Tag Archives: kids

Corn Dog Shit Show

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Just so we are clear, breading separation of this level = no longer edible to 5 year old

Being the ginormous food hog foodie that I am, I have always been very proud of the wide variety of food that Jr enjoys.

Until recently, that is.

If 4 years old was “the age of the questionable decision” (and oh, how it was,) then 5 is turning out to be “the age of the shrinking palate.”

Jr’s newest meal time battle cry has become “I don’t like that anymore.”

And people, let me tell you right now – mama ain’t down with it one damn bit.

After Jr tried to declare that carrots and broccoli (our last two approved true veggies) were now on his “do not eat list,” I went so far as to implement a “if you liked it when you were 3, you can’t unlike it now!” (Sorry, dude, but if 3 year old you would easily have eaten it, 5 year old you has to eat it too.  Because hashtag momlogic.)

Even with my MOTY rule in place, dinner time is substantially more hellish  eventful than it used to be.

Case in point, last night’s dinner… or as I immediately  took to calling it “The Corn Dog Shit Show.”

I gave Jr a prompt Heisman pose on his attempt to decide that he no longer liked the Morning Star Farms Corn Dogs that he loved as a 4 year old – because evidently vegan junk food is the hill that this mama decided was worth dying on.  Go figure.

Anyway, it worked and the kid decided that they were not only cleared for serving again, but actually his new-again favorite thing ever.  So for dinner last night when I offered a Corn dog instead of  the low carb Cheeseburger casserole thingy that The Mr. and I were having, his agreement was a level 2000 on a scale of 1-10.

Perfect, awesome, fantastic.  1 corndog, some grapes, and a yogurt tube (Simply Yo-plait ONLY, as he has decided that the Horizons tubes no longer meet his refined tastes,) coming up.

Except I wasn’t watching…. And if you overcook a vegan corndog, it blows up.

:::pause to de-corndog microwave:::

Round two is a success, and after a play session with the neighbor kid and a bike ride with dad, he was HUNGRY!

A corndog requires a 5-7 minute cooling time, which can be sped up by sticking the cooked dog back into the freezer. Skip this step and Jr’s delicious dinner becomes a molten mass of meat substitute lying in wait to scorch the taste buds off my offspring’s tender tongue.

All steps accomplished and we all sit down to din.

A third of the way through said perfectly cooled corndog, Jr decides to attempt to remove it from the stick, and half a blink later, it is on the floor, Potter has promptly wolfed it down, and Jr is has that pre-tantrum quiver in his lip.

RED ALERT!!!

I distract him with the yogurt tube and launch into emergency corndog prep procedure, cooking for 10 seconds, checking the temp, and going again – so as to produce a replacement that will be cool enough to eat PDQ, but not still a veggie-product popsicle in the center.

Just as the last grape goes into Jr’s mouth,  I sidle up beside him and hold out my microwaved creation, at the perfect temperature for instant ingestion.  Mom achievement unlocked.

The pride I took in this victory was far greater than any I ever felt in a kitchen – even when I made perfect puff pastry from scratch to ace my dreaded baking exam in culinary school.

We also had a quick lesson in pointing our corndog DOWN toward the plate if we are shoving it off of the stick, instead of pointing it up and firing it off of the stick like a cornbread-wrapped pop-bottle rocket.

One mealtime battle fought and won….  One food saved from 5 year old snubbery.   (Is that a word?  I am making it one.  I am the MF-ing corndog god… I can do that.)

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The Secret of The Mother’s Heart

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He made me “mom.” So he can lay on the good pillows.

This little ball of flufftastic perfection is my firstborn baby boy. We had long nights of not much sleep together during those 1st weeks of being a family, and eventually I figured out how to best care for him. Just like any other new baby.
I have beamed with pride at his doggy accomplishments, celebrated big milestones in his life, worried and prayed through some scary sicknesses with him (hello extra gray hairs,) and I knew from the first time I saw him that he had reshaped my heart.

