I Can Fix Sprinklers (News To Me Too) And Other Randomness

In all honesty, my front yard is the eye sore of the neighborhood. We bought the house as a foreclosure and the yard is a product of what looks like people just having no idea what to do with it. And that includes us. Around the perimeter is a random mix of: rampantly expanding cacti, a rose bush that refuses to die, random shrubs, half-dead random shrubs, and a lawn that is more weed than grass.

Two three sprinklers broke recently (read: within the last year) and I only got around to fixing them this weekend. While digging through the cement-like soil to get to the pipes I discovered layers of tanbark, large gravel, and a thin layer of sand.  Former owners: You’re killing me. And you made me pop a nail.

Two days and three trips to the hardware store later (YOU try investing time in home improvement projects with two toddlers) I finally had everything fixed. I think. I’m testing them tonight when I get home to make sure they don’t leak. Once finished, I think I have to reset our sprinkler system box (my annual chore) so that it will water the back yard as well.

Bonus: I discovered that I’m allergic to grass while working on this project. My arms and legs were puffy and itchy all weekend. Thank goodness for Benadryl and hydrocortizone cream.

Bonus 2: Sean woke up from his nap while I was outside yesterday and was watching me from the dining room window. Jason opened it up so he could talk to me, so I finished working with the words: “I love you Mommy. I go outside too?”

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Hubbs was put out of commission on Sunday by a rogue scallion pocket thingie from the farmer’s market, so I took the kids to Target solo for groceries, general provisions, and toys in the afternoon. I had parked on the driveway instead of in the garage because I was working in the yard, so the car was molten-lava hot. I turned it on, blasted the AC, rolled all the windows down, and entertained the kids in the garage for about five minutes to let it air out before we got in.

At Sean’s request, we drove to Target with all four windows down. The kids got a kick out of the air billowing around them and the three of us called out “Whee!” the whole way there. I’m not sure why, it just seemed to fit. They were both so blissfully happy — calling out to me and giggling the whole way. I wanted to bottle the moment.

Once at the store, I loaded both kids in a cart and went inside. Funny thing about kids: You go to a store with both parents (because its easier) and one kid goes off with Daddy (ahem, SEAN) and we don’t see either of them until I call and tell them I’m ready to check out. And if Daddy is there, one kid or the other is constantly asking to get out of the cart and walk around. Flash to Sunday: It’s just the three of us. Sean sat in the large part of the cart and Allie sat in the top seat. She’s occasionally spin around to gibber at him, but both stayed seated — and were content — the whole time we were there. When I told Hubbs, he rolled his eyes and said that it figures that they’d sit still for just me. But I told him the truth: They weren’t “behaving”. They didn’t have a choice. It was just me, so their choice was to sit in the basket or leave. Without toys. No brainer, really.

Sean picked out “Toy Story” action figures, obviously. Allie did too — but chose one with a doll, which must be from the third movie because its the only one I haven’t seen. She also picked out a romper. And when I say she picked it out, I mean she leaned over the side of the cart, grabbed it off the rack, and said “me?”

Purple, one of her favorite colors.

“Are you sure?” I asked her. She just looked at me as if to say “Are you kidding me, MOTHER?” Obviously. Duh. And then she nodded and smiled at me.

Minx.

We capped off our adventure with another treat: Soft serve from a drive-thru and some french fries on the way home. When we arrived, they sat at the table with their dad, Allie on his lap, and shared their stories and food. (Or as Sean put it: “Daddy! I have Toy Story. I have Woody. And horse. Buwlzeye. His name Buwlzeye, Daddy.”

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I was up until 1 a.m. last night, paying bills and cleaning up a bit around the house. I’m paying for it today. But now I understand what my Dad was talking about way back when I was a kid: Sleeping is a waste of time. Do you have any idea how much I could get done if I didn’t have to sleep? I could actually stay on top of things. Exercise. Make better meals. Have the time to relax and do things for me.

And while I’m on the subject of random dreams that won’t happen in my lifetime: If the geeks of the world could hurry up and invent the transporter from Star Trek, I’d be really grateful. I could use those 2+ daily commute hours for something better.

An Extra Mother’s Day “Gift”

So Sean got me an extra-special Mother’s Day gift: At 2 a.m. on Monday he threw up — while asleep — and (quasi) woke-up screaming. After I cleaned him up, he fell back asleep on his changing table while I did damage control in the dark. In the morning, I called in sick to work and took him to the drop-in hour at our pediatrician.

Turns out he has a virus on top of his allergies. And he (naturally) got it from day care. For being extra good at the doctor’s office and for putting up with me slowly trolling up and down the aisles of Whole Foods afterward, I bought him a toy when we went to Walgreens for more saline (for his nose) and Claratin.

