Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday, Buddy

Dear Jace,
 We almost never call you Jace, it's always Buddy, Budski, or Bud. You almost never respond to Jace anyways. Everyone, Nannie, Grampa, Nana, our friends, everyone. I love it. It seems a little weird to type Jace.

Two years old. Seriously, where has the time gone? The shirt you wore on your first birthday is still in your drawer and I thought about putting it on you not that long ago, but realized it is actually too small for you, and that makes me a wee bit sad. I wish you would have worn it more, it's so cute.
You are such a little turd. You have a little temper, you never do as I ask, you always argue in a way that only a two year old can argue, you throw fits, you try to do whatever you want and when I question you, you cock your head to the side, smile and say "doin' mom?" .... and it's so freaking cute that I just want to squeeze you. You test me all the time. All. The. Time. I wonder if that will end or if it will be a forever thing?
You love apples. Really love apples. We have to keep them somewhere you can't reach otherwise you are always sneaking them.
You vocabulary and speech have grown like crazy over the last few months. We have full conversations with you now and you copy anything we say. Especially Maizey, you love copying her. Her words, her actions, you want to be just like her. She loves it and so do we. You sound very serious when you talk, specifically when you say thank you. It sounds like 'taint you mom' and it's fast and with a very low tone of voice and a little bit raspy. I'm going to try and get it on video because it's really cute and I want to always remember it.
You and Maizey are like any typical siblings, you annoy the heck out of one another, but you are also the best of friends. I really really really really hope this lasts forever. Be as mean as you want to each other, but always be there for each other, and most importantly, stick up for each other. You miss her something fierce when she is at school, you wander around asking where she is the whole time she is away. She loves you so much and from what we can see, you love her right back, just in your own special, two year old, little turd way. Which means, by kicking her and stuff. I do hope that part ends.
You like playing outside and being wet and dirty. You love the sandbox, the garden and the hose. Honestly, you are almost never clean. I actually kind of gave up on it awhile ago because it was kind of a lot work trying to keep you clean. Now I just shrug and say it must be a boy thing.
You are doing awesome at potty training. Thank you.
You would sit at the kitchen table and watch music videos on YouTube all day if you could. You know songs by the cover photo for the video and you most definitely have an opinion about what songs we should listen to. Your current favorites are Hunter Hayes - Crazy, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood - Remind Me, Florida Georgia Line - Round Here, Eric Church - Guys Like Me, Anna Kendrick - Cups, Leah Turner - Take The Keys, and anything by Luke Bryan with an honorable mention going to Eric Church - Springsteen, Florida Georgia Line - Cruise and Tim McGraw - Highway Don't Care.  We are obviously country fans around here and we are just passing that down to you.
You eat a lot and are not at all picky. Although, on any given day, you can decide not to eat even your most favorite foods, just to be awesome (rolling  my eyes).
When asked how old you are, you say five! and hold up five fingers. 
You are pretty much un-bribe-able. If you don't want to do something, no matter what the promise of something awesome is, you won't do it. I suppose I really want to say - stick with this, always be true to yourself, stand your ground, be your own person, but part of me also wants to say, can't you help me out now and then, and just do what I say for the promise of ice-cream or something equally as cool?
But seriously, you are such a cool kid. You like to do fun things, you get really grumpy when you are tired, you are thirsty all the time, you make me laugh a lot. You love to dance and you kind of have a short attention span, You say you love Diego, but you only last, like 10 minutes before you are bored and want to do something else. You are early to rise every single day and are almost always really happy when you first wake up. This is my favorite time of the day to be alone with you. We are little early morning friends.
We love you to pieces, Buddy. You are fun, funny and loving. You like to cuddle far more than your sister ever did and I take it whenever I can it get it. I can't wait to see what changes this next year bring. We have three days a week for two and half hours, alone and I am really looking forward to this time with you.
You bring so much happiness to our whole family. Thank you for being you.
Happy Birthday.
We love you so much.
Mom and Daddy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

At Least The Bathroom Counters Are Clean, Right?

