Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Eating Tacos Made #1 This Year

A List of Things I'm Thankful For
Sponsored by Jon 
And His Fancy Clothes
And the Nutcracker
That Jon is Attending
For the Fifth Year in a Row
While Wearing a Tie

1. Eating Tacos.
Well, maybe more specifically eating tacos by myself, after slogging down to the nearest taqueria in my yellow rain boots and back, by myself, without any small voices complaining about not wanting to eat tacos "because I only like squashed up beans, Mommy", because I was all by myself. These are quite possibly the most awesome tacos ever! And, yes, I totally realize I'm eating tacos from Seattle. Presentation, man, it's everything.

2. Fleece leggings.
Jon bought fleece leggings to wear while biking in the winter, like six years ago. Biking in the winter is hard, so I'm totally not judging. But, his leggings have been sitting there, all lonely and neglected in the dresser drawer. Guys? I've never been so warm and comfortable! Pish! Yoga pants? So last week!

3. Santa Claus.
Because he does the bulk of the present wrapping for me each year. Hahahahahaha! Who am I kidding? That fat guy's been slacking ever since I left for college all those years ago.
But I eat all his cookies now.
So we're even.

4. Pandora.
Because where else can I make a Christmas radio station that almost exclusively plays Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Beach Boys, Dean Martin and, obviously, Gene Autry. It's not Christmas until Gene sings "Here Comes Santa Claus".

5.  Foam Board.
Jon wanted a fake Christmas tree this year. I gave in:

Anyone want to bet what percentage of presents under the tree are books?
Nevermind, that's too easy.

6. Coffee.
Because it's delicious. And because otherwise I might be tempted to sleep through all four hours I have to spend by myself instead of wrapping presents while Jon sits through yet another Nutcracker performance. Luckily Jon's dates are the cutest ever.

Merry Christmas to one and all! 

Now go away. I have tacos to eat.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Present! For Me!?! *rustle*rip*rustle*tear* Well. This is Embarrassing.

'Tis the season for White Elephant exchanges. Hey! No groaning and mumbling about "useless junk disguised with a sparkly bow"! Because, dudes, they're FUN! I mean, you never know what kind of awesome you'll find under that snowman wrapping paper! Is it a singing pig? An oil painting of a shih tzu? A set of perfectly matched jaguar salt and pepper shakers? Or the most awesome game from your childhood that you never owned!?!

That's right, Katie and Ellie, Mamma's gonna break out the yoga pants! We got a game to play!

But then.

There's the truly awful presents hiding under the tree.

What? I'm sorry, what's that you ask?

Oh! What was Jon's White Elephant score at the party?


Hahahahahahaha! He hates it so much!
But it's a book!

And you know what preschoolers like to have read to them, right?


You can't say no to their cute little chubby faces.

At least not at Christmas time.

So I did what any self respecting, educationally minded, mother would do.

I gathered all the little children unto me, and under the glow of the Christmas tree lights,

I read it to them.

And, in the spirit of all White Elephant exchanges happening all over the world this week, settle in, all cozy like, with that cup of hot cocoa, I have a story to tell.

Twilight: New Moon:
A Paraphrase for Preschoolers

Once upon a time there was a girl named Bella who liked hiking.

She liked hiking in the woods, specifically, because she thought apples were very interesting. And apples grow on trees and she wanted to study them in their natural habitat. She really liked science and stuff.

She also had a friend named Edward, that she thought was really interesting and cool and stuff, and she would invite him to go with her to apple orchards, farmers markets, botany lectures at the local university, you know, places to learn all the interesting things about apples.

But, Edward never seemed to enjoy learning about apples as much as Bella did.

In fact, he secretly thought apples were boring! (*gasp* I know!)

But, sometimes? Sometimes they seemed to have a lot of fun together.

But Bella thought they could still be friends if she pretended not to like apples all that much. (By the way, kids, this is never a good way to make friends.)

