Grandmas Have A Dark Side

The word Grandma conjures up images of sweet little old ladies. They are busy knitting, baking cookies and going about doing charitable good deeds. This all may be very true but I know a dark side to Grandmas. They also have suppressed frustration towards their own children.

The years of headaches I have caused my mom is having its repercussions. I have proof my mom has a personal vendetta against me.

This is what I witnessed the other day.

My mom giving Cesar a sip of coffee

I have seen with my own eyes, Cesar ask Grandma for sips of coffee, and her in amusement oblige his request. She laughs and says, “It’s his Norwegian blood running through him. Norwegians just LOVE their coffee.”

I already have my hands full keeping heads and tails of this child so clearly a sip of caffeine will not further my cause of keeping a handle on taking care of an already mischievous 2 year old.

Apparently, my husband was a very naughty child as well that left his mother on a mission to get back at him too.

This is a scene I caught earlier this summer when Cesar’s other Grandma came to visit.

My husband’s Mom giving Cesar a sip of her coffee

I guess Cesar’s Hispanic blood that he has running through him was craving some coffee too!

Both my mom and mother-in-Law ARE very sweet ladies. They are the best Grandmas my kids could have. However, they do have a dark side.

Their dark side causes them to dole out one too many cookies, say “yes” when they should say “no” and give out sips of coffee. This is what my husband and I get after the amount of gray hair we gave them and years of worry we bestowed upon them. Sometimes I wish they would just give us a spanking.

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I Know A Lot About Thumbs

Trying to get my children to reveal any details about their day at school is as tough as breaking into a bank vault.

Actually with the use of a stethoscope, the ability to hear the clicks and a look out person I would have a much better chance of cracking that bank vault because there is no stethoscope in the world that would allow me to hear the clicks in my children’s heads after a long day at school.

If I ask how their day was, I get the canned answer of “good.”

I’ve tried different techniques such as asking them what the worst part of their day was. I’ve asked what they wrote about during writing time. I’ve requested what they talked about during sharing circle time.

My children, who CAN remember what they ate for dinner 7 weeks ago on Thursday, CAN NOT remember who they played with at recess two hours ago. They shrug, grunt and go grab a snack.

On my son’s first day of Kindergarten, he came home, gave me the obligatory answer of “good” when I asked how his day went. I was like, “Are you kidding me? This is the first time in your life you’ve ever been away from me and you’re giving me….good? I need details…lots of details.”

My 5 year old, Bency, looked me in the eyes and as serious as you can possibly be, said, “I’m sorry Mom. I can’t tell you anything about my day. My teacher said everything that goes on in Kindergarten is Top Secret.”

I told Bency’s teacher this and she started laughing and said I had a little jokester on my hands. I would have called it a bald-faced liar but I guess jokester sounds nicer.

My 7 year old daughter, Iris, is exactly the same way except I have been able to get some information out of her 30 minutes AFTER she is tucked in for the night. My husband and I will just get settled down to watch a television show and out will come Iris, full of news. One night she told me that a kid had got sick all over the computer lab that day and they just wheeled the kid down to the Health Room in one of those rolling office chairs. This news sent off alert signals in my brain because no one who carries my DNA could possibly wait until bedtime to share this kind of information!

I have now added, “Did anyone throw up at school today?” to my daily line of questioning. I still get shrugs and answers of, “I don’t remember.”

I had a tiny glimmer of hope when I asked Bency the other night at the dinner table if he learned anything new that day. He went into a lengthy explanation about the importance of thumbs on human beings. I sat there, intently listening, picturing 20 Kindergarten children enthralled in their teacher’s lesson on thumbs. After his 10 minute dissertation, I finally got the opportunity to ask in an amazed voice, “You learned this all at school today?” He looked blankly at me and said, “No, I’ve always known a lot of information about thumbs.” I sadly shook my head and asked him to pass the peas.

Parent/teacher conferences are being held in two weeks. I’m hoping to get some answers to fill in the gaps on what I’ve missed the last two months.

I know “good” means absolutely nothing because my husband asked Bency how his day of school was last Thursday. Bency answered “good.”

That’s a very interesting answer considering Bency didn’t even have school last Thursday!

