Monday, December 31, 2012

Why vegan cheese is not for me

I know I haven't blogged in a while. I've been recovering from Christmas, being in a ham induced coma (I have NO self control when it comes to pork products), and dealing with unruly children who really need to go back to school before mommy flips her lid.

Anyways, I've had some health issues lately that i've been neglecting.  I'm allergic to gliadin (a protein found in gluten).  I'm not supposed to eat it, but i'm lazy and I love crappy food.  Carbs, sweets, and McDonald's make me happy.  I'm not going to lie.  But in giving into my cravings, i've also been making myself sick.  My kids have a lot of the same issues. My hubby really shouldn't be eating gluten or dairy either, but that's like trying to tell a gorilla he can't eat bananas anymore.

I've been researching my little heart out about what it takes to go on a gluten and dairy free diet and what i've found is depressing.  I can't really eat fast food anymore. BOO. I have had to completely substitute stuff in my homemade mochas and grabbing a mocha at my beloved Dutch Bros isn't really possible anymore. Double boo poo poo.

Last night my hubby wanted pizza.  The kids and I have been gluten free before but never gluten free and dairy free.  I went to Trader Joe's and Winco and managed not to flip anyone off so i'd say I handled myself pretty well. Perhaps this new diet is starting to change my moods for the better….errr or not.  I did mutter the B word under my breath to someone who nearly ran me over at the cross walk on the way into Winco.

So after nearly dropping $1,000 on gluten free and dairy free food (okay I didn't really spend that much but good gravy this stuff isn't cheap!), I finally made it home.  By this point I was starving as we were out of all the good gluten free snack food at home so I think all I had eaten so far was a handful of dry Chex mix.  I started to make my GFCF (gluten free casein free) pizza on Udi's crusts which are gluten & dairy free and outrageously expensive and kind of resemble cardboard.   I slathered my fresh mushroom marinara sauce on the crusts and then I opened the Trader Joe's Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds, which is supposed to be a non dairy substitute for cheese.  Oh the cheese.  Where do I start?  The smell of the "cheese" when I opened the bag nearly knocked me out.  My hubby said it smelled worse than a McDonald's Playland on a hot summer day.  Yes, the aroma of butt crack and feet.  Not a good combo.  I took a little bite and quickly washed it down with Diet Coke (yes, I realize Diet Coke isn't healthy but baby steps here people).  I was really hoping that it was miraculously somehow going to taste like real cheese and not rotten assholes after it melted.

Meanwhile my hubby headed out to Pizza Hut to buy himself and the older kids real pizza while I was left to cook the GFCF pizzas for myself and the younger kids.  When the timer beeped I anxiously pulled out my pizzas and gagged.  They smelled horrific.  And they looked even worse than they smelled.  I didn't get a picture because I was too busy vomiting (yes vomiting) in the kitchen sink.  I was literally gagging, choking and crying in the kitchen.  My expensive pizzas looked like a crime scene.  The cheese had morphed into this slimy, goopy, runny mess.  I know I could describe it better but my gag reflex is actually going off right now while i'm typing.  If you picked up a piece of pizza the cheese just dripped and oozed right off and not in a good way.  Like a freaky science experiment gone bad kind of way.  I took a tiny bite and immediately spit it out and I was back at the sink puking.

Then I got pissed!  My expensive dinner was a pile of diarrhea.  What was I going to feed the boys? I started to panic.  So I grabbed a giant pizza cutter and picked up the pizzas one by one and literally just scooped everything off the crusts.  The cheese just ran right off the pizza like water.  What was left on the tray will forever haunt my dreams and give me nightmares.  Seriously.  Luckily I had some pizza sauce left so I spread new sauce on the Udi's crusts and added real cheese (yes, i'm a bad girl but after what I went through I didn't care at this point).  I cooked the pizza and the boys loved it, however, I could still taste the "vegan cheese" remains that had oozed into the crust.  So I sat down on the couch with a slice of Pizza Hut pizza on my plate.  I gave my hubby the look and said, "Yes, I know i'm not supposed to eat this, but I really don't give a shit right now".  I was trembling and shaking.  He just shrugged and said, "Okay, whatever."  However, I wasn't okay. It was the straw that broke the emotionally unstable camel's back.  I started picturing that runny, disgusting cheese snot and I dropped my plate and ran into my bedroom and threw myself on my bed and sobbed like the world was over, like Diet Coke didn't exist anymore, like Dutch Bros was bankrupt, like donuts were suddenly prescription only and you had to meet a $1300 deductible before you could buy one.  Yeah, kinda like that.

My hubby ran into the bedroom to see what was wrong and just stood there kind of stunned.  He waited a minute and then was like, "Really babe? Over some cheese? I really hope you blog about this, because this is freaking hilarious.  You really need to get a grip."

After I stopped sobbing and doing the Nancy Kerrigan, "WHYEEEE me?" routine, I managed to eat my Pizza Hut pizza (yes, covered in gluten, dairy and pure deliciousness) and then I started to see a little bit of humor in the situation.  That said, Trader Joe's is still getting an earful from me.  Oh yes, they are!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The battle of the gingerbread houses

My hubby begged and pleaded (okay more like put his foot down and insisted) that I blog about the little fiasco he calls "the battle of the gingerbread houses".  Since I certainly do my fair share of making fun of him on my blog, I guess I do kind of owe him (another) one.

I'm not sure who's idea it was to make gingerbread houses.  I think it was actually mine, but i'm going to pretend that it wasn't because holy guacamole, it was anything but fun.

We decided to use graham crackers because I don't even know how you'd attempt to make gingerbread. Did I mention I don't even own a rolling pin?  So I headed out to Winco to buy all the crap (I mean supplies) for the houses.  I ended up buying Skittles, Twizzlers, and a bunch of candy in bulk like the assorted hard candies (that taste like ass), and spiced gum drops (also repulsively disgusting).  I swear you would think that since I purposely bought candy that I don't like, that I would refrain from eating, but nope, I probably guzzled half a pound of ass-tastic candy.  Damn Depo!

As i'm heading up to the counter with what surely was $100 worth of supplies, I see them.  A whole freaking display of already assembled gingerbread kits for $8 that came complete with everything you needed to make the perfect gingerbread house. You've got to be kidding me!  Why they put them in the checkout aisles and not in the oh I don't know….BAKING AISLE is beyond me, but this is Winco and you all know how I feel about that (if you haven't go back and read old Winco thread).  I had already wasted over an hour of my life at the store and I didn't want to have to go back and put all the gingerbread crap away so homemade gingerbread (graham cracker) houses it was!  By the time I got home the kids were foaming at the mouth to get started.

This is how excited my kids get when they are sitting next to a plate full of candy...
I mixed up the frosting (yes, I actually used a homemade frosting recipe recommended for gingerbread houses) and we eagerly got started.  My hubby started helping Peanut, while I helped our 5 y/o son.  I had no idea what we were in for, but OH MY WORD this was not going as planned.  My house can best be described as a mushy pile of broken down shit.  My hubby who is one of those annoying people that is good at every freaking thing he touches was kicking my butt.  And it made me mad.  No, it's not a competition but dammit! Why do I suck at all things domestic, or artistic?

