Jan 29, 2017: All Together Now!


Hallelujah, it’s the weekend! I was on solo parenting duty all week, with Chris being gone to Switzerland and Germany. I know many of my friends have spouses who travel a lot or are single moms and are now rolling their eyes at me whining about solo parenting. So let me clarify: I can solo parent. I don’t mind it—actually, the elder of my two kids is better behaved when only one parent is around (a phenomenon we witness every time one parent or the other goes out of town). But I sure do prefer having my favorite wingman around to relax with at the end of the day! So I was pretty happy to have him return last night. Even if he is gone again today for a Scout training, and I’m trying to figure out how to keep two rugrats busy without attending any germ-filled places.

That’s right—I am still healthy! Only five more days to stay healthy before my surgery! This is the week I’m not allowed to take any supplements, though, so cross your fingers that my lack of Vitamin C and zinc this week won’t make me suddenly come down with some silly cold bug and cancel my surgery. Theo has asked me multiple times if I’ll be “less grumpy” after my surgery, making me feel like Mother of the Year, let me tell you. I sure hope I will. It won’t take away any of the normal hormone shifts from menopause, but at least it will get rid of the really dreadful physical effects—and I have to admit, it’s very hard to be Cheerful Mommy when your body feels like it’s under assault much of the time.

Speaking of bodies under assault: acupuncture!! Oh my goodness, how did it take me so long to discover this?! It is a GODSEND. I’ve been going every time they have an open appointment (which tends to be every 1-2 weeks), and the difference is pretty amazing. The constant pain from fibromyalgia is so much less! I won’t say it’s nonexistent, but it’s definitely at a very manageable level. I’m not in pain all day, every day anymore. I wake up stiff and it takes a few minutes to get loosened up, and sometimes by late in the evening I’m feeling a bit feverish and achy. But for the bulk of the day, I feel quite good! And even the feverish feeling in the evening isn’t every night anymore—it’s just some nights.

The acupuncturist I saw this last time told our class (I go to group acupuncture) that it works great for some people, somewhat well for others, and not at all for some. Thankfully, I seem to be in the lucky group of “works great” right now! I hope that will last. To be honest, the classes are a pain in my rear to get to, but I don’t care. I will take two hours out of my day every week or two to get this relief, because it is wonderful. And it keeps me from having to gulp ibuprofen, which really didn’t help much anyway.

So that’s my word to the wise this week: Chronic pain? Consider trying acupuncture. If it works for you, it is truly a godsend!

Anyway! Our week was relatively quiet because it was a school week, and I’m not ambitious enough to take the kids out solo if I don’t have to. So the week consisted of the boys going to school, me working way too much, and then us having dinner at home. After they were in bed at 8:00 sharp, I’d go back to the computer and work until sometime after midnight. Good grief, I was tired by the end of a week of solo parenting plus working 14-hour days! But I did get a lot done on my book projects, so that’s good.

I see now why Chris takes the boys out to dinner for every meal when I’m gone. As I said, I’m not terribly ambitious with regard to taking them out on my own if I don’t have to. So I figured we’d stay home every night for dinner, and Theo could share the meal box with me. (Sam won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, but Theo is game to try anything.)

Oh…my…goodness. Trying to cook with no one here to handle the kids was somewhat of a nightmare! Theo was fine—he kept himself entertained while I cooked. But Sam…well, Sam was hangry. Do you know what hangry is? It’s when you get angry because you’re hungry. And that was Sam. He is terrible about eating for me, so when Chris goes out of town, Sam goes on hunger strike…and then is hangry.

So imagine, if you will, a hangry four-year-old bursting into angry tears literally every two minutes, screaming, “MAMA!!!!” because he’s ticked off about something. I had given him the iPad to keep him busy (don’t judge; it was a matter of survival), but something on it was bugging him—maybe he didn’t like the selection of Thomas videos or something.

And he wanted Cheese-It’s, even going so far as to hand me the box and say, “Bowl!” So I put some Cheese-it’s in a bowl and handed them to him, and he promptly screamed, “NO!” and burst into tears. As is my custom, I calmly put the bowl on the counter where he could reach it and said, “Fine. If you want them, they’re there.” But that was WRONG, ALL WRONG!!! More tantrums… And then he wanted OJ, and we went through the same routine. It was definitely OJ he wanted—“juice” is one of the words he can say very clearly, and OJ is his juice of choice. Plus, I gave him his talking device, and he pressed “orange juice.” But every time I gave it to him, he screamed bloody murder at me. I tasted it; it was fine. I put it in another cup to see if that was the problem, but that wouldn’t do either.

