Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Uncommon Goods: For the difficult gift recipient in your life

There are people like myself who are super easy to shop for. I'm not very picky at all and I really truly love and appreciate almost any gift I'm ever given (except for a super heinous grey sweatshirt I received one Christmas from my ex husband but I'll save that little gem of a story for another day).

And then there are people like my husband. He is P I C K Y and a complete and utter nightmare to shop for (but he doesn't think so of course).  I can't buy him any type of clothing item because whenever he buys clothes he must try them on at least nine hundred times and then almost always decides he hates them as soon as we get home and wants to return them.  Since clothes and shoes are definitely out, and he's not much of a video game/electronics kinda guy (and there are only so many sports team related gifts I can give the man), it's not easy to find special and unique gifts for him. This can make the gift giving holidays a stressful time instead of fun and carefree.

When I was approached by an online company called Uncommon Goods to review their site, I was immediately intrigued because I loathe shopping in store. Plus with four kids and an insanely busy schedule, it's tough to even find the time to go shopping, which means my shopping excursions are typically limited to the grocery store, and unfortunately they don't always have the best gift selections for my picky, high maintenance man (although I'm super tempted to throw a package of mini Kit Kat bars at him on his next birthday and call it good).

Shopping from home on my computer, in my ridiculously ugly pajamas is by far my preferred way to shop, however, I still struggle to find those super cool things for my husband on my usual, go to online shopping sites. Recently he's decided he's a wine connoisseur so that at least gives me something to go on. And as luck would have it, they just happen to have some amazing gift ideas for the wine lover in your life!

 He would seriously love any one of these wine glass sets 
(as would I so buying these for him would be a win/win): 

I actually found multiple, unique gifts that I think he would love, so I'm already a step ahead of the game for this upcoming holiday season (and of course his birthday just happens to be a few days before Christmas so I get to buy gifts for two occasions...lucky me).

Not only do they have some really beautiful and creative items to choose from, but I read lots of really positive things about the company as well, like they wont sell products that harm people or animals (which is always a big concern of mine as a vegetarian) and they are environmentally friendly too (for example they limit the number of catalogs they mail out and the majority are printed on recycled paper or paper sourced from FSC certified forests which harvest in a more sustainable way).  I could go on and on but I'll let you check them out for yourself because I have no doubt you'll like what you see as well. 

Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post for Uncommon Goods and I received compensation in exchange for a review. However all opinions are my own. 









Saturday, July 1, 2017

Giveaway Snapology LEGO® Sebastian Gator Brick Set

Okay, I have a confession. The very first time I saw the phrase STEM, I Googled it to figure out what it stood for. I did. You probably already knew that it stood for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics but then again you read this blog so maybe not...hahaha! Totally kidding. You are a genius for reading this blog so pat yourself on the back because you obviously have amazing taste (or you saw the word giveaway in my title and just want to win free stuff and that's okay too).

Ironically shortly after I figured out what STEM stood for, we moved to an area with a STEM school. My boys are naturally drawn to science and math (I'm having them DNA tested soon to make sure they weren't switched at birth) but they truly love it so their school was a perfect fit!! I have to admit, I'm very impressed with some of the projects they've brought home too.

Take this adorable shoe box habitat that my little Peanut made in first grade! He was so proud of himself too and he did the entire project on his own (he insisted).
I recently heard about an amazing company called Snapology and discovered they even offer LEGO® themed parties!!! How fun would that be? My boys would absolutely flip over this! Unfortunately we don't have a Snapology in our area, YET, but I'm crossing my fingers that someone will take advantage of this amazing franchise opportunity because I think it would be really popular in our area (in any area).

So now that I've got you all excited over this sciency, STEM stuff, who wants to win a LEGO® brick set of the Snapology mascot Sebastian Gator? You know you want one because it's adorable and your child will love it so please make sure and enter today!





Please note:
This LEGO® brick set is recommended for ages 6+. This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal. Must comment on my blog to win. Winner will be chosen at random once I receive enough responses.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Pizza. It's what's for dinner...every single night until we die!!!

