Boil Them Cabbage*

We are members of a CSA, and all summer long we have gotten weekly drop offs of local, organic produce.  On top of that, we hosted the CSA at our house (so people picked up from our place), which meant that not only did we not have to go pick up our produce every week, but we got a discount for hosting, and if people didn’t pick up their shares… we got to keep them.

I looked around for places that I could donate extras to, but I was wholly unsuccessful at finding somewhere that would take fresh food (unfortunately).

This week was the last week of the season, and after it was over, we had a ton of fresh greens.  There was spinach, there was kale, there were beet greens (which, for the record, are AMAZING on homemade pizza).  And there was so much of all of it that there was no way we’d be able to eat it all before it went bad without actually turning green.

So, I looked up how to preserve greens.  It turns out that you can freeze them if you blanche them first.  So, last night, in a fit of nesting energy, I washed:



Blanching Spinach

and froze almost all of our greens.

Freezing Greens

The question I had while working was, of course, what kind of music should I listen to while doing this?

The answer seemed obvious–bluegrass!  So I set up Pandora, and let the banjo, fiddle, guitar, and other strings keep my mind off the fact that standing around boiling and cooling greens for a couple of hours while unreasonably pregnant made my feet hurt.

And this winter, when you’re looking for a fix for your cravings for teeny baby toes and fingers and soups and stews with organic, local greens… come on over!

*No, there was no cabbage.  The title to this post is a reference to a common fiddle tune called Boil Them Cabbage Down.

Kid Logic

Oliver was feeling a bit under the weather today after school, and the weather outside is corroborating.  So, after filling him with Tylenol, warm juice, and lots of snuggles, I settled him in on the couch with Hazel, and told them that they each could choose one television show to watch.  (Note: this also enabled a much-appreciated shower for me.)

Usually, if they get to watch television, we have a blanket rule that Hazel gets to choose the show on even days, and Oliver gets to choose the show on odd days.  Today, being an even day, was Hazel’s day.  However, Oliver decided that since he was feeling sick, he should get to choose the show.

Now, this could lead to disaster, right?  But here’s the thing–both kids wanted to watch the same show.  Oliver insisted, though, that it was his show.  Hazel insisted that it was her show.  I insisted that the smell in the room might be emanating from me, and that I was going to go shower.

Cut to 22 minutes later, when the show was over.  I said to the kids, “OK, who gets to choose the next show.”  (Yes, I realize that this was perilous.)

Oliver said, “Not me!  I chose the first show.”

Hazel said, “No, not me!  I chose the first show.”

Yes, that’s right… my children spent a couple of minutes this afternoon fighting about why they shouldn’t get to pick the TV show that they watched.

This is why I love being a mom.  Randomness abounds.

Annoyed with Magazines

As a general rule, I love magazines and have ever since I first sneaked a peek at my big sister’s copy of Seventeen.  My reasons have changed (I don’t need information on menstruation or how to flirt with boys, for example), but the love has remained.

I like to read magazines in between novels, so that I can decompress from one and prepare to get emotionally invested in another.

I like getting a wide variety of information from magazines that I can then further research if it is interesting, or not feel guilty for skipping over if it isn’t.

I like reading parenting magazines for strategies on how to be a better mom, tips for practical problems, recipes, and ideas for arts and crafts (which I am absolutely horrific at doing, but I do have lofty dreams of being that mom).

I like reading gossip magazines for the pretty pictures of pretty people and the salacious gossip, and to see how far they can possibly distance their source from the subject matter (‘the uncle of a friend of the agent of the hairdresser of the trainer of the person they sat next to once in kindergarten’).

But lately, I’m annoyed with magazines.

First, it seems like these days magazines are just pages of advertisements for things you can buy.  That trendy fall outfit at under a hundred dollars?  It’s under $100 per item, y’all.  And no, I won’t be spending $85 on a set of bangles to accessorize it.

But seriously—we are in a recession.  People are struggling financially.  Why not write articles or put together outfits that really are affordable, instead of pretending that $800 is a reasonable amount to spend on one day’s worth of clothing?

And unfortunately, it’s not just clothes.  It seems like every page is full of things that you should buy.  And hot new products that you need.  Because who doesn’t need a machine that will mix your baby’s formula for you, like a pod coffeemaker does for your coffee?

My second pet peeve is scare articles.  This is a time honored magazine article, usually featured in some way, that is put in there to scare you.  Whether you should be paranoid about mold in your walls or the perils of letting your family use materials that are not BPA-free, the scare articles just serve to incite paranoia in the hearts of parents, and give hypochondriacs and self-centered people something else to be certain will affect them.  I realize that the issues that are brought up in these articles can be potentially life-savings in some instances, and that a lot of times they relate to issues that people might not be aware of otherwise, but the heavy-handedness gets on my nerves.