This is my house after an hour of attempting to slap that bitch together….
This is my hubby's….
and a frontal view
So, needless to say he ended up building all 3 gingerbread (graham) cracker houses while I silently cursed under my breath.  We left them overnight to dry and tonight I was in charge of helping the kids decorate them while the hubby left to run some last minute errands.  Holy hell, what a mess!  I seriously think I need my head examined for coming up with this idea.  Seriously, punch me square in the face if you hear me mention the words "gingerbread (graham cracker) houses" next year.

The houses are done, my dining room table is destroyed and my kids are running around like test tube gerbils on crack because they are all hopped up on sugar.  But it was worth it. Yes, definitely worth it. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Guest Post for Aunt Bessie's

*This is a sponsored post for Aunt Bessie's not written by myself.  I hope you will check out the funny video link.  It made me giggle. 

Master Chef or Master Of Time?

Between The Great British Bake Off, Saturday Morning Kitchen and the abundance of new cooking programmes that air ever week, there’s no disputing the fact that cooking is the new ‘cool’ activity.

It seems that today everyone understands their gratins and their granitas and can spot the different between a coulis and a jus. But while we all love the tension and the tantrums of TV cooking, few of us have the time for such gourmet creations ourselves.

After a long day in the office or hours of running around after the kids, for most of us the act of boiling the kettle can feel like a challenge, never mind reaching for the spaghetti.

The good news is that quick food doesn’t need to mean flavourless creations or pot noodle fare – and here’s how:

The Cheat’s roast

We all know the tastiest Sunday roasts come with attention and detail. One of the best ways to create a sumptuous roast dinner without the added effort is by cutting corners when creating your sides.

But cutting corners on time doesn’t need to mean cutting corners on taste. When creating sides like roast potatoes or the classic Yorkshire pudding, Aunt Bessie’s hassle-free Yorkshire puddings always come out gloriously big, fluffy and delicious, while her crispy roast potatoes are fluffy on the inside and perfectly crunchy on the outside.

You need only watch the brands latest advertisement to see the impact these convenient dinner table ingredients can have. The latest adventures of nosy neighbours Margaret and Mable see them accept a dinner invite which they expect to under-deliver on quality. Yet, instead of a rushed mid-week meal from a busy working family, they are treated to a full roast which took less than one hour to prepare!

The great thing about this advert is that it proves that it’s possible to create a nutritious meal quickly and easily during the week, but also, doing so could allow you to finally put judgemental food critics firmly in their place!


Monday, December 17, 2012

How do you blog with a broken heart?

Thursday night I was sitting at a painfully, horrendous choir concert for my 13 year old daughter, gigging to my hubby about the interesting musical selections, and the not so flattering, humpty dumpty style dresses the choir director picked out for the girls. I was making lots of "Oh, i'm SO blogging about this tomorrow" comments. I had the blog post all written out in my head. It was going to be witty and hilarious and I couldn't wait to post it.

Instead I woke up Friday morning to one of the most horrific and disturbing acts of violence this country has ever seen. Beautiful, precious, innocent lives were taken in a cruel and inhumane way.  And my heart broke into a billion little pieces. And it's still broken and I don't know how to fix it.  I truly have no words to adequately express how completely devastated I am for the family and friends of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  I would also like to add the two victims of the Clackamas Town Center shooting that happened right here in Portland, just a few days prior. My heart just hurts, my eyes burn from the tears, and I haven't been sleeping well.  These past few days have been a blur. I feel myself going through the motions of the day, but I couldn't really tell you what I did at the end of the day, if that makes any sense.  I'm sure there are lots of things I probably should say, but I just don't have the words, so this will have to do.

Life On Peanut Layne will be observing the Blogging Day of Silence on Tuesday to show my love, respect and support for the victims lost.   I promise I will be back with my usual humor and ridiculousness soon, but I still need some time.  Some time to just be.

Here is a beautiful song that I love and wanted to share: 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Microwave Meltdown

This is a short and sweet (and completely ridiculous) post about my life.   I'm going to address it to Peanut since I want to drop kick him in the buttcrack right now.

Dearest Peanut,

I realize you are not quite three yet, but mommy has had enough of your daily microwave meltdowns.  Why oh why do you insist on pushing the button to open the microwave door and then you must be the one to close it.  And let's not forget that you have to be the one to press the start button.  If anyone else does this, you go ape shit crazy.  If you even hear someone opening the microwave door, you come tearing down the hallway, screaming like one of those annoying ass, famous (worthless) housewives on TV who just discovered they're out of Botox.  Why oh why when the microwave beeps do I then have to pick you back up (all 30 lbs of you) so that you can open the microwave and close it again?  Mommy's starting to look like a female bodybuilder with the ginormous biceps i've added from all the lifting.  Did I mention i'm not ready to go all the way with this, because I would not look good with a beard or a spray tan?  So please just stop it already!!!!

And by the way, is the microwave really that exciting?  Does it just add that certain special sparkle to your day?  Is there a reason your day is completely and utterly shattered if any of these steps are omitted?  I really don't get it, and believe me, I tried hard to put myself in your shoes. I mean I love the microwave just as much as you do. In fact I actually prefer it over certain members of my mother's side of the family to be perfectly honest. I rely on that microwave.  We've developed a very special relationship that microwave and I. And listen….I know your days are super stressful with all the endless hours of watching the Fresh Beat Band, playing with Playmobil on the floor, being waited on hand and foot by some taller, ugly looking woman who wears hideously beastly clothes and yells a lot.   I get it. Your life is rough.  But seriously, if you don't stop this behavior, I may just have to break the microwave, or learn to cook something that doesn't actually require a microwave, and that would really suck.

Your overworked, stressed out, Depo-induced, crazy biotch of a mother.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy do it yourself mochas using the microwave

I have a confession.  I'm totally, completely, 100%, addicted to mochas.  It's true.  

Forget the diamonds. This is all it takes to make me a very happy woman: 
Being a stay at home mom of five, crazy kids can be rough.  This is how I look and feel most days: 
By the end of the day I look forward to my mocha.  No, scratch that. I NEED my mocha. I have gotten into this habit of running to get a white chocolate caramel mocha every single day, after I pick up the kids from school.  It makes me feel instantly more relaxed and just….human!  However, it hasn't been kind to my bank account.  Those little suckers add up quick! Think about it….one small mocha is approx. $3.35 (i'm using an average price between my 3 favorite coffee places).  That's $100 a month! GASP! $100 a month just on mochas!  Crazy!!!!  

So, I made a vow that I would stop buying mochas and just make coffee at home.  But after drinking mochas, making coffee at home just doesn't work for me.  So, I decided to experiment at home and make my own mocha. The problem is I suck at all things cooking.  Most of the tutorials I found online required an espresso machine, or other expensive, complicated ingredients or instructions that I didn't understand.  Too fancy and expensive for my blood.  I should mention that we have a $20 coffee maker from Walmart.  After reading several tutorials, I decided to try my own and it worked.  Does it taste like Starbucks or Dutch Bros?  No.  It doesn't.  I'm sorry to burst your bubble.  However, it was still rich and delicious and completely satisfied my mocha craving so still a huge success and it cost a fraction of what just one small mocha would cost from a local coffee stand.  

