Thursday, April 22, 2010
"I don't care if they eat cereal," Craig mutters to me in the kitchen, "as long as they stop crying."
It was pre-dinner meltdown time and the libretto had few words but a lot of noise. It was taco night and they were telling me, in alternating solos and the occasional duet, that they did not want tacos or like tacos.
So I say to them, "you can have cereal and fruit for supper."
Not a minute later, Craig says to them, "It's chicken nuggets or tacos."
So then we, the parents, discussed our miscommunication and gave them cereal. Kate had carrots and Sam had yogurt. Almost fruit. Almost.
Next week is school vacation week and I am heading to PA with the littles to visit my parents. Their internet connection is very slow (I think they have moved on from dial up) and, of course, there's no wireless (you mean I can't sit on the sofa, watch TV, and be online? What am I supposed to do for entertainment?). When we come back, they are going to Maine with Nana and Papa and then I am going to a scrapbook retreat.
I tell you all of this because I decided that I am going to take a blog break for the next week or so. I know, mass disappointment across the nation. I want to laugh at myself for taking this so seriously that I feel the need to make a statement about it. But there it is. I needed to take something "off my plate" (I actually think that's a really annoying phrase) and not trying to scramble a bunch of posts to schedule for next week is actually making me feel more calm.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Other extensions went to nursing homes to have Sunday services for the residents, or to a church to help with Sunday School or Awana, or street witnessing, or stuff like that. For awhile while my grandmother was in a nursing home, I went to that extension so I could see her. But the one I did for (I think) all 4 years was the hospital one.
First of all, you should know that "Greenville" is pronounced "green-vull" and "extension" is "exSTINshin." And that NPO means they can't have anything to eat or drink so don't offer. You had to check with the nurses or the chart or something to know if the patient was NPO.
On most floors, we just emptied and refilled the water pitchers and gave them basic snacks. On the materninty floor, we had cookies and juice and all kinds of other things. It was the best floor to do because you could snack there.
We'd go early and eat at the hospital cafeteria. This seems really strange to me now, but I guess compared to the Dining Common, that was fantastic food. Then we'd split up and go to our floors, pass out the snacks, then head back to campus.
After a few semesters of doing this, I became the extension leader. This meant I was in charge. Extension was the one time boys and girls could ride in a car together without chaperones. One or our drivers had a red BMW convertible. We'd try to leave a little early to swing by Fuddruckers for a chocolate shake (oh.my.word. just now, going to their site for the link, I see they have a dark chocolate shake. I can't wait to try it . . next week we're heading to PA and there's one not far from my parents' house. Also. It seems the one on Main St. in Greenville is gone (?) - that's the one we used to hit up. On occasion). Oh. the leaving early was necessary because our permission required us to check in by a specific time.
Yes. You read that right. We would check out and check in with a permission form when we wanted to leave campus. It was stricter for the girls than for the boys. The form said where we were going, with whom, when we were leaving, and when we'd be back. I can't remember the details but there were times it had to be signed by the Dean of Women and times it could be just a hall leader (maybe. It's fuzzy now).
The point of extension was not to snack on cookies or risk being shipped for a shake; it was to share the Gospel. At the hospital, we weren't supposed to actually say anything related to religion, but if someone talked to us, we could answer their questions. I think I can say that I did not have one conversation with one person about Christ the entire time I was involved with this. For awhile it felt like just a group of "cool" people fulfilling their extension duty in the easiest way possible to try to move up the pecking order of meeting external standards to appear holy. "Going on extension" was worth big bucks in the BJU economy of appearances.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
- Nothing happened.
- It was nice and we were playing outside.
- I couldn't think of anything to post.
- I cooked dinner every night.
- Craig worked late and I had to bathe both children one night.
- It rained 3 days in a row and I felt like a slug.
- Kate decided she would go to story time.
- I was working on a quilt.
- A friend came over with her two kids for a playdate.
- I cleaned the littles' rooms.
Now, head over to Amanda's blog for more top-ten lists (I can't get the top-ten button to appear, and it's not for lack of trying).
Monday, April 19, 2010
Late Saturday night it occurred to me that while we have spent a lot of time working on manners with our children, they still are really picky about what they eat. We were going into a situation where I didn't know the people very well, I didn't know what was being served, and I wasn't bringing anything, so . . . basically, I had no control. My children could scream and refuse to eat and say it was gross . . . we should just stay home.
On the way to church, we had a quick review in the car about how to politely decline something and reminders to behave well.