If it were up to my kids, they would seriously eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They love anything pizza related too, pizza rolls, pizza pockets, pizza wheels, those pizza on a bagel thingies, etc. I'm just waiting for a cereal company to finally make their dreams come true and release a pizza flavored cereal, because I have no doubt my kids would eat that too.  I know exactly where they get their undying love and adoration for pizza from too....their dear old dad.

When I first started dating my husband, he was a bachelor living in his own man cave, otherwise known as a one bedroom apartment. The inside of his refrigerator was completely barren minus some ketchup and soy sauce packets from various fast food places and a twelve pack of Mountain Dew. He ordered pepperoni pizza for dinner pretty much every single night of the week. In fact the place he ordered it from, immediately recognized his number on the caller ID, so they knew his order before he even had to say hello.

I like pizza too, but I don't wish to eat it for every single meal, especially as I get older. I swear if I even look twice at a slice of veggie or cheese pizza (really the only two kinds of pizza I can consume since I'm a vegetarian), I gain about ten pounds, pretty much all around my waistline. It may be warm, cheesy, saucy and delicious, but it's best when eaten once a week (twice tops). However, tell that to my dear, sweet, children, as they literally don't want to eat anything else.

Last night I attempted to cook some spinach and cheese ravioli from Costco. You would've thought those little pockets of pasta were stuffed full of rat poison judging from their expressions. They ate one or two little bites of pasta (they literally chewed the outside ring of the ravioli so they didn't have to touch any filling) and then ate a thousand pieces of french bread with butter.

I try very hard to cook them a variety of meals.  For example, I can cook a mean vegetarian crock pot chili but that has *gasp* beans in it so they carefully lick the sauce off the spoon so that they don't accidentally swallow a bean because that would be apparently equal their sudden and immediate demise and then they eat all of the cheese off the top of the chili. Then of course after they get told "No you can't add more cheese on top of your chili until you actually eat some of the chili" they dump their bowls into the sink and then complain about being hungry. This is precisely why I don't kill myself cooking complicated meals because I'm probably the only one who would eat them, along with our dog Olive, who eats absolutely everything with Seanie Mac's poopy diapers being her all time favorite meal.

Our typical meal rotation consists of things like vegetarian hot dogs, veggie burgers, spaghetti, teriyaki ChikN and rice (notice I said ChikN not chicken as it's not really chicken because we don't eat meat...which by the way, things were absolutely no different back when we did eat meat. They still hated everything I cooked), baked macaroni and cheese, tacos, loaded baked potatoes, etc. These are things that I can at least get them to partially eat, but they still would much rather have pizza if given a choice. I on the other hand am sick to death of all of these things. I've tried cooking other meals in the past like lasagna, enchiladas, tofu stir fry, curry and rice, various homemade soups, casseroles, etc, and the majority of the meals ended up going to waste. It's frustrating because people always say, "They will eventually get hungry and eat what's on their plate if you don't give them a choice" but these people obviously haven't met my stubborn little angels. Getting them to do something they don't want is like trying to catch a cat in a carrier to take to a veterinary appointment. Think of the little girl in the Mommy Dearest movie who refused to eat her bloody raw steak (okay so I can't say that I really blame her on that one), but it's pretty much an FBI style standoff every single time, especially with Peanut. This kid could seriously sit at the table for two solid days to avoid eating something that he views as yucky or disgusting (which again is pretty much anything besides pizza or peanut butter and jelly). 

All I can hope is that their palates mature and their minds open up a little as they get older, and that maybe eventually, someday I'll actually be able to feed them a vegetable without them barfing it back up on their plates (yes, this actually happened once with our oldest). I'm not holding my breath though, as I really don't foresee this happening anytime soon. As for what we're eating for dinner tonight? Yep, you guessed it. Pizza.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

So you had a bad day

Earlier this week I had one of those very bad, horrible, no good days. It started off as most days typically do...I pulled sleepy kids out of bed, packed lunches, watched as those same sleepy kids climbed the stairs onto the school bus and rode off out of my line of vision, then walked back home and settled in for my usual morning routine with my Seanie Mac.