Tonight I walked into the bathroom to find Maizey cleaning the counter with her toothbrush, rather than brushing her teeth with it.
It pushed me over the edge. I yelled, she cried, Buddy laughed. It was not my finest moment.
Sometimes it's the smallest straw that breaks this camels back.
When someone pulls the extra chairs from their corners up to the table, it makes me crazy. Like, if I was in a cartoon, my head would be spinning in circles. We are a family of four, we don't need a million chairs at the table. Or six, we don't need six. It makes it impossible to walk around the table if they are all pulled up. They think what I am asking is unreasonable. I should probably let it go, just push them back seven thousand times every day rather than let it get to me.
My kids are Rice Krispies addicts. They want them every single morning for breakfast. Some days I tell them we are out, just so I don't have to clean up the mess. Rice Krispies are equally as bad as their awful step-sibling, rice. A wet Rice Krispie stuck to the bottom of my slipper and tracking a little wet sticky spot all over the kitchen just reminds me that OMG I hate Rice Krispies.
I'm honestly working on my patience. We are three days into potty training and that is absolutely no place for paper thin patience. I spent a very long time sitting on a tiny bathroom stool today. And yesterday. And the day before.
Tomorrow is Jaces birthday, I couldn't have him going to bed thinking he was a rotten boy. I turned it around after the toothbrush thing. I mean, it was fake and shit, but still, I turned it around. They went to bed happy and unaware that I was at the very very end of my rope.
It's always a work in progress, and tomorrow will be better. It will get started on a better foot for sure, no Rice Krispies for the birthday boy, it's pancakes all the way.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Totally Gross. And Funny. Wanna Be Friends With Us?

Every Sunday we have dinner at Brians parents house and almost every week, we have spaghetti. They do it for their grandkids, who are basically spaghetti addicts that have pretty much come to expect that we are going to have it every single week.
So, last night we ate dinner there and of course, had spaghetti.
Maizey was shovelling it in. Fast and furious. It was like she hadn't eaten all day or something.
Jace was alternating between giant bites of spaghetti and garlic stuffed green olives.
We were telling them to slow down, getting up to re-fill milk glasses, eating our own dinner, passing more olives, sprinkling more cheese, and just generally, not having a quiet peaceful dinner, when Maizey was all you  guys! theres something in my nose. I think there's like, spaghetti or something up it. And we were like haha, ok, whatever, sit down and eat nicely. 
But she wouldn't let it go. She kept saying it all night and long after we got home.
This morning it was forgotten. No mention of any noodles up any noses.
While Buddy had a nap this afternoon Maizey and I went to do a few errands and while we were downtown decided to go for a coffee. We stood in line and ordered a chocolate chip cookie and a dark roast latte. She asked if she could carry her cookie to the table so I said sure. She pulled the plate off the counter and wouldn't you know it, the cookie fell to the floor. Quick, pick it up and put it back on the plate, I'm sure it's fine I said. She doesn't move that quick and I live by the 10 second rule, so I quickly bent down and picked it. I set it back on the plate, back on the counter and turned to pay. As I was handing the money over, Maizey let out a small sneeze. Gross, I thought, I'm sure she didn't cover her mouth and that lady behind her is going to silently be judging us. As if it wasn't bad enough that she totally knows I feed my kid floor food.   
OH MY GOD! Maizey said, Look what came out of my nose!! It's the noodle!!!!
I turned and looked down. I don't know what I thought I would see, but I did not expect it to be a stark white, 3.5" spaghetti noodle on the dark floor, thats for sure. I'm sure my eyes got wide and my cheeks turned red, but I totally started laughing. I ran and grabbed a napkin and cleaned it up, still laughing while Maizey just stood there saying hahha, I told you I had a  noodle in my nose. 
The lady, hilariously and luckily, found it funny. That's impressive she said to Maizey, I wish I could do that cool trick!!!
We both laughed about it the whole time we were in there.

2 minutes post-sneeze. 