Then, when Edward invited her over to his house, Bella brought some special apples as a gift for his family to enjoy. It didn't go well.

Because they hated apples more than Edward.
In fact, the pro/con apple debate was fierce that night.

Jasper, especially, had a hard time
keeping his apple rebuttal civil.
Obviously, Edward's family was not using their polite manners.

And then? One day? When Edward leaned over and smelled Bella's hair (as he would do every once in awhile, which, let's face it, is weird and creepy) he said,

"Oh my gosh, Bella! You totally reek of apples! Don't you ever bathe? It's disgusting! I don't want to be friends with such a Stinky McStinky Pants!"
And then Edward left, and Bella was sad, because she thought Edward was her friend even though he wasn't very nice to her most of the time.

Until, one day, when Bella was headed to school, her dad stopped her and said, 
"Bella, he was a weird hair smelling guy who doesn't support your apple interests. I mean, did he even read any of your articles in the Scientific Journal about apple hybrids? No! He didn't! You're better than this. Move on." 

So, Bella found a new friend. His name was Jacob.

And they had a good time together. He seemed to be interested in her apple research.

Until he joined the swim team.

Suddenly, Jacob didn't want to hang out with Bella anymore. He returned all the botany and horticulture textbooks he'd borrowed because his coach told him to. This made Bella angry. So she confronted the swim team, to find out why Jacob couldn't be interested in apples and swimming.

It didn't go well. Because they used their angry voices. Which wasn't nice at all.

So, a little sad but still determined to be Jacob's friend somehow, Bella decided to join try and join the swim team.
And, one day, when the swim team was practicing their high headed crawl in the choppy waters of the Pacific Ocean, Bella swam out to join them. But, the combination of an extra large Grapple apple as a pre-swim snack and her open water swimming inexperience...
was almost deadly. Because, as everyone knows, you should wait at least a half hour after eating before swimming. Luckily, Jacob was there to pull her out of the water so she didn't drown. Which also proves how very very important swim lessons are.
After all that, you'd think that they would be friends again. But they weren't.

And Bella was sad again. Because Jacob didn't want to be her friend either, and it was obvious Jacob hadn't read one word of the horticulture books she'd lent him, because, apples totally float.

Bella was extra sad for awhile, until she realized that both Jacob and Edward were just really big silly heads who didn't know how to be good friends and that she shouldn't try and be someone she wasn't to keep their friendship. So, instead, Bella worked really hard on her school work and won a scholarship to Harvard, where there are all sorts of nice people, and where they have a really good botany program. While attending Harvard she was able to study all the interesting things about apples she wanted. And she was happy.

The End


Edward eventually realized what a bad friend he had been, and it made him sad. So he drew dots on his face with a marker.
Which was silly. Because we never never ever ever draw on ourselves with markers. 

Jacob never learned how to be a good friend to humans, which was very sad. So he began hanging out with wolves instead. His wolf pack name was Dory.

This is how wolves smile in selfies. 

PS Like with the preschoolers, I skipped all the awkward kissing parts. You're welcome.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sometime Internal Editing Is A Good Thing, Geraldine. Just Ask Jon.

We were all out celebrating Mabel's birthday last weekend (completely good time, b-t-y) and, Dudes, I kid you not, Geraldine totally said, to my face, "You know? You shouldn't edit all the stuff that comes into your head so much. Just let it out!"

I know! (giggle, giggle) For realsie!

Unfortunately, Geraldine, this guy already made that video:

P.S. That last story time? The one with the snake? Guys, I totally did that to Jon when we were out hiking in the desert once. And, oh my gosh, it was awesome! I laughed, and laughed and laughed.... Buuuuut... I was kinda the only one laughing.  And, Jon kinda hates it when I tell that story. Because, apparently, it's "not funny, Martha, it was mean". But, Dudes! Did you see that guy jump in the video? That was hilarious! Right?... Guys? Um, hello.... Can anyone hear me? (tap tap tap) Is the Internet on?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

All Things TURKEY!