Here's what you'll need: 
1/3 cup milk
1 packet of hot chocolate 
1 to 1 1/2 cups of brewed coffee 
Torani flavored syrup (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)

I first started brewing the coffee in my coffee maker.  You don't need much. I made a little over a cup of coffee.   While I was waiting for the coffee, I dumped one packet of hot chocolate mix into the bottom of a large mug.  Then I heated up 1/3 cup of milk in the microwave for approx 30 seconds.  Add the heated milk and brewed coffee into your mug with the hot chocolate powder.  Stir really well.  Add a little bit of flavored syrup.  I LOVE caramel so I added two small spoonfuls of caramel syrup into my mocha.   You can also add some whipped cream on top.  I always get whipped cream on my mochas, but I didn't have any at home today, so I skipped this part, but I WILL be buying some whipped cream at the grocery store tonight for my next mocha. 

My mocha came out smooth, rich, chocolately, and delicious.  And now I don't feel the need to drive to my local coffee stand to buy a mocha.  I'm sure i'll be missed by my baristas and my punch cards will remain unpunched in my wallet, but my bank account is doing cartwheels right now, as is my hubby who has started to notice his wife's daily mocha habit (I think the pile of empty coffee cups in the recycling bin tipped him off).  

So hurry up and go make yourself a mocha! You deserve it :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

O Christmas Tree

After two days of what can only be explained as pure holiday family hell, we finally got our Christmas tree up.

Isn't it glorious?  
You might be wondering why it's not decorated.  Well sit back and let me tell you.  Because it wouldn't be Christmas in the Peanut household without a little blood, sweat, and tears (and cussing).  

We were supposed to get our Christmas tree on Tuesday.  However, my husband came home from work acting more like Bill Murray from Scrooged, rather than his usual bubbly, sunshiney self (insert sarcasm here if you must).  My 13 year old daughter suddenly decided to act like Satan, and it was just one of those really crappified days where nothing goes as planned. The hubby ended up resigning himself to the bedroom, the kids went to bed, and I raided the pantry (damn Depo shot that makes me stuff my face like the little piggy that could). 

So yesterday was a new day and we were hell bent on getting that stupid tree.  The hubby and I left the house after dinner and headed a few miles down the road towards the store.  We buy a real tree, but we aren't hardcore or anything and don't go trekking out into the woods to find our tree like the Griswold's.  Our family out in the wilderness equals a very BAD idea.  We'd be that family that got lost and ended up trapped in our minivan for 7 days surviving on leftover french fries under the seat.  See there is a benefit to never cleaning out your car! 

Anyways, we arrived at Fred Meyer. You Pacific North-Westerner's know what I'm talking about. As for the rest of you? You don't have a Freddy's so does it really matter?  Anyways, we walked up and down aisles and aisles of trees.  There was a gigantic looking spider hanging from a web that almost made my hubby cancel the whole damn thing, but luckily after some deep cleansing breaths, he survived.  I've mentioned before that my hubby is picky. PICKY! So he made me hold up every flipping tree up as he examined it from all angles.  When we finally found the tree he asked me to hold it while he ran inside to pay for it.   So i'm standing there holding up this sappy tree, when a few men came up to me and were asking me questions in a heavy accent that I didn't understand at all.  I felt like a horrible bitch but I kept saying, "What? I'm sorry I don't understand."  One man had out his camera and I swear he was saying something about taking my picture. I'm not sure if it was me or the tree he wanted.  Maybe some men are heavily into tree porn?  At any rate I shook my head no and eventually they left.   

We managed to get the tree home without any problems.  We naively thought that everything was finally slipping into place.  That is until we tried to put the tree into the tree stand.   The tree stand was plastic (and a giant piece of shit) and apparently the bolts had stripped away which really pissed off the hubby considering we had just bought it last year so it was literally used once.   I held that damn tree up for over an hour while the hubby was underneath the tree, cussing and bitching.  Let me tell you holding up a tree isn't fun.  I had sap in my eye and I'm pretty sure that a baby spider made a nest on top of my head.   After 90+ minutes of fun, our tree looked more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  I made the fatal error of saying, "Look babe.  This tree stand calls itself the two minute tree stand". Which in my defense it really did.  On the sticker label it read, "The two minute Christmas tree stand."  Shortly after my comment, the hubby made some kind of animalistic, primal scream and I knew he had reached his breaking point.  The tree had won, and by this point it was almost 10 pm so the kids had all passed out on the couch.  

He grabbed the tree stand and his coat and without a word he headed out the door.  He was gone for almost an hour.  I knew he was taking that tree stand back to Fred Meyer as that's where we bought it last year.   I watched the clock and crossed my fingers that he didn't get arrested at Freddy's for having a post tree-standing mental breakdown at the customer service desk, but lo and behold he returned with a new tree stand in his arms.  The same brand of tree stand, but never the less a new tree stand.   So, we went through the whole process again and stood the tree up.  It actually looked straight for once and we both got a little excited.  The hubby's whole demeanor started to change and I could feel the old hubby coming back to me.  All of a sudden there was a loud POP!  I heard the hubby scream, "NOOOOOOO".  The damn thing had stripped again!  My immediate thought was, "Mother of GOD we are just not going to have a tree this year and I'm going to have to draw one on the walls."   Luckily, even with a stripped nail, the tree is still standing and despite it being a tad crooked, it's going to have to work.   Tonight we are going to attempt to decorate the tree.  I'm holding my breath and anticipating some type of tragic hook accident with blood spurting out of one of the children's noses, and a $250 co-pay to the ER. 

Important Guest Post by Heather Von St. James

I was approached by Heather herself, asking if I would help spread mesothelioma awareness by sharing her written story. Heather is a mom like me (you can see her beautiful daughter pictured below) so her story really touched me.  As i've shared before, I lost my own mom to Non Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was only 18 (she was diagnosed when I was 11).  I hope that you will read her story and help spread the word. This could happen to any of us.  You can read more about Heather here:  Thank you :)
“You have cancer.” Let me tell you from experience that these are three words that strike fear into your very core. When I heard these words, my baby had just been born three and one-half months prior to my pleural mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. The first thing I am most often asked when people find out I had mesothelioma is, “Asbestos? Are you sure? Isn’t that banned?” The second question I am most often asked is, “Where were you exposed?”

Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is not banned. I was exposed through my father’s work clothes. He worked in construction, and he would come home covered in white dust or microscopic asbestos fibers. The dust was often found in his car, on his clothes and on his jacket after he finished a full day’s work of mudding, sanding and drywall taping.

Having mesothelioma at the age of 36 was not typical. A typical mesothelioma patient is usually an older male who works in trades. Common trades with asbestos exposure include heating, plumbing, car repair, military and electrical technician. When the wives began to get sick, experts knew it was possible to be exposed from washing clothes. Most women would shake out the dust from the dirty clothes. The asbestos went airborne and was inhaled from the simple act of putting the asbestos-laden clothes in the washer.

I was one of the first of the new generation of mesothelioma victims. There were numerous younger people being diagnosed with mesothelioma after I was diagnosed. These men and women are now in their twenties and early thirties, but they were exposed when they were kids. They were exposed when they jumped into their dad’s arms after a long day’s work. Doing something as simple as wearing their father’s jackets when feeding the rabbits outside also exposed children. Like me, many made this practice a habit to keep their jackets from being dirty.

