Wanna Make A Bag?

Tomorrow is Super Saturday Craft Day at our church. Only it’s on a Thursday. Am I the only one thinks that’s just weird? Obviously I’m not in charge.

I’m been wrangled to teach three classes. Yes, I know. I know. “No” needs to become a part of my vocabulary. I also have carpool for two of my own and two other kids and I have Abby to contend with. Really, really hoping someone thinks she is just SO cute they have to help me watch her.

I’m teaching ladies how to make handled-bags. Tote bags, grocery bags, scripture bags, diaper bags, whatever you want to use them for, bags. It really is the totally easiest pattern ever, and I’ll post it, if I can figure out how, tomorrow night when I get home.

Did I mention the classes go until 11? Yes. Thats’ p.m. Starts at 9 a.m. My last class starts at 6, so I ought to be home by the kids’ bedtime. At least that’s the plan. It’s gonna be a loooooooong day.

And Mom Came Tumbling After

Word to the wise: Do not, repeat- do NOT try and navigate your curved, carpeted stairs in new shoes. I totally bailed going down the stairs this morning- and I was holding Abby.

While my knees are a little (ok, a lot) purple, my side is scraped and my shoulder hurts, Abby only got a small bump on the back of her head. Thank heavens for those mama instincts. It happened in slow motion- I felt myself lose my footing, I thought about it for a second, reached out to hold on, thought I recovered, then whooooosh- nope, I’m going down. All I could think of was not hurting Abby. Nevermind me- really, it’s strange when something like that happens, you don’t- even for a second- think about what’s going to happen to you.

We’ve been Asthma-Central here for the last few days- I’ve had it and dealt with it all my life, and until now, it looked like the boys were clear. Nope. Monday night, after playing in the piles of leaves in the backyard, Jeffrey had his first bona-fide attack. Crap.

When I fell this morning, I was actually rushing to get to the doctor. Figures, right? Anyway, both boys are headed for allergy testing to see what the triggers are- *sigh*. I had really hoped to dodge this bullet- but, I suppose the up-side is that the treatments and medications are so much better now than when I was a kid. 

Anyway, we’re fine. That’s what going on in Dodge. What’s the haps in your neck o’ the woods?

Mama’s Days Off

Oh, splendid is the solitude! OK, so there wasn’t much solitude, but I sure did enjoy not being Mama for two and half days. Oh. My. It was heaven. No one, all weekend, used me as a napkin or a kleenex, and my clothing stayed clean for more than an hour!

Friday morning I picked up my fancy rental car (didn’t seem wise to strand DH without a kid-capable vehicle for the weekend) and headed out. The kids were boisterous and happy and waved me on my way- no tears anywhere. Meeting up with some friends who were also heading to Seattle for the weekend, we hit the road.

Taking the scenic route was nice, but added a few hours to the total drive-time- but hey, who cares when there are no Monkeys in the backseat to riot. It was a lovely drive, and we stopped in a cute little town and splurged on some excellent expensive chocolate and fancy cheese. Mmmmmmm.

When we hit Seattle proper, my friends went their way, and I went mine. I had dinner with some other friends, and stayed up way too late, but it was so enjoyable. Saturday morning broke with dense fog and dampness, but I was determined to look put-together for the conference panel I was taking part in, so I flat-ironed the crap out of my hair and headed off to the venue. Fog and my hair are not compatriots. By the time I got there, I’m sure I looked like a blondish Brillo pad.

The talk, I think, went well, but I can’t say for sure what I said. I had made an outline the night before, but since I was last speaker, I filled in a lot based on what others had touched on, and kind of winged it. Public speaking used to make me feel ill, but now, I really don’t mind so much. Chalk it up to the benefits of getting older and more confident. Yay! Oh, and I got to meet a lot of really, super cool people.

After the panel was over, a group of us went out for lunch and socialized a bit, then I was able to head off to Trader Joe’s and Ikea. Yes, I came home with a trunk full, and I do mean FULL of stuff. The only drawback was the lack of a space to put refrigerated things, but even so- it was so stinkin’ much fun!

Saturday night there was a dinner and social for the people in town for the conference, and while I showed up for a little bit, I was really tired and begged out early.

Sunday morning, suddenly missing my family, I headed home. The boys followed my progress towards home using Google Earth, which just makes technology so COOL.