My husband came home at lunch because we had a much dreaded appointment to discuss our taxes. We recently received a letter from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service for those of you who are bad with abbreviations) saying there had been an error in our previous tax return, and we owed them some money. Not just some money, but a lot of money. This was very perplexing to us, as we had hired someone to prepare and file our taxes last year, so there shouldn't of been any mistakes.  At any rate, we had an appointment to discuss the IRS issue, as well as file our taxes for 2016. I wasn't looking forward to this meeting, especially since I'm a procrastinator so there I was hunched over the dining room table, frantically digging through a messy pile of papers as well as trying to look over my online bank statement, and adding up totals at the very last minute (my husband freelances in addition to his full time job, so our taxes are a little more complicated), and cursing at my MacBook because it kept freezing up on me.

It was pouring down rain as we headed to our appointment, which isn't normal weather for Central Oregon, and also one of the reasons we moved away from Portland. If there was ever a day where I didn't need rain, this was one of them.  As soon as we made our way into the building, I knew this appointment wasn't going to be easy. The accountant was someone we had never met before and she was an older lady, who had the personality of a blunt object (not to mention she reeked of old lady perfume). She frowned as she greeted us, obviously not thrilled to see that we had brought along our rambunctious, potentially destructive, eleven month old, otherwise known as Mr. Seanie Mac. I packed an arsenal of supplies in my diaper bag as a desperate attempt to keep Seanie occupied, but it was all completely and utterly useless as he immediately began to kick and squirm in my arms. I set him down on the ground and he immediately started to crawl away at full speed. This was a boy who had recently woken up from a long nap, had been fed, changed, and was now ready to show these people what he could do. He was Seanie Mac at full throttle. Knowing this wasn't going to end well, and that he wasn't exactly welcomed by the scary, grumpy, crypt keeper of an accountant, I took him out to the car and told my husband to text or call me if he needed me to come back inside.

I got Seanie Mac buckled into his car seat, settled into the passenger seat of our SUV and turned on the radio. Seanie wasn't happy that I had interrupted his plan to completely destroy the tax office, so he began to protest by pulling off his socks, twisting and contorting in his seat and screaming (oh and he attempted to chuck his bottle at my head too...I'm very thankful for head rests).

Frustrated and bored I picked up my iPhone to kill some time. In hindsight I should've just closed my eyes and taken a much needed nap, but that's not what I did of course. I checked my business email account and there it was....a shiny new rejection letter for a piece I had recently submitted for an upcoming anthology. I wasn't all that shocked, as I honestly didn't spend as much time writing or editing my piece as I should have, so I was half expecting it, but rejection is something I don't handle well. I may look and act tough on the outside, but on the inside I'm a big old ball of soft dough (chocolate chip cookie dough of course). 

I sat and stared at my phone for a little while, unsure of what to do, or how to react. I could feel a sharp pang building up in my throat and chest. A few minutes later my husband started texting me, "Things aren't looking good babe. We're going to owe a lot of money" and that's all it took for the tears to start tumbling down my cheeks. My tears represented the stress, anxiety, and fear of wondering where or how we were going to come up with the extra funds that we weren't expecting to have to come up with, along with the rejection, disappointment, and pain of feeling like a big old failure who obviously sucked so badly at writing, that I might as well just quit blogging and take up knitting or something (okay so maybe not knitting as I would most definitely fail in that department).

This is me just seconds before the tears hit. No make up, no editing, no filters.
I wish I could say that as quickly as the tears hit, I snapped out of it, realized all of the blessings and successes in my life and got over it. Nope, not even close. When my husband made his way back to the car and updated me on how everything went, I felt even more depressed.

So I cried even harder. 
It's funny how easy it is to fall into the woe is me trap, but so incredibly difficult to pull yourself out of it. I wallowed, I sobbed, I typed out a weepy, pathetic post on my Facebook page (word of advice: NEVER EVER cry and Facebook at the same time...trust me on this one). I was a hot mess with a one way ticket to loserville.

I stood up and caught a glimpse of my face in my bathroom mirror. That all too familiar face that had seen better, brighter, happier days. I took a moment and studied every single detail of my pain stricken face as if I seeing them for the very first time:

My puffy swollen eyelids, pasty white tear streaked cheeks, bright red broken blood vessel (which often gets mistaken for a gigantic pimple), wrinkled, not as firm as it used to be skin, wispy wild grey hairs that were sticking up in all directions and were in dire need of a hairbrush (and some hair dye).