He’s been obsessed with Toy Story 2 lately. He hasn’t even seen the first one yet. But he loves Buzz and Woody. (I’ve got to get him on video saying “to infinity and beyond!”) Ages ago, Hubbs found a Buzz action figure at the park, brought it home, cleaned it up, and put it in a toy bin. Sean hass never really played with it. Until this week, when he walked by and jolted to a stop. “Buzz?” he asked softly, picking it up. “BUZZ! MOMMY?! MOMMY!! IT’S BUZZ!”

Guess what toy we found at Walgreens: Woody. Complete with removable (read: lost every 5 minutes) hat. I thought the kid was going to lose his mind when he saw it. We went home, reunited the two friends and spent the rest of the day cuddled on the couch, watching Toy Story 2 and talking about his new toys.

It was the highlight of my week, that cuddle time. And let me tell you — that kid is a cuddling PRO. He sits across my lap, curls along my side, and lays his head on my shoulder and sighs with contentment when I wrap my arms around him and squeeze gently.

Someday when he’s a teenager and tells me that he hates me or that I’ve ruined his life, I’m going to think back on this day, on the time in his life when just cuddling with Mommy made everything better — for the both of us.

And did I mention that I caught the bug he had? Of course I did.

In other news:

  • Allie had her first time-out this week. I was tired of her flailing, kicking, screaming, and all-around losing her shit whenever I had to change her diaper or clothes. So I laid her in her crib, gave her a binky, and told her that I would come back when she calmed down. Then I walked away, standing outside her door so she could see me. “Allie? I called. “If you calm down, Mommy will come back. Can you calm down, please?” She did — almost immediately. After giving her a kiss, hug, and telling her that she was a good girl and I loved her, she cooperated and  let me get her into a clean diaper, pajamas, and slathered with lotion without further incident.
  • Sean’s nose was so stuffy last night he was having problems breathing. I took him into the bathroom and steamed it up while rocking him back and forth in my arms. It brought me back to when he was little and we had to go through that ritual nearly every two hours.
  • That boy is all arms and legs, although he still feels like a sack of potatoes when he falls asleep in your arms and his body just hangs as it leans against you.
  • Speaking of sleep, I’m exhausted.

The World’s Best Mother’s Day Gift

So, ya’ll … Mother’s Day is on Sunday.

What are you going to do for your momma? You know, the woman who GREW you in her body and carried you around for 10 months, then grunted/screamed like a wild animal while she pushed you out? And probably got life-long hemorrhoids as a result of it? Not to mention that whole loving you unconditionally thing, clothing you, putting up with your NKOTB phase, and always being there for you? (Mom? I’m so, SO sorry for that NKOTB thing. Truly I am.)

I always get my mom flowers. Not only does she love them, but my Dad NEVER, EVER buys her flowers. He grew up on a flower nursery and — according to him — they are a colossal waste of money and they die.

So I buy them for her and feel him shaking his head and rolling his eyes as I hit the “buy” button.

But now that I have kids, I have so much more. I have manual labor! And no matter what they make, Grandma will ADORE it. (Winning!)

So this is what I did this year:

  1. Go to art supply store;
  2. Buy 2 8×8 canvases per grandma (the small one in the picture below), 1 package of washable finger paint, and a Sharpie;
  3. Get the kids good and exited about painting;
  4. Put blobs of paint on a paper plate;
  5. Let em loose; and
  6. Once dry, write their names and the year at the bottom.

Shazam! Instant wall art. Instant oohs and ahhhs. I also bought 10×10 canvases for myself. I want to do hand prints of the kids and hang them on our living room wall.

Note: The finger paint is also non-toxic. Which is good, because Allie put her blue-encased fingers in her mouth, freaked out, tried to wipe it off her tongue, then sneezed blue all over my face and shirt as I tried to clean her off. That wasn’t gross at all. Also: major props to Crayola for truly washable finger paint. Everything (including the kids) cleaned up super fast with either diaper wipes or good old-fashioned soap and water.

In all, the project cost me about $55 or about $18.30 per set. If I had thought of this sooner, I probably could have gotten the canvases on sale, but oh well. The best thing is that this is easy, homemade, and from the heart … which is WAY better than some stupid flowers that will be stinking up your garbage can in a week.

Also, I wish I had thought of this about 7 years ago, done my own hand print, and sent it to my mom. How confused would she have been?! Hah! (Note to self: call brother and have him do this …)

ps.

Hubbs and the kids are taking me out for brunch on Sunday! I’m rather excited about this because:

  1. I don’t have to cook breakfast.
  2. I don’t have to clean up after breakfast.
  3. I love brunch-type food!

pps.

The kids’ daycare is having a “Mother’s Day Tea” today and I’m ridiculously excited about it. I love seeing them play and interact with other kids their age and just having fun.

Random bits of ether

I’ve been feeling a bit random and scattered recently. Hence, bullet points!