Honestly, being a parent is not for the faint of heart. I re-learn almost daily that being a parent means dealing with gross stuff and checking my sanity and ego at the door.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Who Wants To Join My Canning Club?

Right around Maizeys first birthday, Brians grandma called and asked how many pounds of peaches I would like for canning. I'm sure the question was met with complete silence. Then his parents called and said the same thing, and since they are of the teach a man to fish philosophy, they said they would help us (*me) so we could see how easy it is, this canning stuff.
We did 20 lbs of peaches that year. It was so fun.
The next year, with the help of my mom, I did raspberry jam. Jam? So effing easy. No processing needed, boil, stir, add, pour, POP! there goes the little seal on the jar, which the sweet sound of can only be compared to that of a babies first cry.
It was so fun.
Then, both sets of parents left me to my own devices. It's easy, they said. You can do it no problem, they said.
So I tried my hand at peach butter last fall. All on my own. I cleared my schedule. I got rid of my kids. I emptied my kitchen counters in preparation. It went ok. I mean, I had nothing else to think about and it actually was really easy to follow step by step detailed instructions. It would have been super hard to mess it up.
It was kind of fun, and most definitely something to be a wee bit proud of.
Then this year came along.
Ang and I discussed, at length, what we were going to do.
She was going to do 80 lbs of peaches (!!!!) ..... Me.... not so much. I was going to do 20lbs of butter again, and then 20 lbs of canned peaches.
Again, I cleared my counters, and my schedule, but this year, there was no getting rid of my kids. It was Ang's first year unsupervised from start to finish as well, so we had it mapped out, talked out, laid out. We were going to be fine. And we were. I mean, except I only processed for 10 minutes and it should have been 20, and no matter how many different ways I googled what happens when you don't process peaches for long enough I couldn't find an answer. So after much humming and hawwing, I re-filled the canner, re-boiled and processed for 10 more minutes. Do I know if this was necessary? Nope. Do I know if it made a lick of difference? Nope. Did it give me piece of mind? You betcha.
Which brings us to today. Yesterday, on a bit of a whim, I bought 75 lbs of tomatoes.
What the hell, I thought. We eat a lot of canned tomatoes. Now I can make salsa too. Yay me, look at me go.
You guys.
Canning tomatoes is not for sissies.
In fact, I actually suck at it. And in hindsight, I was kinda shitty at the peaches and the peach butter as well.
Hot glass jars are hard to get out of the canner. If there is some secret way to do it, so the boiling water doesn't run down your hand/arm while you are dumping it out, I would love to know it.
I am almost embarrased to admit this, but, when I stuck the tongs in to grab a lid, I totally misjudged the depth of the water and plunged almost my whole hand into the boiling water. I wish I could say it only happened once.
Canning tools are needed very few days of the year right? So, incidentally, my kids sometimes play with them. The funnel, the tongs. Peach day, do you think I could find the funnel anywhere? No. It showed up about a week later in the kids bedroom closet. Today, the tongs, which are totally necessary and without I would have been in a real pickle, were located, in all the places possible, the sandbox in the backyard. Seriously.
I used quart and a half size jars today, so only four could fit in the pot to be sterilized at one time. One was creeping it's way back upright, so I shoved it down with my tongs. As the air bubble inside escaped it splashed a huge bubble right out of the pot onto my face. My eye brow totally got a burn on it. 
The mess. Oh my god, the mess. It took a number of spills before I moved the jar closer to the pot. Come on, Amy, that one should have been easy.
I am 70% sure I put the tsp of salt into the bottom of 60% of the jars. I think.
Every time my kids came close to me, I would scream maniacally at them get out of here, this is a giant pot of boiling water.  The windows were open and it might have confirmed, in case anyone was wondering, that I am in fact a lunatic.
I burnt the pot of tomatoes as they were coming to a boil. I didn't know that though, so I gave them a really good stir and scraped them all off the bottom. I then spent 15 minutes scooping out burnt pieces. Obvs I couldn't get  them all. I think it will just add flavor. But if you eat spaghetti at our house and there's a hint of burnt taste, just keep it to yourself, ok?
25lbs gave me six and a half of the big jars. I'm not going to lie, it doesn't seem like enough for how much work I did. (and how many burns I got). I still have another 50 lbs to go. Rumour has it that you don't have to process salsa, so I am thinking that sounds like a better bet, more like making jam, only with chopping and jalapenos and stuff. Less boiling water though, so yay.
You know what pickling salt is? It's course salt. You know when I found that out? When I got to the grocery store and my sister in law ran me out a box so I didn't have to unload the kids for the 10th time today. What I am saying is, I made an unnecessary trip to the grocery store to buy something that I already had. But I didn't want to, you know, waste her time or anything, so I bought it anyways.

