Recipe for Disaster*

* hyperbole alert

Take a Saturday like the one I had, combine it with an evening of social activities, a little wine, a little beer, and then get only four hours of sleep.

Ouch.

It’s safe to say that going to Dee’s Cafe at anytime isn’t exactly a great idea. But it’s an especially bad idea at 12:30 on the Saturday night (Sunday morning?) before your 3-year-old’s birthday party at the Children’s Museum.

At a certain point in the evening, it was clear we were not going to get eight hours of sleep, and that was fine. But six hours would have been much more refreshing than four.

I blame Dan (and he knows it).

As for my Saturday to-do list: my cousin (in-law) shoveled my drive, I got a lot of cleaning done, the kids’ birthday party was attended, the babysitter was a big hit. (She brought a box o’ fun for the kids, tried to explain the concept of the Magic 8 Ball to Flora, and cooked brinner, including silver-dollar sized pancakes.)

Groceries were not shopped for. I’m not exactly sure how I’m solving that problem yet.

The dinner at the Carlton before the 40th birthday party was, to coin an interwebz phrase: meh. The company was fantastic (my parents, Dr. Bro, two aunts, one uncle, a cousin and his wife), the wine was good, but the food was distinctly underwhelming. Desserts weren’t too bad.

The 40th birthday party before Dee’s Cafe was a lot of fun — it was so great to see everyone. Especially as a number of those people kept telling me how terrific I looked. I mean, how can you not like that? The birthday girl, who also looks terrific (if there is someone in my life with more poise and social grace than Annie, I would like to know who it is), had a fabulous evening, too.

I wanted to go home afterwards, but a few people were (allegedly) going to Dee’s. It turned out to just be Dan, me, and Jen Z and her husband (Dan’s best friend). And we closed the bar. Oy.

But we survived, and Kate declared yesterday “a perfect day”. The party was another great success, with crafts, and good food, and great company. (Also, Kate’s name was spelled correctly on the cake.) Dan and I got to lay down with our eyes closed on the couch for about 30 minutes afterwards while the kids played house.

Listening to our girls play house was by turns hilarious and disturbing. Especially listening to Flora exhort her baby, Kate, to just be quiet and go to sleep. Although the part where she poured a dream about ponies into Kate’s eyes was fantastic.

Snippet: A Little Confusion

Flora got a thank you card from each of her teachers for the bubble magnets we gave them.

We opened the cards together, and read them.

Flora: “How come they have ‘missus’ in their names?”
Me: “They are married.”
Flora, clearly flabbergasted: “What? Two girls and no boy?”
Me: “Not to each other!”

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But 5 does seem a little young to explain civil/marriage rights.)

Non-Stop

1. Had Dr. Bro and his family over for a very belated Christmas last night. It was fun to see those boys in action. I don’t know how my SIL isn’t exhausted all of the time.
2. Still need to finish clean up from 1.
3. Grocery shopping. I think I’ll stick with the regular old Giant Eagle. I haven’t braved the Market District again yet.
4. This should be 3: shovel driveway.
5. Lunch. Quiet time.
6. Crap, I haven’t even showered yet.
7. Birthday party for classmate of Flora, 2 to 4 p.m.
8. Home. Babysitter coming at 5 p.m.
9. Leave for dinner at Carlton at 5:30 p.m. (No idea what I’m wearing yet. Not jeans.)
10. Dinner.
11. Head to Double Wide for friend’s 40th birthday party.
12. (Sunday) Church. Send someone to pick up Kate’s cake.
13. Kate’s birthday party at Children’s Museum.
14. Home. Nap? Dinner with Nonna & Pap-pap? Bedtime?
15. Hi, Monday. Where’d you come from?

Animal, Mineral, Vegetarian

Today’s answer is to PittChick‘s questions:

“How long have you been a vegetarian? How will you feel if your children opt to try animal products one day?”

I stopped eating red meat when I was 18 years old. I just didn’t like it anymore. I wasn’t that picky an eater growing up — I ate everything, with the exception of lima beans (still true, except for the meat thing). But at some point, I just started disliking the taste and/or texture of red meat.

I became a complete vegetarian in college. Part of that was the cafeteria experience — the food they served in the cafeteria was atrocious. To this day, I cannot get cucumbers from a salad bar because of the Towers Cafeteria. The other part of my decision to go totally veg was a persuasion class I took. We had to give a persuasive speech as part of our grade, and I decided to do mine on vegetarianism. Afterwards, I couldn’t condone eating any animals, not just cows. (It’s less about animal rights, and more about environmental conservation.)