And what do you suppose I found when I got home? I will tell you: My children were happy, clean and playing quietly. The dishes were done, the floors were clean, the laundry was done, folded and put away, and my husband was cleaning the kitchen as I entered the house. Yes, I am serious.

Talk about making my heart go pitter-patter.

I’m so leaving more often. Only next time, I’m taking DH with me. I waited too long to do this, and my advice for anyone who hasn’t taken a break- do it. And do it now. Your kids will survive, and you will be a happier, healthier mama.

About Mama

All right, it’s been a while since I did a Meme…  and this one is kinda fun. It’s about being a mom. So read. Or not. I understand either way. Cause I’m a mom. That’s why.

1. How long have you been a Mom?
6 years, 42 days, and about 10 hours. Give or take.

2. How many children call you Mommy/Mom/Mama?:
Three, incessantly. Sometimes I tell them to call me Gladys.

3. Girl? Boy? or both?
Two sons and a daughter who has no choice but to be a tomboy. Poor thing.

4. Did you know what you were having?:
All three times. Although, I really didn’t believe Abby would be a girl until I saw for myself.

5. How old were you when you became a Mom?
29

6. How long were you in labor?
Jeffrey, 18 1/2 hours, Beanie 6 hours, Abby about five minutes.

Apparently question #7 is missing. ?????

8. What was your least favorite thing about labor?
Ugh, this is a joke question, right? I mean really, who doesn’t like body-siezing cramps, the entire world looking at your bits every five minutes, strangers sticking their fingers in your bits while you cramp, stitches in your bits and pushing out 8+ pounds of human through what would normally be a very small opening? Really? Who doesn’t? I did get me some baby out of all that though, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

9. Do you want more kids?:
Always did, but DH and my OB say no way. Something about me and barf, but I can’t quite remember what, though…

10. Do you plan on having more soon?:Noooooooo.

11. Does daddy change diapers?
Absolutely. Always has. Why wouldn’t he?

12. How many times have you been peed on?:
This is a joke, right? We were supposed to keep track of that, along with all the other crap that was supposed to go in the baby book? Oh crap, now I’m really a sucky mom.

13. Barfed on?:
Bwa-hahahahAHAHAHAHA!!! Anyone ever met my oldest son, Jeffrey? He barfed everyday of his life, like 3 or 4 times a day- until he was two. He still barfs if he cries or laughs or coughs too hard. Buckets of barf. Legions, even. Barrels. Barf. He he he. Do I know barf… sheesh.  Don’t get me started.

14. Is your child named after anyone?
.Jeffrey is names after DH, Beanie is named after both my brothers, and Abigail is named for my Grandma who passed away a few years ago.

15. How did you come up with their name(s)?Argued a lot. Beanie and Abby were nameless for quite a while. No one had a name in utero.

16. When your child(ren) gets in trouble, who is the bad guy?
We take turns. But really, dad has the big guns.

17. And who is the good guy?
I always heard the good guy was the man in the white hat. Or was it yellow?

18. What is the longest you have been away from your child(ren)?
Never have been away. But tomorrow… tomorrow, lalalallalalalalala!

19. Kids bedtime routine?
Lot of screaming and running around, usually some potty humor and a few magic tricks, splattering of toothpaste on the mirror, kisses, hugs, prayers, lights out. Getting up to get a drink of water. I have to pee pee! Mom, I can’t find Yellow Bear. Where’s Cowy? I need water! Mom, I think I have to cough. MOooooom! Can I have a sheet? I had a bad dream. You haven’t been asleep yet… Go to BED! NOW! Lights out. Repeat. And Again..

20. Are your toes painted?
Always always always. RED. I don’t think my toes have been natural in a million years.

21. Last movie you saw in the theater?
The highbrow and sensitively cinematographic film noir, Over the Hedge, for the children’s matinee this summer…

22. Last time you had a date?
Oooh, we had a good one about two weeks ago for our anniversary. Fancy restaurant, lovely blue box with a trinket inside…Very nice indeed.

23. One thing you will not give up just because you are a mom?
My identity? Hmm, nope that’s pretty much gone. My wardrobe? Yup, that’s gone too. My figure? Well, three babies in a little over four years, and well, that’s pretty gone too. Hmmm. My creativity? Oh, that’s it! It’s funny what happens in your mind when you get no sleep! look at all the pretty colors…. Lalalalala….

