These last few weeks of summer break I have been trying to fit in as much fun as humanly possible. School starts in a couple days and although I am a crazy lunatic by 5pm from turning off lights and serving ‘snack’ 37 times a day, I’m gonna miss my sweet monkeys. I mean, who else is going to follow me around for a solid 2 hours with a squeaky rubber ducky?
Side note to My Sweet Lovie: your stamina and dedication to ‘the squeak’ amazes me. Kid, you are going places with that kind of commitment to your cause. You, My Love, are a bad ass.
Side note to self: For the Love of Pete, stop buying squeaky rubber duckies.
Anyway, where was I?
Ah yes, avoiding responsibilities with a bucket full of fun….
I think Darren inherited his amazing cleaning abilities from his grandmother. Man, that woman knew clean. I have never seen a more beautiful sliding glass door track in my life. She even had this beautiful doily in her fridge for her orange juice. A doily. Genius. Yup, you heard me. I’m pro-doily. Say it with me, doily. Doileeeeee.
I worry. It’s what I do. I’m like – really REALLY good at it. I worry that the mole on Emily’s arm looks different. I worry that Darren is too busy. I worry that Maddie’s eye prescription has changed since we checked a couple weeks ago. I worry that Jack-Jack is going to grow up.
I worry that there are mercury vapors in the air. I worry about world hunger & people dying.
I know, I know. My dad was always the first to smack me upside the head.
I’ve found that one of the ways I can keep the worries out of my head AND an added bonus of keeping them from turning into anxieties, is to have projects. Lots and lots of projects.
Darren can usually tell worries are on high alert when he comes home to a newly decorated bathroom. Poor guy.
I’m pretty lucky that over here in New House Land, I have projects coming out of my whozits. One of the projects I am working on now is the entry from the garage. I don’t like how neglected this area is and I would like to turn this into a welcoming, warm and functioning space.
One of my most vivid memories is of Cuba, Kansas on a hot summer night jumping around, catching fireflies. Strange that a town less than half a square mile in its entirety, can manage to have such a big and important place in my heart. My Dad’s parents would spend their summers out in Cuba and Dad would bring all us kids out for some family time. I think Grandma liked their winters in California a million times better than she enjoyed summers out in Kansas, but you would never hear her complain. Grandpa was a Cuba man; he loved the slowness of the town. He always wore blue and white striped overalls and had such a strong presence about him, except when Grandma would give him the stink eye. I got my linebacker shoulders from Grandpa and my stink eye skills from Grandma.
Every trip we always ended up doing 3 things. Hunting for lightning bugs, fighting off the chigger bugs and eating kolaches (pronounced ko-LAH-chee). Man, Cuba women sure did know how to make kolaches, I think it’s the strong Czech influence that just oozes the streets of Cuba. Kolaches remind me of a danish, visually. But don’t let their appearance fool you & don’t you dare ever say the D word out loud, those ladies will bury you alive in their stink eyes.
Kolaches are sweet pillows from heaven that just beg to be served with a hot cup of coffee. My favorite is lemon or cream cheese but I hear that the traditional poppy, apricot or blueberry are delish.
When Maddie was born 13 years ago, we had a fancy digital camera. And by fancy, I mean that it was like 1 pixel and the zoom was horrible. I don’t even think I knew that spatial resolution was a thing. I was filling up the memory card every day BEFORE Darren would get home from work and the poor guy would have to load everything to the computer the second he walked in the door. I had jpegs coming out of my whozits.
It was so great; I was going to make scrapbooks and document everything and be the most amazing mom in the history of ever.
Pfft – that’s funny.
I took a couple pictures when Emily was born and I don’t think I could even find a camera or my phone that first year after Jack-Jack was born.
The good news is that all 3 of them were identical when they were babies. When they ask who is in a picture, I always tell them it’s them (what? Come on, don’t judge. Next you’re gonna tell me the smoke detectors in every room aren’t really Santa cams…Dude, you’re mean)
Fast forward a couple years of zero documenting & zero scrapbooking. That (air quote) Most-Amazing-Mom thing isn’t working out so well. I know, I’m shocked too.
Then came Shutterfly and the angels sang down to me.
They say to continue to grow, I need to step out of my comfort zone and start writing differently, the term ‘Flash Fiction’ keeps popping up as something I ‘need’ to do – even learning how to ‘vlog’ should be on my to-do list. I don’t know if I will ever be able to vlog, even pod-casting freaks me out. Could you imagine how incoherent that would be? I ramble enough in print AFTER editing it down. Sharing my thoughts here seems to be ‘raw’ enough. So for now, I’m taking it nice and slow out of my comfort zone and doing a top 10 list.
I asked Darren the other day what type of top 10 he thought I would be able to do, ‘what topic do I even know 10 things?’
1. 10 ways to be driven crazy by your husband before 8am
2. 10 steps to the perfect Full Body Eye Roll
3. 10 euphemisms for Sweet Husband when you really want to call him something else
4. 10 ways to tell your husband he is not funny and to seriously brain storm with you
Dude, I would rock those lists – but how embarrassing that there are only 4, not even 10. I can’t even do 10 hilarious sarcasm lists. *ugh*
And then it hit us both. My Amazon shopping
I don’t know sports. Like REALLY don’t know sports.