They were fantastic. The hostess had multiple dishes served buffet, so we could choose only what we thought they'd each eat. Kate scarfed down her noodles and meatballs (which were fantastic and I need to ask for the recipe) and Sam charged around the house with a foam sword and guffawed with his friends (6-year-olds have a strange sense of humor) . . .oh. and ate some ham, I think. And there was cake.
I'm glad there were lots of kids there, that she served buffet style, and that my kids ate. A good combo of situation and training. I'm glad we went.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I do have a picture but can't find the camera right now so when I do, I'll update the post. What, you think I'm going to stop watching Celebrity Apprentice to find it? I already looked in the regular places and can't summon energy to look more.
(I do not know what it up with that shirt he's wearing; it always looks blotchy.)
Oh, and this morning, Kate asked for her own challenge. So Sam made her a chart. She said, "It's not for a DS, because that's too hard for me."
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Here's the gist: I'm at Bob Jones. I live in the dorm. I don't want to be there.
Usually in the dream, I've had to come back come back to finish some classes and I really don't know why I came back and really want to leave but I already put in so much time, the semester is almost over, so I might as well finish. I'm trying to not get in trouble but not sure if I've broken any rules.
Especially since I've been married, the part about living in the dorm is awful. I want so much to be with Craig (and since having children, with them) but can't. I want to just stick it out to the end of the semester and be finished and leave. Sometimes he's in the boy's dorm, sometimes he's free.
Why two way-backs in one day? I had the dream last night. It was a graduation ceremony. It was almost over. I was finished. And then I was in a room with some friends asking what happened. They hadn't given out the diplomas. We didn't know why.
ugh. I don't like waking up. I really don't like waking up with that in my head.
Craig's opinion is, "that place" badly damaged our psyches and we're still trying to recover. There's so much to unpack in this dream, I wish the baggage would just get lost.
*this is a link to her blog, I don't remember exactly where that post was but when I find it I'll update with that specific link. So you can see that I'm not lying.
I don't really know where this came from; my mother-in-law just made her
so it's not like Kate's wanting for dresses or that anything I can make can compare to what she can make.
Nevertheless. I found a pattern and fabric. Kate vetoed the first two fabrics I picked but OK'd the third.
I worked all day Saturday while Craig was at work and my children watched videos from the library. I followed the wrong directions for a few steps and had to recut all the pieces for the yoke. Saturday night I went to bed with it looking like this:
I hemmed it and finished some of the inside edges on Sunday. Kate did try it on but then tonight told me she won't wear it. When I first took out the fabric at home, she told me she was going to "fart, pee, and [series of nonsense syllables here]" on her dress. So you may not ever actually see her in it.
My neighbor mentioned that maybe that was Kate's way of telling me she didn't like the fabric (she has distance enough from the situations I tell her about and experience with a toddler girl [her daughter is Sam's age] that she usually comes up with great observations and insights for me).
So what does this have to do with BJU, you ask? My sophomore year (when I should have been taking American History), I took a sewing class. I think I thought it would be easy and I was going to design my own stuff and whip it up . . . it was not easy.
I had a really prissy teacher, a RA or whatever they're called. A graduate student teaching. GA - graduate assistant is what they're called there. I asked her why my machine was sewing such a crazy line - not straight, wandering all over the place . . . and she didn't really know. And then she figured out that I didn't have my presser foot down. And she giggled.
I hated her, naturally, because she super-Jonesy and she laughed instead of starting me from the beginning.
We had four projects: a shirt, a skirt, a dress and a t-shirt.
The shirt fabric I chose had a tiny green leaf pattern on a cream background. With brass-tone buttons. It was ugly. I think I tried to give it to my mom.
The skirt was cream wool gabardine, a fabric name I thought sounded cool. It didn't turn out so great. My sister actually wore it for years. I thought I would make a "kick pleat" (a pleat rather than a slit) but it was too tight around the bottom for a normal stride so she just let a slit rip into it.
The dress I made from black wool and did a decorative little tone-on-tone stitching around the arm holes. It was a shift shape, with long sleeves. It actually wasn't that bad of a pattern. I wore it myself for a long time. But I cut the fabric wrong (this is where I thought it would be easy to alter things and make things cool) and it was too short. For BJ purposes. But I wore it anyway and when someone mentioned it was too short (and someone always did) I would say, "I made it in sewing." Implying that it couldn't be too short if I made it in a BJ class, right?
Eventually, someone (Miss Oliveri, a dorm supervisor, probably) told me regardless of where I made it, it didn't check and I couldn't wear it. It just brushed the tops of my knees.
