Small Victories

If you're wondering how good I am at making sure I am not involved in bad choices, I wasn't even home the day that Mila managed to con her way into getting a hamster. I was busy looking at pretty birds at the Aviary with friends, so I didn't set foot in a pet store or help pick a name or anything.

OBVIOUSLY. I only name things after Disney characters. "Jojo" would never have gotten past me.

Regardless, Mila continues to be very excited about this whole thing. She is so excited that she has regressed alllll the way back to SUCKTASTIC when it comes to sleep. Not only has she not slept in her own bed the whole night since that one fateful sleep, she is waking up extra extra extra times and asking to play with the damn hamster. As in, last night at 2:00 she was very convinced that Jojo needed her because he was probably scared of the dark.

If that's true, I might need to give Jojo something to be scared about. Not that I would threaten a hamster or anything ... BUT I MIGHT IF I'M AWAKE AT 2:00 AM AGAIN.

I suspect Jojo feels the same way about the constant lovefest that I do. Mila is going to pet and chase and love and touch and poke and stroke that hamster until it can't stand the sight of humans. She is wearing out her welcome AND HOW. The worst part is that she's super exuberant to the point that she cannot be left unattended around the hamster. She is going to hurt him. Like, I for real am concerned that I will need to buy Jojo a prosthetic leg or two for Christmas. We're on that path right now.

She. Just. Won't. Let. Him. Be.

On one hand, ENOUGH. On the other hand, at least she stayed interested in something for more than 24 hours? Somehow that feels like a victory.



This is Jojo

When all is said and done, grades won't reflect it, but I'll know Mila was the "smarter" of the two girls. They're both smart and wonderful in their own unique ways, but Mila is that kid who plays dumb because she has figured out it benefits her. IN KINDERGARTEN. Alexis may have purposely failed the gifted placement test (true story), but Mila will figure out how to not have to take the test. The girl is smart.

That's why she has been playing exactly one parent for the past several months with this whole hamster thing. There is but one parent who will drop everything and run out to buy another pet and IT'S NOT ME. I have no problem saying, "No." Mila knows that. In fact, she knows I am the Queen of No-landia and the Patron Saint of Awwhellnah. She mentioned it enough to me to make sure that I wouldn't shoot down her scheme at the 11th hour, but she also made sure not to require explicit permission from me at any point. She really handled the whole thing in quite the genius way.

For what it's worth, I saw what was happening. This is one of those cases where Mom is on to your scheming, but she sits back and watches the show. It's a trap. A terrible Mom Is Too Smart Trap.

I let the game stretch out for months. It became a running joke. Mila would ALMOST sleep through the night in her own bed, the condition under which the hamster thing was supposed to be a reward, but she could be counted on to screw it up every single time. And every time the other people in the house would try to convince me that close counts, but then I'd pull out my Awwhellnah paraphanelia and we'd be all good.

MONTHS. I think the so-called deal was first put into place in March. I wrote about it here in August. And then came the end of September.

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Dammit. #morningthings

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There was nobody who was more surprised than Mila that she finally managed to pull it off. For what it's worth, I was awake waaaaaay before her and could have ruined the whole thing for her, but decided to let her win the little game. It seemed like a good idea at the time ...

And then Jojo moved in.


Mila is a level of excited about this development that can best be described as PLEASE STAAAAAAAHP.

Poor Jojo.

He doesn't stand a chance.

Mila loves him so very much. She is going to pet him and smother him and basically he should just chew off his legs now because he is doomed to a life of being loved too much. I'm working on tempering the enthusiasm, but HOOBOY. There is a lot of it.

So that's Jojo's story. He's Mila's hamster who was an award for her FINALLY sleeping in her own bed the whole night. It only took her five years to get there.


Pumpkin Spice Crockpot Applesauce

It has been a few minutes since I first posted the crockpot applesauce recipe. It's still a good one. In fact, it's one that I make at least twice every year right around this time. It's stupid easy and soooooo good.

And then Alexis went and made it better. She pumpkin-spiced applesauce, you guys.


The pumpkin spice is totally optional, but it definitely was a good variation of something we eat a lot this time of year. It's just as pretty as the original, but with a little extra oomph to it.

With or without the pumpkin spice, crockpot applesauce is all that.

Pumpkin Spice Crockpot Applesauce

8-10 large apples - cored, peeled, and cut into chunks
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Honey, if desired

1. Throw the apples into a crockpot. A tip - when cooked down, the apples will take up about half as much space as they do when cut into chunks. I tend to fill my crockpot as much as possible while still getting the lid on it, knowing that I'll get half a crockpot of applesauce out of my efforts.

2. Add the water and lemon juice, and then stir gently. Then add the pumpkin puree and spices. Stir again.

3. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours. (Time varies based on the type of apple. Softer apples cook faster, but you can't really overcook applesauce as far as I can tell.) (Let's just pretend I don't know that because I once left it in the crockpot for 9 hours.) (It was still fine, but I wouldn't recommend trying that yourself.) (I really like parenthesis. Can you tell?)

4. Stir thoroughly to break the apples up completely. You'll know it's done when stirring the apples turns them into applesauce without any effort.

5. Sweeten with honey, if necessary. (It depends on how sweet you like the applesauce and what kind of apples you use. I like to use a blend of 4-5 different kinds of apples and usually end up adding about 2 tablespoons of honey.) Stir, stir, stir.

6. Store in the fridge for up to a week or freeze the applesauce indefinitely.

Or let your 5-year old eat it for every meal for a week. That works, too.