My Dear Daughters

a-to-z-letters-dAs I tossed around all the “D” topics I could write about on this fourth day of the A to Z blogging challenge, it dawned on me that my favorite “D” topic in all the world is my two dear, daring, dramatic, dancer, distinct, dreamer, doer, darling daughters.

I am a truly blessed mother. Back in the day, before motherhood I’d heard people tell me how much I would love my children one day. I couldn’t fathom the love I have for them back then. But it is true, my love overflows for them.Sure I may yell and complain when they spill an entire carton of cottage cheese upside down on the bathroom floor or refuse to eat the supper I made or leave their toys where I can trip on them or bicker with each other over what show to watch in the end I love them more than I can express. They are so much more than just their short-comings and so am I. My daughters make my life brighter each and every day. Whether the the sun is shining and everyone is smiling or dreary clouds hang above and I’m feeling depressed, thinking about them and the little things they do always brings a smile to my lips — like the way my oldest daughter comforts and protects her little sister who is afraid to go to school or the smile on youngest daughter’s face as she realizes she can read a book all by herself. I feel their joys and accomplishments as well as their pain and suffering. Through their tears and smiles or mine, we always seem to find find our loving arms around each other. We are all learning, growing and living.

I am so proud to be their mother and with God’s grace and guidance I hope some day as they look back on their childhoods that they will be proud to have me as their mother. I’ve heard it said I’ll love my grandchildren even more than I love my children, right now I don’t see how that is possible, but time will tell.


Trick or Treat? Bah Humbug!

Halloween inevitably brings with it the custom of “trick or treat.” I don’t know who thought up the wonderful tradition of dressing up in a costume and going door-to-door to beg strangers for candy. I could probably find out in a matter of seconds via Google or Wikipedia (how did we ever live without these wonderful tools), but I actually really don’t care all that much who that genius was. It won’t change anything. Trick or treat will still come. Bah Humbug!

Yes, I know it’s the wrong holiday, but I think am the Scrooge of Halloween or at least trick or treat. Of all the holidays we have, Halloween is probably one of my least favorites. Even as a child the thought of trick or treating filled me with dread. It’s not that a I didn’t want candy…I did. Knocking on a stranger’s door to ask for candy (especially if they too dressed up and had  scary decorations) that could potentially be poisoned or razor-blade filled  made my shy, introverted body queasy. Thus, I would always make my younger sister go first. (I was just being polite. No, really, you go ahead…)

These days trick or treat appeals to me about as much as it did back then. Alas my daughters love to go and so I go for them. As an adult, my aversion to trick or treat is less about stranger danger and more about the weather. The weather? Yes, the weather. What does weather have to do with Halloween you might ask? In Northwest Ohio – everything. Nine out of ten times the weather on Halloween is, how shall I put it? Crappy. It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s rainy. This year will be no different. In fact, I’ve already been given one reprieve as the festivities have already been postponed once due to sleet and high winds and rescheduled for tomorrow night.

Halloween Past
Halloween Past

As we live out in the boonies, we’ll meet up with some friends who live in town to trick or treat. The houses are much closer together. As usual, the girls will bundle up with sweat pants and sweatshirts under their costumes and complain about having to put winter coats on over them. I can empathize with them in that regard as both a former trick or treater, who wanted to show off her cool costume, and as a mother, who just paid a small fortune for the costumes of choice and wants everyone to see how cute they look in them. (In the picture on the right is a pic from a rare Halloween past when we had beautiful weather and the girls were still young enough that they agreed to wear the coordinating costumes I got them!)

After the first block or so of candy gathering, I’ll have a pocket full of empty candy wrappers and be carrying the itchy wig I paid way too much for, while giving the youngest a piggy back ride, because she’s too tired to walk. Trick or treat lasts an hour and a half or so, and lucky for me the girls aren’t greedy and are ready to call it quits after 45 minutes or so and head back home for some pizza and more candy.

Now you may think I’m against trick or treat completely. I’m not. Truly, I’m not. Back before kids, my hubby and I lived in town. I loved passing out the candy to the kids in our neighborhood. Seeing the kids all dressed up and watching the smiles on their faces as I gave them their treats was great fun. Unfortunately, as I said we live out in the boonies and get no trick or treaters. Not even one. Though I still buy candy just in case:)

What about you? Would you rather trick or treat, pass out candy or skip the whole thing?

