Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yo Yo Charlie

Charlie finally got his hot little hands on some musical instruments this weekend at my school.

He played the cello for so long the poor undergrad said "So, um, you must be getting tired, huh?" When he didn't respond, she said "So, I have to go home now. OK?" as she tried to jiggle the bow out of his hand. She was quite serious about the cello and did not find my remark that Charlie could probably use a viola as a cello to be funny. In fact I think she thought I was a little dumb and replied "They're actually different instruments."


His favorite was the violin. When I asked him which instrument he'd like to try he got really shy and said "Maybe the violin?" The way he very seriously made sure his chin was always in contact with the chin rest was very cute slash a window into the future of him getting extremely frustrated during future musical instrument experiences (Hello perfectionist oldest child!). It was pretty special, honestly. I may or may not have gone home and Googled "south violin lessons age three." (they do exist but Ryan was unmoved by my argument that we might have the next concertmaster for the New York Philharmonic on our hands but we'd NEVER KNOW until we gave him a chance!)


You'll never guess which instrument was Wes's favorite!


When we tired of holding him up so he could In A Gadda Da Vida it out he was happy to hit the side of the drum instead. Then he lost interest in music altogether and headed over to the Hula Hoop-a-thon on the next patch of grass over.


Later we attended a flute recital (one of my students was performing) and Charlie had to be whisked away after accidentally getting kicked in the eye by a squirmy little brother. He tried so hard not to cry, but I'm sure it hurt like crazy. Once he settled down both boys really enjoyed the rest of the recital. Wes is a very enthusiastic clapper, even between movements. Despite the minor faux pas and the eye-kicking they got lots of compliments on their good behavior and cuteness.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Really? She's not done gloating about the weather yet?

With apologies for anyone who comes here looking for my usual sarcasm laced stories about bitchy Dunkin Donuts employees and badly behaved children, I am currently unable to muster up any such negativity. Because it is SPRING!

And I have never appreciated spring more than I do this year. The coldest winter on record here. The winter that WOULD NOT DIE as evidenced by last weekend's overnight freezes (yay for procrastinating on planting the garden!).

I happily sweep the dirt clods off the kitchen floor twice a day. Happily do twice as much laundry. And happily send Charlie off to school in a pair of handed-down soccer cleats because he soaked his last pair of sneakers during a brother-on-brother hose smackdown.

Some days we don't even get out of our jammies (ahem, Saturday, when I threw on some jeans and sneakers and wore my PJs out for breakfast, fashion blog contributor FAIL).


Some days we go inside only for the potty, and some of us not even then.


Saturday we went to Home Depot to buy screws for Wes's big boy bed to replace the ones that Charlie "hid" four months ago that we cannot find. We stumbled onto the kids' workshop and the boys got to build planters with the cutest little hammers you've ever seen (not pictured because we forgot our cameras in our haste to get to the breakfast taco place before they stopped serving breakfast after the kids both slept until NINE THIRTY. It was a Daylight Savings Time MIRACLE!)


Yesterday I spent some time "hoe-ing" up the garden (BWAHAHAHAHA) to prepare for our little seedlings.


Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, bell peppers, and strawberries (plant marigolds to deter the bugs from eating your tomatoes and plant strawberries to deter your children from eating your tomatoes). These are the strawberries and peppers:


This weekend we are making another, larger bed, which will be the pumpkin patch and squash garden. Charlie's been wanting to have a pumpkin patch since last year this time. I can't wait to take his picture next to his first pumpkin! Or, even better, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup. I'm going to plant four vines, how many pumpkins will that make, do you think? Watch out, locals, I'll be leaving produce on your doorsteps.

Don't worry, though. Soon enough it'll be HOT and I'll be counting down the days until we head north for two weeks. Until then? I'll be here, with my windows open.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Heritage Night

After I posted about making the brisket the other day I started thinking about other ways we could incorporate some tradition into our daily life. Besides Pizza Fridays, which are as much a throwing up of my hands after a long week of careful meal planning and budgeting as a tradition.