Iris’s first day of Kindergarten and the beginning of me hearing “I don’t remember what I did at school.”

I Accept Your Challenge

It’s a long standing joke in my family that I’m not the best cook. It’s a joke that has been rightfully earned after a long series of mishaps. There was the time I showed up at a family gathering with a strawberry pie that was really just soup in a pie shell. I had misread the recipe. I still brought it to the party in hopes by some sort of miracle the pie would set up. A normal person would have just kept it at home and said they forgot it. There was also the time in my life when I thought baking powder and baking soda was interchangeable. It is not. This has produced many rock hard bakery goods that are not edible for human consumption. Even the birds will not touch them. I know because I’ve tried. Even with figuring out my logical mistakes, many things still do not turn out. This is due to my inability to stay on task and read a recipe the whole way through or skip the parts that I just don’t feel are that important.

Needless to say, my family got wise and began requesting jars of pickles or sliced cheese for me to bring to the family gatherings.

I am trying to be better though and miraculously, I’ve been having some success. I make homemade tortillas on a regular basis and a couple of weeks ago I made homemade cinnamon rolls. I told my mom and she couldn’t believe it. I’ve NEVER had any luck with yeast or dough so this was a major accomplishment.

Instead of just patting me on the back, my mom gave me a challenge. Apparently, telling my mom that I made ONE batch of cinnamon rolls that people were able to eat has now launched me on par with a master chef in her eyes.

She handed me a recipe. My jaw dropped when I read the title. It was for Elephant Tracks. I LOVED these as a kid. I requested my mom to make these all of the time. She made them occasionally. She said they were a really big pain in the butt to make. In fact, they must have been such a big thorn in her side that I don’t think I’ve had one since I was 10 years old.

I read the recipe and realized this was beyond my…. one batch of cinnamon roll capabilities… but a challenge is a challenge. I accepted.

I took the recipe home and set to work. The first mistake I made was inviting my kids to help me. My kids generally help me in the kitchen (mainly because I do need help) but this is not a recipe to have kids help with. You need every bit of brain power you have to maneuver your way through this recipe. You cannot be expected to remember whose turn it is to dump the flour in or break up the argument of which kid is better at cracking eggs.

After getting the dough made and shooing the kids out, I collected my thoughts and let the dough rest.

I returned to the kitchen to complete the final task of rolling out the dough and then rolling it up into a spiral…very similar to making cinnamon buns. However, this dough was too gooey and instead of doctoring it with more flour and letting it rest again, I plunged forward and just kind of smooshed it all together. I felt defeated at this point and was shaking my fist at my mom in my head.

I put my Elephant Tracks in the oven and expected I had just started heating up my next joke.

15 minutes later, the timer dinged and alerted me that the culinary gods were shining down on me. I don’t remember my mom’s Elephant Tracks looking like this, but they tasted every bit as good. Somehow, in the oven, my smooshed up dough turned into a crispy, soft, buttery sweet piece of pure delight!

Apparently, there’s just no way to mess up anything containing this much butter and sugar. Go ahead, I challenge you!

Elephant Tracks

Elephant Tracks

Ingredients

  • ½ C. scalded milk
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening
  • ¼ C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast dissolved in ¼ C. lukewarm water
  • 2 beaten egg yolks or 1 whole egg
  • 2 ½ C. flour
  • 1 ¾ C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ C.  melted butter

Directions

  • Combine scalded milk, shortening, sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm.
  • Dissolve yeast in the water. Add to first mixture.
  • Stir in eggs
  • Add flour all at once
  • The dough should be very stiff and should be worked until smooth
  • Turn dough out on floured board and let rest for 10 minutes
  • Mix together the 1 ¾ C. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Roll dough into rectangle
  • Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  • Roll up and seal edges
  • Cut slices 1 inch thick
  • Working with one slice at a time, place both sides of slice into cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  • Place on greased baking sheet and flatten with hand.
  • Let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes

Halloween Costume Extravaganza

As you are all well aware I’m sure….Halloween is my favorite holiday! A small part of me believes that I had children for the sole purpose of dressing them up every year for Halloween! Children in costume brings out the best in me! Luckily for me, my mom can sew! She has been happy to oblige my requests (ummm…demands?) of cute costumes to outfit my children. Here is the history of my children’s costumes:

This is Iris in 2005. This is the only costume I bought brand new. It is a chili pepper and even though my family loves New Mexico GREEN chili, I still had to have it!!