  • Whenever I have one of those kinky, sexy dreams the guy is always Michael Biehn. As in, since I was 12 or 13 “always”.
  • One year for my birthday, Hubbs printed out two beefcake-esque pictures of said “sexy dream guy” and put them in a double picture frame. I laughed so hard I cried.
  • Those pictures are currently on my bookshelf.
  • And I’m going to have to explain that to my kids someday.
  • He’s also my father’s age. ( … ew …)
  • We’re slowly trying to potty train Sean. I’m reading a book on it. On BART. I get a lot of funny/amused looks.
  • I also don’t remember kid-sized underwear being so expensive.
  • It’s hard to potty train your kid when you work full-time. You can’t just jump into it full-boar, you have to ease it into the routine. Either that or use up all your vacation time.
  • Hmm … vacation time ….
  • Just got back from lounging like a lizard in the sun during a lunch date with a friend. It felt so very good. But now I want a nap.
  • My smoothie blurped all over me when I opened the container this morning.
  • I desperately need to clean my side of the room. Its starting to resemble a junk pile.
  • What makes it harder to clean my side of the room: I never actually spend time in my room. It’s really just a storage place that I sleep in. I’m always in other parts of the house … usually cleaning.
  • I need a hobby.
  • My messy side? Drives Hubbs crazy. Not in a good way.
  • Kind of addicted to this video right now. I love the mash-up and I get Dr. Dre’s “I need a doctor” stuck in my head pretty consistently these days.
  • Is it weird that I like Eminem and Dre more now that I’m in my 30s than when Eminem came out — when I was in my teens?
  • I konked my head something fierce on a refrigerator shelf almost a week ago and I STILL have a goose egg on my noggin.
  • Speaking of that noggin, I need a haircut.
  • I’m thinking of bringing back bangs.
  • I don’t know if I can pull those off. Because they take more time than my current “any obvious bed head?” glance/styling.
  • We have to drop one of our cars off at the mechanic today after work. This means that I don’t have to cook dinner tonight … oh darn … I was looking forward to that all day. (ahem)
  • Allie’s hair is long enough for me to put in a simple, messy updo. On the weekends only, because she can’t sleep with the mini clips in her hair. The cuteness makes me want to squish her.
  • Did I just admit to the Internet that I usually don’t brush my hair in the morning? *sigh*
  • But maybe I could do this on a weekend.
  • I still have a giant (now yellow) bruise on my my back along my shoulder blade. I have no idea how I got it, although my money is that I fell on a toy when the kids tackled me when we were playing.
  • My kids think its hilarious to tackle me when I’m sitting on the floor with them. They like to push me onto my back, and then climb all over me like I’m a jungle gym. I could do without the feet to the face, but its a lot of fun.

Just one more thing: Happy almost Hump Day!

Smoothie Obsession

What would you say if I told you that for breakfast and (most) work-day lunches, I had something that:

  1. Filled me up;
  2. Provided 2 servings of vegetables;
  3. Provided 2 servings of fruit;
  4. Provided lean protein;
  5. Was low-carb; and
  6. Tasted good.

Would you believe me? Maybe. Would you believe me when I tell you that its a smoothie?

Yup. During the week I’m drinking 2 smoothies as meals. And you know what? I feel better when I do it. Now if I could only get back on that exercising bandwagon, I’d get somewhere.

But back to the smoothies. This all started back in December, when my family got me a Vitamix blender as a gift. If you ever watch cooking shows — or go to Jamba Juice — you’ve seen it. It’s heavy-duty. It’s totally hard-core. You can actually make HOT SOUP in these things without cooking. They’re also expensive.

I needed to justify the expense. So I started making smoothies. And they were good.

And then as I drank one, I thought: We need to eat more veggies. How do I get more veggies into our diet? So one day, when I was home alone and had already made Hubbs his all-fruit smoothie, I added a large handful of spinach to mine (about 1.5 cups packed). It turned the smoothie green. I had second thoughts, but took a sip. It tasted the same. I added another handful and blended it up. Still nothing. It was tasty. Even more refreshing than before. And I had just added 2 servings of vegetables.

The next day, I made it for the Hubbs. I thought he was going to fall over. But he tried it. And liked it. And we haven’t looked back.

Since then I’ve also tried kale, which was delicious, and am always eying the produce aisle, trying to see what else I can add.

So here’s the recipe! (makes two, 24-oz smoothies — 1 for breakfast, 1 for lunch)

1 cup carrot juice
1 cup water
1 banana
1 apple (or orange)
1/4 cup mixed frozen berries (optional)
2 gigantic handfuls of spinach or kale (if using kale, do not use stems)
1 level scoop of protein powder
1 cup ice

Directions:
In order above, place everything in blender and mix until smooth. Enjoy! (If it seems too frothy for you, next time do not put the protein powder in at the beginning. After blending everything smooth, THEN add the powder.