So! We will now be having a special dinner most Sunday nights that I will be calling "Heritage Night." This week I borrowed from my grandparents' New England upbringing and was determined to make Steamed Brown Bread and Boston Baked Beans. That was all I was going to make, because I am on a meat-free kick, but I thought Ryan would leave me if I didn't cook him some meat soon, so I made hot dogs too. This was keeping with tradition as hot dogs are a common go-along with baked beans, at least as I remember from time spent with my grandparents during the summers.

The beans came from a can, but our store doesn't carry the brown bread in a can that I remember having at my grandparents' house (Also, finding "baked beans," and not ranch beans, beans with jalepenos, or black beans, was tricky here in the Lone Star State). I gathered the ingredients for the bread then flipped excitedly to the Steamed Brown Bread recipe in my Moosewood cookbook. I was dismayed when I read (paraphrasing) "Pour batter into two metal coffee cans, wrap tightly in aluminum foil, partially submerge in water in a heavy kettle, then boil for THREE HOURS." OMG.

(1) My yuppy coffee comes in a foil bag, not a can, and if it did come in a can, it would be a plastic can. Not suitable for submersion in boiling water. (2) A kettle? Is that the same as a stock pot? Because that is all I have. (3) THREE HOURS? THREE HOURS? THREE HOURS? No wonder the only form I've had before was in a can!

Thankfully a quick internet search yielded this recipe.

(Since I already had the rye flour from the original recipe I substituted 1 C rye flour, 1 C whole wheat flour, and 1 C all purpose flour instead of the 1 C whole wheat flour and 2 C all purpose flour.)

My first mistake was smelling the molasses. Charlie smelled it first and said it smelled GOOOOOOOD, so I gave it a hearty whiff right out of the bottle and immediately started coughing uncontrollably. With that in mind I mixed up the rest of the ingredients into something that smelled alright, but in my opinion could have used about a cup of sugar. Charlie liked it so much I had to stop him from licking it right out of the bowl before I poured it into the loaf pan.

The beans were heated in a saucepan. Done and done.

Dinner was a moderate success. The bread ended up being pretty good, but not as good as I remember from my grandparents' house. Maybe with butter?

Wes was the true success. He-who-never-eats-dinner-because-all-he-wants-is-scrambled-eggs slurped up his beans and bread and was signing "more" before I could even pick up my fork! He had two healthy portions of each then unsnapped his pants and leaned back in his chair to accommodate his full tummy. Charlie enjoyed it too, but he will eat almost anything. First borns are pleasers who crave approval!

Any suggestions for this week? Something that does not require a kettle?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blast from the Past

As I drove my mom-car laden with children down the street of my super-suburban middle-American neighborhood on the way to drop Charlie off at the church preschool "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down came on the radio. I had a sudden and vivid flashback to the summer between undergrad and grad school. I listened to this song ALL the TIME (having "file-shared" it then made a CD then made a cassette tape to play in my car! Holy retro-technology Batman!).

I was driving my Neon with the windows open and the radio on WAY TOO LOUD. It was extremely hot, but I loved having the windows open and the radio on WAY TOO LOUD (It's a wonder I have any hearing left at all.). I was on my way from the little house I shared with another girl to my favorite coffee shop. After that I was going to head out to work at the research center where I worked, which was a twenty-minute drive outside of town. It was probably ten o'clock in the morning and I was probably proud of myself for getting out of the house that early (and I was probably still expecting to beat my advisor to work by a good ten minutes).

I was also extremely self assured, professionally, having just had a paper accepted for publication, and spent every waking minute working. Reading papers, doing data analysis, working on our instrumentation, hanging around with co-workers talking about work, having anxiety dreams about work, leaving town for two weeks with an hour's notice to collect data from a hurricane seven-hundred miles away.