As I stared at my pitiful reflection in the mirror, suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. The last time I saw this face was on the evening of Mahlon's disastrous ninth birthday party when no one showed up. I thought of that horrible rotten day, but most of all, I thought about my son. My brave, tenderhearted, sweet little son, who had every reason in the world to fall apart that day, but didn't. Instead he plastered a smile on his face, along with some funky green sunglasses in an attempt to make his devastated, brokenhearted mother laugh, because he just wanted his mom to feel better.  Mahlon is my inspiration, my hero, my soulmate. If he could survive one of the worst days of his life without any tears, then what in the hell was I crying for?

Mahlon rocks in case you didn't know
I couldn't find those funky green sunglasses, as they had gotten broken many months ago and most likely tossed in the garbage, so I grabbed the silliest thing I could find within my arms reach...some cheese hats that a super sweet fan of Mahlon's had sent from their gift shop in WI and sunglasses from ESS (thank you to both companies by the way!!!)

And so I did an impromptu photo shoot with my boys.
Along with having amazing kids, I have a pretty cool husband who in a desperate attempt to cheer me up, sent me some very fitting American Beauty quotes via text message (particularly the one about being boring and ordinary and how that will never be me). A husband who has always been my number one fan and biggest supporter. The very same husband who tells me all the time that I'm talented and funny and capable of achieving great success with my writing if I set my mind to it.

And might I add a man who also helps out with homework duty
I could sit here and list the million and one things that I have to be thankful for, but these things will really only matter to me so I wont. I could also get all cheesy and philosophical and tell you to count your blessings, and blah, blah, blah, but I wont. Instead I'll just say that I survived another horrible, crappy, no good day.  There will be more. In fact the very next day after all of this happened, Seanie woke up from a nap and had the worst diaper explosion of his entire life. There was poop up his back, down both legs and it was so heinous that it even splattered all over myself and the walls when I took off his pants. Let me repeat that in case you missed it...THERE WAS ACTUAL POOP ON MY WALLS!!! So yeah, shit happens but you just have to find a way to get through it. 

*Today it wasn't poop but he still managed to make a big old mess with some aluminum foil AND I discovered that I apparently walked to the bus stop with my right boob completely hanging out of my bra and shirt (I'm praying Seanie's oversized noggin was blocking my boob as I was carrying him in my arms but there's really no way to know for sure without asking the other parents if they saw my breast so yeah, I'm totally winning at this thing called life).

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The most amazing tofu tacos you've probably never had

I know what you're thinking...tofu? BARF!!! Is this chick for real? But before you click out of this post and take me off of your blogroll forever, please just hear me out. These tofu tacos are so ridiculously good you'll want to slap your husband (okay, so you'll want to slap him anyways, for reasons other than tofu tacos, but this gives you a valid reason).

It's extremely unusual for me to post recipes on my blog because as you all know, I suck at all things domestic, but on the rare occasion when I do actually hit one out of the park, I figure it's only fair that I share my success and wisdom with others. Sure, there may be some of you out there who've achieved successful careers, nice homes, fancy cars, vacation condos on tropical islands that I can't even pronounce, but I can cook tofu. We all have our special talents and do the best with what we are given. 

I'll admit that a block of tofu straight out of the package looks pretty unappetizing (AKA pretty damn gross). It kinda reminds me of a giant Magic Clear Eraser but it's wet, slimy and crumbles like blue cheese when you touch it. I haven't had a chance to clean my tub with it yet to see if it has the same cleaning capabilities as a MCE, but I'll get back to you on that one later. 

My husband and I discovered the awesomeness that is tofu tacos at this amazing, trendy restaurant in Bend (which will remain nameless because I would die of embarrassment if they saw my photos which are pitiful compared to their artistic culinary masterpieces). We loved these silly little tofu tacos so much that we were going daily for awhile. Not only did we start to feel a little stalkerish about going to the same restaurant and ordering the same food item every single day, but dining out really starts to add up. We needed to figure out a way to make them ourselves so we could save some money and completely pig out on them without judgment (e.g. someone taking secret cell phone photos of us stuffing our pie holes with tacos) in the privacy of our own home. 