This is Iris in 2006. My mom made this “Halloween Granny” costume

The next year, Bency was introduced to the family. I made him wear the same chili pepper costume for tradition sake!

Bency in 2007 wearing the same chili pepper costume!

Iris in 2007 wearing the Jester costume my mom made!

In 2008, I wanted Bency to be a Bag of Candy and my mom delivered once again!

This is Iris in 2008 at the age of 3 as a Sunflower. I found the headband at a rummage sale and my mom made her a collar and little cuffs out of sunflower material!

At the age of 4 years old, Iris began dictating her costumes. She also dictated Bency’s costume. The dress she is wearing below was from the thrift store for 25 cents. We really got our money’s worth out of this because she still wears this. In my post here she just wore it out in public this past summer! My mom made the king costume!

Iris and Bency as King and Queen in 2009!

In 2010, Cesar joined our family and got to wear the chili pepper costume too! Iris requested to be a Kitty this year so my mom made her a skirt out of devilish kitty material and her kitty ears are from the store. Bency got to wear the same Jester costume that Iris wore in 2007!

Iris and Bency in 2010 dressed up as a Kitty and the Jester costume makes a return!

Cesar wearing the chili pepper costume in 2010…he didn’t quite fill it out as well the other two kids!!

 

In 2011, by some sort of miracle I made a costume suggestion and everyone agreed to it! Here are the kids wearing the costumes my mom made for The Three Blind Mice (actually, Cesar refused to be blind).

In 2011, the kids went as the Three Blind Mice

This year, Iris was back in charge. She wanted to be Jasmine and she told her brothers they had to be Alladin and Abu the monkey. They went along with it! Iris’s costume was found at a garage sale years ago. My mom made Bency his pants and hat. I already had a monkey hat (okay, I think it is actually a teddy bear…but use your imagination) for Cesar and the bottom part was found at the thrift store. I tried to dye it a dark brown but it didn’t work (surprise)! My mom made the little vest and hat to complete the costume! So here is my little crew from the story Alladin!

My crew this year!

Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

The Meaning Behind the Names

When my husband and I were dating he made me a mixed CD (note: not a mixed tape…we only did that in high school). It contained the modern version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel. That song started showing up everywhere we went. A stranger in Albuquerque, New Mexico approached us at an outdoor café and began serenading us with this song on violin. The first movie we went to was 50 First Dates which featured this song. It was the song we played at our wedding when our attendants walked down the aisle. We dubbed it “our song.”

The stranger serenading us with “our song” of Somewhere Over the Rainbow

When it came time to name our first born daughter I was perusing a baby name book and came upon the name Iris. Iris was the Greek goddess of rainbows. She filled the clouds with water when they were depleted. We instantly knew we had to name our daughter this. Before our daughter Iris ever knew what her name meant she was fascinated with rainbows and still is to this day. Her birthday happened to land right when the flower irises are blooming so in the hospital where I delivered Iris, my sister sent up a huge bouquet. We have planted many irises in our yard, so during her birthday month our gardens are filled with irises. We have since told Iris what her name means and she has told many people that she is a goddess of rainbows. I think she is too because she fills our life with a spectacular beauty every day, that until she came I had only ever seen in a rainbow!

Iris right after she was born in front of her bouquet of irises

Iris on her 5th beauty in awe of the beauty of the irises

When we were expecting our second child and first son we found out my due date was to be on my husband’s, deceased father’s birthday. He had been a very important man in their family and is dearly missed by everyone. I never had the chance to meet him but my husband assures me that I would have loved him. Even though our son didn’t end up being born on his grandfather’s birthday it was already a firm decision that he would be handed down his grandpa’s name of Bency and carry my father’s name as his middle name. Our Bency even carries a second middle name of Harper. We weren’t sure if we were going to have more children and both my husband and I are huge Ben Harper fans (musician) and our whole wedding theme was based off his song, Fire and Ice, so we added Harper as well to his name. My husband comes from a large family and one of his brothers is also named Bency, as well as 2 or 3 other grandchildren carry this name as either their first or middle name. This makes for a lot of Bency’s in this family now and the funny thing is….my father-in-law wasn’t actually born with the name Bency! My mother-in-law can’t remember his real name but it started with Ben but was much longer. He had always gone by the name of Bency and so as a young adult, he had it legally changed! I am beginning to see the resemblance between my son and his grandfather.