24. One thing you did give up now that you’re a mom?
Oil painting. Sharpie markers anywhere in the house. Long flowing clean hair. Clothing with real waist bands. Smelling fresh as a flower. Cooking things that are green.

25. Best Mom you know?
Oh, no way. This is a trick question, and while my mind may be on the fritz, no way am I putting my head in that noose. Uh-uh. Nope. No way.

Play along if you want to, but let me know in the comments so I can laugh at you, too.

Mama’s Day Out

Shhhhh…. I don’t want to say it too loud, because of what happened last time, but I’m planning to take a little trip this weekend. This will be, if all goes as hoped, my first night away from my kids EVER.

My darling husband made the mistake of equating “being in the hospital having another baby” as being a night away, but I dispatched him of that idea posthaste. Otherthan having another baby, this will be the first night away from my home since becoming a mother. About time, eh?

What we really need is a few nights away together, but for now, DH is staying home with the Monkeys- and they are dancing in circles because Dad promised ice cream for dinner on Friday night. And for breakfast Saturday. Yeah. I went to the market and bought a few frozen pizzas and snacks- DH is a disaster in the kitchen, and it’s either I provide easy things he can microwave, or they really will eat ice cream for all their meals.

It’s been more than ten years since I’ve been to Seattle- I wonder if I will even be able to find my way around! I’m visiting some friends and going to a conference, but I’m most excited about hitting Ikea and Trader Joe’s. All. By. Myself. There also was a restaurant in the U-District that I loved once upon a time, back in my student days, and if I can find it, I’ll go there, too. It was called Salute- anyone know of it?

I can’t remember the last time I could do whatever I want- What’s it going to be like to actually put on some nice clothes and have them remain clean? Will I be able to function without being a human napkin and kleenex? How will I remember to wake up in the morning, alonein my bed? Ohhhhh, delicious! I can’t wait!

( I miss them already)

Cinnabon? You Bet Your Life

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These cinnamon rolls are the closest thing you’re ever going to make at home to the real deal. I say that with absolute certainty and calm. They. Are. It. I’ve held this recipe close to the bone for a long time, mamas, but I will now divulge the secret:

Pudding.

That’s right, you make the rolls with vanilla pudding as your primary liquid. That, and a lot of butter. I have no idea what the nutritional breakdown is, but to be on the safe side, and out of kindness to your heart, I suggest making them only 2 or 3 times a year. Without further ado, I give you,

General Conference Cinnamon Rolls!

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Bloom the yeast with the sugar in the warm water, waiting for froth and bubbles.

  • 1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding powder
  • 1 c warm water
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5-6 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, with a wire whip, mix the pudding powder with the water until well combined and smooth. Add the butter, eggs and salt, whisk to combine well.

Add the bloomed yeast/sugar/water mixture and combine well.

Add flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes together, and is still soft, but not sticky. Knead until smooth. It will feel like fat baby thighs.

Let rise in a warm, covered and lightly oiled bowl until doubled in size. About 2 hours.

Punch down, and knead again.

With a rolling pin and a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a 34 x 22 inch rectangle. Keep moving the dough as you roll, to keep from sticking to the board.

  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon

Melt the butter and pour the whole cup on your rolled out rectangle of dough. (I told you only a few times a year!) In a separate bowl, combine with your impeccably clean hands, the sugar and cinnamon, then cover the butter-drenched dough rectangle in an even and delectable layer of cinnamon sugar.

Starting at the 22 inch side, roll the entire thing into a nice, long cinnamon tube. Seal the edge with a little bit of water on a pastry brush or your fingers.

With a serrated knife, (or even better, a piece of thread or dental floss) cut the log into 2 inch segments, and carefully move your giant cinnamon treasures to a glass pan.  Put no more than 8 in a large glass Pyrex casserole dish.  Do not crowd them- they will rise almost double. Whatever baking dish you use, deeper sides give the rolls a softer exterior = better.

Cover in a warm place and let them rise again until fat and happy- about two hours.

Bake at 350* for 15-18 minutes. Really, only that long. Do not over-bake. You want them to be soft, yet set, in the middle. The house will smell divine.