It was more than that. He revealed to me the true Secret of a Mother’s Heart:  it can expand indefinitely. There is always more room, always more love.

I am never afraid to give 100% of my love -to him, to his spunky almost-kindergartener brother (time flies,) to my family and friends, and to those in the world who need to feel love and compassion.

I understand now, how my own mother’s love grew the strongest and shined the brightest on me when I was at my worst. (God bless you, Maude)

Because a Mother’s Heart renews and replenishes and strengthens and gives.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mommas out there-  you are all beautiful, amazing, pefectly-imperfect gifts to your families and friends and communities.
I raise my mimosa to each and every one of you!

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Five.

Attention King Soopers’ Shoppers – I apologize profusely if you were subjected to my shameless display of nostalgia and longing in the baby product isle this week.

It’s just this – my kid turned 5 on Sunday.

FIVE.

How the actual eff was the kid in this picture, which CLEARLY happened just a blink ago, now 5 full years old?
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I have been a damn mess pretty much my whole life the past week or so – reminders of his completed babyhood have been everywhere.

As I cleaned out some toy bins to prepare for the onslaught of superhero crap birthday gifts that would need storage, I stumbled on this old friend:
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This is Pocket Bert.  Toddler Jr loved Bert so much that we had Bert in varying sizes – Pocket Bert got his name because he resided in the pocket of the diaper bag, there to comfort and amuse Jr at a moment’s notice.  Oh how he loved Pocket Bert so.

:::pause to make Pocket Bert do a dance while humming  “Doin’ the Pidgeon.” :::

Sniffle.  Whimper.

Andplusalso, stop what you are doing and behold this picture of his tiny baby cuteness that TimeHop threw at me this week.  (Well, don’t stop what you are doing – keep right on reading the awesomeness of Reluctantly Suburban, but pause to take in that smoosh.)
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I can’t even so much that I can’t even EVEN with that one.  All of them, actually.  I can’t open TimeHop without a box of Kleenex stationed next to me.

So it was inevitable, I guess, that as I was grabbing some groceries this week, I found myself at the end of the isle of baby products:
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I knew I shouldn’t – but I ventured in.

There it all was – tubes of diaper cream both awesome (Purple Desitin) and pointless (Butt Paste,) and gas drops and washes for tiny people with sensitive skin.  Jars of liquid fruit and veggies, delicious little “puffs,” and the Baby Mum Mums that I used to order by the case from Amazon since the stores weren’t carrying them then (oh sure NOW you have them, King Soopers.)

Bottle parts and teething rings and liquid gold Jr’s expensive special formula…. Itty bitty, teeny tiny diapers that used to be too big for him in his first few weeks of life.

It was that last thought that got me – that was in the first few weeks of him and I…  we were together in his nursery, high above the busy city below, figuring out all of those crazy products and what we needed to do…  now there has been 5 years of him – and of me as his mom.

BOOM – grocery store ugly cry. Waterfall of tears.  I could almost hear the PA announcement  “Wet (and sloppy, and crazy) clean up, isle 16!!”

I walked the length of the isle slowly, taking it all in and having a good cry (if there is a “good cry” to be had in public, FFS, Keri.)

Then I went and got him a new Super Friends straw cup and a box of the shortbread cookies shaped like doggies that he loves so much and collected myself (kinda) before checking out.

Then, for some reason, the Catalina coupon dispenser shot this puppy out at me after I paid.
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Diaper coupon.

But my son is 5.

FIVE.

“Wet clean up near the crazy crying lady at the U-scan.  Bring Tissues.”

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Maybe Reality Really DOES Bite.

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Ya know what, Troy?   Cram it.  (Credit: http://www.spot.ph)

40 is coming. Or rather, I am currently rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell toward my 40th birthday in June. If you smash my twin sister and I together, that is 80 years of twinny “us-ness” on this planet. Scary stuff.