The young men and women who were exposed when they were kids should be having babies, getting married and celebrating new jobs, instead they are focused on alleviating the symptoms of mesothelioma. Luckily, there are more advancements being made in mesothelioma treatment, and now, more people are surviving.

A mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating. You cannot imagine until you experience it, but you have to hold out hope for better treatment. In the meantime, we have support groups to come together and support each other through tears and excitement.

So, why do I continue to do what I do? I do it because there needs to be more awareness. Without awareness, nothing changes.  If my story can help to change someone’s life, then I have done what is right.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why Depends should just sponsor my blog already

It was just another fun filled weekend at home with five wacky kids, one crabby husband, and a partridge in a pear tree.  The hubby and I were chatting in the bathroom again, because it really is the only time we get alone.  I sat down on the toilet to pee (i'm sure there's a more eloquent way to write this but it's Monday and I haven't had any coffee yet so take it or leave it).

All of a sudden I heard my hubby scream like a giant alien was coming out of the ceiling and was going to swallow me whole and take me back to the mothership.  Seriously, the look of pure terror on his face told me that my life was in danger and we were under attack.  He started screaming, "DON'T MOVE" at the top of his lungs.  I don't know about you but when someone yells that at me, the first thing I do is move. It's a natural instinct, at least if you're dysfunctional like me and can't follow simple directions.

I heard the words, "It's coming for you! Hold still" coming from my husband.  Right away my mind shifted to a couple of months ago when we seriously were under attacked by the biggest freaking spider I had ever seen in my entire life other than on the cover of National Geographic, or the Arachnophobia movie.  I will spare you the pictures this time since they seemed to upset some of my readers, but go read my Arachnophobes Look Away post from October if you're curious.

Not wanting to get eaten alive while half naked on the toilet I jumped off and ran screaming out of the bathroom.  My hubby had me so completely terrified that I totally failed to notice that I was still midstream and continued to urinate all over myself and the floor.  To make matters worse I tripped while I was running for dear life so i'm lying face down in the hallway with my pants down around my ankles, in a puddle of my own urine.  My hubby was jumping around the bathroom screaming over the vicious spider (who by this point had jumped down from his web and was crawling around on the floor) and the little kids were poking their heads around the corner trying to see what the commotion was all about.   When I finally saw the spider I became really upset.  This was not a Tegenaria Gigantea like before.  OH NO! This was just your typical run of the mill spider.  And he was little.  And not hairy or beastly at all.

He looked a little like this
I began to yell at my ridiculously arachnophobic husband as I unsuccessfully tried to untangle my pant legs and pick myself up off of the floor and then my husband got upset at me for being upset with him. He tried to say he saved my life and that I should be grateful, but it was very little consolation considering I was now covered in my own urine, my favorite pants were soaked, I had to take a bath in the middle of the afternoon and clean my bathroom floor which typically only gets mopped when company comes once a year (kidding…sort of).  The next time I hear the man screaming bloody murder and i'm on the toilet, i'm staying on the toilet, despite his desperate pleas for me to run to safety.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Guest Post: Options for independent later living

Options for independent later living

Whether it is yourself or your parents you are thinking of, there will come a time when you want to find a home that is nice to settle down in so no one has to worry about moving house again. It may be a time for the person or people in question to downsize to minimise the amount of upkeep that needs to be done or it may simply be personal preference that drives you to change the place you call home.

The location is also important; needing to be somewhere that is within a short distance of amenities and that is well served by transport services so everyone's independence can be retained. You may also be thinking of finding somewhere in which help and support is readily available should it be needed at any time.

There are plenty of options available to enhance and make one's later years easier with different facilities and levels of assistance to suit all needs and requirements.

Home upkeep

To start with, one reason you may be thinking about moving is if you have had enough of house maintenance and general home upkeep. What may have been a perfect family home for most of your lifetime (when you had children, dogs and families visiting) may be more hassle than it is worth to look after now. It may be an ideal time to find a smaller property to live in where some help around the home is available should you need it.


There may come a time when you want to give up driving. You might decide to find somewhere to live that is close to everything you need and that it is time to relax and get your family to come to you. The great thing about finding a retirement property in a community such as the ones under discussion is that not only do they often have a plethora of onsite activities available; there are often arrangements that can be made easily should you want to visit anywhere else. This means you no longer have to worry about getting yourself around or relying on others to help you.

Social life

If you are beginning to lose the enthusiasm for driving and are inclined to leave the house less, socialising becomes a little bit more difficult. These independent living developments have a really close sense of community and offer many chances to get to know those that live near you and share activities with.

*This was a sponsored post not written by me.  I think i'll forward a copy of it to my own children as i'm a bit worried as to where they are going to place me someday! Hint, hint kids….You either find me a nice retirement home or momma's coming to live with you :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What a date night looks like when you have five kids

My hubby and I get out about as often as a hoarder cleans their house.  For many years going out together just wasn't possible at all.  When you have multiple children, your family and friends will suddenly disappear. They will get sick…a lot!  As in bubonic plague sick.  They will suddenly be busy washing their dog, or away to some foreign place that you've never heard of, until eventually they just stop answering your desperate cries for help (I mean phone calls) at all.  Now that we have teenagers, we occasionally get the pleasure of leaving them in charge and escaping from the house of horrors for a couple of hours.

Yesterday I was having one of those days where I felt like my uterus betrayed me because it seemed to have popped out multiple replicas of Rosemary's babies so I sent a desperate text to my hubby.  Something to the effect of "Help me" but it probably came out as, "Your children are horrible." I don't even remember what I texted him, as it's all a big blur of crap and despair.  The hubby knew that my text was really an SOS code so he texted back, "I promise I will get you out of the house tonight".  So I did what any really good mother would do. I lovingly prepared Kraft Mac N Cheese for the kids while they continued to whine, fight, and tear up my house.

The hubby got home and immediately sat on the couch.  I realize the man is probably very tired after working hard all day, but if you're going to send a text to your wife promising to take her out of the nuthouse, then damn it, take her out!  Anyways, after dropping lots of hints like, "I already fed the kids dinner" he said, "Okay" and continued to watch TV.   It wasn't until our darling little children starting getting on my hubby's nerves did he finally say, "Go get dressed so we can go".  Oh yeah, I failed to mention that I was still wearing my mom uniform which consisted of sweat pants, no bra and a baggy t-shirt.  I'm so used to wearing it, that I forget that I look like the grim reaper most of the time.

So, I got ready to go with my two year old clinging to my leg and screaming and holding his little velcro shoes in his arms saying,  "I go bye bye."  He knows when mom takes off the sweatpants, she means business and is planning an escape, so he does what any two year old does and gives mom the guilt trip from hell.  It sometimes works, but not this time.  It had been far too long since I had left this house alone.

We said goodbye to the kids and headed out the door.  It was so freaking cold that I couldn't even breathe.  Date night was starting out great.  I love being a human popsicle. Then my hubby started asking me the really tough loaded questions like, "Where do you want to eat?"  Since i'm the one who pays our bills and I know money is tight during the holidays I feel totally torn.  I don't know whether to be a cheap date and say "Taco Bell" or name an actual restaurant.  Being a stay at home mom all of these years has left me totally incapable of making a decision.  Seriously.  Don't ask me questions.  It pisses me off.  So I put out the feelers by saying, "What do you feel like?"  This is really me fishing for  "Are we talking $2 tacos here or an actual meal that doesn't come in a paper bag?"  The hubby responded with "Let's just go to Applebees".  Okay so now I know since he's springing for the big meal this probably means he's going to want sex later, but I wasn't going to worry about that at this point.

