Tuesday
Mar142017

Life Is Not Fair

There is no doubt that little kid activities are a special brand of painful. They require all of the patience as you suffer through rooms filled with parents who are absolutely positive that their little angel is the future star of the universe. Dance class ranks really high on that painful list. The parents are extra special, the repetition of the classes is mind-numbing, and you usually can't see much of your own kid because all of the other kids are always in the way.

But, if you suffer through, at some point your little kid becomes a big kid and suddenly activities are just dandy. You can drop the kid off and run away! You can stay and watch how amazing your kid is! You can drop the kid off and run away! Did I mention that you don't have to stay? Because you don't have to stay!

Obviously, I'm way deep in that big kid dandiness. I absolutely love dance class these days, even. Thanks to the glory that is dance, I have three whole hours slotted on Mondays to do errands. Things like groceries, library book returns, whatever. I can do whatever for three hours because I don't have to stay at dance!

If anybody wants to know what I want for Mothers Day, that's it. Three hours to do whatever I want. I'd also like that for Christmas, my birthday, and any other holidays that need a little more celebrating. I may have it most Mondays, but that doesn't mean I don't want it more. Alone time is the bestest. I get SO much done.

Sadly, all good things come at a price. While dance class is mostly glorious these days, there is that pesky photo day thing. It's the day when the dancers all put on their recital costumes, get gussied up with fancy hair and perfect makeup, and pose in bizarre positions. It wouldn't be all that bad, but I have to stay. Alexis asks for help with her hair and makeup, plus the whole costume change thing is troublesome.

By the way, I had to take a class on how to do dance makeup. As in, I gave up perfectly good ME TIME to learn how the dance team is supposed to wear false eyelashes. I've never worn false eyelashes, but I am way versed in the methods and stuff. Don't ask about what I know about eye shadow because I will deny everything. So there.

ANYWAY, this year's dance photos were spread over two evenings. The first episode was just fine. Mostly, anyway. I handled hair down to hair in a ballerina bun to whatever, and I did it while fixing the makeup on the kid who keeps trying to look too adult. It was a painful two hours, but I survived.

And then I celebrated because WHOOPS, I didn't realize that the other night of dance photos happened to fall during the week when I am travelling for work. It was, for real, an accident, but I wasn't sad. Alexis can handle herself just fine; she just needs some encouragement. I can handle encouragement via phone and when I do that, I don't have to handle humans. Everybody is a winner.

But the real winner was the husband. He manages to dodge all things related to dance, so go ahead and imagine my glee when I realized he would have to suffer through 3 hours of dance photos. Just writing that sentence makes me grin because COME ON. The men deserve to suffer once in a while. It's just a fact.

Except, as the report goes, he walked into dance on the day of photos and was told, "Go ahead and do what you need to do until 8:15. We got this."

He managed to get out of sitting through photos.

Without trying.

HOW IS THIS FAIR?

IMG_6100

Monday
Mar132017

Pep Talks and Stuff

I don't mean to put too much emphasis on some behaviors that might really mean nothing, but YOU GUYS. I think maybe there is hope that Mila won't actually burn down the universe. If this were Vegas and I were putting money on the situation, I'd give REAL good odds to her having a conscience.

Shocking, I know.

It's been questionable for all of her life mostly because she is immune to the mom glare. I mean, who is immune to the mom glare? Not humans, that's for sure. And yet, Mila can cause all of the drama and then laugh in my face when I give her that look.

Just a reminder - THAT look is the one that makes Alexis cry instantly. There's a reason why I save it for very special situations.

ANYWAY. Mila is starting to show signs of caring about consequences and of feeling guilt. Actual, real guilt. There are tons of signs, but I think the most obvious was a little conversation she had with herself last week. We were in the car, as we often are, when she suddenly remembered something she apparently did at daycare. She then gave herself a little pep talk about the whole thing.

"It's not nice to hit, Mila. Say 'sorry.'"

"I sorry."

"Good job, Mila, That's good manners."

Maybe it all means nothing, but I like to think it means she is starting to understand that 9/10th of doing things you shouldn't is making sure you apologize no matter what. Progress!

IMG_6120

Sunday
Mar122017

Nena's Blueberry Muffins

My life has been changed.

IMG_6067

I thought I knew what a good blueberry muffin tasted like, but then I found out what a GOOD blueberry muffin tastes like.

IMG_6068

This recipe came to me via Sarah who got the recipe from her grandmother. Her grandmother is one of the many people of that generation who entered the United States through Ellis Island. Says Sarah:

My Grandma "Nena" was Irish to the bone. She had a huge temper and an even bigger passion for life. She took that passion with her to the kitchen where she made the best meals of anyone ever. I have no idea if this recipe is one that she brought with her from Ireland or not and I don't care. There are no better muffins.

Sarah is right.

IMG_6075

I mean, seriously. I have a witness and everything.

IMG_6078

Thanks for sending the recipe, Sarah! Other than the part where I've eaten four of the muffins in less than 24 hours, my life is better now than it was before you shared. And so is Mila's.

IMG_6084

(If you've got a recipe passed down from an immigrant, please send it to me! burghbaby (at) gmail (dot) com.)

Blueberry Muffins (makes 18 muffins)

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2/3 cup nonfat milk
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 cups blueberries

Streusel Topping

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin pan or put muffin liners in the pans.

2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the vegetable oil, eggs, milk, and lemon extract. Fold in the blueberries.

IMG_6030

3. Fill the muffin cups nearly to the top with muffin batter.

4. To make the steusel, mix together the sugar, flour, and butter with a fork. Put a bunch of steusel on top of each muffin.

IMG_6036

IMG_6039

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are light brown.

IMG_6050