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Shelving My Pride For A Moment Ended Up Rewarding My Lazy! WIN/WIN!

On one of my many entries recently ranting about the evilness of my children (So sorry about the frequency of those rants, by the way, I try not to be the Snarky Anti-Mom so much) someone very kindly said that maybe the kids were acting out because they weren’t getting enough time with me.

Insert Kim’s Proud Mental Response Here: WELL! I DECLARE! I do NOT like the implications of that! What a horrible thing to say! I am a GREAT Mother who gives my children PLENTY of time! TAKE THOSE WORDS BACK!

But you know what? When I shelved my ego and pride for a minute and looked back at my life rationally I thought: She might be right.

I am busy. So, I can’t give the kids more time. That’s just my life. BUT…I thought: Let’s make those minutes be worth more than their actual value on the clock.

I spent the last several days trying to do more with the minutes I was with the kids. Now, sometimes I can only do so much because if I’m with the kids and we’re at home, there’s also laundry that needs to be done and dishes and baking and…what’s that holiday coming up in six days? OH YEAH. Christmas.

But I made a deliberate effort to put more attention and affection into those moments. I started more conversations. I gave them more spontaneous snuggles. I squeezed in bedtime stories which I had gotten out of the habit of doing. (I KNOW! HORRIBLE!) And you know what?

They’re still just as evil.

BUT! They’re not, really. They still got in quite a bit of trouble, but I felt like the mindless tantrums just disappeared. When I got onto them they took their discipline and then got back into the swing of the day instead of pitching a fit and turning one quick 5-minute time-out into an hour of fist banging and screaming. They also seem to be sweeter, giving me spontaneous, “I love you”s and warm embraces on a whim.

So, yeah. I’m glad I shelved the giant ego I have and the pride of, “I AM AWESOME. LEAVE ME ALONE.” to hear a very good and kind suggestion. Stop. Take a breath. And maybe sometimes it’s good to realize that you COULD be doing better and that sometimes, doing better? Makes your life EASIER. Because, let’s be honest, in a battle between Super Awesome Proud Mom and Super Lazy Shortcut Mom? Lazy Mom will always win out. So, once I shut the pride up and realized the comment might have a point? Lazy Mom got ALL of the benefits!

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Christmas Cake Poppers

So…you all know that cake poppers are my thing. They’re basically ugly Bakerella cake balls. We call them “poppers” because then we don’t have the pressure of them being spherical. They can be blobs. And they are.

I thought I’d show you guys how I make my poppers Christmas-ready since I don’t have the made skillz for decorating. First? SPRINKLES.

I don’t use the translucent sugar sprinkles because they tend to melt if I try to put them on the hot chocolate coating. And they just don’t look as vibrant. The little sprinkle balls are the BEST although I did mix a few different kinds together this year. Including some snowflakes I found. You have to apply these QUICKLY. Your window of opportunity changes based on what type of candy-coating you use and whether or not you add any oil to thin it out. Using the brand I use with no oil? I can only coat 2-3 at a time before sprinkling or they harden and won’t hold the sprinkles on.

Also? PACKAGING!

I use little cute see-through goodies bags for single-serving gifts. Or for “add-ons” like when I included some with the teacher’s gifts. This is also great for leaving in the mailbox for or mail carrier or having on hand for when the UPS guy comes buy. We still haven’t caught him this year and I’m getting worried. It’s like catching Santa! He’s quite sneaky! He even pops by when we’re home and we don’t even know it. I need to just leave a note: HEY! UPS GUY! WE HAVE TREATS! SLOW DOWN FOR A MINUTE!

And for the bigger gifts or to a larger group like a family or a school: The Magical Tin. These things jazz up ANY edible gift!

I get the cute little mini-cupcake liners and can always squeeze in two layers of poppers by putting a folded up piece of tissue paper in between the layers. I actually use this technique often as gifts any time of year because Hobby Lobby has great miscellaneous tins that have a see-through spot at the top! But the tins combined with the cupcake liners seem give a presentation of the poppers which makes the gift more thoughtful which is good because those poppers ARE LABORS OF LOVE. If you ever get poppers from me for anything then I must really like you. They take forever and they always stain my hands read for about 24-hours.

So far I’ve made 2 cakes worth this year. My hands may be stained until 2012.

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On Birthdays, Trails, and Truths.

YES. I'm wearing overalls in that picture. DON'T JUDGE ME.

