Saturday, January 28, 2012

Seasoned Veteran

Today was our UB women's basketball alumni day. It's a super fun day where all of us old ladies get to relive our glory days on the court together. Huffing and puffing, probably looking unrecognizable to anyone who once watched us play many moons ago, we are competitive, but we've learned to laugh at ourselves as well...and today, there was a lot of laughing in our competitive 3 point game. I'm not gonna lie. It's a day that I look forward to every year, because once a year I get to return to the court with the very girls I wasn't able to play with in my last two years of college because of my injury.

Afterwards they feed us lunch and allow us to participate in the pregame announcements as the current women's team gets hyped up, and then we sit to enjoy the game.

This is all wonderful fun, but this blog isn't really about basketball. At half-time of the game Jelani took the kids down to play in the bounce house while I chatted with my old college roommates. Pretty soon I heard, "Erin!" I looked to see Jelani pointing urgently at Chastity, as she was frantically putting her shoes on.

Potty duty.

I rushed down the bleachers to be met by a pleasant stench. "Chastity pooped in her pants...again," Jelani informed me. Yes, again. While I was playing in my alumni game, my mom had to rush Chastity to the restroom to clean her up for the same reason. Chastity has been diaper free, except at night, for months now. So we stopped carrying a diaper bag with us well before Christmas. I could not believe this was happening again. I rushed her to the women's locker room to clean her up, only to find that this accident was a not-so-dry accident. I had to clean her underwear out, with my hands, in the toilet. Once all the gunk was off in the toilet, I took them to the sink and had to wash them out with hand soap. Then I had to dry them with the hand dryer. I had cleaned up her bottom the best I could, but as many moms know, without wet wipes, it will never be good enough. Once the underwear were dry, I put them back on her, and went after the pants, which had also acquired a stain from the mess. I washed them in the sink with the hand soap and proceeded to dry them, which took forever. Of course they are the thickest pair of sweatpants she owns. I must have pushed that hand dryer button back on 50 times. Meanwhile, I began to smell something again. I thought it was just a minor smell from the pants I was drying, but it got stronger. I looked at Chastity who was standing 5 feet from the toilet. OH NO.

Yep. She pooped in the underwear I had just finished cleaning...just 5 feet from the toilet!!! Seriously? I rushed her back into the stall, and began the process all over again. My brain was saying, "I can't believe you are that mom. You're the mom that cleans out her kid's underwear in a public restroom toilet. You're that mom who the women passing by either nod in understanding or pity at, or look at you like you're disgusting. You are the mom with her hands in a public toilet, not once, but TWICE. And you're the mom that wants to do this all over again...

And you're the mom that is now a seasoned veteran looking forward to the next part of the journey."

Didn't see that coming, did you

The stats:
Due date: August 15, 2012
Gender: We plan to find out as soon as we can!
Names: We never tell names until we're holding our baby. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cooking with Courage

After hearing about so many of my friends buying their groceries once a week, once every two weeks, or even ONCE A MONTH, I decided to look into it, try it, and see if it could really save me money. Now, we live right down the street from three different grocery stores and absolutely don't have the space for a month's worth of food, so shopping only once a month isn't really practical for us at this time, so I tried about 2+ weeks. I planned out my meals (thanks to Pinterest), wrote out my grocery list, and went out for a torturous shopping trip. This was exactly 10 days ago.

That evening I spent chopping and freezing six crock pot meals, taking a total of five hours from beginning to end. And that night, we ate frozen pizza, because who has time to make a meal, while they're currently making six? I wasn't convinced that this bulk shopping was going to save me money, and I wasn't convinced that all this work in one day was going to be worth it, but I was willing to give it an honest try. And I have learned some very important lessons, I will share with you tonight.

In 10 days, due to left overs and eating out once with my parents, I've made six different meals. I love trying new recipes, but of these six, only two stood out as recipes I'd ever make again; only one completely avoided the trash. The slow cooker chicken enchilada casserole was bad, but edible and since it lasted three nights, we choked most of it down. Sour cream was our saving grace there. However, nothing could have prepared me for the hot mess that was tonight's dinner. I would like to credit the blogger, but I won't, because she's apparently a very notable blogger, and I don't want to embarrass her. Also, I'm wondering if such a meal is just something that most people either love or hate. OR maybe it's something, like chicken enchiladas, which should never be made in a crock pot.

So tonight, for the first time, I tried chicken curry. It was a slow cooker freezer recipe. It seemed harmless enough, and even smelled good while I was adding all the ingredients into the freezer bag. This morning I pulled it out of the freezer, let it thaw for about 30 minutes, per blog instructions, then dumped it into the crock pot all day. It smelled potent, but good right up until I lifted the lid. Then I became nauseous with the strength of the stench. I still figured I'd give it the benefit of the doubt. I served it up after the proper amount of cooking time. We all sat, and stared, and smelled it. It looked like vomit with a few vegetables floating around. We all took our "no thank you" bites, and had our respective gag reflexes, and I found myself heading out to Wegman's, in a snow storm, for some frozen pizza.

