Monday, May 13, 2013

Baking Disasters, Birds, and Bubble Pop

Why is it that every time I attempt to be all Martha Stewart-y, things go terribly wrong? Even when I actually do things right (or almost right)...inevitably something has to go wrong.

I tried to make homemade bread...for two reasons, really: one, I have just always wanted to make homemade bread, and two, we are extremely short on cash over the next few days. I found a recipe on Pinterest, and *almost* followed the directions (I had to use more whole-wheat flour than called for because I didn't have enough all purpose flour. And I didn't use enough warm water to dissolve the yeast.) The bread didn't rise like it should have...and we ended up with sort of a mini-loaf of bread. Which, although disappointing, wasn't a still tasted okay. In fact, it must have tasted pretty good...because after leaving it to cool on the back of the counter, we walked in to find this:

Onyx obviously approved of the bread. I also learned (only took twice) to put any food in the microwave/oven/cabinet now to avoid doggy disappearing tricks. My second loaf (which looks MUCH better,) is now the microwave.

My other attempt at a project was to put up a bird feeder, as requested by Irelynn. We bought the feeder, and a pole with hooks, to assemble and put up in the yard. We also had a little bird house that she had painted a few years ago to hang from the pole. We came home, and I attempted to put it up in the yard. I soon realized that they tell you to use a rubber mallet for a reason. I used a regular hammer to bang the bottom section of the pole into the ground. I'm sure you can imagine what happened next: I bent the metal, rendering it impossible to put the next section on top. I tried re-banging it into place. I tried forcing it together. I cut my hand. I shed some tears. I (somewhat loudly) discussed the pole's family background. Irelynn watched me from the window, and came outside to tell me, "it's okay, Mommy. It just won't tried...don't cry, Mommy." Which, of course, made me cry MORE.

Later I went back out to try again. Somehow, the gods must have been smiling down at me, I managed to get the stupid thing together. We filled the feeder with bird seed and waited. And waited. A few days went by with no birds. Then a big storm came through, and knocked the whole thing down. We finally put it back up...and eventually...the birds came. The kids are so excited...which makes it all worth it in the end.

The latest disaster was not of my least, not intentionally. Bruce called me from work the other day, wanting to know if I would bring the boys and meet him for lunch down by his office. The boys were excited, and we met him there and walked down to a little restaurant nearby. The boys were behaving, for the most part, outside of Connor giggling loudly about a whoopie cushion he brought. We ordered our food, and Bruce took Owen to the restroom (he actually informed us that he had to go potty...which is good, because we've been having issues lately.)

Our food arrived, and suddenly Owen decided he wasn't hungry. He told me his belly hurt...and he had to go potty again. You know that feeling you get when you just *know* your kid is about to be sick? I remained calm and focused on getting him to the restroom...we almost made it...we got just outside the door...and then it happened. He spewed all over the carpet. A woman and her kid at a nearby table looked over at us. Connor had followed us, and stepped in the puddle.

"Connor...I need you to go get Daddy."

"But I want to stay with you. What's wrong with Owen? OOOOHHHHH...OWEN THREW UP!"

"Yes, Connor, and I NEED you to go get Daddy!"

After much coaxing, he went back to the table, and I grabbed several paper towels to try and mop up what I could, as Owen sat down on the toilet and continued to have an explosion from the other end. Bruce came back with the waitress, who had a mop, and I tried to apologize profusely as Owen's butt was making the loudest noises I have ever heard.

After he was finished, we waited while the waitress boxed up all of our food, and added a can of Vernors to the bag for the sick boy.

As soon as we left, he perked up and seemed to feel fine. We got home and he ate his lunch, and drank his "bubble pop." As far as he was concerned, he had the best day ever because he was the only child to get "bubble pop." I'm glad the day turned out okay for someone.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of the is steadily going through the family. The good thing is, I have a wonderful loaf of bread cooling right now (it actually looks great,) there are several birds hanging out at our bird feeder, and the next time I can get away to the store, I will stock up on "bubble pop." And beer. Definitely beer.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Turkey Basters and Ramen Soup

Sometimes I think Owen was put on Earth for comic relief. Not my own comic relief, but perhaps someone else's.