We sat down at a table, I looked at the family sitting next to us with kids and gave them the "Haha suckers, I don't have my kids" smirk, and we ordered our food.  I ordered a salad as i'm a little paranoid about blowing up like a balloon since I just got a Depo shot last week.  Never mind the fact that we had already ordered boneless buffalo wings just a few minutes prior and I had stuffed my face with about 6 or 7 of those suckers, completely coated on all sides of the chicken in ranch and blue cheese dressing, but at least by ordering a salad I felt a little less guilty.   The hubby ordered his food and all is good as we eat and I talk my husband's ear off since I don't get adult human interaction during the day, and my usual conversation throughout the day consists of, "Why in the hell would you try to stuff a miniature Christmas ornament in your ear?" or "Peanut, where are your pants?"  I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.   Then my hubby started complaining about stomach pain.  We think he has Crohn's (or at least his previous surgeon strongly believes he does) but the stubborn arse won't go in for a colonoscopy for a final diagnosis.  No matter where we go, I spend a good majority of it waiting outside of the men's bathroom for him, awkwardly fiddling on my iphone, pretending like i'm busy and actually have a life (and friends) while silently praying for him to just drop his load already so we can go.  He could've ordered a sensible meal but no he just had to spring for the beer battered fish and chips!

After dinner (and the hubby's marathon bathroom trip), we weren't ready to go home just yet so we headed across the street to Kohl's.  Going clothing shopping with my husband is incredibly frustrating.  He looks sexy and amazing in everything while I get asked, "How far along are you?" when i'm not even freaking pregnant.   My hubby is worse than any female.  It's a running joke that no matter what he buys, it will be returned shortly.  He is picky….PICKY!!!!!   He insisted that I come into the dressing room with him.  I'm shy and one of those wussy people afraid to break the rules (unless it's cussing because i'm really good at that), so I snuck in like a teenager who is creeping out the front door to meet her boyfriend.  I sat on the bench inside the men's dressing room stall and picked up my feet so no one could see them.  The hubby was like, "Babe, what are you doing?"  My response was a panic stricken, "Shhhhhh, they'll hear us, or think we're having sex in here".   My hubby rolled his eyes and said something smart ass like, "Yeah, that would suck."  So, he tried on his two sweaters that would've taken me 5 minutes, but it took him about 20.  He turned around about a million times, looking at himself at all angles.  He fidgeted with the zipper and pockets.  He asked me about a hundred times if it looked good on him.  By this point i'm getting annoyed and bored and so ready to go home and face my Rosemary's babies.  We finally get out of the dressing room (I ran out like my butt was on fire because i'm lame and a chicken), thinking we would be going home but NO, the hubby has to walk around some more.

We make it out of the store and he says "Do we have to go anywhere else?"  My mind quickly goes to the grocery store as I know that all we're left with at home are things like a half empty box of saltines, some healthy cereal (that I know the kids wont touch and neither will I but it was bought during my diet that lasted a whole 2 hours), and whatever else has been shoved to the back of the fridge or the pantry that hasn't been touched in days. Basically all the reject food.  I muttered the words "Grocery store" and my hubby's face immediately tensed.  "What do we NEED from there?" he asked.  I wanted to say, "Everything" but I hate, hate, hate, grocery shopping with him so I said, "Just a few things".   We pulled up to the store while he weaved in and out of the parking spaces while I held onto the door handle for dear life. As we were walking in he says, "Let's just hurry up and grab what we need and get out of here".  Okay, so he can spend 25 minutes trying on one sweater and I have to grab food and run?  Sounds fair, right?  We're inside the store and i'm confused as hell as to where things are as this is not my usual store and i'm flustered. I'm really wanting to buy brownies and potato chips to get me through the following day with the kids, but I hate buying that stuff when i'm with the hubby.  So I grabbed some bread, peanut butter, etc., basically boring stuff that the kids like, but I didn't know what to get for me.  I typically allow myself at least an hour to grocery shop so I can wander up and down the aisles until i've figured out the perfect combination of appropriate meal/junk food.

We got through the checkout, walked outside in the mind bending cold and headed home.  I pouted over not getting my greasy potato chips and brownies, soon my hubby would be pouting over not getting any sex.  We walked through the front door and I immediately see a homemade fort in the living room.  Fabulous.  The kids immediately started jumping around my feet, my one and only pair of good pants now have peanut butter hand prints on them, and the kids are all shouting, "What did you get us?" over and over and then screaming and throwing tantrums when they realize that we came home with boring stuff like peanut butter and bread.  That my friends is date night when you have five kids.  Sad, pathetic and totally 100% true. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When blogging becomes more than blogging

I've had a lot of really personal, depressing stuff going on lately (no, sorry i'm not gonna tell you), so when one of my fellow blogger friends who has an amazing blog called Antiquity Travelers sent me a package last week, it made me cry like a blubbering baby.  If you haven't visited her blog, please go there now and subscribe.  She's incredibly talented and sweet and you will love her blog. Oh and she has an Etsy shop that you can check out here.

She sent me these beautiful handmade bracelets for my daughters.  I'm saving them for Christmas as money is tight this year (and buying gifts for five kids is kind of obscene really).  My daughters love jewelry (their future husbands are in big, big trouble), so they are going to absolutely freak out when they see these.  

How gorgeous are these? 
Not only did she send me these lovely bracelets but she included a hand written card (which is a lost art these days thanks to the internet) and there was a note written by her own daughter saying the green bead was her favorite and she hoped that my daughters would like it.  Okay now i'm crying again.  

So, I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart and I will update with a pic of my girls wearing their bracelets after they open them on Christmas morning.   I never expected that I would meet such awesome new friends when I first started my blog, but I did and i'm so grateful for them.  Now hurry up and go visit her blog and show her some love because she's seriously awesome!  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cyber Monday

*This post was meant for yesterday but since my dear five year old son hogged the computer playing Mario games, I didn't get a chance to post it. Plus I needed to dust the cobwebs off my blog first. 

Today was the first day back at school since before the Thanksgiving break and we were late.  And I desperately needed gas so I drove to school with my gas light beeping at me and praying that I would make it to the school without running out of gas (especially since I was wearing pajamas and had no bra on).  I managed to make it to the gas station but had to take the long way home because I was too chicken to make a daring left hand turn onto a major road.   I got stuck behind a school bus that had to stop every 10 feet. Okay it was more than 10 feet but it still was enough to raise my blood pressure. 

I got home from hell (I mean the school drop off routine) and fed the boys Totino's Pizza Rolls and hot chocolate for breakfast.  Why you  might be asking?  Because that's secretly what I wanted for breakfast.   Stop judging me.  Pizza rolls are delicious when dipped in ranch dressing.  I almost had to perform the heimlich on myself while eating my delicious pizza rolls because I made the fatal error of opening up some medical bills.  Do not open medical bills while eating.  It's dangerous! 