Our 5 year old Bency

Grandpa Bency on his wedding day

When we got pregnant with our third child and second son the naming thing got very difficult. We had used up all of our historically, meaningful names and began flipping through the baby name book to see if anything conjured up the same kind of feeling of “this is IT!” Nothing did. Unlike our other two children who had their names in place pretty much two days after the pink line showed up on the pregnancy test, our third child was left nameless for months and months.

During my pregnancy with my third child, we had a dog. The dog was neurotic and psychotic. We got him as a puppy a month before I found out I was expecting. He was strangely attached to me and only me. He couldn’t bear the thought of me being out of his sight. If I dared leave the house to go grocery shopping I would come home to the house torn apart. He didn’t want other people by me and would growl and bear his teeth at anyone who got too close to me. Due to his strange behavior I found myself watching hours upon hours of The Dog Whisperer. This show presented some of the worst behaving dogs and a man would show the proper way to end these bad behaviors. The man who had a way with dogs and could tame the unruliest of canines was named Cesar Millan. I liked Cesar. He seemed like a very nice man and certainly had a talent I was lacking and had never seen. I asked my husband, Alex, one day if he liked the name Cesar. He said he did. I asked him if he wanted to name our son this. He said he did. That was that. I looked up the meaning of this name and it meant “full head of hair.” I felt this to be perfect because both of my other kids were born with…full heads of hair…so I was very sure this would be the case with our third. IT WASN’T! My Cesar was bald until he was almost 18 months old. However, our son has lived up to his name in a different way. Even though we chose the Spanish spelling due to his Hispanic heritage he has come to imitate Julius Caesar. He has the power in our household. He is the leader of our alliance of 5. We all bow down to him and say “Hail Cesar” as we scramble to meet his demands of more cookies!!

Our leader Cesar!

 

I ate a Caesar salad for my first meal after his birth!

I Need To Set the Record Straight

I know I talk a lot about Chuck E. Cheese and I feel I need to set the record straight. I actually HATE Chuck E. Cheese. It’s noisy and full of germs. It gives me the creepy crawlies. The four times my family has been there was so I could get my money’s worth out of the 84 vaccinations my kids received.-Motherhoodisanart

Bency celebrating his 5th birthday at Chuck E. Cheese

 

My New Banner

Some of you may have noticed that I recently changed my banner and theme. No need to worry, it’s still the same lady writing. I just wanted a fresh look!

The Fisher Price people and Weebles in my banner are actually my toys that I had as a kid! Since I am celebrating my 37th birthday soon, my guess is that, this puts them at around 35 years old.

My mom reads my blog and I’m sure if I’m not accurate on this statement, she will correct me. The toys could have been my sister or brothers which would add another 10 or so years on them. My mom told me the other day that my post This Is What I Would Give Them was completely inaccurate. First, I had my ages wrong on the pictures I posted and secondly, I could not type at 6 years old. Apparently, I begged for that typewriter for Christmas and they bought it for me. It cost $20, which was very expensive at the time and was a piece of crap. The keys got stuck and when they did work, more often than not, the letters didn’t always reach the paper. We brought it back to the store and I picked out a different toy. So, there you go, take my facts with a grain of salt because accuracy is not my strong suit!

Anyway, I know that I played with these Fisher Price people and Weebles A LOT!!! My mom was kind enough to save these along with many of my other toys and I have since handed them down to my kids to play with.

These are now some of MY kid’s favorite toys!

After, I changed my banner on Saturday, my brother, a clever, creative fellow gave me a great idea! He said I should change my banner from time to time to reflect the different seasons or holidays but to continue using the Fisher Price toys!