I knew exactly where I was headed. To a PhD and then maybe a postdoc on my way to a tenure-track position at a major research university.

When I wasn't working I was obsessing about whether Ryan would EVER propose. The only thoughts I ever had about kids were about how annoying they were and wishing people would have the courtesy to not bring them out in public where I was trying to do my Very Important Work at the coffee shop.

Sometimes I wish I could get that intensity back (except for the no-kids plan part, of course, I'm not giving them back!). Maybe I will one day. Nancy Pelosi has five kids and her full-time political career didn't start until they were in school. For now, though, my priorities MUST be different. I am struggling to make any progress on the three papers I've outlined from my dissertation work. More than the time limitations, it is the energy limitations that are hampering my efforts. The more experienced of my friends say that will get better. I marvel at the organization skills of the women at church whose kids are school-age.

But. I am HAPPY. So happy. Much happier now than when I had it all figured out (at twenty-three, when my roommate and I liked to float in our huge blow-up baby pool in the back yard and read magazines). Even if Charlie screams when I drive with the windows open. I love my part-time job. I will have a heavier teaching load next spring, and a little more autonomy. I am learning a ton and in that way am moving forward in my career. I love that I have time to cook a healthy dinner every night, work hard in the yard, and volunteer at church. I have wonderful neighbors who love my kids almost as much as I do, who are available for anything--an egg, a laugh, a shoulder, breastfeeding advice at two o'clock in the morning, a bug-killing husband when yours is out of town--who drop by with baked goods to thank me for watching their dogs, and best of all, an appreciative and supportive husband.

And, you know, these guys, who are hysterically funny and (can be, on occasion, under the right rest and nutrition conditions) heartbreakingly sweet.

Brother Buddies

Still, maybe I will use this song, and its associated memories of my other life, as motivation to get a little bit of academic work done every day. I feel like I would regret it if I didn't try.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Get the weeds before they get you!

The first thing I do to the yard every spring is pull all the weeds I can find. I've gotten quite the harvest this year.

And I'm not done yet. The kids like to help. As I fill up my plastic bucket, they carry it to the baby pool and dump it out. If I'm lucky, Charlie will bring it back. If he's annoyed because I'm working on the weeds and not playing, he throws it at me.

But I am starting to see signs of the grass coming back to life, something I feared wouldn't happen after last summer's awful drought when our grass died and our yard filled with hardier, dessert-adapted weeds that scratched the kids' knees if they fell on them. I get such satisfaction out of hearing their roots rip free from the soil. I guess they did their part by preventing our topsoil from cracking and blowing away, Dust Bowl style, but it is time for them to go.

Yay for grass sprouts! Grow babies grow!

Every time I find grass sprouts under a weed, I work extra hard around that area. I'm trying to avoid having to put down new sod.

All the yard work is doing a number on my kitchen floor too. The last of THREE LOADS! Yuck!!

Spring here is akin to summer in more temperate climates. We have all the windows open every day and are soaking up the sunshine before it's too hot to go outside.

This weekend's project will be getting our vegetable garden ready for seeds. I'm hoping to get enough tomatoes this year to have extra to make salsa and tomato sauce to store for later. I also want to grow basil and cilantro so I can eat them plain right out of the garden. Or, you know, use them to make salsa and tomato sauce.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Possibly not safe for work, except that it is a carrot

Check out this awesome "organic" carrot I bought the other day. Nope-er-doo! No weird chemicals used here! Except, you know, ENRICHED URANIUM. And that's not really a chemical according to the Periodic Table.

Charlie calls it the "pants carrot."

It was tasty in stew. And now I must submit to monthly monitoring by the federal government.

He's a very empathetic child

Why are you crying, Charlie?

Because I wanted to get some connn-post for our baby plants and the recycling center didn't haaavvvee any.

No worries, we'll just go to Home Depot this afternoon.

But the plaaannnts neeeeeeed connn-post now!