There's a reason hungry people shouldn't go grocery shopping, and hunger combined with the taste and smell of something awful clinging to you, is a recipe for disaster. I couldn't even think straight at the grocery store. I was like a kid in the candy shop, bouncing from one side of the store to the other, smelling the curry with every move I made. After about 30 minutes (remember I originally only went for frozen pizza), I left Wegman's with three different kinds of cooked sushi, two boxes of Fruit Flats, one rather large round loaf of pumpernickel bread with dill dip, a bag of Doritos, some Keebler cookies, five lemons (to make lemon water to combat the chicken curry induced nausea (ironically an idea I found from the very same chicken curry blogger)), TWO frozen pizzas with vegetable toppings so I wouldn't feel like a horrible mother, and toilet paper because I remembered, just before checking out, that we were on our last roll.

I made it home safely and we had a delicious, eclectic dinner around 7:30; the four of us, and the curry smell that has now taken up residence in our apartment.

What I've learned from all this? Slow cooker freezer meals are overrated. So far only one of those meals (Jambalaya) has been a minor success, which means my five hours spent in the kitchen, cramping from the chopping, where a waste of my time. Also, bulk grocery shopping and meal planning can and will save you money if you stick to meals you know are good. If you don't count tonight's desperation, I've only made one other trip to the store in 10 days, and that was just for milk, juice, and bread. You just can't try to get all fancy-chef-pants like I did. If you do decide to get all fancy-chef-pants, do it for maybe one meal a week (not the whole two week's worth of meal planning), then be sure to keep frozen pizzas in your freezer for such disasters as these, so you don't find yourself out in a snow storm, going stark raving mad at all the palatable possibilities at the store.

Thus the second pizza I bought tonight. I have not yet finished going through the new recipes I shopped for ten days ago, and now, that pizza in the freezer gives me the courage I need to press onward.

In case you're wondering about the winning recipe; the one in which not a single drop of leftovers hit the trash can: Buffalo Chicken Chowder. Not only palatable, but perfection *kisses fingers*. Fond memories of that are what got me through tonight, and still get me through, as I sit here and smell tonight's disaster with every keystroke. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ohhh, I Get It Now

Most of my blogs are pretty easily thrown into the "mommy" or "wife" categories, and while this one does resemble those categories, it is directed specifically to the single ladies, so take note!

Every so often I catch a chick flick of a movie where the single woman is either annoyed, turned off, or offended by a guy's close relationship with his mother. Occasionally you see one where the roles are reversed, but I can only speak from the woman's perspective. And I can't help but notice that affectionate fathers and daughters are much more socially acceptable than mothers and sons.

Of course Hollywood really plays it up and makes it appear much worse with mothers giving their grown sons sloppy wet kisses, and questionable, intimate scenes. In real life, however, you're most likely to find less magnified versions of this where the mother and son hold each other in longer than average embraces, possibly still give light smooches on the lips, and maybe sit strangely close together on the couch as if cuddling. And we, women who claim to adore affectionate men, turn around running and make fun of them to all our friends.

But here's the thing, it's terribly difficult to understand the dynamic of a mother and son relationship until you've had a son, so here's a little tip from a mother of a son. Don't be so quick to judge, and really examine his character within this relationship before you decide to run. Very often a man who is affectionate and loving with his mother makes a wonderful, affectionate husband and father. I agree that there are some things that are unacceptable, and that even the somewhat acceptable might be awkward and uncomfortable, but as I sit in my chair, snuggled up to my four-year-old son, who still cuddles, and lets me hold him, and still kisses me straight on the mouth, I can't help but hope that he remains affectionate with me the rest of my life. I do not intend to be a clingy, creepy mother, but I do hope that he willfully chooses to still love on me from time to time as he gets older.

My dad always told me that a child's love is the only love that grows away from you, but I believe that while children become more independent, their love can still be a faithful and unconditional love. It is just the physical and emotional manifestations of it which may change over the years. And my theory is that a man who can remain faithfully loving and affectionate to his mother throughout many disagreements and rebellions, might just make the most faithful of husbands.

I'm not naive, nor do I expect our relationship to stay the same over the years. I do expect that Elijah will be an independent man who prays about and makes his own decisions, makes his own sandwiches, and wipes his own rear end. Otherwise I will have failed miserably. However, I do occasionally expect some unprompted affection from my son who once needed me to do all of those things for him.

As I kiss Elijah's head, I ask, "Will you cuddle with me forever?"
"Yes, Mommy," he answers with a smile, and for a moment I can forget that someday, some girl somewhere, might wish he wasn't so close with his mother, and though I was once one of those girls, I get it now.