28 October 2015

Positive Reinforcement

Last night I had planned a delicious soup for dinner. However, due to time constraints, a tiring day, and a suggestive text from a kind person, I decided that rather than make a healthy home cooked meal I would take my children to get cheap, unhealthy, easy pizza.

I consulted with the kids first, and they were very supportive of the plan change. They thanked me, all three of them separately, and one of them TWICE.

They have got this positive reinforcement thing down.

I feel a little jaded that for my carefully planned, home cooked, healthy meals I get the most dramatic, tireless resistance possible. "I'm not eating that. I don't WANT to! Do I have to eat (INSERT HEALTHIEST ITEMS ON TABLE)?" Which I interpret as, "We don't care a speck that you slaved the last hour disguising these vegetables as a delicious and nutritious dinner. We don't care about your feelings whatsoever, in fact. Have a horrible dinner, Mother." In other words, serious negative reinforcement.

But not for quick, cheap, nutritionally dirty pizza. No. For pizza I get shining puppy dog eyes of eternal gratitude, the fastest loading of my family vehicle ever, and effusive, glowing thanks and praise all the way to the stinking pizza drive through. As if I never feed them anything delicious, and today is the best day ever. Grrr. 

Well, my Halloween wish for these little dears is that they will grow up to parent little pizza grubbing nutrition haters just like themselves. Bah. Humbug. 

11 October 2015

Please Bless our House Not to Light on Fire

For some time now, my older children have included a phrase in their prayers every night, and also at most meals. It is: "Please bless our house to be safe and not to light on fire."

It all started sometime in the last year or so when there were two very serious house fires in our community. One of the homes caught the garage next door on fire, and the family in that house had a little girl in Grace's class. Naturally, Grace heard all about the fire at school and became very worried. She started these fire prayers, and then the boys caught on to them as well.

The initial two fires happened only a few weeks apart from each other.  Then, a few weeks after that, my friend got up and shared her testimony in sacrament meeting (on what is basically open mic day at LDS church) about how her family was blessed when she checked on something at her parents' house and smelled an electrical fire smell, which prevented a huge disaster because her parents were gone on a mission.

So at this point, our kids prayers became very compulsive about the fire thing. After numerous, effectual, fervent anti-fire prayers, I thought we had probably had enough, and started encouraging my children to branch out. Sometimes I even told them they really need to stop praying for this every time—to no avail. 

So tonight, we were sitting at my mother-in-law's house when Grace said, "There is a fire over there!" pointing at the neighbor's house. Alex stood up, and said, "I wonder if that is on purpose." He ran over, and I, who apparently do not worry enough about fire, looked over to where Grace was pointing. I saw some orange flames through the bushes, but thought "I'm sure Greg is just burning some weeds or something." About 10 minutes later, Alex had not returned, and a FIRE ENGINE came wailing into town, pulled up next to the house, and proceeded to help them finish putting out the fire. Because there was a big fire, and it was endangering their house. Their house lit on fire. It's true. The blaze was apparently caused by a propane tank that exploded under their barbecue after they had cooked dinner on it, and the fireman had to take a pickax to the back of the house to get the smoldering to stop. Fortunately, the family was home and heard the blast, and they got out very easily and safely. The structural damage was minimal, though it will take some time and money to repair.

I think the moral of this story is: if your children start compulsively praying for your house not to light on fire, it is legit. Let them pray however they want. Maybe you should listen to them, and take a note.

 Captainess of the Anti-Fire Prayers League
 Captain Cute III, aka Dangerous
  Captain Cute, aka Future Pyromaniac
Captain Cute II, aka My Snuggle Pie

10 September 2015

This Can Be Made Ahead

A long time ago, I used to read recipes and see a little note: "This can be made ahead." I used to feel a mixture of amusement and bewilderment that anyone would make their food ahead. Don't we all just make food and eat it? Does anyone ever worry that far in advance about food that they prepare it a day ahead of time?  Is there any person who is truly that organized?