We can plant them while Wes naps, and then later we can get some compost and put it on top.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It is spring "break" here in South. Why the quotes? Because it is NO KIND OF BREAK FOR ME. For one, I don't get to go teach my lab. Two, my dad/our nanny is in freaking CABO, and three, there are kids EVERYWHERE. Most notably, at my house, because there is also NO PRESCHOOL.

Let's all imagine how it must feel to be three and have your entire schedule jolted by one hour without warning or explanation and then the next week take away ALL of your comfortable routine. No school, no church Mom Group, no grandpa time. Just you and your pissed off mother, twenty-four hours a day, for FIVE LONG DAYS.

Yesterday was trying. I was unprepared for a long shapeless day and wound up at Ikea after a tantrum and fight-filled morning (me included). We impulse bought a new bathroom rug, some sippy cups that looked like mice, and a collapsable play-tunnel because I was all "What the hell? It's cheaper than therapy!" It turned out to be pure genius, though. The play-tunnel amused them WITHOUT MY INTERVENTION for at least thirty minutes, until Wes tried to climb on top of it then had a mini-stroke when it would not support his weight like he wanted it to. Later, they had a hand flapping, stompy barefoot dance party on the new bathroom rug. Other than that it was pretty stormy. On the bright side I finally made time to email a girl at church to offer her any of my organs she liked in exchange for watching the little darlings during that long preschool-free stretch of time formerly known as summer "vacation." When Ryan came home there were cookies in the oven, no dinner to be found, and we were dancing in the living room to "Free to Be You and Me," which was turned up so loud he had to yell to be heard. My mental health, it is hanging on by a thread.

This morning, having learned my lesson about whiny, bored children yesterday, we headed out to the community center right after Ryan left for work. I ran on the elliptical for a while, then sat at a table and drank coffee while I leisurely perused my new Moosewood cookbook for a good recipe for dinner (I went with the vegetable ragout). Then we went to the basketball gym and the kids ran around chasing basketballs for twenty minutes or so.

Then it was off to the hippy grocery store with my hippy cookbook to buy some ingredients for my hippy meat-free dinner, and then to balance out all that good karma we popped into the Starbucks next door for some non-local drinks in disposable cups. Mmm delicious non-local, tree-hating vanilla latte. On the way home the kids wanted to see "the river" (a large creek running through our town that swells like crazy any time it rains, and it has been raining hard for about twelve hours), so we took the back way home, a windy drive next to the river through the woods. So peaceful and pleasant. A great morning, I thought, yesterday must have been a fluke!

After a lunch of peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwiches, Wes went down for a nap. I started washing yesterday's dinner dishes when Charlie asked me to help him find a brown crayon. I told him I had to finish the dishes first and he LOST IT. Screaming, crying, snot dripping down his chin, throwing crayons, ripping all the cushions off the couch. I tried holding him wrapped up in a quilt, thinking he might just need a little attention, but he kept screaming and kicking me, so I took him to his room and put him to bed. He screamed for another twenty minutes while I sat next to his closed door, but finally quieted down. I checked him later and he was asleep in his chair.

Friday is a LONG way off, friends.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

That's what I like about Texas

I just checked my camera for the new pictures and DUDE! Did you know it snowed here recently? Because it was in the seventies all weekend. I must have had a raging case of the Seasonal Affective Disorder because I feel better than I have felt in WEEKS.

Or maybe it is just that my kids are almost over the disgusting cold that had us out of all organized activities all week. OMG.

Whatever the case, we only came inside to use the potty and sleep this weekend. I just swept most of my back yard off of the kitchen floor and after I write this I should probably go mop the route from the back door to the bathroom because it looks like a herd of bunnies ran through there.

By the way, I forgot how hard kids sleep when they've been exposed to a moderate amount of fresh air and sunlight.


It all started on Thursday when I dug up part of our yard and put in the garden seen in my last post. Saturday we finished it off with weed cloth, mulch, a trellis, and some climbing vines with pretty yellow flowers.