Another annoyance of mine is fairly specific to parenting magazines or articles.  In the same breath (sometimes the same page!) that a magazine reminds you that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under age two have zero screen time (TV, computer, smartphone, etc), and kids older than two have less than two hours a day, the magazine will also tout apps and websites that are great for the toddler set.

How about you play with your kid instead of simultaneously stare at a screen with them?  Why don’t you remind me about all of the wonderful things that my kids and I can build with blocks or legos, or how to build forts out of furniture so we can transport ourselves to other worlds using our—gasp!—imaginations?

Instead of a scare article about super-bacteria, why not an article on how the hell squeamish parents can go about catching bugs and worms and roly-polies with their kids?  (And PS… I bet that if more people were outside playing in the dirt in their backyards there would be fewer super-bacteria because our immune systems would be stronger.)

So, basically, instead of what I’m reading these days, I want a magazine that gives me strategies to realistically save money instead of tell me what new gadgets I should spend it on, that empowers me to be a better person and parent than tries to scare me about things that are largely out of my control, and that doesn’t try to convince me to try out the latest app for my iThing that will spontaneously turn my child into a genius just by sliding his finger across a screen.

Nine Months Down

Nine months pregnant.  Three weeks to go before the doctor takes the baby out.

I have to say, it’s a little weird having a viable human being that just, you know, lives in me.  I live in Chicago, he lives in Katy.  (And not the one in Texas.)

So, what’s it like to be nine months pregnant?


First, let me tell you about getting dressed.  All of my maternity jeans are stretched out or too small.  Which means that either the elastic doesn’t stay up—thus showing anyone who is looking (which, luckily, let’s face it, is probably limited to Kullervo) what color undies I chose this morning—or the buttons are too tight and I can’t keep them closed for long.  Oh, and there are the maternity jeans that don’t have a button on top… they have a snap.  Like the kind on kids’ clothes who aren’t capable of unbuttoning fast enough to make it to the bathroom.  Which, of course, for me, means that I might be walking my kids to school and all of a sudden the snap on my jeans decides that it’s had enough… and just pops open.

Now, this is mostly a problem because it’s uncomfortable.  My belly is of a size that a normal person who is not bending at awkward angles cannot possibly see the waistband of my pants.  And if they are doing awkward robotic yoga poses to see the pattern of my stretch marks, I’m judging them.  I’m not going to lie.

How about shirts, you ask?  At this point, most of my shirts do not cover my entire baby bump.  So there is a wind flap of round tummy poking out of the bottom of all of my shirts.

The benefit to all of this happening when I’m pregnant?  If anyone comments on my exposed stomach, I can choose from the following responses:

“I haven’t seen that part of my body in a couple of months.  How’s it looking?”

“Sold!  You may now buy me a shirt that suits your sensibilities.”

“Yeah, I totally don’t care anymore.”


I’m not really a panicky person.  I’m not the most laid back person I know, but I am usually happy to roll with the punches.

Not anymore.  All day long I have a stream of things that I need to get done before the baby is born.  Note that most of these things are of little to no consequence.  Some of the things on this list include:

  • Rearrange the furniture to be the way that I want it. (
    • Note that Kullervo is happy to do this anytime, and is fully capable of doing it after the baby is born.
  • Set up the crib in Hazel’s room
    • Once again, Kullervo can do this in about 15 minutes… and it can wait until the baby is born.  For at least three days, the baby and I will be hanging out in the hospital, and after that the baby will be sleeping in our room with us.
  • Set up the bassinet
    • This one is perhaps more important than the others, but mostly because I have no idea how to put the thing together and it looks scary in pieces.
  • Clean the entire house, top to bottom.
    • Can we just say HA!  Climbing stairs exhausts me.  And babies can only see, like, 12 inches or something.  He totally won’t notice if he is greeted by dust bunnies.
  • Buy all the food
    • I actually did this today.  I went to the grocery store and bought food to make four vegetable lasagnas to freeze.  Of course, before I could do that, I had to make space in the freezer.  And since I was inventorying the contents of the freezer, I figured I should go ahead and clean the shelves.

Mostly I realize that this is insanity manifesting itself in the form of to-do lists that I am never capable of remembering by the time I get to a pen and paper.  So I write down that I should do the laundry.

Physical Symptoms

Without getting too gross, it’s time for all of the lovely physical symptoms that the baby is near cooked.  Besides the fact that the pop-up turkey timer (i.e. my belly button) has long since popped (the turkey ones are never accurate either, in my experience), that is.