This Thanksgiving, as I looked around my nice warm house with the books and the coffee and the (at the moment) well behaved children, I realized something was missing. Something important. Something amazing. Something with feathers and a bright red wattle. That's right. My TURKEY! poster. It had become a sad, sad casualty of the moving process that we suffered through over a year ago. (WE suffered!?! What about the TURKEY! poster? WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE TURKEY! POSTERS?) And, truthfully, dudes, this amount of awesome shouldn't be kept, rolled and stored away in a dark, cold and lonely poster tube.
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
So, in honor of all the Thanksgiving celebrations that happened this week, including an extra 3 days off of school (Yes, over and above the traditional four day weekend the Pilgrims gave their school age children.) I finally hung the most awesome poster ever printed! In my office! Which is really just the far end of the dining room table. It adds that touch of class that'd been missing from all those formal meals we host, you know?

Now, on cold nights, cuddled up next to the fire, I like to think Benjamin Franklin is smiling down from heaven in all his turkey approval. (What-e-ver, Smithsonian. I wasn't even talking to you.)

So, this Thanksgiving? What am I thankful for?

An awesome TURKEY! poster finally displayed in all it's well earned glory.

And pie.

With ice cream on top.

And my family.

But not in that order.


Let's be honest. It all depends on how hungry I am.

But how about Jon? What's he thankful for, you ask?



Because otherwise my, one, elegant, understated, Audrey Hepburn-isc TURKEY! poster would be flanked by


like these...

that are...


Duuuude. Never mind! Audrey Hepburn was completely overrated.

I'm gonna need a bigger wall.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

All You NaNoWamO* People Are Crazy! How Do You Find The Time?

Ever wonder, just what the creative writing process looks like in the real world?

You know, by a person who actually writes.

Me too.

I mean, dude!, do they have some sort of secret system that enables them to churn out thousands of words per hour? Do they cheat and use some sort of computer program that does all the writing for them? (Yeah. You saw me. I'm totally looking at you, Daisy Meadows.) Or. You knoooow what? Maybe, it's drugs. Not like illegal drugs, people. More like those legal kind of drugs used by the government to lace all the food and coffee those Initiative army guys drank and stuff. *sniff*sniff*sip*sip* Huh. Pretty sure mine just tastes like caffeine.

(Side note: Joking about legal or illegal drugs is never funny. Because drugs are bad. Very bad. Which is why whenever I hand over my travel coffee mug for one of my kids to hold for a minute we have this conversation:
Me: (in my serious voice) Don't drop it. Don't drink it.
Them: (eye roll) I'm not going to drink it, Mommy.
Me: (eyebrow raised) Reeeally? (pause) Why not?
Which, in hindsight, is probably less a "This is your brain on drugs" talk and more of a way to make sure that with the dwindling coffee supplies in the world I'm still going to get my share. And Katie's. And Ellie's. Because good parents plan for the future.)

But now? The coffee is all gone and I'm still sitting here, looking into my computer screen, wondering, where exactly my writing process went wrong today:

Pour a cup of coffee. Open computer. Move a hairbrush, bottle of glue, six books, eight shiny rocks and one almost excavated dinosaur skeleton out of my work space on the dining room table.

Check email and various blogs. Don't reply to anything, because, you have stuff to get done!

See? Look at how much time I saved by putting all those emails off! I'm flying!

Write two sentences. Think. Realize my coffee cup is empty.

Fill coffee cup.
Note: Time includes reheating in microwave, because SOMEONE turned off the coffee pot when we all left the house for school drop off this morning. Again. Gosh. It's not like houses actually burn down from these types of appliances.

Check time. Shoot! Only, like, 35 minutes until preschool pickup! Yell, "WRITE SOMETHING!" Out loud. Because it's more motivating that way.