Saturday morning started with a trip to Home Depot. It was a very big hit once we snagged the race car cart in the parking lot.


Sometimes we like to do silly things to see if the kids will mimic us.


Then we came home and spread out all the mulch and dug this huge hole for the tree we were going to buy. (It got huger than this)


Then Ryan left to go get the tree and the boys had some good natured brotherly fun with the hose. I pulled some more weeds. I've now got a three-foot mound inside a plastic baby pool and think I might be getting close to calling it good.

Ryan came back with an oak tree and Sonic drinks for everyone.

I heart "watermelon" slushes! Also, HFCS!

Ryan finished digging the hole while Wes and I walked to the grocery store for dinner stuff (we were both covered in mud. I was also sweaty. It was hawt. I ran into my friend's husband. My friend who is very pretty and I am sure does not go to the grocery store looking like she's been involved in a shipwreck.).

Then I made dinner and dessert and our niece came over for a slumber party. She and Wes had pillowtalk before bed. It was quite adorable.

Today we went out for breakfast tacos, Ryan took the boys on a bike ride, and I got to go to the nursery and bookstore then topped it off with grocery shopping ALL BY MYSELF.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's never good when only one kid is laughing hysterically

Hey, I've got a GREAT GAME!

First, you act like a really awesome big brother and let the little kid hold the hose. Wow, I'm a really great guy for sharing the hose.


Then, you secretly turn off the water, as if by magic.


And then when the little brother gets the hose nice and close to his face to see why the magical stream of water has disappeared, you LET HIM HAVE IT.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another Cooking Post (ish)

A long time ago my friend Maribel made a Feast for our grad school friend group. Believe me, this Feast more than deserves proper noun status. She made watermelon juice to drink for goodness sake! And she made a brisket in the crock pot. And served it with warm tortillas, sour cream, and cilantro. So simple, yet one of my top three meals of all time.

I asked her for the recipe and she said "Oh, you just put the brisket in the crock pot and cook it!" It cannot be that simple, I thought, so I will not even try.

But last night I went to the memorial service of the mother of a dear friend of our family's. She was born in Poland before the war and, after a very interesting but tragic series of events related to World War II, ended up in Buffalo, New York with her two little girls. It was a happy and informal service, filled with wine and touching stories about how Maria touched each one of us.

Much was said about the Old World European habits she retained even after decades in the US. Her daughter, our friend, has invited us to her traditional Christmas Eve feast with borcht, perogies, fish, and homemade lemon vodka every year going back to when I was in high school and I've always enjoyed it. Last night, the memorial made me think anew about tradition and heritage and how it provides a comforting structure to the year, especially for children. I grew up with a typical array of middle class American family traditions-- hunting Easter Eggs, Santa, summer vacations in New England, donuts on Saturdays-- but I've always been interested in the traditions of families with stronger ties to their ethnic roots.

So, tonight, I decided to make the brisket in honor of Maria's life in Upstate New York, and as a means of starting some new traditions in our family. Since we live in Texas, though, I will be serving it like Maribel did, with fresh, warm tortillas, sour cream, and cilantro. As Labmama said, "Texas IS an ethnicity!"

I felt a little silly saying to the butcher "I need a brisket." Like I should be wearing a dress--belted at the waist--knee highs, and sensible shoes and carrying a large purse on my forearm. And like I should be dickering over the price with him (the large ones were $1.88/pound, but since I didn't need fourteen pounds of meat, and needed it to fit in my crock pot, I had to get one of the smaller ones, which were $3.44/pound. What the H?).

The recipe was as simple as Maribel said. Put the meat in the crock pot and turn it on. Awesome. Although I am sure ladies of generations past didn't use forks to carefully maneuver the meat from the package to the crock pot. They probably used their hands. And they probably didn't get totally grossed out by the sight of such an enormous piece of raw meat, either. Clearly I have a lot to learn if I am going to be as cool as my grandmothers.