So, from now on, you may periodically find my banner changing as my toys pose for different photos! My husband says he may want to feature his Stars Wars figurines he had as a child too! I’m an equal opportunity toy lover so I think this is perfectly acceptable!

Also, I think I am 7 posts away from my 100th post….Look for a different kind of story from me that day…I have something exciting planned!!

Surprises always abound at Motherhood Is An Art!

Have a great day everyone!!

Melissa

Mommy Went To Chuck E. Cheese When You Were At School

When I was little, my mom had this thing she would do to settle me down for bed and make me sleep.

She would draw on my face.

She would take her finger and lightly draw on my face as I was lying down with my eyes closed. Sometimes she would just draw and sometimes she would add a story about how she was driving around to different stores and places.

My nose would be our house and she would have to drive to the grocery store that was located by my ear. Her next stop would be to the post office that was located on my forehead. This was so relaxing and would always put me to sleep.

I also do this with my own children and they absolutely love it!

I have never got them to a fully unconscious state while doing this but it sure does relax them and they drift off soon after.

Until……

The other night, I don’t know what got into me. Instead of just telling my 5 year old son, Bency, a mundane story about how I was traveling to the grocery store and library; I began to spin a much different tale.

I drew a line from Bency’s nose to his ear saying I was dropping him and his sister off at school. Next, I drew a line from his ear to his forehead saying I was dropping his little brother, Cesar off at Nana’s house. After that, Mommy drove to Chuck E. Cheese, and had a party all by herself! Mommy ate pizza, played games and tore through the tunnels and slides.

At this point in the story, Bency cocked one eye open and had a puzzled look on his face.

I proceeded on with my story and drew a line to his chin and said that Mommy drove to the ice cream shop and ordered a triple scoop of mint chocolate chip and sat and wondered how the kids were doing at school.

Now Bency is starting to giggle with both eyes open.

Next, I drew a line to his cheek and said Mommy had to stop off at the grocery store and buy a huge chocolate cake to eat all by herself.

Giggling is getting wilder, spittle is coming out of Bency’s mouth and he is holding his stomach.

For my final destination, I drew a line to his other ear and said Mommy went to Sir Bounce Alot and jumped the rest of the afternoon on the huge inflatables until it was time to go pick up Bency and Iris at school.

This was the final destination because at this point Bency was laughing so hard that he rolled off the bed and was writhing around on the floor in fits of laughter.

My 7 year old daughter, Iris, overheard the commotion and came running upstairs to see what was going on.

Bency, still rolling around on the floor, tried to retell the story in between giggles and shortness of breath, “Mommy…..went to…..Chuck E. Cheese (long pause) when we….were at school!”

Iris looked at me with her eyes huge and mouth open wide so I had to explain it was just a story and do the same thing on her.

It took me awhile to get the kids settled down that night. From now on, Mommy is only going to the library and post office when the kids are in school.

Cesar sleeping as a small baby

Bency sleeping when he was 4 years old

Iris sleeping when she was 6 years old

This is me sleeping when I was a kid

 

 

 

 

Trick or Treat…Smell Our Ghost Feet

Today I thought I would share another Halloween project the kids and I did this past weekend. Since the majority of people thought my last project Spooky Barbie was too creepy, I thought I would share something a little sweeter.

I know this project has to be less creepy because I got the idea from Barney (yes, the big, purple dinosaur). I had no idea Barney was a crafty guy. My kids told me about this and made me watch the show Barney’s Halloween Bash (or something like that) on Netflix so we could recreate it.

I don’t think Barney had a name for this project so I’ll call it…Ghost Feet!

Supplies you’ll need:

Brown Paper Bag cut into large rectangle (or any large paper…not white)
White paint
Black paint
Paintbrush
Wet rag

First, you lay the bag on the floor.
Next, you paint your child’s foot with the white paint and have them step on the paper.
Finally, you paint eyes and mouth on the foot which is now a ghost.

Okay, this SHOULD be a really simple, quick project.

I however, was not thinking ahead! Surprise! After I painted my first child’s foot, she hopped off the brown paper bag like I instructed her to do and got white foot prints all over the wood floor! Doh!!! Hence the wet rag on the supply list!

Make sure you wipe off your child’s foot immediately after you have them stamp their foot on the paper!!!

