Sunday, April 1, 2012

The morel of the story

My sleep was decent last night, although Emily awoke me at 6:30 to say that I hadn't hugged her goodnight. It was true, I hadn't, but that was only because she was already asleep by the time I finished singing her song.  I hugged her quickly this morning and sent her back to bed, but spent the next half hour laying awake listening to the sound of my girls "quietly" waiting for their clocks to turn green.  

I did some thinking yesterday while I was laying around feeling yucky.  I thought about how to rearrange my eating and reduce my calorie intake, and one of the most obvious things I could do is to eat an egg as a snack instead of WITH breakfast.  I rarely finish the main part of my breakfast and think "I'm still starving!", I have the egg to add protein so my breakfast will carry me as far through the morning as possible, but it would actually carry me much further if I have the egg an hour or two AFTER breakfast.  So that's what I did today.

Overnight oats...1/2 cup oats + 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt + frozen berries + cinnamon mixed and sat overnight in the fridge, with walnuts and some unsweetened vanilla almond milk added in the morning
 Then a couple hours later, my egg!

Sprinkled with smoked sea salt and TJ's 21 seasoning salute
 One of the OTHER things I was thinking about while laying around feeling yucky yesterday was the fact that my mindset whenever Will is gone is "I only have 4 more hours until the girls' only 2 hours until their bedtime..." and how that makes me sad.  I shouldn't look at a full day at home alone with the girls as something I have to get through, even if I'm sick.  I think that's probably a habit I developed when Emily was a baby and it was all I could do to stand sitting in the house and nursing this fairly non-interactive infant every 3 hours all day until someone else came home to hold her for me so I could shower.  Now my kids are old enough that I can actually DO stuff with them.  I like to play with my kids, but I don't always like to play what THEY want to play.  It sounds kind of immature, I know.  I'm the adult, I should be able to handle not getting my own way but I think it's pretty common among parents, and I am able to be actively engaged for a lot longer when we're on an "adventure" I planned that I enjoy watching them experience vs. sitting for hours and keeping up my end of the conversation with Emily's ponies.  I know it's important that I play Emily's games too, but it's better for everyone if I take the initiative to propose activities sometimes myself.  It's very tough to explain without sounding like I normally neglect my children, which I DON'T, unless you're comparing me to those moms with homeschool blogs who love nothing more than to take gorgeous pictures of their children happily engaged in wholesome, neatly presented educational activities in dedicated "classroom" corners of their spotless houses all day.  I'm glad they exist because I get good ideas from them, but they sure make me feel like a lousy mother!

I guess when I'm coming up with things for the girls and I to do at home I feel like I'm in good mommy mode.  I'm sure the girls enjoy me more, they behave better, and I end up enjoying my time with THEM more just naturally.  It takes some effort to get and keep myself in good mommy mode though vs. just chatting with the girls when they run through the kitchen while I'm doing the dishes.  It's been tough to be exciting and dynamic recently since we've had at least one person in the family sick more days than not, but I decided to make an effort today despite feeling like crap.

So we played the letter games together on Emily's laptop toy.  We played with the talking shape (Charlotte) and alphabet (Emily) puzzles.  We danced and sang to the Brainy Baby ABC's DVD.  We worked on galloping (Charlotte) and skipping (Emily) across a sheet of bubble wrap on the floor to make nice popping noises.  Charlotte played with the noodle box while Emily and I did monkey math...

Turns out two plus three still equals five, even though it seems like MILLENNIA since I was a kid learning this stuff myself

...which she is REALLY good at!  She much prefers numbers to letters, and yet when I suggested we do monkey math she said "But math is hard".  It makes me so angry that this child has barely even learned her numbers and already she has picked up on the anti-math sentiments prevalent in society.  Of course math will be hard if you convince yourself it is from the time you're 4 years old.  Since she seems to be good at it, I am trying extra-hard to show her that math can be fun and satisfying, not automatically hard.

After that the girls chased me with a dolphin toy and a whale toy that were "biting pieces off of me".  I was gone in no time, since I didn't have the energy to run very fast.

By then it was 10:30.


When you plan to actively entertain young children for an extended period of time, believe me, you'll need about 10x as many activities as you think you will need.

Since we were stuck at home all day and I had the time to prepare, I decided to pull out a lunch idea I saw on Pinterest.  I filled 24 eggs with small dry snack foods and hid them on the back porch.  Then I had the girls hunt for their lunches.