I don't know, I think I should start a shitty canners club. Like, for all of us that can't make it look easy and get a little bit freaky outy when pots are boiling, kids are crying, shit is burning, and there is clearly not enough alcohol being consumed. And by not enough, I mean none. I feel confident my Grannie would have had a martini beside her as she cruised along effortlessly and that is someone I should totally aspire to be like. Ok, salsa and martinis are on the schedule for tomorrow.
Shitty canners unite!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Happy 30th Birthday To All Of Us!

Nine years ago we celebrated Russell's 21st birthday at his parents house, in the pool, on the deck and beside an unfinished fireplace that holds the stories of that night forever in black sharpie, covered now by rock and hidden from all those that weren't there. The party was out of control and the stories of that night will follow me (haunt me!!!) to my grave. I will never, ever live that night down. Ever. Now, it serves as a reminder of how fun we all were in our college days.

me and Ang, 9 years ago. hahaha

me and Ang, now.

This year we all turn 30, so we celebrated again. Russell, Ang, Andrea, Amy, Chelsea, Dean, Ryan, Blaine. All the names on the cake.
I joked to Russ that I would be at approximately 50% compared to the last party. I mean, my kids and husband would be there - shit was not going to get out of control, right?

( I formerly had a strict policy to not post bad/ridiculous pictures of other people, but I have to break that rule right now. It's too funny not to!)


Maybe the party didn't get started at noon with a case of beer in the pool, it was more like two twisted teas in the pool at 3:00, but I can say with certainty that I was not at 50%, maybe closer to 85%.... There were no midnight shenanigans in the pool, I think that counts for at least 10%.

I wish I wasn't blurry. hahahaha

I couldn't tell ya, even if I wanted to.  

I don't think I will always remember how much we drank or who was the drunkest (me? Russell?) (drunk Russell = one of my most favorite people in the whole word), but I will always remember the laughing. The hilarity that ensues when charades are suddenly busted out. The songs that are played that are meant to spark old memories but instead turn into an impromptu one woman dance party. The laughing. Oh man, the laughing. The free liquor store fedora. The Ellen app. The lunges. The wine tasting test. The ruined tank top. The fact that I woke up and saw THIS on instagram.


Which apparently was my own idea.

I had big plans of making a video with all the pictures from back in the day, but I totally did not have time to scan 300 photos to make the slide show. Plus the fact that all my pictures from back then came from a film camera and have legit negatives was a little depressing so I passed on that and just brought the photo albums along instead. Again, the laughing. And the style. Or, in my case, lack thereof. YIKES!!!!
College was so long ago. Look how much has happened since then. Look how many kids have come along! It seems like a life time ago, and it kind of was. I was 21 when I left my super fun life of being a broke college kid in search of a grown up life, that was hopefully still fun, with a little less of the broke part. But those people, those people that came into my life in college are my people. My life long friends that shaped the direction the rest of my life has gone. The people that I celebrated turning 21 with, now 30 and with any luck, also 40.

missing a few key players!
This party serves as a reminder that time, distance and age don't change who we are. We are still the same people we were back then, just with spouses, kids and a higher intolerance to hangovers. We are STILL fun. Nothing is going to change that.
Thanks for a super fun 30th birthday celebration. This one won't soon be forgotten either.
Also, I have been singing this song for two days now. That tag line sums it all up.