I think it’s funny that my Dad and I both regularly forgot each other’s birthdays, but now that he’s gone it’s all I think about the week leading up to his. Today it’s here.

My Dad used to take us “hiking” when we were little. I put that in quotes because my life experience has taught me that most normal people look at hiking as a fun way to explore the outdoors. My Dad, on the other hand, looked at it as a form of torture for his children. We didn’t take breaks. We didn’t take much in the way of snacks, and we didn’t stop to have fun, DAMMIT.

It wasn’t that bad. But, then again, it was. And periodically he’d let us bring friends. I’m lucky that the one friend I remember taking doesn’t hold it against me to this day. Although I did see her recently and we had another good laugh about it. You know – because she’s NORMAL and expected what NORMAL people would expect on a hike.

But sometimes? I want to hit a trail and just blaze. No stopping. No resting. Just go until I reach the end. I think that’s why I’ve been asking everyone I know about trail running. How do you “start” something like that? How many broken bones will a naturally clumsy person like me sustain?

I feel like it would be part of my tribute to him. To get out there and run on a trail. A kind of head-nod to the torturous hiking days of my childhood.

I still miss him so much. I miss talking to him regularly and hearing his commentary on my adventures. I miss his visits and watching him play with my kids. I miss his accolades, because while he didn’t over-praise me by any means, his compliments were always so sincere they had the power to wash away so many insecurities, even if just for a moment.

That’s the power of a good Daddy. And I was raised by the best Daddy. He might have yelled at me for the dreadful “B” on a math test, or he might have refused to give me permission for an outing I so desperately wanted to participate in. But he always gave me truth.

When he said, “You’re not fat!” when I sobbed in the mirror? I believed that he believed it, and that helped me more than I could ever tell him.

When he told me I was a good Mom, it washed away layers and layers of Mommy Guilt that I added to daily.

When he was in awe over my housekeeping or my cooking, it made me quit belittling my own achievements.

When he told me he liked my blog, it made me lean on it more as a crutch in my life.

I still miss it all. The trails that I hated and the truths that I depended on. I’m sure I always will. But I’d like to say that next year on his birthday I can talk about my adventures on the trails. And maybe take my own children out to torture a bit in his memory. And then we’ll come home and I’ll make sure they know how truly amazing I think they are.

That is the best tribute I can give him. To try to be half as good of a parent as he was.

I love you and miss you, Dad. Happy Birthday.

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The One About The Boob Punching


Dear Adorable Children Of Mine,

We need to have a talk. There have been a few incidents of misbehavior lately from you both that I’ve gotten really angry about. I’ve even yelled on occasion, and I really try to save that move for really bad things. I’ve put you in time out, I’ve taken away movies, the last few months have been a discipline smorgasbord around here. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t remember what priveledges you still have from one day to the next. Are you allowed to have gum? Watch ‘Thundercats’? Wear cute clothes? (Probably the most cruel punishment in your eyes, Nikki.) Basically, I feel like I’m losing control of you two and I’ve started having nightmares that involve you strapping me down with power cords so that you can be free to use the refrigerator as a jungle gym.

I thought I’d try something new. A sternly worded letter spelling out the rules that we really thought had been obvious up until now. Maybe you just need a reminder in written form to keep what we call “common sense” from escaping your memory.