Writing. Realize I'm "this close" to finishing a WHOLE PARAGRAPH! Do the "I've Written A Whole Paragraph Dance". Include the jazz hands.

The call comes. I answer, because my rear doesn't fit on the tiny toilets they have at Ellie's school.

Edit half finished paragraph. Stare out window. Fall leaves are pretty....

Snap out of fall colors meditation. Realize I have less than five minutes until I have to leave and haven't eaten lunch. Run to kitchen, scoop up last week's pasta sauce with the expired corn tortillas people refuse to eat. (Even if I offer to spread Nutella on them.) Wash "lunch" down with the last of the coffee. Race out of the house.

Write the most amazing witty things! In my head. While driving. And fighting with Siri. Because she's deliberately misunderstanding me. Again. (What the heck does "NASCAR ice skates pretty messes circles around crackers hinge" mean anyway, Siri!?! Wait. No....I remember this one now. Never mind, Siri. My bad.)

Write this post. While Ellie is taking her "night night nap". (Spoiler Alert: She's really playing dress up. Upstairs. By herself. There's a skeleton involved. Because she likes skeletons. And tutus.)


Creativity. It's a hard knock life.

Personal and Private Note To Daisy Meadows: Um, Hi. Daisy Meadows? I'm sorry about that kinda whole you're not a real writer insult-ish kinda thing I kinda wrote, up there, at the top of the post. That wasn't cool. So, um, now that we're good, and, new found besties and all, do you think I could, kinda, stalk you for a bit? Just until I pick up some tips on your awesomely prolific creative process. Wait, uh, did I say stalk? No, there's a better word for that. A legal word. What is it...OH! Intern! That's right! (Mental note: interns are the legal stalkers.) Anyway, I could totally be your intern! Between the hours of 10 and noon. On Tuesday and Friday. Just, you know, think about it. Whatever you decide will be totally fine. Really. PS Your hair is pretty.

*NaNoWamO: (My) Abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month, which is in the month of November when everyone is supposed to write a 50,000 word novel. For realsie. Which is crazy, because by my math, that's like over 1,000 words a day. Do you KNOW how long it takes to count 1,000 words?

7 minutes 52 seconds.

I timed it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Is There A Statistical Difference Between Having A +3 Alertness With A +2 Spirit Score Over A +2 Feint With Only A +3 Intelligence In Your Warrior Cat?

So. How many of you out there have kids reading this series?

Come on. Come on. Show your hands. This is the Internet, so it's not like I can actually call on you and then make you turn to your neighbor and tell them which clan: Thunder, River, Wind or Shadow, you'd be a part of if you were a character in Warriors.

Well, that I think about it, with the advancement of technology and the fact that webcams come stock with all computers nowadays, I probably can! (Quit shaking your head, Jon. They totally work like that! I. Know. I saw it on the Jetson's. So it's for realsie.)

Tell ya' what, I'll start!

If I were a character in Warriors I'd be Wind Clan! Because of their awesome windednessability*. And, obviously, the extra turbo boosts we get whenever we, um, wind...

And you guys?





OK, fine, people.

Be like that.

Don't tell me.

Also? The fact that no one engaged in conversation with me while I was talking directly into my computer does not negate my webcam/video phone theory. Jon. I'm still right. It just takes a little time to break down that third wall....

Anyway, Katie has been reading these books for a bit now, which I thought was great! I've been checking them out from the library for her, carting them around in my purse when we're out and about, and when she forgot to take one of the books up with her to bed running them upstairs for her at night. Obviously, I've been highly supportive. A wonderful mother, some might say. The height, the absolute pinnacle of awesomeness and perfection!

Well, some would say that.

Obviously, not everyone, but....

OK, maybe just me. Whatevs.

But, then, last weekend, as the wind blew the trees around and the rain lashed the windows, we all cuddled up by the fire, a huge bowl of popcorn between the four of us and Katie told us about how, at the back of her Warriors books there's this "really fun looking game!" And, before I could say "I have laundry to do" there we were, all of us playing Warriors: Adventure Game!