One of the first dates Darren took me on was an evening of Putt-Putt. There was this kid in front of us…he was maybe 10 years old and kept saying ‘I hit that outta here like Larry Walker’ and would then look at me, as if he was looking for a ‘wow’ or a ‘good job, Buddy’. Anyway, by like the 10th time he tells me his phrase ‘blah blah blah…Larry Walker..blah blah blah’ I finally say to the kiddo, ‘I’m sorry Buddy, I don’t know golf.’ This kid (and Darren) look at me like I had a second nose, his jaw drops to the floor and he doesn’t speak to me again. My 10 year old entourage was gone. Darren had to explain to me that Larry Walker was baseball and the goal in golf WAS NOT to hit the ball like that. Oh.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads I know. I truly think they all RAISE THE BAR of that DAD GIG and I am amazed. Especially that husband of mine. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to convince Darren that they cancelled Father’s Day this year, but he didn’t fall for it (again). The kids and I are going to be celebrating Darren today and one thing we ALWAYS include in a celebration is food, lots and lots of food.
We don’t eat very much red meat over here. Unless you count the ground beef we use for Taco Tuesday. Darren has 2 favorite red meat recipes, well…3 actually. The first one is a Beef Wellington that I haven’t made in a million years. The second is a grilled steak with a gorgeous chimichurri sauce, I think Darren wept the first time he tried it. The third is a Marinated Flank Steak, today for Father’s Day we are making the Marinated Flank Steak.
Ok, ok, ok. Just listen for a second….don’t freak out…stay with me…
I like being old. (gasp)
Yes, sometimes I do miss 20 something me. She was adorable. She had great skin, the metabolism of whatever has great metabolism, and this naturally highlighted hair that I would pay money for. Scratch that, I do pay money for. But dude, she worried so much about what other people thought of her. I wish I could go see her & slap her upside the head. Tell her to snap out of it. I remember this one woman, she gave me the stink eye…or maybe the sun was in her eyes? I just lost it. I made this woman my life. Showing her that I was cool, there must have been some misunderstanding. You must like me, why wouldn’t someone like me? Is there something wrong with me? Why? Why? Why? And then I would end up in the fetal position crying in my closet because this lady now thinks I’m totally off my meds and a wack-a-doodle.
*sigh* rinse and repeat.
One of the questions I ask myself when trying to figure out what I want to write about is ‘what has been going on in Schroeder Land this week’…
There are a million projects I need to get done, so that’s out.
I’m only one week into Summer Break with 500 Schroeder kids, so talking about following everyone around turning off lights and saying NO to having ice cream for the 7th snack today is totally out.
Wait, there are only 3 Schroeder kiddos running around this place – I guess anything involving math is out.
I have no idea what to make for dinner, so that’s out too.
What I do know this week, probably the only thing I’m sure of…
My new mascara.
(Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either)
It is said that in ancient Egyptian times darkening the eyelashes was believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the soul. I do love a protected soul and we all know evil spirits are Lame-o, capital L. They might be the stinkers taking all the socks. Jerks.
I spent a few summers in Tulsa, Oklahoma with my Grandparents when I was a kid. I spent most of the time in the kitchen with my Nana. I learned how to make quite a few family dishes out there in good ‘ole Tulsa when I was 8…Tuna Casserole, Goulash, Apple Crisp, and what I was told was Waldorf Salad.
Turns out what I was told is Waldorf Salad is NOTHING like real Waldorf Salad.
Well, the apples and walnuts are the same, but other than that NOT EVEN CLOSE.
I think I cried the day I ordered a Waldorf Salad from a restaurant. There is a huge difference between a whip cream dressing and a mayonnaise dressing.
Huge difference. What the heck Nana?
Way back in the day, I used to watch the news while getting ready to go to work. My favorite was the first few minutes of the Today Show I would get to watch. One morning there was a CRAZY talented soccer player on and she was talking about sportsmanship. She mentioned that when she was a kid and playing Pee Wee Soccer, her Grandfather would give her 25 cents for a goal and a dollar for an assist.
That might be one of the most amazing things I’ve heard in the history of ever.
Putting more emphasis in helping rather than doing and the notion that it is not always about you, it just oozes of humility and grace.
I love nature. Really I do. Nature is amazing and gives me a plethora of inspiration. My soul just feels content when I can hear the ocean or the wind in the trees. My entire body decompresses the second my feet touch a warm sandy beach. Nature is a muse unlike any other.
But the second that nature enters my home my stress level rises just the teensiest bit.
Our first story starts with the adorableness that is Darren and my first apartment. I was a huge fan of the buy 10 get 1 free deals at the grocery store and he was a huge fan of leaving open soda cans on any flat surface he could find. Darren had tossed a kitchen towel towards the sink and it knocked over a full can of soda all over the counter and the floor. As I was cleaning it up I noticed these little black specks. They made me wonder when was the last time I had used pepper and how in the world did I get pepper way over here. Until the pepper moved.