So after feeding my boys a breakfast fit for champions, the pressure was on to step it up a notch for dinner.  This meant my typical dinner of spicy sausage dogs and tater tots wasn't going to fly so i'd have to cook real people food.  Don't worry about my boys. Within minutes of eating their breakfast they bundled up and were running around the backyard, screaming like wild maniacs who were just released from the asylum.  I'm sure my neighbors were thrilled, but at least they got their exercise, unlike myself who simply added another layer of blubber onto my midsection.  I like to think of it as adding an extra layer of winter insulation.  Yeah, let's just go with that! 

In other important news I got a Depo Provera shot last week so now I have a valid excuse for being a crazy bitch.   "It's not my fault, it's the Depo" is my new motto.   Oh and I temporarily lost my mind and ordered Peanut a real drum set for his upcoming 3rd birthday.  

This is the box it came in.  
My husband's response was, "Jesus, what in the hell were you thinking, babe?"  What can I say. The Depo made me do it :) 

By mid afternoon my eyelids were drooping so badly that I needed toothpicks to hold them up.  I decided to go make myself some coffee in hopes that it would wake me up a little.  I made the coffee, poured in my favorite creamer, added some caramel syrup (the expensive kind I might add) and took a big drink and immediately spit it right back out.  My older son had washed my coffee mug in the dishwasher and all I could taste was Dawn liquid soap. Gross.  I've been trying desperately to stop buying expensive mochas but at this point i'm buying a freaking mocha when I go pick up the kids.   We watched Home Alone twice, the Grinch, and Jingle All the Way.  I just purchased Home Alone 2 on Amazon today for $4.99 because I cannot take watching the first Home Alone one more time without hurting someone.   Peanut threw his brother's action figures in the toilet because he was being chased. I had to break out the salad tongs to get them out as the children's toilet makes me barf.  Shortly after I discovered that the boys had a brilliant idea to fill up a bunch of their Mega Bloks in their room with water.  I had just finished cleaning up the colossal mess when Peanut passed out on the couch just minutes before it was time to leave the house to go pick up the kids.  Story of my life.  

I need a drink.  And a bean burrito.  I wonder if there are any Cyber Monday deals on booze? 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yes, Santa, i've been bad…again.

As if telling my older kids that Santa isn't bringing them squat poop this year because of their non stop fighting and crappy attitudes doesn't already make me a bad enough person, here's another reason to pencil me down on the naughty list….okay screw it! You might as well use a Sharpie.

Today is one of those yucky Oregon days where it's pouring down rain.  Our streets are old, uneven, crappy and pretty much always partially flooded.  I'm really not sure where our tax dollars are going, but they definitely aren't going to fix the roads near our house because they suck.  Anyways, it's the kind of day where your pants have permanent wet rings around the bottoms, and no matter how waterproof your shoes claim to be, your socks always end up wet.  Hate that!

So, i'm driving the girls home from school, listening to the radio and blissfully unaware of the pedestrian walking on the sidewalk (no people, I didn't hit her…geez).   I'm driving down the street almost to my turn off when my tires got a little too close to the giant puddle and the water pretty much hydroplaned out like a blanket of water.  I remember silently thinking, "Holy crap that's a lot of water".

It looked a little bit like this, only worse (pic found on Flickr): 
I got a little further down the street when I noticed my thirteen year old daughter had this stunned, shocked look on her face. "MOM, you just totally hosed that lady down".  I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about until I look in my rear view mirror and see a sopping wet woman, clutching an umbrella in one hand, and flipping me the bird with the other.

Yes, my friends, I hosed her good.  And I totally didn't mean too and I would've stopped to see if I could help, but quite honestly I was afraid I was going to end up with an umbrella shoved up my butt and we haven't met our deductible yet so surgery is out of the question.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bipolar Christmas

I don't know what's wrong with me (okay aside from the obvious fact that i'm a bit crazy), but every other year I find myself completely, one hundred percent, uninterested in the holidays.  When I say holidays, I'm speaking mostly of Christmas since Thanksgiving to me is nothing more than an excuse for people to get together and stuff their faces with barfy turkey (can you tell I'm not a fan?)  Our Thanksgiving dinner typically consists of Chinese take out, so there are no expensive, fancy outfits to buy, no drinking that needs to be done in preparation to dealing with obnoxious relatives, and no barfy turkey to prepare, so it's basically just another day for our family.

So, yeah, as I said, I have this recurring problem where one year I'm the holiday cheermeister who's eagerly hunting for the perfect Christmas gifts as early as August, and practically foaming at the mouth with excitement to rip down the Halloween decorations the second the kids return from Trick or Treating and transform our home into a Christmas wonderland.  Last year was one of these years.  I annoyed my hubby and children to the brink of insanity by playing non stop Christmas music. Honestly I really just wanted to annoy them in whatever way I could, but seriously, who doesn't like Christmas music? It's the shitnizzle! I harassed my hubby to death about when we were going to put up the tree (we buy real trees in case you're wondering. The only artificial things in this house are my breasts. Kidding! Mine are real and sagging to my knees). Okay, moving on. Perhaps I should change the name of this post to "Bipolar Peanutlayne."  So yeah, last year I baked an endless amount of holiday treats, causing us to each gain ten pounds and need to buy new pants, I blasted Christmas music until my dear hubby became slightly homicidal, I shopped my little heart out on Amazon, and I watched Jingle All the Way so many times that I started talking like Arnold Schwarzenagger in my sleep…"The Turbo Man dolls! They're all gone!"

This year I still have the children's homemade spiders hanging from my chandelier. I have Halloween themed hand towels hanging in my kitchen.  I have no presents purchased. I haven't listened to a single Christmas song yet.  I have no desire to shop, bake, decorate, etc.  I've attempted to watch a couple of my favorite holiday movies, but I just couldn't get into them.  I find myself rolling my eyes during the holiday commercials and I have this really strong urge to flip Santa the bird.

Please someone knock some holiday cheer into me before I turn into this: 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'm back and here to discuss super important stuff like botox, big bird, and bathroom stalls without doors.

Okay, so I know i've been MIA lately.  And no it's not because i've been hiding out from the whole politics/election thing.  The only politics I will ever discuss on this blog is the difference between Starbucks and Dutch Bros Coffee (and i'm on team Dutch Bros in case you're wondering).

Shockingly enough there actually are more important topics than politics. For example right this very second, there is somebody out there who is running to the toilet with explosive diarrhea or hunched over the bowl vomiting their guts out and praying for sudden death.  It's true.  While most people were bickering on Facebook over which political candidate they thought was going to rule or ruin our country, I was curled up on the bathroom rug (and you all know how gross those things are) and wishing I could Freaky Friday my life with Kim Kardashian.  She can puke her guts out, and i'll happily spend money I didn't earn, while figuring out how to eat my $50 salad after getting my fish lips botoxed for the 900th time.   

But let me back up a little.  It all started on Saturday.  Early morning soccer game to be exact. Yuck.  I woke up with severe constipation.  It's a problem i've always had, since I was little. It's not uncommon for me to go two weeks or more.  I know you're probably reading this and thinking, "Is this chick serious? She thinks it's appropriate to discuss bowel movements on a blog?" Considering the most common Google search phrases to direct people to my blog are, "Pooping your pants" and "Peeing your pants while driving" I would say this post fits right in.  Even though I felt like I had a small child dancing on my colon, I got the privilege of driving my older daughter to her game out of town. Lucky, lucky me.  By the time I got to the game, I was in such bad shape that I didn't even get out of the van.  I was one of those horrible mothers who watched the game (okay more like text messaged friends) from inside the driver's seat of my minivan.  In my defense you could actually pull right up to the field so I had just as good of a view as I would've sitting next to all the douchenozzles (er, I mean fellow soccer parents) on the field. 

