Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesday 5: The End of the Internet and Lightswitch Raves

1. We’ve reached the end of the internet, or at least the end of the Netflix and Hulu in this house. Generally speaking, after we put the Little Explorers to bed, The International Man of Intrigue and I settle in for a little television. We don’t have cable, but we subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus. This week, we officially ran out of things to watch. Our “regular” shows, like Blacklist and Grimm and Modern Family and The Middle are over for the season, and we seem to have binge watched every series on Netflix that we’re interested in. We particularly enjoyed Arrested Development and Doctor Who and especially Sherlock. It doesn’t help that when Netflix provides recommendations, they’re completely skewed by the shows my kids watch. No, Netflix, I would not enjoy an entire category of talking dog movies. Not at all. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

2. Thursday, I’m leaving on a jet plane! The International Man of Intrigue managed to actually get the entire holiday weekend off of work, which rarely happens. I am about one hundred percent sure that it was only because his lovely wife has U2 tickets and plane tickets. I’m going to meet up with Hedy Lamar (who visited me in Sri Lanka) and our other BFF for a nice relaxing girls’ weekend and concert. I’ve only managed to do this one other time since we moved here, and it’s been over a year and a half. I’m ready for a mini vacation!

3. Since there are less than three weeks of school left, it makes sense I’d discover a new way to be productive: Carline. I used to try to read a book or magazine, but I realized I was having too many interruptions by Arthur Dent and by having to keep nudging the car forward. The last couple of days, I’ve plugged my iPod into the stereo and put on my favorite podcast and tackled little bits of paperwork. Monday, I completed Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell’s summer camp forms. Today, I wrote thank you notes from my birthday. Tomorrow? Who knows?

4. Yes, that’s right, I celebrated a birthday over the weekend. It was definitely anticlimactic. It’s the year before a “milestone” birthday, so that’s uninspiring on it’s own. Then, Thursday, the day before my day, I came down with the flu. It was full on fever, chills, body aches flu. I spent a good portion of the day on the couch and the rest of it dragging myself up to change diapers and pick up Little Explorers from school. I think they had cereal for dinner. I’m not sure. Luckily, Friday I felt well enough to sit up long enough for a small piece of delicious carrot cake. Saturday, Gertrude Bell came down with the mess, so my already delayed birthday dinner was takeout from Chipotle.

5. In this week’s episode of What Cute Thing is Laura Ingalls Wilder Doing Now: She’s discovered the switch at the bottom of the refrigerator that makes the light go on and off when the door opens and closes. Now, every time she’s near and I open the fridge, she pokes the switch on and off. It’s a Lightswitch Rave! (Ten thousand brownie points to the Fellow Adventurer who gets that reference. It’s a wee bit obscure.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday Random 5: POOP.

1. Some of you Fellow Adventurers who’ve been reading this little blog from the beginning remember a poop theme that seemed to reoccur. Well, by (not at all, not even a request) popular demand, IT’S BACK! Guess what word Laura Ingalls Wilder knows how to say? Yep. Poop. She doesn’t have many words to begin with, and her only really understandable words are “Mama,” “Daddy,” and “poop.” It’s awesome and embarrassing at the same time. 
“Laura Ingalls Wilder, are you hungry?” 
“Honey, would you like some milk?” 
“Say Mama!”
So, yes, I’m winning at parenting.

2. The International Man of Intrigue and I have an ongoing debate that he demands I include in my blog. He thinks, when it comes to kids, four is the new ten. He means, he feels like society sees four kids as a really huge amount of kids. I tend to disagree. While I do concede that when we crossed over to four kid land, we definitely started getting the raised eyebrows when people ask how many kids we have. It’s also when I started getting, “Are they ALL yours?” although, I can’t verify if that question has to do with number of kids or that it’s obvious all of the Little Explorers are not biologically ours. I just don’t see four as tons of kids. Maybe it’s my background—I grew up in a town where it’s not uncommon at all to have eight or more kids. Since we’re of the Catholic persuasion, I have plenty of friends and acquaintances who have more kids than we do. As a matter of fact, my argument to The International Man of Intrigue was that four is the new three. I seem to know more and more people who have four kids. Where do you fall, Fellow Adventurers? Is four the new ten, or is it the new three? Or is four just four?

3. Let’s keep the poop theme going, shall we? On Mother’s Day, I scrubbed toilets. I know, all you Fellow Adventurers are gasping in horror. “Toilets? On Mother’s Day? No!” Yes. They were disgusting. When I told The International Man of Intrigue what I was going to do, he said, “Make Amelia Earhart do it. She’s eight.” I said, “I can’t just make her do it. She doesn’t know how.” He answered, “Then show her and it can be her job from now on.” Genius. So, I scrubbed the toilets on Mother’s Day, with Amelia Earhart helping. She didn’t totally hate it, although she did think it was gross. If you’re eight, it helps that a toilet brush can also be called a wand. How fancy. It turns out, scrubbing toilets is the Mother’s Day gift that keeps on giving!

4. Do you meal plan? I used to and then fell off the wagon. I’m back on now. I realized it helps my diet so much to know what we’re eating all week. This week, I made myself overnight refrigerator oatmeal in little jars to eat for breakfast. Last night for dinner, we had bacon and pancakes. It’s early afternoon, but I already have Greek chicken prepped to throw in a skillet for dinner, and made two more to freeze for later while I was at it. Tomorrow, Gertrude Bell and Amelia Earhart have piano lessons and then Gertrude Bell has a Girl Scout thing, so we’re eating out. Thursday is once again an eat and freeze night. I’m making a giant crock pot of vegetarian bolognese sauce. I’ll freeze most of it into individual jars. Friday is pizza night at The Intrigue House, so probably frozen pizza this week. 