I didn’t think 40 was going to bug me. After all, 40 is the new 30, right? We are a FAR CRY away from the 40th birthday I remember my mom having, complete with coworkers stringing black streamers everywhere and outfitting her with a cane and veiled black hat to go with her “over the hill” cake.

That just isn’t what 40 means today. Think about who else is turning 40 this year. Reece Witherspoon. Ryan Reynolds. Melissa Joan Hart – Sabrina the teenage witch, yo! Keri Russell – awesome first name to match her awesome looks! 40 ain’t nothin’ at this point, right?    I remember thinking when Jennifer Aniston turned 40 (7 years ago, people,) that 40 was spectacular. That all you had to be by 40 was a grown-ass version of you. (With apologies to Troy from Reality Bites, because none of us knew ANYTHING at 23, really dude.)

But therein lies the rub. 7 years ago, 33 year old Keri was, if I remember correctly, putting some fairly substantial pressure on herself regarding her Jesus year, and thinking that “way far off into the future” of Keri-ness, at the ripe old age of 40, she would finally have gotten it together as a grown up.

Guess what? NOPE.

I am a warmed over mess. Don’t get me wrong, it is my warmed over mess… this is my 40 year old bed, I made it and I can lay in it, blah blah blah… It isn’t the whole “I’m so damn old, woe is my aged self” thing that has me reeling, although I do confess feeling kind of old of late. It’s the nagging “shouldn’t I feel like a dang grown up by now?” question. I am like, way far into this dog-and-pony show, right? At what point, exactly, am I going to stop feeling like I should be calling my mom to come and pick me up from this charade, because it MUST be way past my curfew? The ghosts of Keri-ages past would be pretty disturbed to know that at 40 it was all still going to be feeling like a total crap shoot. That sucks, yo.

I briefly considered diving into a good old-fashioned midlife crisis- but dipping my toe in those waters by taking an ill-advised shopping trip in the Juniors’ section for clothes that look ridiculous on me, drinking like a 23 year old at the neighbors’ house, taking on a bunch of contract work in all my free time so I can “do what I love,” and otherwise generally acting “un-Keri” just left me feeling embarrassed and desperate and old.

Man, I miss just feeling old.

So the midlife crisis is off the table, as I don’t have time for self-destruct just now since I can’t get even my adult shit together without that added BS.  There’s really no spare time to blow everything up when you are just hoping to get your kid and yourself out the door with lunch packed and pants on both of you, can I get an amen?

But what then? Or what now, I mean. Here I am being all old (but not,) coming to terms with the idea that maybe, JUST maybe, this is all there is.

I am not destined to change the world, or even my little corner of it. There is no cosmic line to cross or switch I have to find and flip to make things “the way they are supposed to be.” No fairy godmother is going to come donk me on the head and pronounce that I am now fully qualified for adulting and open a door to some wonderland of grown-up-edness.

I always pictured myself as the girl humming the Mary Tyler Moore theme song and whipping my hat off to toss as I spun around knowing I was “gonna make it after allllllll.”

But staring down the barrel of the very adult age of 40, all I seem to be able to muster is a half-hearted bit of the theme from “One Day at a Time.”   Then I realize that BOTH of those shows are so ancient, I can’t even come up-to-speed on TV references. AND I LOVE TV!

Again I find myself back at Reality Bites, and Troy; the-once-and-now-again voice of my generation…  Now it seems, is “the winter of my discontent.”  But Troy remains forever frozen in fresh-college-grad smuggery as he utters that line through his 90s facial hair.

Here in 2016 and MANY years away from my English lit degree, borrowing lines from Shakespeare seems awfully grand a way of phrasing the realization that I’ve been on the planet for 40 years and still cope with stressful situations primarily through nacho consumption and magical thinking.

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Local Love – Finding My “Places”

Not to get all “80s TV Show” on you (and really show my age) or anything, but makin’ your way in the world today really does take everything ya got.
Having places of refuge, where you feel truly welcome and wanted can make a crap day (ahem, or week… or month,) feel just a little less awful.