Icing:

  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cream

Whip all ingredients together and smear on top of still warm rolls.

Remember, only a few times a year!! (For us, it’s Christmas and General Conference- the grand-poo-bah of all Mormon meetings) Your taste buds will rejoice, your heart will need a serious, sweat inducing walk afterwards. Enjoy!!

Weekend Update

Sorry for the slacking. It’s been a long, sick week, but it looks like we’re at the tail-end. Hopefully…

Jeffrey scored his first goal in his soccer game yesterday. He was pleased as punch with himself. Beanie has pretty much quit soccer- he feels like he’s played, and isn’t really interested in being part of a team. He’s pretty young, and I probably should have waited anyway.

My birthday was lovely, thank you all very much for your kind wishes. Once I got over the idea of doing anything for “me” I actually enjoyed the day at home in jammies. Lately, it’s rare to spend a whole day at home.

Uncle Freddy was up for a visit this week- it’s always good to spend time with him, and we had a nice lunch out, sans kiddies.

I’m struggling a little with disappointment- I was scheduled to have some more family visit this October, but it’s all pretty much fallen to the winds. My kids just miss their grandparents terribly.

The plan is for me to travel next weekend. By myself. I don’t want to say that out loud, because of what happened last time I tried this… But that’s the plan anyway. I’m headed to Seattle for a conference I’m scheduled to take part in, and it will be my first night away from my kids. Ever. Keeping fingers crossed.

I love General Conference weekend. Love it. (General Conference is the grand poo-bah of Mormon church meetings- it means we don’t go to church, can stay home all weekend, and watch the broadcast on TV or online, in our jammies.) I just have to say, for anyone who watched Saturday, Elder Wirthlin brought me to tears. Holy cow, talk about perseverance and focus. And seeing Elder Nelson holding him up, while he was talking about the love of Christ buoying us up, was amazing.

Making cinnamon rolls and funeral potatoes for today. Mmmmm mmm mmm.

We are experiencing our second case of someone getting hold of our credit card numbers this year. Grrrrr. Thankfully, we had put a fraud-watch on our names after the last time, so the bank caught it before it was really rung-up. What a nightmare.

Ending on a more positive note, I got a big paper pickle in the mail from my brother for my birthday, a lovely boquet from my husband (who already did right with the Blue box for our anniversary two weeks ago), a fabulous package with beautiful surprises from Emily and tons of well wishes.

Counting Blessings

It’s my birthday.

Perhaps I belong upstairs sleeping- it is 2:20 in the morning- but since I’ve been up and down all night anyway, writing sounded more therapeutic than sleep.

Both boys are curled in their beds, buffeted and swaddled in clean towels, round three. Their bathtub has become the repository for the linen casualties of the stomach flu that is trouncing through our house.  Three pairs of jammies, two sets of sheets, one comforter, four towels and two pillows down, sleep finally finds their weary heads, and their tummies allow them respite.

Abby had four immunizations today (yesterday? it’s all rolled together) and has been fitfully sleeping and crying-out much of the night. As much as I try to keep the keep the sick bugs isolated and wash up, I fear making her sick to, as I move between my children in the low lamplight of the wee hours.

Does anyone ever have any idea how intimate they will become with barf before they are mothers? One may have been the most delicate flower before motherhood,  but once that baby comes, there is no room for squeamishness or fear of fluids. It’s all you, mama.

Originally, I the idea I would get a sitter and do fun stuff for myself today. Instead, I have the privilege of caring for my sick children in my warm house in a safe neighborhood, and I will count my blessings. It shouldn’t be too hard- actually, I already know- it will be an embarrassment of abundance.

For I am richly blessed indeed.

Thank you, Mamas, for all of your love an support and prayers and goodness you send my way. I appreciate each of you who checks in with my ordinary life. Once upon a time, I would gift my friends with bouquets of flowers on my birthday to show my love for them. If I could, I would do so for you, so many of whom have become gems in my life.

Lock Down

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SOMEONE, while sitting on the potty, had busy little fingers and TORE several LARGE chunks of my French toile WALLPAPER from the bathroom wall. . No one is fessing up. And Beanie has blamed Abby.

All bets are off until I get a confession. Anyone want odds?