And the t-shirt. Plain gray. I wore it for awhile, I'm sure.
As I was cutting and basting and pressing and re-cutting, I thought about that class. I thought that I was going to learn the basics and then start designing my own stuff. Yeah. I added it up. I took that class at least 15 years ago.
I wonder where priss-face presser foot girl is.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Right now we have a deal with Sam: if he eats every night this week, we'll get him a DS. We were talking about getting it for him anyway, for our trip to PA later this month, so I don't know what we'll do if he doesn't eat; but so far just a reminder of what he can earn is enough to get him to stop protesting and eat.
In the few months since I started this blog, feeding Sam has become slightly easier and feeding Kate has become significantly more difficult. Sometimes I think she isn't needing as much food as she used to. More often I think that she's so busy exercising her will, pushing us whenever she gets a chance, that she can't stop even if she is hungry at dinner. Typically, if we get a bite in her mouth (especially meat; she's very resistant to meat but when she gets a taste, she gobbles it) she'll finish. So stop fighting us already.
I am finidng it easier to stay firm and insist they eat what's served. I don't cave as easily as I used to, offering cereal or something. My mantra can stand up to theirs: This is what we're having. Eat.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
We love our pediatrician. He's very knowledgeable, calming, and engages the children so they don't even know they're being evaluated half the time. He tells me how smart and good-looking my kids are. He's always done this; once when I was rambling on about something little Sam had done I laughed at myself and said, "you probably see geniuses all day," and he shook his head and said "no, I don't." Which made me really happy that he thought my child was so smart that he needed to mention it at every visit.
When Sam began talking I kept at list of his words, approximations, and signs (we did this when I worked with autistic toddlers so I figured everyone did it). I told Dr. Pumpkin (not his real name but it rhymes) that Sam had 103 words and he said, "You can stop counting now."
The other day when we had to go, I took both children with me. Dr. P checked out Sam and diagnosed his ear infections and said he'd fax over our prescription, and then, with his hand on the doorknob, said, "She talks a lot, doesn't she?"
This about Kate, who had not stopped talking the entire time, only paused some when I shushed her.
"Yes, she does." I laughed.
"I bet you don't have many quiet moments at home," he said.
No, I don't. I just thought all houses with little kids was like mine.
"It's a sign of intelligence, they say," he added.
Oooh, he said she was smart again! But just being kind.
But over the next few days, I started listening to her more. Looking at her when she talked, looking at her face and eyes and responding to what she said. And I began to think, She could be intelligent. She's thinking and processing and explaining.
And then I felt a little sad: when did I stop listening? When did I decide she was annoying and dismiss what she was saying as chatter? Why don't I think of her as intelligent and engage her in conversation?
I desperately love and appreciate my children. I look at them and want to hold them here so I don't forget. And it's been that way since they were born; I know this time flies. It wasn't that long ago I was holding my first baby and wondering how I was going to make it through the night let alone 6 years and another one. They are amazing blessings from God.
But I also know that I can get very caught up in cleaning and folding and putting away and cooking and shopping and organizing and all the mundanities of life. It's a struggle for me to let go of things and just be with them. And somewhere in there Kate's chatter became background noise that I wanted to tune out so I could "focus" on something other than her.
Dr. P's offhand comment that I thought was an old wives' tale has helped me find a better focus with my sweet motormouth Kate (even if it is an old wives' tale). To enjoy her and her crazy song about Loopy (her tiny stuffed dog) or stop what I'm doing to actually spend time with her and not just be in the same room with her.
Stay tuned. I'm sure I'll have some good stories to (re)tell.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
This is "April Fool's Sushi." I found the idea in an old issue of Parents magazine and thought it would be funny to try since Craig likes sushi. There are several things I would do differently if I did this again, not the least of which would be to know the difference between fruit leather and fruit roll-ups.
I tried to find a link for the directions but couldn't; it's pretty easy. Make a small batch of RKT (I actually had too much) and put in a small-ish dish (they say shape into 12x5 rectangle). Arrange dried fruit (they were specific as far as apricots & some others; I got a bag of mixed dried fruit) down the middle. Roll this up and pinch together (I had way too much RKT and even with squeezing it forcefully it was still pretty big and not as trompe l'oeil as I thought it would be). Then wrap in grape fruit leather and slice.
This last step will be annoying if you get blue/purple swirl fruit roll-ups and try to use the mainly purple parts and small people are opening packages and consuming this magnificent treat they have not before encountered.
As I was doing this, I thought, wouldn't it be funny to use those ubiquitous plastic eggs to make egg-shaped treats for the cousin egg hunt on Saturday? So a few days later, the second batch was used for that.