I fully expect my children to try meat some day. We joke about how our kids won’t sneak cigarettes or booze; they’ll sneak McDonalds. On a serious note, though, when and if my girls decide to try meat, I hope they do it with the full knowledge of why I brought them up as vegetarians.

I also hope that they won’t try McDonalds; that if/when they decide to try meat or become meat eaters, they will be conscientious ones. To wit, they will steer clear of mass-produced, factory farmed animals, and choose instead to get hormone-free, locally raised beef, chicken, etc. We already do a lot of organic produce and dairy at home, so they are on that path, now, too. When I buy meat or fish for my husband or guests, I tend to look for the organic and hormone-free options.

I think factory farming is incredibly destructive to the environment. (And kind of gross, too.) I worry about a lot of stuff that we pump into our food meat and our dairy cows. I am trying to make choices about my children’s health that are also good for the environment. If I’m going to help them live for a long time, I’d like them to have a nice world in which to live.

I think the best, most cogent (and entertaining take) I have read on this subject is Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. My review on it is here.

Got a question for me? You can leave it in the comments here, or shoot me an email.

Tick Tock

My baby turned 3 yesterday.

I don’t know if it’s hormones or heartache, but some days — like the day my baby turned 3, or the day I spend in the company of my now 9-month-old nephew — the longing for another baby is intense.

My brain has a lot of things to tell my heart (and my womb) on those days.

How hard it would be. I am toward the end of my fertility (although not the very end, as the box of Tampax under my sink can attest). Even with the right timing, it could be difficult to conceive now.

The risks involved. Neither my eggs nor my husband’s sperm are, so to speak, spring chickens. The risks of advanced maternal and paternal age should be considered. (My brain then counteracts its own argument by pointing out that my paternal grandmother was 44 years old — and my pap-pap even older — when she had my father, and he’s just fine.)

The hard, cold fact that having babies isn’t the easiest thing for me to do. My body (to date) has conceived just fine. But somewhere around week 32–34, it’s ready to shut down production. I would end up on modified bed rest again, end up getting induced, etc., etc. Two out of three times this has all gone just fine, but, you know, that one time weighs heavy.

The time I would need in terms of personal/vacation hours just for midwife appointments and sonograms.

The mere fact that my exhaustion and disorganization, already problematic, would increase, and probably result in my house becoming so cluttered and/or dirty we would end up on Hoarders or the 11 o’clock news.

And so on and so forth.

Why can’t my biological clock accept that fact that I have reproduced, successfully, twice already, and leave me alone? The rush of desire, yearning, lust when I’m in the presence of a baby is just insane-making.

I did not have that rush before I had babies. I accepted motherhood as a positive aspect of my marriage to Dan. I didn’t marry Dan out of a desire to have babies. I didn’t marry Dan out of a desire to be married. (Not that there is anything wrong with fantasizing about being married or having babies. I just didn’t do it before I was getting married and having babies.)

It’s not even about wanting or not wanting to have another baby. Yes, I do, in my heart, in my body; no, I don’t, in my brain, even in other parts of my body that are so flipping tired at the end of a day.

I don’t want to want. That part, if it were over, would make it so much easier to face the fact that it’s not likely (or advisable) that I have any more babies.

Of course, I don’t exactly want to go through premature menopause, either. So I guess I’m just stuck for a few more years.

You’re 3!

I don’t even know where to go with this letter to you, Kate.

So much has happened this year.

You got ear tubes, and your language and comprehension (which were about average for your age) exploded. This hasn’t translated into making you an excellent listener, per se. Something for us to work on this year.

Plus (knocking on wood), your ear infections disappeared. For as sick as you have been this year, after those tubes went in, ear infections have not been a problem (strep throat, H1N1, the usual coughs and colds, on the other hand…).

You got a hair cut.

You learned to swim, with lots of encouragement from pap-pap. And you loved it.

You scared the bejeezus out of your father and me (and several of our close friends) when you ran into the street on the South Side. I think you may have learned your lesson. You are much more willing to hold my hand in parking lots. Now, when we are in stores and you want to walk instead of ride in the cart, you solemnly assure me, “And I won’t run ‘way, mama.” And you usually don’t, choosing instead to hang off of the cart. Or stand directly in front of it.

You seem determined to absorb as much knowledge as your sister does. The other night, Flora said to me, “Kate wants to do everything I do.” She was complaining, and I know that we are in for many more years of that. But I told her that you did that because you love her and look up to her. And it’s true: You love your big sister, unreservedly, whole heartedly.