5. Yesterday after school, I took the Little Explorers to the library. I had a book on hold I wanted to pick up, and Amelia Earhart really needed some books to read. We were all in the kids’ section browsing. I was toward the back of the kids’ section with Amelia Earhart, who needed help choosing a book, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was in the stroller, yelling “Poop!” when I heard my name over the loudspeaker asking me to report to the information desk. I knew immediately that one of my Little Explorers had escaped. I told Amelia Earhart to stay with Laura Ingalls Wilder and took off.  When I got to the information desk, there were Gertrude Bell and Arthur Dent, gasping for breath between sobs. Even though I had only been a couple of shelves away, they thought they were lost. They handled it perfectly, getting someone who worked at the library to help them. The library employee brought them to the information desk, where another librarian gave them coloring sheets and paged me. I was heartbroken that they were so upset, but immensely proud that they were still clutching the library books they wanted to check out. My plan to raise little bibliophiles seems to be working. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tuesday 5: Of Game Shows and Russian Literature

1. A few days ago, I decided it was time to measure the Little Explorers. Since we move all the time, we have a handy canvas banner-style wall hanging that we can move with us. This time, I had to measure Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell twice. Amelia Earhart remains about average height and weight for her age. Amelia Earhart is just under two years older than Gertrude Bell, but they’ve often been mistaken for twins, due to the fact that Gertrude Bell is tall for her age. Still, she’s always been at least several inches shorter than Amelia Earhart. Not now. After measuring, and measuring again, she is exactly one half of an inch shorter than Amelia Earhart. Wow. She also has long skinny fingers and would probably make a great basketball player. She'll probably need extensive practice, though. Right now, she usually wins at dodge ball in PE because she is good at getting out of the way, and also at getting hit in the head so the other kid is automatically out.

2. The Intrigues love the game show Jeopardy. I’ve loved it since I was a kid and it was on in the afternoon after I got home from school. My senior year of college, I lived with eight other girls. We were hard partiers and avid Jeopardy watchers. Every night, we went down to the cafeteria right after Final Jeopardy and not a minute before. On Fridays, this usually involved being a few beers in before diner. The Intrigues watch Jeopardy every night. The International Man of Intrigue and I maintain that we would be a force to be reckoned with if they ever institute a Couples Jeopardy Tournament. 

3. The point of #2 was really tonight’s Final Jeopardy question. It was, “Interestingly, at the start of this novel, Prince Oblonsky, the title character's brother, has been unfaithful.” I rolled my eyes and sighed, “What is Anna Karenina?” I know many of my Fellow Adventurers really love that book. I’ve never actually read it. Well, let me qualify that. I’ve never read the whole thing. I immediately knew the Final Jeopardy answer because I’ve read the beginning at least four times. For me, Anna Karenina is like a giant hill. The first time I tried to read it, I didn’t know what I was getting into and just started reading. I didn’t get very far. The next time, I decided it was time to finish it, but since it had been a while, I knew I needed to start over. I got a little further that time before throwing in the towel. Much like a giant hill needs a running start, I kept working up to it and kept getting a little further, but failing to make it to the top. The last time I tried to read it was only a year and a half or so ago. This time, I was determined to do it. I set my resolve firmly, I took a running start. I got 35 percent finished and rolled back down the hill. Spoiler Alert: I know she ends up having an affair with that self centered officer guy and then tosses herself in front of a train. I just can’t bring myself to care. Sorry, Tolstoy.

4. In my quest to lose some lbs and get back in shape, I’ve decided to start working out in the morning. Previously, I was trying to exercise while Amelia Earhart and Gertrude Bell are at school and after I put Laura Ingalls Wilder down for a nap. This involved me bribing Arthur Dent with cartoons or games on my iPad and some appetizers to go with, and then afterward admonishing him to “NEVER, EVER, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, answer the door without Mama there, because I JUST NEED A FIVE MINUTE SHOWER, OK? I’LL BE RIGHT BACK!” So, anyway, working out in the morning seemed less stressful. The International Man of Intrigue was kind enough to move the super squeaky imitation Tony Little Gazelle Glider up to our room so I could shut the door and maybe the Little Explorers will stay asleep while I work out, provided they are either really tired or I shove cotton balls in their ears to muffle my fake Gazelle’s screeching. Yesterday went pretty well. Arthur Dent burst through the door halfway through my workout, leaving said door open so the squeaking of the Gazelle could carry and rouse the rest of the Little Explorers. Amelia Earhart stumbled into my room, looking tired and confused, then crawled into my bed and covered her head with a pillow. The workout itself wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to my normal intensity. I think it took my brain half of my workout time to figure out what was going on and pick up the pace. I am not what you’d call a morning person. In any case, the workouts will continue. I’m down three pounds in two weeks and I’d like to keep or pick up the momentum.

5. That, my friends, brings us to the end of the Random 5 for the week. I’m off to pack Amelia Earhart’s lunch for her field trip tomorrow and also prep the crock pot for tomorrow’s dinner. I’m trying a Pinterest recipe for bourbon chicken. What are your favorite HEALTHY (no cream-of-whatever) crockpot or freezer recipes?