You think it's easy to make RKT. I certainly do. And to add color - just remember to do it when the butter/marshmallows are liquidy, before adding the cereal. But, my "helper" (Kate) had a potty "emergency" (meaning, she just had to go and insisted loudly that I help her) just at the crucial moment (meaning, just when the marshmallows were melted).
So she's in the bathroom yelling, "I need help! Help me go potty!" and I was yelling back, "I can't! This is the important part! Do it yourself!" and my melted butter started smelling.
Which, I learned a few days later from here, is why they were really, really dry/crunchy. (I haven't read that blog much, but if you scroll down, she explains that you have to pull the stuff you're melting before it gets browned, which is exactly the mistake I made. I found this link from Amanda, who was doing some fancy things with RKT herself.
Anyway. Kate pottied herself, and I divided my melty stuff and got food coloring in it, but was hugely distracted.
My concentration broken, I made several mistakes:
- I threw the cereal in the blue bowl before the food coloring. This made them splotchy.
- I made a green batch and didn't want green.
- I wanted pale, pastel-y colors and only had primary color food coloring. This means I had pale primary colors and should get some pastel food coloring.
- I boiled 2 dozen white eggs to color with the kids and forgot to take them to Maine. That means I (currently) have three dozen hard-boiled eggs in my fridge, one dyed and two just there. I was going to use them for deviled eggs on Saturday but (as mentioned) didn't have them. (OK, that has nothing to do with this, but the pot of eggs is on the stove in that picture so I thought I'd mention it).
And here's the finished product:
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Another "clever" idea I had was to re-arrange the suggested schedule of classes and take American History when I took American Literature, and the English (British) history/lit together. This actually screwed up almost everything and I was left with odd classes that I had to stay an extra semester to take.
Well, I do think I could have done some in summer school and squeezed them all in that last academic semester (my last and final semester being student teaching) or something, but my dad let me have an easy (and I mean easy, like 12 credits) 8th semester (when I should have been student teaching) so I could
a. Take Modern Fiction with Dr. Hurst and
b. Be the president of the CRC (Community Relations Council)
I mean really, how are those reasons to stay an extra semester anywhere?
Dr. Hurst was without a doubt my favorite teacher at BJU. Other places call them professors, I guess; we called them teachers. Actually, both Hursts were Doctors, so I called them Mr. Dr. Hurst and Mrs. Dr. Hurst (I thought I was super clever for doing this). They both taught in the English department. I only ever had Mr. Dr. for classes. I had him one semester for British Literature (I think; maybe American) and for Modern Fiction.
He was incredibly intelligent and articulate; to teach he'd lean against a wall, holding a copy of the book we were discussing (my clearest memories are from Modern Fiction), stare into space, and ramble. In a good way. I was forever scratching down funny phrases he said in the margin of my notes. My friend Jan (who had taken the class 2 yrs before) and I were constantly discussing him and how funny and smart and intelligent he was. Once I didn't understand an assignment and had done it incorrectly and gotten a bad grade but I went and talked to him about it and he gave me a better grade but wrote "you baaaaaaad girl" on top of the paper (I still have that paper somewhere, because it makes me laugh. But after digging out those journals and needing some kind of upper after reading them, I am not inclined to go excavating my past until I'm more at peace with it. 15 years has not been enough).
My first memory is from the first class I took (either American or the first half of British Lit. - oh, that's it, the first half of British Lit. I had the former nun for the second semester of Brit Lit)(I realize I'm typing this and could just correct myself without all the insight into my thought process but it seemed more interesting this way) with him. I was a sophomore and for some reason had dyed my hair either right before coming down to school or right after arriving. I picked something off the shelf at a drugstore; it was my first experience coloring my hair. It might even have been one of those 'wash out after 14 wash' deals, and it was red. Dr. Hurst was going through the roll, calling names and then looking at the names' owners, occasionally making comments or asking questions.
He called me: "Sarah Reidenouer" (ride-an-hour, my maiden name)
Then, "what's a girl with a German name doing with red hair? You should have a name like Fitzpatrick here." (there may have been more but this is what I remember)
I was laughing this whole time. Everyone knew I'd dyed my hair. It was so obvious to everyone who knew me and anyone who remembered me from before my hair had been dyed, which was only like a day or two before.
"WHY do you have red hair?" (this wasn't an accusatory, give-me-an-answer-or-else question, just part of the rambling, part of processing a new class curiosity).
So I told him. "Because I dyed it."