This morning, for the first time, you said “spoon” almost correctly. You’ve had trouble pronouncing “sp” and “sm” sounds (I know there is a word for those sounds, but it escapes me at this time), usually saying s-foon or fs-mell. But this morning you said “sp-oon”, spitting out the “sp” correctly. I’m sure you didn’t notice, but I sure did.

Another sign you are growing up.

You are a skinny bundle of energy. “Irrepressible” is a good word for you. You haven’t had a toddler belly for more than a year, and I still miss it. You seems as determined to grow up and be a big girl as you are yearning to be a baby. You crawl into my lap with a play bottle to cuddle as often as you attempt to hang off of my head.

For me, 3 is the dreaded year, and I will promise you something, Bun — Kate, I mean. I promise that I will take more deep breaths. I will keep the boundaries we set. I will give you what you need from me, from cuddling to book reading to help with art & crafts to loving discipline.

You? You don’t really “have” to do anything. (Well, the potty thing. That you really have to get nailed down soon.) I don’t want you to change, not really. You are so expressive, so funny, so stubborn. You are so loving.

Happy Birthday, Bun, Kate.

All my love, Mommy

Fire Away

So, since I’m having so much fun with my blog lately, and writing such scintillating prose (guess I shot my wad in December), I’ve decided to open the floor.

Got any questions for me? Leave them in the comments, or email me: albamaria30 at verizon dot net.

Just remember one thing: My father reads this blog.

Thus: I retain the rights to not answer any question. That said, I haven’t too much to hide. (He knows about the drugs. Just kidding. Or AM I?)

Blank

Quietly, so quietly I didn’t even mention it in my uberlist post, I decided to do Blog365 again this year. I made it to the end of June last year, and I learned a few tricks, so I thought I would go ahead and do it again.

I like the discipline of writing daily. I like the challenge.

That being said, I practically blanked on Jan. 2 (hence a weak post, IMO), and here I am again on Jan. 4, drawing a blank.

The problem is not limited to this blogging thing. I am hopelessly unorganized. It’s reflected in my home, most notably. I’m not sure if the disorganization/mess has grown out of my house into my brain or vice-versa, but I am just buried.

We had three days off, and while I got a ton of stuff accomplished, I feel as if there is so much more to do. A lot of the stuff I put to the side for donation is still sitting in my house, which is a problem. The toys and clothes are going several places (Dan’s office, Goodwill, other children), and Dan & I haven’t gotten together to coordinate that effort.

I’ve made some decisions about storage and organization and decoration in my house, but here is another area that Dan and I need to be on the same page. The Target was very disappointing this weekend; they had none of the corner entertainment centers I had seen on-line. And the ledge shelving available was primarily black or white, which doesn’t figure into my color scheme. So that didn’t get done either.

I haven’t actually made my uberlist yet. I just know I want to.

I haven’t loaded up my new iPod yet, for goodness sakes! (Dan was kind enough to charge it up for me. Thanks, honey!)

On the bright side, I went through the arts & crafts drawers, threw out the old, and stored the new. And we bought a number of new storage boxes for clothes and a couple of other things that need to be stored for future use.

To return to the point (I think), I have to go back and review my plan for Blog365. And, yes, I need a plan. It is occurring to me as I write this terribly unorganized post that it is supposed to be Meatless Monday.

I’m going to have to start trying out some new recipes. Sigh.

Kate’s New Year

I am sincerely hoping that one of Kate’s resolutions for 2010 — for the first week of 2010 if she can pull it off — is to get herself potty-trained.

She did great at day care last week, which was at ye olde DCL’s because their day school was closed the week between holidays (they do not charge us). The continued obstacle is pooping. Pooping on the potty just isn’t happening.

Yesterday, we were supposed to go over to my in-laws for the afternoon. Getting Kate in for a nap proved futile (which was particularly painful because I wanted to nap). I told her if she didn’t nap, we were not going to go to Bella’s — Flora and Daddy would go without us.

She didn’t nap.

So while Flora and Daddy headed over to Bella’s at 3 p.m., Kate and I stayed home. I actually managed to get a lot of cleaning done. Kate and I went over for dinner, and came home around 8 p.m. She actually did not throw a big tantrum about the whole thing, which makes me think I didn’t pick the right thing to take away from her.

As far as potty training: my strategy is to get her a few little toys, $1-store stuff, for her to have when she poops on the potty. I’ll get her one big toy, probably Littlest Pet Shop related, for when she makes the real transition to the big-kid room at day school.

Here’s hoping.