I made the fatal error of pounding a medium white chocolate caramel mocha while I watched the game. By the time half time rolled around, I was in agony.  And no people, i'm not talking about poop here, I was literally trying not to pee my pants.  There was a grocery store down the street but I had to go so urgently (remember I have a little disease called IC) that there was no way in hell I was going to make it.  So, I looked to my left and there was a playground with a concrete building that looked like it had a bathroom.   

I ran inside and paused.  No freaking way.   
Yep, I peed without a door. 

As if my day surely couldn't get any lower than urinating in a public restroom without doors, I had to go to my younger daughter's soccer game.  And this time we had to bring both boys who are two and five. Here's something funny.  Boys that age don't sit. Oh hell no!  I spent the entire freaking game chasing after Peanut, while shooting my hubby death ray looks for purposely being oblivious to the fact that I was busting my ass chasing after them.  

Here's a rare picture of them actually sitting (before the game started of course): 
You'd think that after a day like this I could go home and drink (I mean rest).  Nope. I had the end of the soccer season party to attend, while still dealing with massive constipation. And make small talk with people I don't like.  

And pretend that these were cute. Gross. 
So, you're probably thinking I made it home and was in the clear, right?  Ha! You must not read my blog on a regular basis.  I decided that since my life didn't suck enough already, I was going to try to relieve my problems with these puppies: 
Here's a tip: Never, ever (ever) take these pills unless you're one of those freaks who believes in self torture.  Not only did they not work, but I got hit with a GI virus that very same weekend, most likely from one of the little grubby monsters at the soccer party who were walking around touching everything without washing their hands (this is why I should never go out in public).  By Monday morning, I was in such bad shape that I couldn't even tell you which day of the week it was.  Election what? By this point I was so delirious that Tom Cruise and Big Bird could've been running for president for all I knew.  I spent the night in the hospital, and was treated for severe dehydration.  I can't say that i've been taking it easy because I have five kids at home so i'm not even sure what "taking it easy" means, but I did force myself to take a break from my blog.  I want to thank all of you who sent me positive thoughts and well wishes.  I missed all of you greatly.  I'm baaaaack bitches (i've always wanted to say that. Check one off my bucket list.)  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Secret Subject Swap Post #2

Since I enjoyed the first Secret Subject Swap so much, I decided to give it another shot.  I'm one of 20 brave bloggers (or perhaps crazy is a better word) who created a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in our own style.  Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

A link to all 20 of the participants in the Secret Subject Swap can be found by visiting Karen (the creator of this awesome swap) at Baking in a Tornado

My secret subject is "The Year the Turkey's Took Thanksgiving Back." by Tracy at

When I first opened up my email with my subject assignment I totally freaking panicked!  I love Tracy at Momaical more than words can say and think she is a brilliant, talented, blogger.  I don't think she intentionally tried to kill me by creating such a challenging topic, but I quickly found myself curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb and drooling on myself.  

My next thought was, "I should probably write something really creative and funny.  A fictional story about a turkey riot."  I sat and pondered the idea for a while, but I couldn't think of a single thing.  I'll be honest, fictional writing is completely out of my comfort zone.  When I was in school and had to write something fictional I could wing it, but just the mere thought actually breaks my entire body out into hives.  

I decided to take Tracy's post and spin it in my own way.  No, unfortunately you won't get to read some witty, hilarious story about a plump, out of shape turkey named Hank, who gathers up his fellow turkey friends and leads them into battle against the evil turkey eaters, but I will talk about a couple of my own dysfunctional family Thanksgiving Day memories. 

My earliest memory of Thanksgiving Day dysfunction goes way back to around age 8.  My dad was an avid hunter and many holidays were spent at my grandma's house in the Mt. Hood area.  One year my dad decided to take me on a nature hike.  I think his main motive was to stake out new hunting ground, but whatever the reason I didn't really care, as I was eager to get out of my grandma's house.  Don't get me wrong, I loved my dear granny to pieces, but there is something about sitting on a couch staring at ceramic birdhouses placed strategically on tea stained doilies and creepy cuckoo clocks that leave you scratching at the door to get out.  To make it worse, my grandparents lived out in the middle of nowhere.  The only market nearby was a teeny tiny, family owned and operated store that closed by 7 pm, and my grandparents never had cable.  Let's just say you spent a lot of time staring at walls and wishing you were back home in civilization. 

Anxious to get out of the house of old people, my dad and I trekked deep into the woods.  I'm not exactly sure how long we were gone, but I know it was several hours.  Getting nervous about the time I gently asked my dad "Shouldn't we be heading back now?" My dad who was knee deep in brush and had that crazed, "Just one more minute look" in his eyes replied back, "We haven't been gone that long. We'll head back soon." Clearly my dad must've suffered a brain fart and had temporarily forgotten who he was married too as my mom could be kind of scary when she got mad.  My dad often got in big trouble after hunting and fishing trips where he would lose track of time and come home hours and hours after he was supposed too.  I have many childhood memories of peering out of the kitchen window that faced the road, while my mom frantically paced back and forth crying, saying things like, "Oh my God, what if he's dead? That's it kids, your father is DEAD! He's never coming home!" My brother and I would burst into hysterical sobs, and shortly after my dad would appear through the door, looking like a deer caught in the headlights as he faced the wrath of my irate mother.  It didn't help that my dad would do the typical male "What's wrong?" response, as if it never occurred to him that my mom might be a little disgruntled that he was several hours late coming home and she might be worried.

Anyways, by the time we finally made it back to grandma's house it was pitch black outside and not only had everyone finished Thanksgiving dinner, but the dishes were washed and put away and my mom was in full blown hysterics, as were my grandparents, aunts and uncles.  My mother was convinced that we were lying in a ditch somewhere dead so when she saw that we were unharmed, she  began to shriek at my dad.  Ah, the magic of the holidays.  My grandma had her own way of showing her anger towards my father.  She picked up a framed picture of my dad and laid it face down on the bookshelf.   When this happened, you were in trouble.  Big trouble.  My dad and I went to bed hungry that night, but quite honestly i've never really liked turkey, so in a weird way my dad saved me from having to choke little down pieces of turkey drenched in gravy.  I thank him for that. 

As I grew up my dislike for the whole turkey/Thanksgiving Day holiday continued to blossom.   To be perfectly honest, my husband and I typically skip Thanksgiving.  We have created a new tradition over the years which consists of ordering take out from our favorite Chinese restaurant.  The kids who are avid Chinese food fans love it and look forward to it all year long.  However, every other year my sister in law and her family come to our house for Thanksgiving, so on those years we do the big, traditional, family dinner.   

