it’s all about the turkey


Frozen turkeys have been haunting my dreams for the last few nights. We are rounding the corner to Thanksgiving, and this is our year. We are hosting. All I keep telling myself is “Don’t screw up the turkey.”

Recipes have been bookmarked, pinned, printed and scattered. I have grocery lists littered around the house. In the last two days, I have already made three grocery runs, elbowing through the aisles for that last can of green beans. Nothing says I’m Thankful like a mob of disgruntled holiday cooks.

This isn’t our first Thanksgiving dinner prep. But, it feels different this time.

My first year out of college, I wrote for a newspaper. And, because newspapers never sleep, I worked on Thanksgiving Day. Welcome to the real world. I had three options: Roll over to IHOP for a quick turkey feast, pretend Thanksgiving didn’t exist, or we could do it ourselves. The hubs and I hosted our first “Friendsgiving” in my little apartment.

We cooked everything and invited a few of my work friends to join us for an early Thanksgiving lunch, complete with Mr. Gobbler himself. We nailed it. At least, I think we did. Expectations are far lower for 20-somethings with no prior plans. That was kid stuff.

This year, we are all grown up and hosting dinner for parents, grandparents, friends and several siblings. This might qualify as the big league in our stage of life. While everyone tells us not to stress, we know there will be expectations. I have visions of us taking an ice pick to the turkey Thursday morning, or Austin attacking the pies in the darkness of Thanksgiving Eve, or forgetting the green beans in the green bean casserole. I envision catastrophe.

Most likely, some of these things will happen. Let’s face it. Austin is far too sneaky and quick to not devour at least one pie under the radar. And, honestly, I really am okay with all these unforeseen hiccups. Who wants a perfect Thanksgiving anyway?

The beautiful thing about our family and friends is they don’t care about perfection. Sure, we may will be teased mercilessly if we ruin the turkey, but that’s just part of the circle of holiday hosting. One thing I’m sure of is there will be laughter, and we will have fun, despite the glaring glitches.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for family, and I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for all of life’s wonderful imperfections.

…. And, I am thankful for IHOP who is open on Thanksgiving Day… Just in case.

the shower dance


I’m not a morning person. I never have been. I never will… at least, voluntarily. My children have forced me into a morning person’s life. I still eyeball the clock each and every morning. Groan at 7 a.m. Roll over at 6 a.m., and mutter a couple indecipherable words at 5 a.m. or earlier.

The first thing I yearn for each morning is not a cup of caffeine. It’s a shower. Showers are my coffee – a shot of sanity before our days of chaos. But, personal hygiene itself can be a mystical creature when two little ones hijack your schedule.

I’ve been spoiled. Every morning, the hubs manages breakfast for the boys. While he spoons out oatmeal, slices strawberries and is hit with the first tantrums of the day, I shower. Not a long, pre-children wash, but a quick spurt of uninterrupted hygienic bliss.

Occasionally, I am on my own when business calls. Today was that day. Sometimes, I opt out of fresh and clean, and settle for “try not to see anybody” grungy. But, today, I had somewhere to be, which means bathing was a priority. You are all welcome, by the way.

We started our morning at 5 a.m. Hungry baby. Fed baby. Screaming baby. Up for the day. Followed shortly by screaming toddler. Whiny toddler. Up for the day. We did our breakfast routine with minimal upsets – other than I selected the “wrong” spoon for Austin’s oatmeal – and, then, it was time. I had to get ready.

I placed Austin on the bed with free reign of the iPad and easily within my view. Five seconds later, he was completely immersed in Thomas the Train. Win. Then, on the floor, I created a maze of toys and expertly placed shoes for Everett, just to keep his attention. Start the timer.

In the five minutes I took to shower, I hopped out once to dislodge Everett from underneath our bed – a favorite place of his to roll, listened to Everett cry the entire time despite him actually sitting their gnawing on a toy in between wails, talked Austin through five meltdowns because the internet was freezing up his show, and convinced Austin to drop my eye liner before he used our cabinets as a coloring book… again.

I give you the shower dance. Lather, Rinse, Repeat for two more days. Bless the hubs and our normal routine.

Perhaps, I should rethink my social agenda this week. Or, I guess I can always blame the smell on the boys. Stinky toddler feet? Yeah. I think we’re covered.

a cookie monster

oreos for E

No vegetables for Everett. No fruit. No meat. No mushy pasta. Nothing ordinary for this child. He will eat Oreos. And, that works for me.

For five months, we have failed repeatedly in the solids department. He has gagged and spit, cried and screamed, and the past several weeks spent with the occupational therapist for his sensory aversion have not been any better – Until a week ago.