Because you can't say no to this face:

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE games. I mean, I've spent years hammering out a sure fire winning strategy for Go Fish! (No. I won't tell you.) I love to move pieces shaped like shoes or elephants around game boards. Spin the spinner? Heck! I'm in! But, a role-playing game? That's a complete cat of a different color.

Specifically, green and yellow.

And named Pickles Stilmeister.

But you know? Once I got over the fact that there's like, 2 billion pages of rules to be printed off the Internet in order to actually play the game at the back of Katie's book, it was pretty fun! Especially, once I realized that if I just spent a few Intelligence points during the game it was totally proper to yell out "I have 3 Smells!" any time I wanted.

As long as I politely excused myself afterwards, of course.

Wind Clan. We got skillz.

*I haven't actually read any of the books. I may not have needed to tell you that.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Superheros? You're Doing It Wrong. Still.

Dark, rain soaked skies?

Pumpkin carved by a four year old sitting on the front steps?

Bowl of candy, including the coveted Recess Peanut Butter Cups, by the front door?
Because, let's face it, it's 9:00 in the morning and I have no control over certain gastronomical encounters.

Creepy music playing on Pandora?
My Michael Bolton station is playing.
At full volume.
Can't get creepier than that.

It's Halloween!

Which means there's going to be a lot of cute little superheros running up and down the streets tonight. And, with all the debates floating around the Internets about what exactly is proper attire for a female superhero, I thought this would be a good time to throw my ramblings out there. Plus, Jon's tired of me yelling at the TV whenever we watch "Castle".

Because there are so many things wrong with this picture. So. Many. Things.

And, so, in order to set the world of female superhero attire to right, Katie and Ellie got all dressed in their costumes this morning. And they dressed properly, Kate Beckett. Properly.

On the left, Katie has chosen a costume with a fun twist on the traditional Supergirl colors of red, white and blue. And, on the right, Ellie is quite thrilled with the sparkly skirt on her Batgirl costume. Now, we can't all be the sparkles and fun, contrasting prints type of superheros, Kate Beckett. I get that. But it's not with your pants that I take issue.

Things I Yell At The TV In The Evenings While Folding Clothes And Watching Castle


Seriously. Imagine, there you are, running down the bad guy on the streets of New York, and suddenly off the East River comes a whoooosh! And? Now you're blinded. By your hair. Because you couldn't be bothered to put a hair tie around your wrist in the morning. So, that second murder that pops up in the last half of the show? Totally on your head. Literally. Because that's where hair grows.

Katie? Ellie? Show her how it's done:

BOOM! And there it is. The practical ponytail.


OK, fine Ms. Beckett, you're right, you can totally effectively use heels of that height as a hammer. However, as a person perpetually late for each and every orchestra concert during my college years causing me to run at full speed through Central Campus in concert attire, I can tell you, comfortable, practical shoes are a must. Because running barefoot through the snow is cold and not worth the potential frost bite.

What type of shoes do superheros wear Katie and Ellie?

That's right. Running shoes. 


Ok, fine, I made that last one up.

I mean, we've all seen "The Incredibles".

We know what having a cape means.

 But! They're so stylish! They flutter out when you run at supersonic speed!

Obviously, Katie and Ellie had to fix that too.

Capes. Thanks to the invention of Velcro, now the most expendable part of every superhero costume!

So, look out Superheros of the world in your inappropriate crime fighting outfits. My kids are comin'. And they mean business.
These are their crime fighting business faces.

We'll be working on those.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Go, Large Birds Of The Sea. Clutch That Prolate Spheroid Between Your Talons. Goal It. Yay.

I made no secret about my lack of interest in the Seahawks last season. I mean, even Twitter heard about it:

In honor of the Super Bowl here's a pic of my bathroom decorated in Seahawks colors. You're welcome.