I left it cooking and the boys and I went out for an hour's walk around the neighborhood with Labmama. When we returned, the house smelled AMAZING. So my last tip is this: If you cook brisket in the crock pot, remove all junk food from the house. Because the delicious smell will give you a SERIOUS case of the munchies. Just ask the pan of brownies I made last night for the memorial but couldn't take because they were too stuck in the pan.

I think I will roast some potatoes later on to go with the tacos. Then sit up straight and cross my legs at the ankles.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Coming home was still the best part.

Ryan and I went out for a fancy dinner Friday night to celebrate our anniversary. The restaurant was very nice, with white tablecloths, candles on the tables, and not one stolen road sign on the wall.

The lady beside us offered to take our picture when she saw Ryan trying to take a picture of my chicken, which was covered in a lot of different vegetables I couldn't identify in the low light and a buttery sauce. It was unbelievable. Also pictured, a glass of wine I could have swam in. When I ordered it I said to the waiter "I'd like a glass of the...the... Beau--this one" then pointed at it on the menu. He helpfully asked someone how to pronounce the name of the vineyard then told me next time he came to the table. Next time I'll be ordering the "house red" thankyouverymuch.

My fancy goin-out outfit, sans hooker makeup.

The second time I embarrassed myself in front of the waiter was when I thought the word "ostrich" in the name of my entree was a cute little theme-y thing. After all, all the entrees in that section had a funny animal name. Elk, bison, duck. Wait a minute. So glad I asked. I settled on a perfectly safe chicken entree and was very pleased with it. Very, very pleased. Also pleased that I was not eating a six-foot tall flightless bird.

When we were finished eating I checked the time and was utterly shocked to learn that we had twenty minutes to get the check, pay, and get to the musical. Time flies when you're not trying to contain chaos.

Our seats for the musical were okay I guess.


That is my view of the stage from my seat. My FREE seat that I got with my faculty ID. There was a startling moment in the opening scene where one of the actors was singing angrily right at me about eighteen inches from my face. It was awesome. Other than some annoying guy behind us repeatedly yelling at a girl across the stage deemed "totally hot" by he and his friends "HEY! YOU'RE IN MY ASTRONOMY CLASS! WE MEASURED A PLANET TOGETHER!" then waving his phone around and wiggling his thumbs in a "text me" signal, I'm assuming. After about five confusing minutes of this back and forth he figured out he had the wrong girl, but he and his friends once again concurred that "She's still hot, dude." I was so glad they calmed down when the lights went off.

We laughed uproariously through the whole first act and when the lights came up for intermission we looked around like "What? No! More! I want more!" I stayed in our seats and enjoyed more scintillating conversation from Mr. Astronomy and his friends. Ryan went to the men's room where everyone was joking around "Pee for free! Pee for free!" Then he came back and we enjoyed the second act even more.

I thought about going out for dessert after but it was ten thirty and we had to get home before I fell asleep.

The next day Ryan went out and got us all doughnuts.


and then presented me with the professional portraits of the boys he had done secretly a month ago (HOW I do not know!). Happy anniversary, Ryan, and many more!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I wanted to look like an adult, not an adult film star

Yesterday I had a few extra minutes before my office hours, so I ran into Sephora on the way to school to get some lip gloss and blush so I could look like an adult for our big fancy anniversary date that night. A lady in a hot pink wig directed me to a kiosk of various types of makeup, including about fourteen different items falling into the lip gloss category. I was in a hurry, so didn't pay very close attention to what I was doing when I grabbed a couple of things that looked good, paid, and left.

In the car I flipped down my visor and tried out my new lip whatever-it-was.


OMG. I have office hours in TEN MINUTES.

I frantically dug around in the back seat for a wipe, a napkin, or something, ANYTHING, to get it off. Found a crusty Starbuck's napkin under Charlie's car seat, spit all over it, and wiped the heck out of my mouth to get it off. Most of it came off. MOST of it. And my lips were extra red from all the rubbing.