My husband asked me to buy a turkey baster because our lawn mower isn't working, and he thought he might need it when trying to fix it...I'm not sure what he's going to do with it, but I generally don't ask when it comes to those things. So, we have this turkey baster lying around the house, which for some reason, is a fascinating object for children. Irelynn carried it around and would aim it at people's faces and blow out air at them. Connor used it as a drumstick. Owen put it down his pants.

" NOT put the turkey baster down your pants." A phrase I never thought I'd be saying, ever.

I could probably fill a book with phrases that I have uttered throughout motherhood that I never thought I would say:

"Owen, stop pretending your butt is a guitar."

"We do NOT throw poop at walls!!"

"The plunger is NOT a toy."

"Stop shooting the cat!"

Oddly enough, most of the phrases were directed at Owen...or a combination of Owen and another child.

The turkey baster was actually the more tame part of the day. The oldest girl came home in a mood that made the dog cower and her siblings try to steer clear. I'm not sure what happened at school that day, but I pity the fool who pissed her off.

While she was storming through the house, I was trying to figure out an early dinner because we had two Tae Kwon Do classes that night (Irelynn takes the older kids class, followed by the boys' Tiny Tigers class.) We had to be ready and out the door by 6pm. I decided to grill some turkey burgers. I seasoned them, and walked away for a moment, to see what the boys were doing. They were occupied by the old Nintendo downstairs, and Jay was with Irelynn on the neighbor's trampoline...okay...all kids accounted for, and busy. I turn back to the burgers to find Onyx...paws on the counter...EATING THE RAW BURGERS.

"ONYX!!!!  Bad dog! NO!!!"

Jay and Irelynn walked in the back door...both of them sans shirt.

"Irelynn...where is your shirt?!"

"I took it off. It was hot out there. Besides, Jay took HIS off..."

Thoughts of creepy neighbor guys watching from their windows drift into my mind, and I explain to her that she is getting old enough now that it is not appropriate for girls to take off their shirts outside. I really didn't think I'd have to have that conversation yet.

Back to dinner. I call Bruce to whine about the dog, and we decide that I should just make some Ramen soup, and that he and I could eat a salad. Okay. Oh, and he mentioned that he was running late because his boss called and requested something. Perfect.

So, we somehow got through dinner, got kids in uniforms, and got out the door on time.

Irelynn has informed me that tonight she wrote "spaghetti" on the menu calendar. Perhaps I should have a back-up plan, just in case. As long as it doesn't require the use of a turkey baster, I think we'll be fine...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Adventures with Onyx

I don't always run away...but when I do, I pee on the neighbor's garden gnome.

My dog is usually pretty laid back, very friendly, and fairly obedient. He seems happy to be inside, playing with his toys or laying on someone's lap (even if he's crushing them.) Once in awhile, though, he wants to run.  As hard as we try to not let him slip out without a leash, inevitably he will spot a chance when a young child opens the back door. Then nothing can stop him. His ears flopping in the wind, he sprints back to the woods...through the neighbors' yards, and circles around again. Usually he will come back when we call him...but today he decided to go on an adventure.

Luckily car rides outrank trail blazing right a small margin...and we were able to coax him into the van. This has made me more desperate, however, to fence in our backyard. We would have done it already if it wasn't for the fact that we live in a community that has a Home Owners Association. You cannot just build a fence on your property. You have to jump through hurdles and present the right materials or the board members stand there like Gandalf..."YOU SHALL NOT PASS." 

So, in the meantime, my furry little hobbit dog will be taking us on many more adventures, I'm sure. I just hope I don't receive a letter from the association regarding my frolicking mutt. I'm sure the same people who will only allow certain kinds of fence materials, properly painted porches and exterior lighting to remain on all night would not approve of my dog's friendly exploration. 

Hopefully they will approve of my latest submission of plans...which will require us to put the fence up ourselves, because after material cost, we can't afford to pay someone else to do it. 

I am anticipating a "fence raising party" by the end of the summer. We shall celebrate having a small amount of privacy...and the end of our dog's adventures. No word yet on whether the Tooks or Brandybucks will be in attendance.