This leads me to my next Thanksgiving topic.  The Turducken…shudder.  My sister in law insisted on ordering a Turducken last year from the Cajun something or other (I think it's called the Cajun Grocer but don't quote me on that).  She raved about it's turkey deliciousness and promised that we would be beside ourselves in turkey heaven.  I actually had to Google "Turducken" as I had never heard of it.   The images I saw didn't look all that appealing, and I about passed out when I saw the price of one of these suckers, but since I wasn't buying it, I agreed to the Turducken.  My hubby who is much pickier than he thinks he is immediately wrinkled up his nose and said, "That looks like roadkill."   The kids' reactions were even more priceless.  "Mom, what in the hell is that?  Do we really have to eat it?  What is that yucky yellow stuff inside of it?"

For those who are clueless like myself, a Turducken is a de-boned chicken that is stuffed into a de-boned duck, and then stuffed into a turkey. The one we ordered also had some kind of pork sausage/cornbread stuffing mashed into it.  Yeah, a little too much stuffing going on if you ask me.
Thanksgiving finally arrived, as did my sister in law and her family and we thawed out the long awaited Turducken. Everyone got a large spoonful of Turducken to try whether they wanted it or not.  Honestly I think it looked like an autopsy on the table and to be perfectly frank, it tasted just as bad as it looked.  I really hope my sister in law doesn't end up reading this post, as she's one of my best friends, and seriously awesome, and it was very sweet of her to buy our family a Turducken.  Besides, it's highly possible that my family is wrong and that the Turducken is freaking amazing.  Who are we to judge? My kids put ketchup on their cheese quesadillas.  Their food choices are sometimes questionable. 

This year, we will be on our own for Thanksgiving.  As soon as dinner time rolls around, you better believe we'll be placing our order for Chinese take out.  I'm proud to say that no actual turkeys will be harmed at our house.  Unfortunately, I can't say the same for chicken, as we'll be gobbling up that General Tso's chicken like it's 1999. 1999,  don't ya wanna go? Great, now i'll never get that song out of my head. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Parenting Underwater

Do you ever have those days so dark and dismal that you're absolutely certain that no other parent in the entire world could possibly understand how you're feeling? It's as if something has grabbed you around the waist and you're being pulled further and further into the abyss.  The light beams from the surface of the water slowly disappear and you're surrounded by darkness. You pathetically try to kick your legs and flap your arms, but they feel heavy and useless. You are sinking fast and David Hasselhoff is not around to rescue you.

No, don't worry, i'm not suffering from depression. I'm far too aware of my feelings to be depressed.  I'm just experiencing what I like to refer to as "parenting underwater."  I'll break free and find my way back to the surface, but for the last couple of days, i've been spending most of my time on the bottom of the ocean floor.  Oh and just so you know, there is no pineapple under the sea (i'm highly disappointed about that Nickelodean).

I'm not sure when this all started, as it's usually multiple events and obligations that lead up to this overwhelming feeling of helplessness.  My younger daughter has been home from school for a few days due to conferences so our usual routine has been disrupted.  It also doesn't help that my daughter and son fight like cats and dogs, so my stress level has been elevated. 

Yesterday was a plethora of chaos. My daughter couldn't find her Dorothy bow for her costume, the boys were...well boys, and I spent my day trying to frantically fix a broken Luigi costume, get five kids ready to go trick or treating, cook dinner, attempt to straighten up the house, etc.   It was just one of those non stop days where I honestly couldn't remember sitting down for five consecutive minutes.  
By the time trick or treating rolled around, I would've rather pulled out my eyelashes than walk around a cold, dark, rainy neighborhood, with five kids, but i'm a mom and this is all part of my job.   I put my own exhausted and emotionally wrung out feelings aside, and the hubby and I successfully completed our parenting duty for the evening (and we also came with a boatload of candy so big bonus there).

I've learned something over the years...the day after Halloween stinks! Yes, you heard me right.  It's a day that I have come to dread.  My kids woke up bright and early this morning and immediately found their way to the candy bowl and began to shove treats into their mouths as if they were trying to win a world record for who could devour a year's worth of candy in fifteen minutes.  As if that wasn't rotten enough, I woke up feeling like death and my voice was completely and totally gone. When you have five kids, a lost voice is a catastrophic impairment.  The kids take full advantage of that one. 

I quickly confiscated the candy and relocated it to a different hiding spot, but the damage was already done. After a large helping of candy consumption occurs, so does the meltdown of epic proportions. Let's just say that what comes up, must come down.  And boy does it ever come down.  Candy manufacturers really ought to put a warning label on this stuff!

Something like:

"Warning: Consuming too much candy will cause your kids to act like test tube monkeys who were given an experimental dose of crack at the lab. Individual results may vary but your child may experience extreme whining, crying, bizarre mood swings, earth shattering screaming, furniture climbing and ottoman acrobatics, sticking inane objects into their ear canals, and may develop symptoms of Tourette's and repeat "Mommy" over and over again."  

So now that you get a small glimpse of the events leading up this mommy breakdown, picture this scene:

Two toddler boys with chocolate covered hands and faces, running around the dining room table, screaming and pushing each other over a chair.  Yes, a chair.  As this is going on i'm trying to fill out a two page questionnaire that i'm supposed to bring with me to my daughter's parent/teacher conference, that's starting in a few minutes that basically wants to know every single personal detail about our daughter's life except maybe her blood type.  The boys are screaming bloody murder in my ear, my daughter is yelling at them to be quiet, my headache is so fierce that I can hardly see straight, small hands are flailing around the table, chairs are being knocked to the ground, things are crashing and banging and suddenly I snap and slam my pen down on the table and pathetically try to scream, "STOP IT RIGHT NOW" at the top of my lungs but all that came out was this awkward, tiny, little squeak. 

By this point the time was cutting dangerously close to her conference.  We were just minutes away from being late and not at all the kind of impression I wanted to make.  I'm frantically running around trying to find jackets, missing socks, shoes, my sanity, etc.  Peanut is having a full blown toddler meltdown on the ground over his jacket not being zipped up all the way.  My daughter was yelling at the boys for making us late, and my hubby was blowing up my phone because he had already arrived at the school and noticed our absence.  

I somehow got the kids buckled into their car seats, slumped into the driver's seat, turned the keys in the ignition when all of a sudden this overwhelming urge to cry hit me like a ton of bricks.  I swallowed the enormous "How did I get here?" lump in my throat and desperately tried to pull myself together.  I knew that if I allowed myself to cry, I would not be able to stop.  Peanut was still kicking and screaming full throttle in his car seat (it should be illegal to drive with two year olds), and my phone was still beeping and vibrating from the inside of my purse as my hubby was frantically trying to reach me. 

I drove the few blocks to the elementary school with a pounding migraine and a still present lump in my throat, and was greeted by a cheerful and completely clueless hubby who had no idea his wife was lying on the bottom of the ocean floor.   He quickly told me to lose the "You look like you just got punched in the face" expression and "Look happy."  I contemplated unleashing the details of my day onto my poor, unsuspecting, hubby but really, I didn't see much point.  This would've caused us to be late for the conference and quite honestly, I had already weathered the worst part of the storm.  I was almost in the clear. I had made it to my destination and help was on the horizon. 

As I walked across the parking lot, stepping on brightly colored fall leaves crunching beneath my feet, feeling the crisp, refreshing air blowing lightly on my flushed face, and seeing my two year old terror tucked securely under my husband's arms, I took a deep breath and felt some of the air return into my lungs.  I was slowly floating back up to the surface, just as I always do.