What’s For Supper?

“What’s for supper?” is probably one of the most asked (next to can we get a puppy?) questions in my house. The answer to this infamous question, however, almost always seems to elicit tears, tantrums and time outs. How could the answer to such a simple question cause such emotion? Girl drama? Sibling rivalry? Picky eaters? Bad cooking? I wish I knew.

Typically the conversation starts as soon as I pick the girls up from the sitter after work is. Someone will in ask the first question that leads to the turmoil: “Is Dad home tonight?” You may wonder how the presence of my husband could lead to the supper argument.  Well, my husband currently works swing shift (hopefully not for much longer) and every other months works nights. So, there is a 50-50 chance that he won’t be home or won’t be home until after supper. If I answer “no” he’s not going to be home the conversation goes in one direction and in another if I answer “yes.”

Let’s travel the “no” path first. If dear old Dad has to work, the girls immediately want to go out to eat. Crying and whining will pursue if I answer that one in the negative. If I answer in the affirmative, there is short-lived cheering. Why? Because inevitably one of them wants to go to Wendy’s while the other wants Taco Bell? Can we compromise on Subway? No way? Why? Because she always gets her way? or She got to pick the place last time? Sigh. So we head home for Mom’s cooking. Something quick and simple like spaghetti or hamburgers are my usual go-to’s. If the kids have dance or choir or bible school or some other activity within 30-45 minutes of arriving home I typically end up with the processed food alternative like ramen noodles, mac & cheese, spaghetti’o’s or grilled cheese. The kids are happy and we’re out the door. I realize I should be a better meal planner, make meals ahead and freeze them or use the crock pot. That typically requires foresight though. It seems whenever I get in the groove to make a recipe or some other healthy, delicious meal I am lacking some key ingredient. I figure it is some cosmic sign I was not meant to be a chef.

My husband on the other hand is a great cook and actually enjoys cooking (imagine that?) So while I feel bad the girls eat processed foods some evenings, I figure half the time they are eating yummy, healthy food courtesy of their father. So why the fuss then? Here’s where the pickiness comes in. It doesn’t matter what he cooks the automatically don’t want to eat it. It is the weirdest phenomena. So let’s now go down the “Dad is already home path.” This means Dad is cooking supper. I hear an audible groan from the back set the second I confirm their culinary nightmare, that yes Dad is home. The oldest will start, ‘What’s for supper?”

“I don’t know,” is my usual response (and in most cases I really don’t.)

The youngest will start crying and moaning, “I don’t want what he’s fixing?”

“Me either,” the oldest will pout.

“You don’t even know what he’s fixing yet.” I try to reason with them.

BBQ Ribs – Yummy!

“It doesn’t matter,” they both agree. They are determined to not like it. To be fair, my husband likes to try new recipes. He has French and Mexican cookbooks he goes to for recipes. Most recently he’s tried several new BBQ recipes (yum! yum!). Nine times out of ten the cuisine is excellent (except when I am trying to count those weight watcher points.) Yes, there was that time he was in his “Master and Commander” recipe phase (hard tack, lobscosse…), but we won’t go there.

We both want the girls to eat what’s fixed for them (there are lots of hungry children around the world, etc.). Here is where the showdown starts. The girls can be very stubborn about putting unknown food in their mouths and refuse to even taste a new dish. At least take “a no thank you bite” I encourage. The look at me as if I asked them to drink poison. The alternative is to let them have a peanut butter sandwich instead. This usually satisfies the youngest child, but throws the oldest into a tizzy. You see, she doesn’t want that either. I tell her she must not be hungry enough. She insists she’s starving. I then tell her this isn’t a restaurant and her father and I are not her short-order cooks. She’ll become exasperated, land in time out and eventually eat the peanut butter sandwich. The youngest on the other hand typically lands in time out, because she takes one bite out of said food and is “full” at least until ten minutes after the dishes are cleared and then she become hungry for ice cream or a cookie. Good times!

So my mommy inquiry tonight goes along these lines. I want my children to have a healthy relationship with food, to try new foods, eat healthfully and eat until they are full and only when they are hungry. So, do we force them to try something they might not like? Do we make them eat everything on their plates? Do we banish junk food and fast food? I just don’t know. Let me know what you think…