Dad in the kitchen after one of his meals. Notice how little E is. *sob*

Roast and Turkey.

My Dad was NOT a cook by any means. He actually often discussed his confusion over why people would “slave away” in the kitchen for hours, just to create a meal that is eaten in 15 minutes. He once sat in the kitchen while I was cooking something and said, “So, where do you think this came from? You’re desire to cook meals like this? Because I know it didn’t come from me.”

He had a few staples. Frozen eggrolls. (Which I hated.) Frozen fishsticks. (Which I loved.) Cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew. (Loved.) And Oatmeal. (Loved.) For the most part mealtime was just an “On your own” type of experience as I got older. There was always stuff for sandwiches. Always cereal. I don’t know…maybe there was more, but I absolutely only have memories of those options on an average day on an average week.

BUT! For some reason, he liked to roast a turkey and cook a pot roast at least once a year. And y’all? There is no one in the world who put less effort into both meals than my Dad, but because it was SO RARE and it felt like such a HUGE EFFORT compared to his other meals, I would always get REALLY excited. Those meals usually revolved around a holiday, and it just depended on how the holiday fell for us from year to year. Were we spending Thanksgiving with extended family? Doing Christmas Dinner with Mom? If so – then the Turkey or the Roast might actually be 2 days after Christmas. Or the Monday following Thanksgiving. Either way – at least once a year we had at least one of those things.

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Us eating his turkey and potatoes. That’s the table we ate at. And our place settings. I am not lying about our glamorous upbringing in the slightest.

The turkey: He roasted in the oven with packaged stuffing in the cavity and carrots/celery smooshed in and around it. BAM. That was it. No spices. No brining. Maybe a little bit of painting with butter but it was all packaged stuffing, carrots and celery. AND I LOVED IT. I still – to this day – think it’s the best turkey in the world. I tried to do exactly what he did one year but mine sucked. I think a lot of the “OMG THIS IS DELICIOUS!” memories I have relate more to the emotions than the actual taste. It may have been dry as hell (he did always try to make gravy but it was often a failure) but there was always boxed Mashed Potatoes to go with it and OH MY GOD…I LOVED BOXED MASHED POTATOES.

Basically – the point is – set the standards low for your children.

His roast was about the same. He had an ancient slow cooker – probably one of the first made – and he was still using it even up until he died. He put the meat, some potatoes and some carrots, and kept enough water in it to keep from drying, and BAM! Pot Roast! AND IT WAS SO GOOD. I remember telling him once, “This is way better than Dinty Moore Beef Stew” and he said, “Yeah, but that’s much easier.”

Which is hysterical because his pot roast was SO EASY.

Dad in the kitchen after one of his meals. Notice how little E is. *sob*
Dad in the kitchen after one of his meals. Notice how little E is. *sob*

My kids probably won’t have any specific meals stick out for them because we do cook a lot in this house. And I do a wide range of meals. And maybe this is good for their diets, but I’m sad that there won’t be any ONE thing that sticks out in the memories like it does mine. I’m just so grateful for those memories and those meals and I appreciate that Dad took at least 1 or 2 days a year to cook a meal that required SO MUCH EFFORT.

(Those of you in charge of Thanksgiving this year are probably thinking, “Man…if only I could put that little effort into MY turkey/dressing/stuffing.)

I think I mentioned once to Dad about my fond memories of those meals and I think he was entertained by it because – even he realized how minimal they were on the grand scale of things. At least I hope I mentioned it.

Do you have any specific memories of great meals your parents cooked?

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Hope For My Adorable Little Demon Child…

As Wes gets older, I start to very easily see that a lot of his behavioral issues relate back to one thing: He’s perpetually bored.

At his parent/teacher conference a few weeks ago – she pointed out that his standardized test scores from earlier in the year were ABYSMAL. Like, in reading? He tested in the “needs immediate intervention” level. In Math it was close, but more like, “consider intervention”. I thought this was INSANE because – with his school work – it’s obvious he’s a good reader and good at math. But then his teacher pointed out a KEY element on the report.

The test time.

Do you know how long he spent taking a test that should have taken 20-30 minutes? TWO MINUTES. He basically filled out random answers and then finished because…BORING!

And when he gets in trouble at home? 9 times out of 10 it’s because he’s bored and I won’t give him attention or his sister won’t. He tortures BOTH of us when he’s bored.

It does help to see this as a “reason” because I can then convince myself he’s a struggling genius (he’s not) instead of a sociopath…but it still always concerns me because the only way he ever seems to have fun is when he’s torturing us in some way for attention. He can’t just enjoy himself in a normal way that doesn’t make someone around him crazy.

But last night? At Disney on Ice? HE WAS SO GOOD.

He made funny jokes, we danced, we sang songs…it was just a fun night all around. Sometimes I don’t like to take Wes places because he can be SO BAD, but last night? It was just a fun night and no one was torturing anyone. We even stopped on the way home for French Fries and STILL had fun even eating french fries! It was just nice and a reminder that he has the potential to enjoy himself without torturing everyone around him or showing off in inappropriate ways just to get eyes on him. He was NICE and he was FUN and it was EXACTLY what I needed to stop the nightmares I’ve been having lately of him being sent to juvenile detention at age 7.