I didn't feel like pulling out the Easter baskets so we were ghetto and used a toy bucket and a paper bag

I love watching Emily discover eggs, she gets so excited!

Charlotte did pretty well too
The girls LOVED doing this, and had a great time discovering what snack was in each egg too.  

As a courtesy, I retouched about a gallon of snot off of her face before posting this picture

This one too

Everything got eaten, except for the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.  Those were summarily rejected, even though they've been consumed with enthusiasm before.

Beef jerky, tamari almonds, raisins, kale chips, roasted nori seaweed, dehydrated mango, TJs lentil curls, grain-sweetened chocolate chips, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
I had a salad instead.  To save on calories I just did veggies with roasted chickpeas and 1oz ricotta salata.

Luckily after lunch the girls wandered out to play on the playground for a bit which gave me a change to rest and do a couple dishes.

Once I got Charlotte down into her bed (notice I don't say "down for a nap", because she didn't end up sleeping at all) I made myself another of my banana peanut flour smoothies.  I threw ice in this one because while yesterday's thick, compact smoothie was tasty, I prefer a thinner and more voluminous smoothie.  I forgot to toss in some spinach though, as I had planned to.

Enjoyed to the sound of Charlotte keening from her room upstairs
I took the girls out front after Charlotte's "nap" and let them run around while I weeded the front garden.  I'm not sure why I did this today, as leaning over made my head POUND and the weed situation wasn't dire yet.  I guess it was so that I could hang out with the girls outside while getting a chore done at the same time.

I only made it until 4 before I was starving again, so I had some veggies with TJ's hummus/guacamole.

Dinner was Dover Sole (it was on special at Whole Foods) prepared in this fashion, plus quinoa cooked in 1/2 water 1/2 light coconut milk with mango and cilantro, and turkey bacon-wrapped asparagus.

Holy bland, is there a fish less tasty than Sole?  It didn't taste BAD, which I guess is a plus, but it was completely flavorless and only one step above mealy.  It fell apart like crazy after it was cooked.  I will not be consuming this type of fish again if I have any choice in the matter.

After dinner, Will got home!  Hooray!  He feels as crappy as I do, unfortunately, but Daddy's arrival at home is always a happy point in the day, and is always good for a momentary distraction.  It was nice to have a bit of adult conversation too, even if it was pretty much just:

Sara: Welcome (snarf, hack) home sweetie.  Did you have (sneeze) fun?
Will: Yes.  We almost (snork) blew up the porch (blows nose).
Sara:  Nice.  Let's collapse on the (a-HEM) couch and drink tea.
Will: Ok.  I'll get the (cough) tissue box.

He DID bring me a present though!

Do you know what this is?

What if I back up and get (a bit) less artsy?

Why it's a morel mushroom, of course!  As a child, I remember my mom going out into our woods and bringing back grocery bags full of morels, which I declared "gross" because they were mushrooms, and I hated mushrooms.  Boy do I wish I could time-travel back to those days and chomp down on some of those morels, because never since I developed a taste for mushrooms have we been able to find practically ANY (or anyone willing to share).  

There is one place though that reliably offers up a single morel every year.  It's not near a dying elm tree or in an old apple orchard or any other place that people typically find morels, but in the courtyard up at the farm.  

Straight ahead in this picture.  Doesn't look very morel-y, does it?
Anyway, The Morel was early this year, and while Will was up playing paintball at the farm he picked it and brought it home for me :-)  How sweet!

Morels are so wrinkly that they have to be soaked for awhile to get the dirt and bugs out of their folds before you cook them, so I might fry it up for breakfast tomorrow morning.  I certainly will not be breading it with Ritz crackers or Saltines and floating it in butter like most recipes online tell you to do.  

After being hungry practically all day long, including immediately after I finished both lunch and dinner, I decided it was ok to have my favorite dessert (but mostly because I just wanted to eat it).  

After an episode of South Park and a grapefruit, I will crawl gratefully into my bed.  I feel lame that #1 I'm being so whiny about a freakin' cold and #2 it wore me out so very much to actually be a good and involved mother today.  I guess my grand nonexistent plans to be a homeschooling mother will never come to fruition.  I need the help of the outside world to entertain my children.

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