Friday, May 27, 2011

Confession Friday

If I can't figure out how to write some good posts, I may as well use my blog as a form of therapy. I guess confession is supposed to make a person feel better. I don't actually feel bad, but everyone can always stand to feel better, right?

My confession of the week is that I kick things under the couch. Before I had kids and even when my kids were still pretty small, I maintained that my kids would clean up each thing or group of things as they went. They would know that before getting out the toy tractors, all the Trio blocks must be picked up and put away. And then before they got out the trains, the tractors had to be cleaned up. Books and magazines say this is the best method. And it really sounds great, doesn't it?

Only I live in real life. I work full time. Three days a week I work from home. I also have meals to cook and laundry to do and sanity to maintain on the weekends when my husband is at work. It is absolutely remarkable the number of things two boys can find to drag out while I'm putting in a load of laundry. Or answering emails. Or on a conference call. Or blinking.

So I've adopted a more real-life approach. All the toys will be picked up before bedtime. Of course, ideally this would be the two people who made the mess cleaning it up by themselves and without being prompted. It would also mean all the toys all over the entire house would be picked up and put where they belong. Reality is more like... the two boys being helped by whichever parent is home to clean up all the toys visible in the main area of the house. If we get to tidying the playroom, great. If not, we just close the door. Of course, all the pick-up is usually done in a hurry as we race the clock to bedtime.

So... can you really blame me when the house is finally quiet and the kitchen tidied, that I really don't feel like picking up any more toys? Sure, the kids should have picked up that ball or cardboard-tube-turned-spyglass or flip flop. And yes, squatting down to pick it up and then walking to put it away would almost count as exercise. But, if I take a good look at it and sweep it under the couch with my foot, then the living room will look clean when I flop down on the couch to catch up on reading, facebooking, or the DVR. And I will know exactly where said item is when someone is whining for it three days from now. And that will make me a hero.

I'll take being a bad-housekeeper-yet-hero-mom over those burning those five extra calories any day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pizza and Potato Chips

It's so crazy how something I've probably seen hundreds of times will randomly spark a memory I haven't thought of in years. My boys and I were at the Reds game on Sunday, walking near the stadium, when I looked up and saw a sign for "Mike-sells". Mike-sells is a local potato chip/snack food company that distributes mostly in the Midwest. Their wavy potato chips, including the ones that have the greenish edges from being cute too close to the peel (?), have a special place in my heart. On Sunday afternoon when I saw that sign, I was transported for a second to pizza night at my parents' house WAY back when I was little.

Pizza night when I was growing up did not involve a delivery guy or carry-out. Sure, from time-to-time we did buy pizza. But that wasn't "pizza night." Pizza night when I was growing up always started with some yeast, water, flour, and a pinch of sugar. Pizza was the thing my dad made. And as soon as we were old enough to spread tomato sauce or sprinkle oregano, my sisters and I had our hands all over it. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't help make pizza or know how to make pizza.

The dough that results from my dad's recipe is very... yeast-forward (no, I don't know if that's a real thing, but "yeast-y" just sounds weird). It's not like anything I've every had in a restaurant, and yet it is still my favorite pizza to eat. I now make it with my boys at least a few times a month. Back in the day, pizza night was a huge deal and usually involved company. Even if that company was just the neighbors.

I know we ate a lot of pizza in the winter, including every Christmas Eve, but my main memories of pizza night were in the summertime. We didn't have air conditioning and despite having every window open and multiple fans working overtime, the house would get increasingly warm from the oven being on and opened/closed to cook multiple pizzas. We (my sisters and I, the neighbor kids, and all the adults) would eat in shifts around the ancient, creaky table in the dining room. When the pizza with the toppings you liked was ready, you'd get a paper plate with a slice, a perspiring cup of 'Pepsi-free' (pizza night was one of the few times we were allowed to have soda), and a handful of wavy, Mike's-sells potato chips.

And there you have it. The crazy way my mind works. Walking on a chilly, rainy day in the city with my kids, and all it takes is seeing an advertisement to take me back to a sweet memory of a sweltering, summertime joy from my childhood. I don't think I've eaten chips with pizza in years, but for the past few days all I could think about was getting some Mike-sells chips and savoring a memory. Luckily, I went to the supermarket today. If you'll excuse me, my writing is keeping me from a salty, crispy snack and some serious reminiscing.