Will he go back to his fun-by-evil tendencies? Yes. Will I continue to struggle keeping him from being bored but also teaching him that he needs to be able to entertain himself sometimes? Definitely. Will he make us all crazy? Without. A. Doubt.

But it will be easier with last night to remember that some days are better than others. They’re not all going to be a struggle.

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Celebrating Thursdays In Hawaii

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IT IS STILL THURSDAY SOMEWHERE IN THE U.S. SO I DID NOT MISS A DAY.

Quickly! Here are two photos explaining why I (almost) missed yesterday.

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A good chunk of my day yesterday was at Wes’s school helping his class make these shirts. It was insane because “Classroom Craft Mom” is not in my wheelhouse and I was very nervous and out of sorts and was on my own for a good chunk of it. Another Mom showed up to help just in time and we finished the last one WHILE the bells were ringing. Needless to say, the few hours I was not up at school, I was trying to do my job since – you know – that’s kinda the bigger priority on a weekday!

(I’m glad I did the project but I’m also glad I don’t do that but maybe once a year. I’m the worst craft Mom in the world.)

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AND THEN…at 5:15 (AFTER a Huntsville Track Club kids run session) we had to be part of this awesomeness thanks to Rocket City Mom. And y’all? We had so much fun. The kids were in good moods most of the night and they were having fun but not being rowdy or obnoxious and it was a great night but we got home at 9pm and we were all EXHAUSTED. (We left the show a tiny bit early to beat the crowds.)

Anyway…I was exhausted and had eaten TOO MUCH FOOD and passed out without thinking about this blog. BUT! I’m awake for the day and I feel like, as long as some of my countrymen/women are still living where it’s still Thursday, IT STILL COUNTS!

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5 Minutes from going to bed and then I remembered…NABLOPOMO!

This day! I actually slept “in” for a change thanks to a combination of efforts (tea, Tylenol PM, counting, stretching) but when I woke up at 4:30am I was actually a bit panicked it was so “late” and immediately went to work without blogging or sending out daily prompts or ANYTHING. And then the day just got away from me…as days do. But! I do have some cool stuff to show you! I’ve been Zendoodling like a MAD WOMAN! These things are wonderful additions to my bullet journal and I just love them SO MUCH. I think they’re helping with all sorts of areas of my life – at least a little bit. They cheer me up, they calm me down, they relax me…it’s not to any OH MY GOD MY LIFE IS DIFFERENT! levels but this habit is a nice addition to my coping skills and I’m so glad you all helped me discover it.

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ZZZZzzzzzz…

Remember when I used to brag about how well I slept? I mean, I woke up consistently early on my own with no alarm, but this was easily balanced out by going to bed at 8pm. I consistently got 8 hours of sleep every night. I was awesome.

And then, over the summer, we started staying up later. Like until 9pm or so. And I was still getting up around 4am so my sleep was dropping to 7 hours or less. But still! Some nights I went to bed at 8 and still got my 8 hours, but 7 is still pretty good! Right?

And then school started back up and having to get everyone up and ready early shifted my brain a bit and I started waking up around 3:30am. And this was rough because this brought me UNDER 7 hours consistently and y’all? I had been spoiled. 7 hours or more is required to keep me functioning. I know I’m the only adult in the world who gets 7-8 hours sleep regularly but SLEEP IS IMPORTANT. I NEED SLEEP.

So now with 9pm-10pm bedtimes and 3-3:30am wake up times I was LUCKY to get 6 1/2 hours sleep. And this was not pretty.

AND THEN THE DAMN TIME CHANGED and y’all? I started waking up FOR GOOD FOR THE DAY, before 3am. Which had me – if I was lucky – getting 6 hours of sleep every night. And this was NOT acceptable. And I’ve been complaining about this CONSTANTLY.

AND NOW I WANT TO PUNCH MYSELF FOR COMPLAINING.

6 hours in a row would be LUXURIOUS.

But, no.

For the last 3 nights I’ve woken up around 11:30pm – WIDE AWAKE. Or midnight if I go to bed at 9pm. WIDE AWAKE. Basically, I got to sleep and THREE HOURS LATER I WAKE UP.

I even took melatonin last night and it usually gives me GOOD sleep.

But no. I woke up around midnight and just did some work.

And I hate myself and my life.

This is all your getting out of me today. I know it’s the suckiest entry whining about sleep but y’all? THIS IS INSANE.

How long do you go with this kind of insane sleep schedule before you call your doctor? Because three days in and I’m already thinking I need to be institutionalized.

Of course, it doesn’t help that Nikki has been fighting headaches on a pretty regular basis with this seasonal shift and Wesley is still waking up with leg/foot cramps. (Although – recently – he’s waking when I’m awake so NO BIG DEAL!)

Anyway – it’s 3am and I’m feeling tired again so I may try to get some more sleep. Give me some advice, will you?

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a little bit of everything.