During Everett’s last OT session, she introduced him to the infamous Oreo. He was indifferent. Just another nuisance he didn’t want near his mouth. She sent me away with an extended shopping list beyond Twizzlers and Jerky. This one included Oreos and various other cookies, crackers, puddings and yogurt. I purchased the entire snack aisle at Target.

I pushed my cart, head down, to checkout with my two kiddos sitting atop the mountain of junk. Austin grinned ear to ear as he tried to break into the Oreos and Nilla wafers. Children across the store eyed my boys with envy, and their mothers glared at the ever growing pile. The mother’s walk of shame.

Even with so many new options, we still weren’t seeing progress. After a rough dinner of solid failures with Everett and begging Austin to eat, sit down, and stop throwing his food, I decided to break out the Oreos… for me. I pulled out the bag, and Everett almost hyperventilated. Okayyy… This is different. I handed him a cookie, and he devoured it. Release the confetti.

No sooner had he adopted Oreos as a staple in his diet than a good friend of mine informed me of a new study indicating Oreos are as addictive as cocaine. Fantastic. Better stock up or my child is going to have Oreo withdrawals. Of course, this link seems to think Oreos are not quite as detrimental.

Either way, we have an eater, and it’s cookies, not cocaine.

Since then, he has expanded his palate to include Ritz crackers, Teddy Grahams and Gerber banana cookies. There’s a lot of sugar in this house. Every day, as I prepare Everett’s samplers of cookies, crackers and yogurt, I cringe, and I have to beat down the guilt of what I’m feeding my 10-month-old. I can’t even begin to tell you about the dirty looks I’ve received from offering my baby an Oreo in public. And, to be honest, before kids or even with Austin, I might have been that judgmental mom because, obviously, having no kids or any number of kids automatically makes me an expert on everyone elses’ children. Ha. Lesson learned.

Today, I am a happy momma. Eating something is better than nothing, and eating anything is progress. Even if it’s milk and cookies.

Our next step, purees, and not the traditional route. Our new list includes ranch dressing and gravy. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Who wants me in charge of snacks for the next play date? 😉

the rolling pin

rolling pin

Everett is a roller. He doesn’t crawl. He doesn’t scoot. He rolls face first across the floor over and over again, sweeping up our hardwoods with every tumble. He covers an impressive amount of ground in a short period of time. The kid is fast.

I really don’t think he will ever crawl. He successfully raises himself on hand and knees, but refuses to actually take that first movement forward… or, backward. Instead, he flops to his belly and rolls and rolls. Or, he straightens his legs out in a yoga-inspired form, attempting to free stand. It doesn’t work out well.

The first time we shot video of his nimbleness, family and friends gasped at the sight. Here was our infant spiraling face first against the hard ground. Ouch. But, he was giggling.

I blame the helmet for his extreme confidence in rolling. Who else has a kid that repeatedly crashes his head into the hard floor with no regrets at all? Does not faze him. It’s the helmet. Take it off, and he is wailing within five seconds. We have a big problem when he graduates from that helmet.

He has roughly two months, give or take, before graduation day. It’s time to work on coordination, son. Better get crawling, or, walking.

We should probably just buy him a bike helmet.

taking candy from the baby


Day 3: It’s been three days of sugar highs. This is the first year “out of sight, out of mind” has not worked with A on the candy front. This year, that Jack O’Lantern bulging with Milky Ways, Snickers and gummies seem to call to him at every waking moment of the day… and night.

“Momma, can I have a treat? A treat, Momma? A treat? A treat?”

Despite only hitting up two streets on Halloween, Austin finished his night with quite the supply. Candy for breakfast. Candy for lunch. Candy for dinner. Those are his requests… times two full days. And, of course, he handles it really well when I tell him no. I’m not sure I can handle a whole month of sugar highs and whines.

So, today, I sped up the process. I’m guilty. Guilty of stealing candy from my baby. One for Austin, two for Momma. Oh, and look, there’s a Twix. Yum. Sorry, Austin. But, Momma has to survive your candy crashes somehow.

Apparently, stealing Halloween candy from your kid is a right of passage for parents. We coordinate costumes. We lug them up and down each street. We endure the effects of sugar rushing through their little bodies. Therefore, we deserve a bit of their loot. It makes me wonder if my own parents snagged our candy after hours? Sneaky, sneaky.

At our current rate, it appears we will finish the Halloween stash just in time for the Advent calendars to begin in December. And, then when the calendar ends, a stocking full of treats will await. That should last through January, and end on boxes of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. I never before recognized the constant stream of excuses for sugar throughout the year. But, who’s complaining? Austin loves to share, especially when he doesn’t know.

Perhaps, I should reveal Operation Eat the Kids’ Candy to the hubs… but, then I’d have to share. Shhh… Sorry, honey.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/