience to relate to her.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Let's Play a Game...

I have a LOT to say about this picture Harper recently drew, but before I share my two cents I thought I would open the floor and see if anyone else would like to interpret.

Leave your thoughts in the comments and I'll return Monday or Tuesday to explain!

(Oh and there's no need to comment on Harper's, uh, not excellent drawing skills. Genetically speaking, she wasn't going to inherit a lot in that department!)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Break So Far

Three days in and each day I have managed at least a short nap while Michael naps and Harper plays happily on her own. Not sure if that makes me

a) lazy

b) lucky


c) brilliant

but there it is.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Last Days

The last day of school is bringing a bucket and cloth for scrubbing your desk with soapy water and carrying art projects home in paper grocery bags.

The last day of school is tattered notebooks and half empty boxes of crayons.

The last day of school is sweating through field day and thinking it is so weird to see your teacher wearing shorts.

The last day of school is inside jokes scribbled into yearbooks and asking every teacher to sign them so you don't have to go back to class.

The last day of school is the tantalizing promise of sleeping late and sunbathing and uninterrupted reading and not understanding why it feels a little bit sad.

The last day of school is watching students walk away from you, not knowing if you'll know how their lives go, but knowing you'll wonder.

The last day of school is wondering whether any of it made a difference.

The last day of school is tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Memorial Weekend

During which we:

Traveled to Wisconsin and back.

Let the kids loose at the zoo-

Had fun with Grandpa's motorized cooler -

And had a lovely rest stop picnic on the way back to Ohio -

(Internets, I give you, Indiana!)

Coming next week? Blog posts with paragraphs!