Although we have no idea what the recipe or ingredients are in the tofu tacos at our favorite restaurant (my husband first suggested that we should ask them for their recipe but I was like, "Um, babe, we eat here everyday. Do you really think they're going to just hand us their super top secret recipe so we can copy it and stop spending money at their restaurant? Probably not!"), so we decided to try our own knock off tofu tacos.  Although they don't look anywhere near as pretty as their tacos, the knock offs turned out incredible and now my husband and I are literally gorging ourselves right into the next pant size.

Ingredients you will need for the tacos:
white corn tortillas
olive oil 
tofu (I bought two firm blocks because I wanted leftovers)
cajun seasoning (I use Weber N'Orleans Cajun Seasoning)
lime juice
Salad/spinach greens or cabbage or both for the topping (I like both but my hubby hates cabbage so I leave it off)
cilantro for the topping
jalapeno peppers for the topping (optional)

Ingredients you will need for the spicy chipotle sauce: 
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce  (you wont use an entire can unless you want to set your mouth on fire, which I did the first time I made this sauce....lesson learned)
3/4 to 1 cup of mayo (didn't measure out very accurately..told ya I sucked at cooking)
1/2 cup of sour cream (feel free add more if you want)
1/4 tsp of minced garlic (I may have added a couple of these as I love garlic)
lime juice to taste
lemon juice to taste

Directions for the tofu tacos:
*Drain the tofu, blot well with paper towels, cut blocks in half width wise into two equal pieces and then cut into smaller cubes
*Add cajun seasoning into a plastic bag or container. Squirt tofu squares with some lime juice. Shake cajun seasoning onto tofu until it's well coated
*Cook tofu on a skillet over medium heat with a little olive oil until it starts to turn slightly crispy
*Warm corn tortillas on a frying pan with a small amount of oil and heat on both sides
*Cut up cilantro, salad greens/spinach, cabbage, and jalapenos and set aside

Directions for the spicy chipotle sauce:
Add mayo, sour cream, minced garlic, 1/2 can of adobo peppers, and a few squirts of lemon and lime juice. Blend in blender (I use my NutriBullet) until smooth. I will admit, I adjusted amounts until it tasted good to me (adding more lemon or lime for example) so there is no right or wrong way to make this sauce. I know, I'm super duper helpful.

Once you warm the corn tortillas on the skillet (a couple of min on each side usually) with a little oil, it's time to arrange your tacos. There is no exact science to this process. I put about 4-5 cubes of tofu in each taco, add some salad greens, cilantro and the spicy chipotle sauce on top. My final step is to squirt some additional lime juice on top (I love lime juice if you haven't noticed). You can also add some freshly sliced up jalapenos on top, but I find these tacos are spicy and hot enough without them so do what you wish but definitely have some water nearby because these tacos have quite the kick.

I know, I know, you're super jealous of my mad food photography skills, along with my fancy puke green fine china--courtesy of Walmart
I promise you that these babies taste so much better than they look. And I should probably mention that I added WAY more spicy chipotle sauce than a normal person would (hence the reason why my mouth was on fire). You probably wont want to start with this much sauce and had I not dumped a crapton of sauce all over the tacos, you actually would've been able to see what they looked like underneath (sorry). I told you there's a very good reason why I don't blog about cooking. I promise these tacos are good, and before you know it, you'll be buying the large boxes of tofu at Costco.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

To buy or continue renting, that is the question

This house is falling apart, much like my life at the moment. I know, I know, a tad over dramatic for a Tuesday afternoon, but hey, I'm a drama queen, so just be grateful that you're not my husband. Right now we're stuck in a teeny tiny rental house (that we're paying way too much for), and everything seems to be going wrong with it all at once. That's typically how life seems to go though isn't it? When one thing goes wrong, there's usually another disaster lurking right around the corner.  I swear I'm just waiting for my husband's vasectomy to fail next...kidding! That is the ONE thing that cannot break down and you better believe we'd be taking a road trip to Portland with all four kids in tow, and marching into his Urologist's office for a full refund (we paid for his procedure out of pocket and it wasn't cheap)!!  And, once again, I'm totally getting off track! I'm supposed to be talking about houses, not my husband's private parts. Moving on....Luckily we don't own the house, so we aren't responsible for the repairs, but it hasn't been easy having repairmen in and out of the house for several weeks, especially when they always seem to come over during Seanie's nap time and I'm left to entertain a fussy, exhausted infant and a barking Vizsla, who suddenly thinks she's Cujo whenever someone new enters the house.