One of my favorite treats was candied spiced apple rings. WAS.
I made the mistake of loading up on the stuff at a salad bar when I was little, only to be fooled that canned beets looked exactly the same as my beloved candied apple rings. So, there I sat with a plate full of beets and a mother advising that since ‘I just HAD to have it, then I just HAVE to eat it’
It may be a little dramatic to say this was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.
On that day I decided my darling candied spiced apple rings were nothing but traitors and I vowed never to be fooled by their beauty again.
I learned this same lesson when someone was serving rumaki. How was I supposed to know the traditional ingredients included chicken livers and dates?
What the what? Who does that?
I can’t believe it was only 4 years ago. It had to have been 5. A sweet dear friend of mine did something incredibly kind and I was having quite an evening of insomnia trying to figure out some way to reciprocate the kindness. Boy oh boy do I enjoy being extravagant with thank yous. It fills my heart. Being able to oooh and ahhh over someone and let them know how stinkin’ amazing they are, it’s my jam. Dude, I should just carry confetti in my pocket and just throw it in the air whenever I want to say thank you to you. Ohhhh, and a band, I can have a band follow you….and churros. Brilliant, I’ll get a guy with his churro cart to follow you for the day. Oh yeah, this is like the best idea in the history of ever. I’m totally calling my churro guy.
The tricky part of this particular situation is that I was on a beans and rice budget and was struggling to make ends meet. There was no way Darren was going to be cool with me going all sorts of exorbitant the way I would like. He’s Lame. Yup, capital L. Churro guy and I BOTH roll our eyes at him.
It was the summer of 1984. I was teeny with an even teenier brother and sister. Dad was driving us home from something when he stopped the car suddenly. The three of us, who probably didn’t even know what a seat belt was, went sliding around the back of the station wagon – like three adorable little bumper cars. I peeped up and noticed we were in the middle of the neighborhood, right next to the park and the elementary school. Dad hopped out of the car, picked something up out of the middle of the road and jumped back in with his new treasure. The 3 of us monkeys climbed over all the seats like ravaged animals to see what he was holding. It was a turtle, a beautiful, shiny green box turtle – roaming the suburban streets of Colorado.
When I think back to that moment, I often wonder if I would be able to notice a box turtle in the street. I’d like to say that I can, but I’m sure Darren is more of the box turtle in the middle of the street noticing type.
I was curious about frozen pizza. Well, I’m curious about a bazillion things, but for this teeny moment in time, it was just frozen pizza. I wondered why we always got the same brand. Was it because it really was the best, or was it the cheapest? Or was it just tradition? Was there something better out there? How much had the frozen pizza world changed since I was a wee little one drooling over a Totino’s Party Pizza?
Going out for pizza was always so much better than a frozen pizza when I was growing up. Frozen was a last resort, a very desperate second choice to going to. Heck, even desperate second to that creamed spinach hiding in the freezer. I crossed my fingers that there had been some improvements in the frozen pizza world in the last 10 years. Ok fine, 20 years.
I’ve been having the darndest time trying to think of a recipe to post. I’ve been trying to do one a week and I let 2 weeks slide by without one mention of food. Me? Not mention food? Cray.
We haven’t been camping in what, 12 years? Wow, that seems so long. Well….. not really since I’m not really a fan of camping. It’s just not my thing. I may have wept tears of joy when the trip got cancelled due to there still being snow on the ground up there at 9,000 feet above sea level.
What was the first thing I did when I received the
excellent horrible news? I started looking at Newport Beach vacays. But alas, 2 days notice over a holiday weekend does not leave me many choices and as much as I would LOVE to spend 8 thousand dollars on airfare, I decided the camping gods were just giving me a long weekend to play catch up. I’ll take it.
The camping peeps then sent out an invite for a BBQ for today. We happily accepted and said we would bring some potato salad.
I’ve never made potato salad. I just HAD to say potato salad didn’t I? I couldn’t say margaritas or a Strawberry Rhubarb pie? What the heck Schroeder?
We sure do talk about my brilliant choices quite a bit. With my daughter’s 13th birthday right around the corner, I’m constantly reminded of one of my brilliant choices I made when I was 13. Well, that AND it is literally tattooed to my person.
That’s right. I gave myself a tattoo when I was 13.
See, I told you it was a brilliant choice.
I stumbled across a choices circle on Pinterest a while back during one of my many 2am insomnia sessions. I was once again smacking myself upside the head that I hadn’t thought of the idea myself. The idea is that when you are faced with a difficult situation, it helps you figure out an appropriate and constructive solution. I don’t think there is a Schroeder on this planet where this wouldn’t be a useful tool. Present company included.
Let’s say, the problem is that Sally keeps taking my red crayon. Although some might thing the appropriate response would be to go for the jugular and scream ‘No’. I’ve learned from experience that this is socially unacceptable and quite frowned upon and maybe a little on the illegal side. Maybe this ‘wheel-o-choices’ can help us brush up on a social skill or two? Is that ever really a bad idea?