In the last two days, I think the baby has dropped a bit.  I think this because the horrific heartburn that has plagued me for months has subsided a bit (as in, I am chewing about 6-8 Tums a day instead of 12-14).  Also, I have to pee pretty much all the time.  I would really like to get a good night’s sleep before the bi-hourly feedings begin, but I wake up at least twice a night, sometimes as often as five times.  And when I wake up, I’m usually too groggy to figure out why I’ve woken up, so I lie in bed wondering what’s going on and why I feel so darned uncomfortable…

Also, general movement has gotten a lot more difficult.  This could partially be due to the fact that I keep forgetting that at nine months pregnant, nobody (except apparently me) expects me to be as physically active as I was when I was not pregnant.  I climb the few stairs to get to my front door and am completely out of breath.  I walk the kids to school and am pretty sure that this baby is trying to get out of me.

And there are contractions… I think.  I don’t really know what contractions feel like, so I can’t be sure.  Today I was crossing a fairly busy intersection with Hazel to pick Oliver up from school, and in the middle of the road I was overcome by some fairly intense pain.  Poor Hazel—we were holding hands, and I squeezed hers a bit too tightly.  She, oblivious, said, “Mommy, what game are we playing?” and squeezed my hand back.

Finally, and to me, the most hilarious, are the things that strangers say to me.  None of it bothers me in the slightest, but I find endless amusement in the lack of verbal restraint I bring out in people.  For some reason, I can’t even remember the doozies that I’ve heard in the last couple of weeks.

“Oh my gosh… you’re huge!”

“Oh, you’re tiny!  Are you sure that baby’s ready to come out?”

“Are you sure you’re not having twins?”

“You look so done.”  (I feel like this is the equivalent of telling someone they look tired or sick.  It’s just sort of insulting.)

I haven’t been plagued with other people’s problem of strangers touching their bellies (I repel people, I guess).  There was a five year old girl the other day who asked if she could touch my stomach.  I told her no.  Normally I wouldn’t mind at all, but this girl was annoying and kept insisting that Oliver was a girl because he has long hair.  She insisted this even after I, almost a grown up, and definitely his mother, told her that he was definitely a boy.  I felt smugly satisfied that I denied her access to my second son.

Yeah, that’s right.  I was able to one up a five year old.  And I was proud of it.

Luckily, with all of my other pregnancy symptoms, being overly emotional isn’t one that I’m suffering from right now.

Baby Yoga

Things As They Really Are

One of my favorite people in the world put up a blog post that is worth reading.

Because I can’t read anything without seeing both the serious and the silly, but I didn’t want to detract from her blog, I wanted to post the silly here.

Katie says:

The idea of Things As They Really Are is one of the most profound spiritual concepts I’ve ever encountered.  It’s about much more than adhering to the “correct” interpretation of abstract theological principles; it’s about embracing all the truth we can, even difficult truth…

Reading that made me think about all of the (less-than-spiritual) difficult truths I’ve had to embrace.  Here are some, in no particular order.

  • Kids will always think that jokes about penises, passing gas, underwear, and poop are funny.
    • Teaching jokes about penises, passing gas, underwear, and poop to your kids is one of the many joys of parenting.
  • … I will probably also always think that jokes about penises, passing gas, underwear, and poop are funny.
  • My very-near-perfect-love-of-my-life will probably never put away his laundry.  Or put his dirty socks with the dirty laundry.
  • My otherwise-brilliant five year old cannot put on clothes while he talks.  Multi-tasking is just not in the cards.
  • My otherwise-naturally-pleasant-smelling three year old will never smell fresh and clean as long as she refuses to wipe after she pees.  (sigh)
  • My inability to not do something right when I think about it will always drive my ever-loving husband just a little bit crazy.
    • Thought bubble over my head: Dinner’s cooked, hot, and ready to be served?  Great!  Let me just quickly do some more research on cloth diapers… ooh!  Something shiny!  Must explore shiny things immediately! 
  • As much as I love being pregnant, it really is difficult to sleep the last few weeks.  Also, there are a lot of gross things about pregnancy that nobody really talks about.
  • I love my cats dearly, but pretty much everything that comes out of their bodies is disgusting.
    • And I’m still mad at The Beast for drinking leftover milk from Hazel’s Cocoa Puffs and throwing it up ten minutes later on my bed.  Seriously, not a good survival tactic.
    • And the mini-monster spends enough time outside these days that when he has diarrhea… seriously–do it outside somewhere.  It’s really just gross in the litter box.

That might be all for now.  What are some of your difficult truths?