Then I had children. Now some of them go to school. And I understand the need for making food ahead. I did not realize that this little phrase was a warning call from people who Know.

I did not realize that I would travel a journey to the depths of insanity in butting my head against my seven year old son's head (a rock) about doing a 5 minute math page and reading two brief 50 word books every day. I had no idea that while I chopped lettuce, and seared chicken, I would endanger my fingers and fire alarm by distraction with my piano practice harping, picking up after a one year old emptying All the Things, and spontaneous searches for a terrifyingly silent four year old.

Unlike long ago, I now basically only want food that can be made ahead. Like, during the baby's naptime. I also prefer that someone else make it, who also cleans up their own mess, and entertains my four year old with stimulating and educational activities while I take my nap.

So, I guess this post is just to let you recipe writers know that I get it now. Food can and should be made ahead whenever possible. I am sorry I laughed at you inside. Now I just dream big that someday all food will be made ahead.

29 August 2015

Helpful Hints

1. Don't let clever one year olds near your printer. They may be very cute, but they are also capable of entering the number 95, and then pressing "Copy" while that thing you definitely don't need 95 of is on the machine.

2. If you are going to use a pen with permanent ink--ink specially designed not to wash out--to write on something you labored many hours to make . . . maybe practice first.

3. Sometimes when you feel sad, it is because your life is really, really sad. Other times, it is because you have not taken your vitamins (prenatal + iron + D + B complex).

4. If a cute yet evil 1 year old rips a library book page, and he has never done it before, immediately assume that it is a new skill rather than a random event. Hide all the rest of the library books in the whole house from him up as high as you possibly can.

5. If your husband gets a machine he has wanted for a very long time, maybe wait until a week or two after its arrival to let him know that you are more important to him than the machine. Let the man have a little joy in his life before you drag him down.

6. I got this one from a list somewhere: when you are really stressed out, take two miniature marshmallows. Stick one up each nostril. Snort them out. Ah. Doesn't that feel better.

7. If your phone fills up and won't take pictures anymore, Rejoice. You will start using your real camera again.

26 July 2015



"Ouch! I'm telling Mom!"



"Moooooom! Grace is gonna tell on me!"

The guilty parties.

16 June 2015

Wordy Post

If pictures are worth a thousand words, that is.

09 June 2015

Some Some Summertime

It is summer time. After extensive analysis, I decided that my least favorite thing about summer is feeling like a short order cook day after day at lunch time. So I am taking charge this year by making a list of what we will have for lunch each day by category, as follows:

Monday: Sandwiches

Tuesday:  Pot luck at the park with friends

Wednesday: Noodles (spaghetti, ramen, mac n cheese, etc.)

Thursday: Eggs based

Friday: some sort of Salad, green or other

This simple list is a departure from my norm. Usually I make a detailed summer weekly schedule, which I follow religiously for a week or two, until I get sick of harping on the kids to do their "school books." Then we just read, and read, then read some more in the early parts of the day, and watch screens or play outside in the later part of the day. Occasionally we go to the city pool.

Usually, all summer my kids go to bed late, and I feel that I don't accomplish anything of significance. I settle deeper into frustration as the months progress until sometime in August, after school starts. I wake up one day from a fog of unproductivity and say, "Oh, this is what it is like to have sanity in my life again." I should probably feel guilty about it. Letting go of my usual controlling coping strategy this summer seems to have helped me relax a little. I am starting to enjoy these little people who are in my house before they become those mysterious teenagers everyone talks about so much.

This summer also differs because my older kids are starting to act older. They are more self sufficient, and more capable. It is simultaneously delightful and nerve wracking.  How can they grow up so quickly? I feel like I have already missed things I should have treasured more. The words to end this post just won't come. It is like I can't let go of thoughts of enjoying my children in any satisfactory way. I wonder what this means? I guess child rearing is more of a process than an event.