  • The kitchen cabinets do not have shelves to facilitate your climbing to the top of the counters. On the same note: The doors to the cabinets are also not really skinny stairs. We’ve never allowed you all to climb on the counters before, but lately we’ve caught you (and your rather large bodies where our fragile cabinets are concerned) using various methods of Cabinet Climbing to get to the counter tops. Why you want up there, we have no idea. At first we thought you wanted snacks, thinking we had better ones hidden up top where you couldn’t see. But with you’re latest trend of sociopathic behavior, I’m now wondering if maybe you were looking for something more sinister. Like Knives. Or Spray Pam.
  • On another climbing note: Ask for help getting something from the top shelf of the fridge. The lower shelves of our refrigerator will not accommodate you climbing on them to reach the Orange Juice. Also? The Orange Juice is too heavy and if you were actually going to survive the climb to get to it, you would probably drop it on your head. I find myself increasingly concerned that I have to remind you of such things as I would have thought you were old enough that they would just fall under: Basic Survival Knowledge. Obviously, you’ve never heard of the Darwin Effect.
  • Power Cords Are Dangerous. I mean, this one I know we’ve driven home for years but lately? It seems you’ve forgotten. I keep catching you plugging and unplugging things like it’s some sort of fun puzzle and every time it gives me a heart attack. But not as much as last week when I discovered that you – Wes – had CUT THROUGH THE CORD OF A HEATING PAD WHILE IT WAS PLUGGED IN. I have no idea if you were shocked or not, but if you were you don’t remember it because you acted like it was no big deal. It seems like something must have happened as the halves of the cord had black scorch marks. I’m not even sure where you found the scissors you used as we try to keep them hidden lately. Which brings me to…
  • STAY AWAY FROM THE SCISSORS ALREADY. Jeez, guys. I used to let you use your safety scissors for arts and crafts but we’ve had so many incidents lately where important things have been cut: Photographs, Bills, Hair — that I had to take them all away from you. I’m not sure how you can unlearn so many things, but Allowable Materials To Be Cut was evidently the first bit of knowledge that escaped you in the latest stretch of disobedience.
  • Furniture is not to be colored on. Seriously? These are the types of lessons we thought we had cemented into your brains ages ago. But the arm of our couch and the masterpiece etched on it BEG TO DIFFER. You are both basically restricted to using crayons downstairs on the kitchen table. We don’t let you color anywhere else in the house for fear of inspiration hitting you in your surroundings. I mean, logically you KNOW that the chest of drawers is not your canvas, but something seems to inspire you during your creative moments and you think: Stars! That piece of furniture needs STARS on it! I’d like those kind of decisions to be left to me, thank you very much.
  • No punching me in the boob. I mean – really? Do I REALLY need to remind you of this rule? WE HAVE NEVER ALLOWED BOOB PUNCHING IN ANY FORM!

I really thought all of these “rules” were things that had been permanently engraved in the Common Sense part of your little brains. It seems I was mistaken as your behavior lately indicates they were written, in pencil, somewhere in the Shorterm Memory part of your brain. I’m just hoping some of the other obvious and even MORE important things like “Do Not Play With Fire” or “Do Not Delete Anything From The DVR” are etched more permanently somewhere.

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Applebee’s French Fries are EVIL

I actually did really well eating on our trip. Traveling is one of those stimuli that tend to make people struggling with weight loss or health lose all willpower. New irresistible food! Difficulty find means to exercise! Busy schedules! All of these things combine to make it very difficult to stay on any healthy path while you’re on the road.

BUT I DID IT! I ate well! I ran both mornings!

But then, ON THE WAY HOME, we stopped at Applebee’s. And let me tell you something I did not know about Applebee’s until yesterday as we never eat there. THEY HAVE THE BEST FRENCH FRIES IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.

Now, I didn’t order any, of course. But the kids did. And they sent some to Donnie even though he didn’t order any. So I was surrounded by one of my most tempting foods and I JUST COULDN’T RESIST. I basically ate all of the french fries on both the kids plates because they didn’t want them.

And let’s just say – the day went downhill from there.

There are two things I fight against: 1) My addiction to the act of eating itself and 2) Stress eating. And when I finally got home yesterday? It was like I walked into a wall of stress. All of the things I had been telling myself I’d deal with AFTER this trip were just waiting for me at home and I panicked and continuing the bad eating habits for the rest of the evening.

In other words? YAY! FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR WHILE TRAVELING! BOO! FOR RUINING IT ALL THE SECOND I GOT HOME!

Luckily, I live a fit lifestyle now that allows me to have bad days without gaining weight. As long as it stays to ONE DAY. And that’s where the “Addicted To Eating” hurdle comes into play. For those of you – like me – who feel addicted to the act of eating, you know it’s like any addictive behavior. You fall off the wagon one day and it’s hard to get back on.

So today is the key day. The thing I’ve been working for this whole year. Retraining myself so that having a bad day doesn’t lead to a bad week…month…and then year. Someone with a healthy relationship with food and eating has a bad day and then follows it with a good day and never flinches. I don’t think I’m 100% there yet, but if I’ve learned anything this year as I’ve turned myself into a new person in the Fitness Department – it’s that I’m a lot stronger than I ever realized.

So yesterday can just stay there. One bad day. And today can be separate. A good day. And I will take away a new lesson: NEVER EVER EAT EVEN ONE APPLEBEE’S FRENCH FRY EVER AGAIN.

Because there are limits to my strength.