Some times you wanna NEED to go where everybody knows your name.

When we left the city almost 4 years ago (4 YEARS!! WOW… did you think I would make it!?) it was one of the things I worried about most.  Where would I go, in the spread of the ‘burbs and all of those strip malls and chain restaurants?  It wouldn’t be like our little corner of the city, with my sushi bar and coffee shop just down the block: and my beloved little pizzeria/ wine bar just around the corner waiting to pull me in after a tough day and feed me  flatbread with olive tapenade and Rose and make it all better.

Where would we go when The Mr traveled for work?  Who would be as happy to see Jr and I toddling through the front door for dinner as the waitresses and chefs at our little sushi place? His baby self giggled and flirted as they passed him around, making googly eyes and feeding him little bits of things while I ate my miso soup, piping hot. (Hot food/drink = the ultimate mommy treat.)

Those neighborhood places are, quite literally, the center of the world in this mama’s heart.  What would I do without that?

Oh Keri-from-four-years-go….  you need not worry at all.

It is true, it took a while.  There were some false starts with places where the love affair ended when it had hardly begun.

Then came our discovery of the awesomeness that is Big Choice Brewing, a truly spectacular mix of spectacular beer brewed and sold by equally spectacular people. I never miss a chance to gush shamelessly sing their praises, and it instantly rose to the top of my list of places I want to go to celebrate or commiserate the ups and downs of life.

Slowly… slowly, I started to find my places here. A couple good coffee shops not too far away,  a great sushi joint from the city that opened a second location within walking distance from The Casa, a little diner where the waitresses call you “honey” and freaking ADORE my kid.

Then, just a few months ago, the cherry on top of my sundae of local hangouts came into being.  A perfect combo of great creative chef-driven pub food, a rotating craft beer list, really cool “Colorado Casual” decor, and a bookshelf full of games that keeps Jr excited to go back again and again.  It is the joy and beauty that is  The North Side Tavern.

Much like Keri does whenever something new is opening in this town, I was practically beating down the door to come in when they opened.  The location was sorely in need of a “something for everyone” kind of place, with great local personality to make it stand out.

BOOM – NST delivered.

The bar includes ample  electric outlets with both traditional plugs and USB spaces, and the owner Steve is all too happy to see you using them (as I frequently do during a working lunch when I get stir-crazy working at home.) Current favorites for me are the “construction zone burger” (so you can build your own,) the Colorado Cuban, and the traditional wings.  The crispy Brussels sprouts and naked nachos both call to me after a long day as well.

There are good happy hour specials on both drinks and appetizers, and a kids’ menu that Jr loves –  their chicken tenders are like preschooler catnip.    Andplusalso,  we lobbied to get get them to offer BBQ sauce, because it is Jr’s current favorite condiment, and TAH DAH – they did!! (No more tiny Tupperware of BBQ in this momma’s purse!!)

It has quickly become a true gathering place for the neighborhoods around it – a place where Gina or Anthony behind the bar will greet you by name when you walk in for happy hour or dinner with the family.

At night after the littles clear out to get tucked in, The NST hosts local bands on weekends, with the coming acts available on their website.

It’s been a minute (or a year) since I’ve done a Local Love feature here, and it hasn’t been for lack of the love.  Quite the opposite. I have found so very much to love, indeed.

So I have added a Local Love tab on the top menu – if you find yourself here in the perfectly in between spot between Denver and Boulder, for a visit or as a fellow resident, check out some of my favorite spots around the area.

Of course, I am always itching to try something new and wonderful – so if you know the area please do give a shout out to your faves down below, or in the comments on the Local Love page so we can all enjoy.

Finding “your places” where you live means so much more than just knowing who has the best burger or latte (although that never hurts.)  It is finding what speaks to you in a place – what connects you, and grounds you.  It’s finding the people and places that make you proud to call it your home.

 

 

 

 

 

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