Pied Piper

For what it's worth, I'm not a monster. It's not that I don't like animals; it's that I don't feel the need to have them living in my house. They're work, y'know? I'm not real big on rearranging life so I can get home to let a dog out, for example.

Basically, I like animals just fine. I like them even more when I don't have to deal with them.


Alexis has been home for about 24 hours and has spent 20 of those hours under a cat or three. She would have spent more time asserting her cat lady-ness, but I drug her to a Shawn Mendes concert. The kid happily arranges her life around cats and it's ... something. I don't know what it is. I just know Kiara is really very happy to have her kid back.

As for Mila, HOOBOY. I thought Alexis was an animal person, but then along came Mila to put her big sister to shame. Mila loves ALL of the animals. She is constantly being stalked by at least a dog and a cat, but usually she has a whole parade of animals following her around like some sort of Pied Piper. It's nuts how much she loves animals and they love her right back.

Which is why I have to take her to petting zoos once in a while.

My first favorite thing about Mila at a petting zoo is that she laughs when other kids would be crying. We went to one over the weekend and Mila, of course, was wearing ALL of the accessories. She had a hat and necklaces and bracelets and goats super like all the same things Mila likes. There were about four goats who were simultaneously making a snack out of her accessories. Literally. I was prying necklaces out of one goat's mouth while Mila was stealing her hat back and I was pushing another bracelet-stealing goat away while glaring at the fourth and scolding it. Mila's stuff was in various goat mouths and she was laughing HYSTERICALLY.

I would have been crying. So would most kids. Mila loved it, though.

And then there's my second favorite thing - the animals really do love Mila. They congregate around her, to the point that she just stands in one place and everyone shows up to be her friend. There's no need to walk around or try to charm any creatures, they just automatically want to be Mila's bestie. I almost feel bad for the other kids because they can't get the animals' attention, but then Mila is so happy that there's no way I can feel anything other than amused.

Mila is definitely at her happiest when she's destroying things or hanging out with animals. Definitely.



Just Say No Next Time

The thing about Mila is that she has a better memory than absolutely any other person I know. She can detail what you were wearing when you went to that restaurant and ate those special foods that one time YEARS ago and she's right. She still refers to everything in the future as "tomorrow" and everything in the past as "yesterday" BUT MAYBE IT IS TO HER. Seriously, it's creepy how much she remembers. Maybe time is different for her?

It would explain a lot.

Regardless, it means you can not say, "Yes, you can have that later," because she will absolutely whip out her mental spreadsheet and remind you of that promise until you die from being browbeaten by a small child. If you promise something can happen after something else happens, you better mean it.

So, I dug myself into a hole. I know the rules and that they're important, but a moment of weakness? I guess? Basically, Mila has it in her head that she needs a pet hamster. One of Alexis' friends had one and Mila loved it ( ... to the point that I thought she had loved it to death at one point). She wants one of her own SO bad. In a moment of stupidity, I said, "Sure. After we get back from Florida and you sleep in your own bed all night long, you can have one."

Florida was like three months away at that point. Normal children can be told that and there is a 50% chance they'll forget that promise for YEARS. Not Mila! The very day we returned she was all, "Times up, bitches!"

It's a real good thing I put that second criteria on there.


Mila still hasn't slept in her own bed the entire night, at least not since she was in a crib. It has been YEARS. I don't much care as long as she leaves me out of her drama, which she doesn't because she screams bloody murder when she wakes up in the middle of the night, but we're working on it. That's her answer regarding sleeping in her bed, by the way. She will tell anyone who will listen that "we're working on it." It's kind of the cutest, except for the screaming in the middle of the night.


The good news is that Mila sucks at sleeping by herself. The bad news is that eventually she's going to remember the deal the second she wakes up and she's going to stay put. She's smart. She will have that moment.

I really hope it's not for a long time. Cats and hamsters aren't my favorite combination.

... I think I just hoped "out loud" that my kid doesn't sleep in her bed herself for a long time. SEE WHAT SLEEP DEPRIVATION WILL MAKE YOU DO?


Cherry Peach Brown Betty

Alexis has been off vacationing with her best friend for approximately FOREVER, but will be returning home in something like 28 hours. HOORAY! I've missed having a built-in babysitter. The "baby" has missed having her around even more, though. Said "baby" is talking nonstop about how sissy will soon by home, to the point that she's making sure to cover up her tracks where she's touched things she isn't supposed to touch. She's also kissing up just in case Alexis does figure out that Mila spent over an hour digging through the books in the big kid's room...

She's going to notice.

No matter, Mila made Cherry Peach Brown Betty to make it up to Alexis. It will probably work. Sort of.


I've been trying for a while to nail down the difference between cobbler, crisp, and brown betty. The third one is the biggest mystery because I think there may be regional differences. Cobbler seems to consistently be fruit covered with an almost biscuit-like dough. Crisp is an oatmeal topping. Brown betty, though. I'm not going to say that I'm sure. The version that I'm most familiar with has chunks of bread mixed in with the fruit, so that's the version I'm going with. Feel free to disagree about what it is, though. It's fine. I get it.

Cherry Peach Brown Betty

3-4 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar

2-3 slices Italian bread, torn into 1" chunks (It can be stale. It's better that way, actually.)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, diced
1/4 cup pecan pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 10x10" baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until the peaches are well coated with the spices.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Then add the bread and stir well.

4. Add the bread mixture to the fruit and stir some more.

5. In another bowl (Sorry, this is a multiple bowl recipe. It just is.), whisk together the flour and brown sugar. Add the butter and smoosh it with your hands until the flour gets chunky. Be careful not to work it so much that the butter starts to melt. Add the pecans and stir a little more.

6. Dump the fruit and bread into your prepared baking dish. Smooth and then top with the butter/flour/pecan mix.

7. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until the top turns a lovely golden brown.

8. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. If you're a nice person, top with ice cream or whip cream.