And then after class I thought, "maybe I just didn't do it right. Now that I have more time, I'll give it another try." You can probably imagine how that went.

I'm sticking with my Burt's chapstick from now on.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And now I start sentences "When I was in grad school..." like a giant jerk

Just like childbirth, you get through your defense, spend a few miserable months bumping around trying to figure out what your new life is going to look like, and then BAM, it's a year later and you're really really glad you stuck it out and didn't follow through on all those threats to take your dissertation to Nebraska and leave it at the fire station.

Ryan reminded me tonight that it was this time last year that all hell broke loose with my dissertation. I remember sitting in the big chair in our bedroom, furiously redoing all my figures (after furiously redoing all my data) for an entire day and into the night, long after Ryan went to bed, then finally going to bed at 3:30 only to have Wes wake up to eat minutes later. Then I got up at 7:00 FOR THE DAY.

I guess that last part is why Ryan remembers it and I do not. Maybe (probably) it's because he was woken repeatedly by me smacking the keyboard and swearing like a crazy person on a bus.

Here's the post I wrote this day last year. I wish I could have told myself then that I would have the job of my dreams just a year later. And that I really would LIKE hanging around with my kids!

March 6 of last year was my defense date and our fifth wedding anniversary. I think Saturday's plans to eat a fancy dinner and see a musical are a much more fitting tribute to our happy life together, don't you?

And here is what my kids looked like last year. If you need me, I'll just be over here eating those little feet.


Monday, March 1, 2010


I had this great post all written in my head about how much self-control it took not to haul off and yell at this little unsupervised b-r-a-t kid at the library who screamed in my kids' faces because they were playing in the reading bathtub and she for some reason thought it was HER reading bathtub and chose to express herself by screaming angrily in the face of a one-year-old child. And about how much more self control it took not to yell at her dad who arrived on scene minutes later to find me consoling my two terrified children while his sweet little angel loomed over me and told ME that it was HER bathtub and then responded by saying what amounted to "Huh" then walked back into the Juniors Easy Reading section as his adorable little precious yelled unprovoked at an adult stranger.

But then I locked myself out of my farking car.

After spending two and a half gleefully well-behaved hours out in public, I sensed that we needed to get to a private location, pronto, before the dearies succumbed to their natural impulses. I calmly and patiently led Charlie through the process of putting all the toys away at the coffee shop despite his preference for lying on the floor moaning about not wanting to go home. Based on experience I figured I had about thirty minutes until blast off, which would give me just enough time to do our weekly shopping at the grocery store on the way home. I paid for our order, chatted briefly with the owner of the store, and began digging through my purse for my keys. They were not there.

Instead they were inside the back of my car. My locked car. Sooo helpful.

I lugged everyone back into the coffee shop then sat on the couch in defeat, Ryan's voicemail in my ear, a maniacal Charlie upside-down across my lap with his foot on my shoulder. I declined to leave a message and called back. He excused himself from a meeting, expecting some kind of emergency and instead got his borderline hysterical wife jabbering on about the keys being locked in the freaking car and being trapped out in public with the Over-Stimulated Brothers. Please HELP.

He said he would have to finish the meeting but would come as soon as he could.

Naturally I called Labmama so I could complain about my rotten luck with someone else who gets it. We devised several intricate plans to get me back to my house; Most involved her having decided several months ago to buy a car with a third row and several involved me being smart enough to have given her a copy of my house and car key for this very reason.

Long story short, an hour and fifteen minutes later Ryan and I were each carrying an hysterical child out of the library. The boys and I went home and Ryan went back to work. Wes took a nap that ended just about the time he normally goes to bed. And we never made it to the grocery store and ate scrambled eggs for dinner. First item on tomorrow's to-do list? Make copies of keys. Give to neighbors.