Class erupted in laughter. He apologized profusely.
Then later I passed him in the hall and he apologized again. He said, "Your body language was screaming 'shut up!' but I just kept going."
"It's fine," I told him. "Everyone knows anyway."
I loved that I'd gotten attention from a teacher. And I wondered how my body language could have been screaming "shut up" when I didn't care.
Once, in Modern Fiction, I walked into class and there was a test. I had forgotten and didn't study but only missed one question. I just got English and I think (I like to flatter myself) I thought on the same wavelength as Dr. Hurst.
Except when it came to Newland Archer in The Age of Innocence. He said Archer was controlled by society and the women in that society; I insisted on arguing that Archer made his own choices. We had to agree to disagree.
We read some good stuff in that class: Heart of Darkness (the horror! the horror!); Cry, the Beloved Country; The Great Gatsby. There was more, short stories and more novels, but I can't think of them now. I'm sure I have that syllabus somewhere as it was passed out by my hero.
The beginning of the semester I student taught, I ran into Dr. Hurst somewhere and mentioned I was student teaching. What he told me would turn out to be strangely prophetic: "student teaching didn't make me want to stop teaching, it made me want to stop living." And student teaching was, indeed, the worst collection of 4 consecutive months in my entire life. But that's another post.
I heard that the Hursts went to Clearwater. I hope they got out relatively unscathed, with humor, intelligence, great phrasing, and love for words intact.
**Since I wrote this on Sunday, I gathered the energy to google him and found him here.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Since it was so warm, we headed up to my in-laws' place on Mousam Lake. As I sat there soaking up the sun (with SPF 50 on), listening to my father-in-law and Craig discuss something completely random like how many times they moved the pier last year, I thought about how we have the same conversations over and over when we're at the camp. So that's the theme of this week's list:
Top Ten things we talk about all the time in Maine:
1. The water being high/low (the next 2 are closely related to and caused by the water height, but slightly different)
2. How large/small the beach is
3. How fast the water is flowing out of the dam
4. Who is coming and when they are expected to arrive
5. When we are leaving for Ted's
6. How much gas is in the boat
7. Who on the lake has a new boat/motor/pier/camp
8. Who is going downtown and can they pick up (insert needed item here, typically milk)
9. What time Ridley Farm is open
10. What time the Red Sox play
And for more top-tens of the week, head over to oh amanda.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Kate did gag pretty believably when we had salmon loaf last week. She may not actually have liked it, although I'm sure that she's eaten it in the past. Regardless of what we're having, she likes to walk around and declares early on she's "full," but once we get a bite or two into her mouth, she eats pretty well.
We are trying, with Sam, to have him think about if he's really full or if he's just wanting to get up and do whatever it is that's caught his attention. He'll point to his full plate and say, "how many bites?" . . . we don't want him to think he has to "clean his plate," but we also don't want him to walk away from supper and think he's going to get a bowl of cereal before bed.
He's been eating more per meal that I can remember him eating in a long time. He put on some weight this winter - almost 4 pounds! - which is practically more than the last 2.5 years. I could go check, but I won't. Take my word for it.
I didn't have to worry about their behavior for a big fancy Easter meal, because we had a cookout in Maine. It was fun to be with Nana and Papa and not have the pressure of a big meal and the potential for excessive whining/not eating. Kate still didn't eat her hot dog, buts he did just fine with the Swedish Fish eggs (I don't see the point of Swedish Fish if they're not the red ones but she likes these) and the mini Cadbury eggs. Sam ate his burger and the Rice Krispy Treat eggs.
I took a whole bunch of pictures while I was making these, for a blog post, but don't have time to get into it right now (Sam is sick, poor dude, and home from school, and I need to go check on him, then try to get the laundry from the weekend under control before Hoarders shows up at my door with a film crew). I'm sure this idea is out there somewhere but I thought it up on my own. I will go into detail about my food coloring fail when I do a post on my Rice Krispy Treat adventures of the last week.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
My batter seems to turn pupley for me with fresh or frozen blueberries.
This is just after I took it out of the oven. After this I lost energy to take pictures so I don't have one of it out of the pan but it came out beautifully.
The next morning I made a glaze (not the one with the recipe) of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. I drizzled this on the cake, cut it, and plated it to take to the church. Then I remembered to take a picture.
Kate usually doesn't eat things with blueberries but she downed at least 3 pieces of this. I was unwrapping it in the car and passing pieces to the back seat. I came home with 2 1/2 pieces which didn't stand a chance against Sam and his buddy's after-school munchies. Craig actually didn't get any.