Our dog who acts tough but couldn't harm a flea...literally
she's completely useless at catching anything
After three unsuccessful attempts to fix the hot water/wimpy water pressure issues (they even ripped up our master bathroom at one point and left it in total disarray for a week while still not being able to fix the problem), they finally replaced the hot water heater.  I do admit that it's been nice to not have to stand at the kitchen sink for thirty minutes waiting for the water to heat from cold to lukewarm. However, it's not just the water pressure that drives me bonkers. The dishwasher sucks, the carpet in the bedrooms is matted and gross, the bedrooms have plain white walls but we're not allowed to paint them, the oven handle keeps falling off, the floors are chipping in certain areas, and the toilet in the kids' bathroom overflows all the time. My husband is convinced it's because the kids use an arsenal of toilet paper, but I've used their bathroom before (out of sheer desperation of course, nobody ever uses the same toilet as their children on purpose), and it overflowed for me too.  It's gotten to the point where I know exactly how many seconds I have to get to the toilet to plunge it before I'm running to the hall closet to grab an armload of towels to throw down on the poopy water filled ground.

 After being long term, serial renters, my husband and I have decided the time has finally come to buy our very first home. You'd think I'd be super excited about this process, but when you live in a very desirable tourist town, it's not nearly as exciting as you think.  To get the monthly payment where we want it, we have to lower our expectations quite a bit and unfortunately there aren't a ton of choices to begin with in this small town where housing options are extremely limited. It's even more depressing when you look at what you can get in other states for the same price (think mansion compared to tool shed).  Before we totally commit to buy though and sign on the dotted line, we still have a lot of really big, life changing decisions to make and since I suck at making decisions this could explain why my dreams have been nothing but natural disasters, violence, chaos and turmoil. For example, last night I was swept away by a roaring tsunami. Considering we live in Central Oregon, I have a much better chance of getting shot and killed by a deer hunter, but what can I say? Dreams are weird.

The main reason we haven't taken the plunge and purchased a home before is mostly because we have major commitment issues, at least when it comes to settling down in one place for the rest of our lives. My husband is an Air Force brat and gets stir crazy living in one place for very long.  In fact we've been in our current town for nearly eight months, and he's already thinking about where we should move to next. Needless to say we go back and forth about whether or not to continue renting, even though rentals are ridiculously expensive and hard to come by in this town, or settle down and buy something.  The amount of money we're throwing away in rent every year is pretty depressing. Plus, the rental we're in right now, just isn't going to work long term. Sure, we could stay here another year, but that's pushing it before we have to get a bigger place.  My husband and I are currently sharing a bedroom with Seanie Mac, our daughter has her own room and then Mahlon and Peanut share the third bedroom. The bedrooms are ridiculously dinky here, so half of the boys' belongings are currently in storage until we move to a bigger house.  Seanie Mac is nearing his first birthday and really needs his own room as soon as possible. He doesn't sleep all that great yet, and he's already accumulating quite a bit of baby crap, which is mostly stored in our living room for now. My husband isn't a fan of his living room looking like a BabiesRUs showroom.

And might I just add in here that after living in such a small space, I really don't get why tiny houses are so popular?  I'd personally rather remain being married, but maybe that's just me. My sister in law and her husband are permanent RV'ers and my husband and I joke all the time that we'd probably kill each other after just one week of being stuck in a RV or tiny house together, especially with our children. Okay, so it's not really a joke, because he would straight up get a frying pan to the back of the head the first time he spent an hour and a half stinking up our one and only bathroom, or left 900,000 half empty cans of LaCroix scattered all over the only counter top in the entire house which happens to be the size of pizza box and also doubles as an ironing board, your office desk and kitchen table. No thank you!