So…many…tantrums. Needless to say, dinner got rather burned, and I set off the smoke detector by burning the bacon while tending to one of many tantrums. And I said to myself, “THIS is why Chris just takes them out to dinner every night when I’m gone.” (By the way, in case you’re wondering, no–he wasn’t coming down with a cold. He ate a hearty dinner on Friday night, after we picked up Chris at the airport, and he is happy as a clam and healthy as a horse. Apparently, he was just hangry.)

That said, Theo enjoyed the dinner boxes, with lively commentary about them:

Fresh fettuccini with beets and goat cheese: “Mom, it’s delicious. Except the goat cheese. I don’t like that.”

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Some sort of butternut squash and bean soup with curry: “Not the best thing I’ve ever eaten, Mom, but not bad. But I do not like butternut squash.”

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Veggie tacos with Caesar brussels sprouts slaw: “These are yummy, Mom. I love the mushrooms and the brussels sprouts. But I do not like butternut squash!”

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Cauliflower banh mi bowls (my favorite of the dishes this week!): “Mmm, these are so good, Mom! But not as good as the pasta.”

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Fresh spaghetti with basil and cherry tomato sauce: “Yum! I love this one, Mom! This and the beet pasta are my favorites this week!”

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And Sam’s speech therapist took pity on me and worked with Sam on food words during their Friday session. 🙂 Video evidence:


Meanwhile, in the Black Forest, Chris was freezing his rear off. He flew into Basel, Switzerland, and visited their office there. Then the team took a train to some German resort town in the Black Forest with a name I can’t remember but it sounds vaguely naughty when pronounced in English. Oh, here is is—you can pronounce it:

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It was cold—I think the high was 16 degrees, and Chris doesn’t really have a warm jacket, since we live in sunny California. So he barely ventured outside. He did take a walk halfway across the frozen lake with his coworkers, though.

Those are people walking on the frozen lake in the background!

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Looks like the town would be really pretty in the summer, on a lake and everything! It’s pretty in the snow, too—but cold!

View from his hotel:

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Little town:

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Chris said the meetings were great, and he was glad he went. However, in addition to being cold, the poor guy spent much of one night up with a touch of food poisoning from the fish he had ordered for dinner when he didn’t care to try the pig neck entrée.

So he ate barely anything the next day, and when he finally felt up for a meal, they went to a place with meat, meat, and more meat! I don’t know if you can read the menu, but pretty much every item has meat. My favorite is the Slaughter Plate (upper-right corner). I have no idea what that is, but I would’ve had to order it just so I could say, “I’d like the Slaughter Plate, please!”

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I was also amused to see that the sausage salad appears to involve sausage, cheese, French fries, and onions—with no other veggies in sight! I don’t know whether the lettuce is just assumed or whether the lettuce doesn’t exist in the “salad!”

This weekend will be a quiet one for me, as I continue to be a germaphobe. I’m very disappointed to have to miss the Pinewood Derby—my favorite Cub Scout event of the year! Theo and Chris are putting the finishing touches on Theo’s car today, and they race tomorrow. But it’s held in the school cafeteria, and the idea of being in a fairly small room with a ton of young kids when pretty much everyone around is sick with a cold or flu right now is not a good one. I really do hate to miss it, but I’ll hate myself even more if I go and manage to pick up a cold, so…sigh. Next year. I’ll have Chris take pictures this year.

No promises on when the blog will be up next week, since if all goes well I will be recovering from surgery. But next Saturday Sam turns FIVE (gasp!!!), so as soon as I can after that, I’ll write up a post. I’ve been mulling over one about kindergarten, too—just haven’t had time to write it yet.

In case you missed it, I had a post earlier in the week sharing my thoughts on the Women’s March and related issues. It’s political in nature, so skip it if my political thoughts aren’t to your taste—no harm done!

Have a good week! And if you can spare any positive thoughts for me staying well and having an uneventful surgery, I welcome them! Here are a last few pictures from the week.

Dinner last Saturday, before Chris left: Some sort of tiny pasta (almost like a spaetzle) with roasted broccoli and za’atar spice, with soft-boiled eggs on top. Delicious!

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I adore the way he sleeps, with his little rump in the air. I can’t believe he’ll be five next week! And yes, he’s still in a crib. He likes it, and I like the fact that he can’t get up and roam the house by himself. So in it he stays…

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Theo had to write a paragraph on the inauguration, which they watched in class. His last sentence just made me laugh–it was supposed to be a summary sentence, but he could not resist putting his opinion in, though he actually stated it much more politely than he normally does!

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His “pooping pose” just cracked me up!! Alas, he did not actually produce anything. But hey—he sat on the potty in an awesome pose, so that’s cool. 🙂

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