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Blinded Them. With Science. Or A Huge Amount Of Sugar. It's Hard To Tell.

So last summer, before we headed out of town to go camping for the weekend, I packed sandwiches to eat on the road for dinner. Just peanut butter sandwiches. Ok, not really just peanut butter. They were peanut butter banana sandwiches. OK, fine, not just plain ol' peanut butter banana sandwiches, I added honey, for extra sweetness. And... a secret ingredient! An ingredient that not only fulfilled everyone's vegetable serving for the meal, but also added that nutrient left out of most camping food: fiber. That's right. My secret ingredient was cabbage!
High five for cabbage!
You can't leave me hanging like this!
People are beginning to stare....
It's embarrassing.
For realsie.

OK, fine. Be like that. But, you know what? It was PURPLE cabbage, people! PURPLE!  Which, as everyone knows, is the Fancy Nancy cabbage of the cruciferous world. Which, I thought would sell, at least Ellie, right off. I mean, the girl was wearing a tutu on a camping trip for goodness sakes! But, apparently, one should never put purple cabbage in a peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich. This seemed to be a unanimous conclusion. No matter who I asked. And, believe me, after the reaction I got from three, normally, sweet and lovely faces, I asked a LOT of people.

How-ev-er, after I got over the initial shock of the total and complete disregard for my whimsical culinary sandwich making skills, I was fiiiiine. Reeeally. Besides, you know what? I thought the sandwich was pretty good and I totally enjoyed my sandwich that night. Aaaand, truthfully, the other half of Katie's the next day. And Ellie's the day after that. But. Not Jon's. Because he's an adult and gosh darn it, should be mature enough to eat a peanut butter and cabbage sandwich even if he thinks, "there is something truly wrong with this." Whatevs. Jon.

So, imagine my surprise when this last weekend at Katie's Brownie Bridging ceremony, at which the girls watched me consume my brownie dessert garnished with a single green bean, Katie and Ellie start making a list of science experiments. Kitchen science experiments. And, heh-hem, at the top of their list?

Cabbage. Cake.

And, so, like any good mother, I jumped at the chance to help them achieve their Madam Curie goals. By facilitating the making of their Cabbage Cake. Using the Scientific Method. To prove legitimacy.

Will cabbage taste good in a cake?

Cabbage Cake will be good.
Using purple cabbage will turn the cake a lovely lavender color.

Step 1a:
Shred cabbage into bowl.
How much?
Step 1b:
About this much.
Step 2:
While kids are doing the hard work of shredding cabbage by hand, pile all the sugar you can find into a bowl. Mix in the flour and all the other dry ingredients you need. 
Step 3:
Kids are known for their abundance of energy.
This comes in handy because you discover the mixer is broken so
they need to cream in the butter by hand.
Sing with me! "We're building muscles! We're building muscles!"
Step 4a:
(FYI, this is a personal blog. I can spout any opinion I want.)
Step 4b:
Mix it in!
Using muscles!
Step 4c:
Mix it in.
A lot.
Step 5:
Add milk.
Cow, soy, whatever you want.
This is cow because, according to Ellie, "It's sweeter, Mommy!"
Step 6, 7 and 8:
Fill cupcake tin with cupcake papers.
Fill cupcake papers with batter.
Step 9:
Allow to cool while...
You make the frosting.
For realsie.
Step 10: 
Step 11:
And, finally, and most importantly,
Because sprinkles make everything taste better.
Plus they bring happiness and sunshine.
I'm lying about the sunshine part.

Did you notice all those thumbs? They're pointing up, people. UP. And. They come with smiles.

Cabbage cupcakes taste good.
Sadly, purple cabbage does not turn cake a lovely lavender color.

The REAL Conclusion:
I was right. Purple cabbage tastes good in anything. Including peanut butter, banana and honey sandwiches. Science doesn't lie.

P.S. For all you science sticklers out there, Katie wrote up our results with all the real scientific measurements. Because she's awesome like that.