We've pretty much come to the conclusion that it just makes sense to buy at this stage of our lives, especially because the tourist town we live in will always be a highly desirable place to live. We can always sell later, or rent out our house should we decide to move elsewhere. So wish us luck that we don't become those annoying ding dongs on HGTV's House Hunters who complain about silly little mundane things like interior paint colors, ugly light fixtures or my personal fave, "lack of entertaining space" because seriously, who the hell entertains anymore? Well, okay, probably lots of you do, but we have no friends so there's one thing we can cross off of our wish list.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I took my four kids to the museum alone and lived to tell about it

Monday was a school holiday (President's Day) and my kids were bugging me bright and early to "take them somewhere fun".  Of course they typically choose crazy stuff that's not really possible for me to do on my own with three kids and an infant, like some type of skating, the local water park (the younger kids don't swim that great yet and I'll be damned if I'm going to squeeze my glazed donut filled hiney into a swimsuit in February), glacier luging, etc, you get the idea. I'm not a big fan of venturing out with all four kids alone, so I don't do it very often. It's tiring, stressful, and anxiety provoking (just the mere thought of it makes me bust out in the flop sweats with puffy hives).

For Christmas this year my dad bought our family a year long membership to the High Desert Museum, at my request since the thought of more toys coming into this tiny, overcrowded, cluttered rental house briefly turned me into the robot that goes haywire on RoboCop. Unfortunately Bend doesn't have a children's museum, or OMSI like we had in Portland, but the HDM is still packed full of fun, and the perfect place to spend an afternoon.  Plus, I was feeling a little guilty that I had only used our family membership once since Christmas, since we've been buried under 10,000 feet of snow and haven't ventured out much these past couple of months. So I told the kids we were going to the museum, and that was final.

It took me about two hours to get all four kids ready to go. Not even joking. Two freaking hours. By the time I got everyone locked and loaded into the car, I was already completely wiped out and dying for a nap. I was spoiled with having older, independent children before Seanie Mac was born. I thought my infant/toddler days were long gone and all I really had to worry about before we left the house was that the kids had brushed their teeth, were all wearing pants, and went to the bathroom so we didn't have to pull over to pee a million times along the way.

Now that Seanie Mac is here we had to wait for his morning nap to end (because taking a cranky, non rested baby on an outing on purpose is like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, you know it isn't going to end well), feed him, clean him up, change his diaper, then change his diaper again because he took a dump as soon as I put a fresh diaper on him, etc. It seriously never ends with this kid. This is the same baby who almost always dumps the dog's water dish all over himself just seconds before we're ready to leave (or toilet water...he doesn't discriminate; he loves both).

I was really nervous that the kids were going to conspire against me and all hell was going to break loose and I'd have to use my one phone call from jail to call my husband at work to come bail me out, but to my surprise, the kids were all super duper well behaved, and no, I promise, I didn't drug them before we left.

We walked around the museum, checked out the exhibits (even though they really hadn't changed much since the last time we visited), the kids played in the kiddie area, and we even walked through the gift shop without anyone throwing a tantrum or breaking something, although my oldest started to get a little squirrely over an overpriced stuffed horse, but I held strong because if I bought her the horse, I'd have to say yes to the stuffed rodents that my boys were holding up and waving just inches from my face. Besides, I'm pretty sure we already have some rodents living behind our kitchen stove.

A shot of all four of them looking at the camera and I didn't even have to bribe them
Seanie was irritated that the stroller suddenly stopped moving 
A pathetic attempt at a selfie...we really could've used a selfie stick! 
Peanut loved this volunteer dude...he talked his ear off 
How I eat during PMS week
Seanie the rock climber. 
What do you mean your ten month old can't rock climb yet?
Kidding, he's still on the ground
I'm really happy I decided to take them out of the house and let them burn off some steam instead of yelling at them from the couch to be quiet while they ignore me and act like wild dingos at a rave.  Plus this gave me some confidence to know that not only could I do it, but that maybe I should be doing this kind of stuff more often. Of course you know what this means!! The next time I take them to the museum alone, I'll turn my back for one second and Peanut and Mahlon will end up falling into the snake pit. But at least I can always look back and say, "Remember that one time, when I took them to the museum and it was a total success?"  Yeah, I'll always have that.