Also, painting a child’s foot who is very ticklish tends to get lots of paint everywhere too!

I think Barney just had a plate with paint on it for the kids to dip their foot in. Maybe Barney is wiser than me or perhaps I really love doing 5 minute projects and then spending a hour cleaning it all up!

Our project this past weekend!

P.S. Barney didn’t write “Trick or Treat, Smell Our Feet” on his. I’m still not as sweet as Barney!

My Son Is Going To Harvard Because He Quit Playing In the Toilet at 24 Months

Starting with my first child I kept careful track of my 3 children’s milestones and accomplishments in their baby books.

I really wasn’t sure why I was doing this with my 1st child other than the baby book asked for the answers of “when they first smiled” and “when they first crawled” and I responded because I felt something terrible would happen to me; much in the same way you are supposedly cursed with 7 years of bad luck if you don’t respond to a chain letter.

The more milestones I filled in; the more I began to ponder the necessity of it all; particularly when I would look at the baby book, realize I had overlooked a particular “grand” event and then estimate the time period of this occurrence.

Is it possible that your chances of getting into Stanford are more likely if you tell them you crawled at 6 months and provide proof with your baby book? Is it possible, that if you are up for a new job and you and another candidate are equally qualified and you cut your first tooth before him, you will automatically land the job?

I do remember, I referred back to my first child’s baby book a few times after I had my second child. I needed to know when I could expect 8 hours of straight sleep again or when I started solids with the first. Well, it didn’t matter what happened with the first because the second child didn’t follow suit and I soon gave up comparing and came to the realization that every child is different.

There is also the time my first child rolled over at the age of 2 months. In the excitement of adding “the first milestone” I quickly went and filled in her baby book minutes after it happened. Much to my surprise, she didn’t roll over again until she was 8 months old (kind of a late bloomer in the rolling department). I never corrected her baby book because I didn’t want to mar it with scribbles. I will feel awfully guilty if Congress hires her on, due to her early rolling abilities based off her baby book because frankly, it’s a big fat lie.

The main problem with baby books is that they don’t ask about the REALLY IMPORTANT milestones. This week my third child, Cesar, made a momentous breakthrough and I was dying to update his baby book with the exciting news. Much to my dismay, there was no slot to record this event.

The past year and a half, we have had to keep the bathroom door closed. When Cesar started crawling he would make a direct beeline for the bathroom if the door was left open. Due to the inability for the male species in my house to have proper aim; the bathroom was not a sanitary place for a baby to visit. As Cesar began walking, he would unravel the toilet paper roll and play in the toilet bowl. It was a constant chore on my part to ensure the bathroom door was always closed.

On Cesar’s 2nd birthday this past September, I was upstairs changing my clothes, when I heard a knock at the door. I quickly ran downstairs but before I could open the door I heard splashing. I sought out the source and found Cesar playing in the toilet. I ran his hands under the sink and went to answer the unrelenting knocking. There stood a man in a suit, who began to give me a spiel about his new firm, Edward Jones, and asking if I had money I wanted to invest. In my frantic state and mid pant, I told him my son was just playing in the toilet and I needed to go wash him properly so I had no time to talk. The man’s mouth dropped and he quickly said thank you and walked away. I was silently pleased with Cesar’s shortcoming and the fact it saved me from making up a lie.

As much as I was excited that Cesar’s lack of self-control saved me on that particular day, I was much more ecstatic this past week. Several times, the bathroom door was left, inadvertently open. Much to my surprise, Cesar didn’t enter every chance he had the opportunity and the few times he did it was merely to look in the mirror.

This is definitely a milestone worth noting because this bit of common sense on Cesar’s part is going to make my life so much easier. So, I don’t care if the baby book doesn’t deem this as a huge event; I’m going to include it under “other” because this accomplishment in my eyes is MOMENTOUS!!! If Cesar does have a relapse; I refuse to scribble it out either.

Cesar’s record of his exciting news!!

Perhaps someday, Cesar will be overlooked for a job or college entrance and you better believe I will march into that interviewer’s office and show them my son’s baby book and say, “Look here, Cesar quit playing in the toilet at 24 months; surely this outstanding accomplishment has to count for something!!”