Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BFD - February '12

First off, I'm sorry to say that I don't have more pictures. Let's just say that while I was making dinner, there was a minor crisis that involved a cardboard box, a box knife, and my 12 year-old. Enough said. According to IHOP today was National Pancake Day. There is also an International Pancake Day, which was on February 21st. If you look at this site, it says that National Pancake Day is on September 26th. So, take your pick; either way, we had pancakes for dinner. Earlier this month, a friend sent me the link for what has become our favorite pancake recipe. For this month's BFD, we had:

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Yes, that's all we had. And yes, they really are that good. They are ooey and gooey and delicious just like cinnamon rolls. The recipe is very straightforward. You're supposed to put the cinnamon-brown sugar glaze in a pastry bag and pipe it onto the pancakes. Although I am handy with a pastry bag, I was not in the mood to haul it out and then clean it up afterwards. I just put the glaze in a measuring cup and drizzled it on the pancakes. And the cream cheese icing, you ask? Well, I didn't have cream cheese so I just made a plain butter cream icing, meaning I just used melted butter, powdered sugar, and a splash of milk to thin it out.

I'm thinking that the next time I make these, I might add some chopped apples or pecans to the pancake batter. I think that would be fabulous. Go ahead and give these a try. They really aren't alot of work and they would make a wonderful Sunday breakfast or anytime dinner.

Where Have You Been, Young Lady?

I knew I was in trouble whenever my mom used my full name, which back then was "Young Lady".

So, where have I been? Well, I've been here at home, but the boys were out of school this past week in honor of Presidents' Day with a couple of teacher furlough days thrown in to make another winter mini-break (eye roll). Seriously, things that make you go WTF?

On Thursday, my oldest went to his grandparents' house for a couple of days, so we enjoyed a quiet house during that time. :-) On Saturday, we met with our accountant to prepare our taxes - we owe this year; no surprises there. I should mention that my in-laws live a couple hours away from us, and our accountant (who is also family) is not too far from them. So, it was a day mixed with business and pleasure as we had our taxes done and visited with family.

Now that the boys are back in school, my husband and I are trying to wrap up the little details of our trip. You see, he is leaving this Saturday to go to Europe on business. I will join him two weeks later for a Roman vacation. It's getting down to the wire and there are still plenty of little things to be done before he leaves. It's off to tend to business before pleasure.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another H.I.P. Update

Well, there you have it. Another home improvement project successfully completed. The master bedroom has been updated with a new wood laminate floor and the old carpet is fast becoming a distant memory. This means that I can no longer use the alliterative verse "cat crap on the carpet". The only carpeting left in the house is in the family room and believe me, I'd rip it out if I could.

As of this writing, the base boards still need to be painted, which shouldn't take too long. Kudos to my husband for another H.I.P. well done. Now, it's time to get painting.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another H.I.P.

So, another home improvement project has come up. The wood laminate flooring went on sale at Costco again and it was the perfect opportunity to rip out the nasty carpet in the master bedroom and replace it with wood laminate. Can you tell I despise carpeting? But honestly, we couldn't not do it. For Christmas, we were given a Costco Cash Card as a gift, which paid for about 2/3 of the project. We were just waiting for the wood laminate to go on sale.

Come Sunday night, we should have brand new floors thanks to my handy husband! Woo hoo! The only other exciting thing to happen in February is our Costco Cash Rebate is coming. Double woo hoo!! When that arrives, I'll be able to buy a year's supply of: toilet paper, Finish Powerball tabs, Ecos laundry detergent and maybe I'll have enough leftover for a hot dog at the food court. Yeah, baby, it's like Christmas in February. Livin' large!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Dash of Guilt and a Pinch of Regret

So here's the scoop: next month, my husband has a business trip to Germany and Poland. After business is concluded, we figured it would be fun to join him in Europe and go to Rome to (1) visit with some friends that we haven't seen in years, except on FB, and (2) check out the sites because we've always wanted to go there. It just so happens that around that time, my 6th grader's class will be studying ancient Rome. Perfect! Nothing like connecting a textbook to real life. So what's with the guilt?

Well, we have decided not to take our youngest son with us. It was an agonizing decision and one that wasn't made lightly. Last Thursday, my MNO buddies all counseled me to not feel guilty. Honestly, it's the same advice that I would give to any one of them. However, there is still a twinge that tugs at my heart when I think of leaving one and taking the other. I know there are some who would insist on bringing their special needs child along and I say, "Bravo and kudos to you." Truly, I mean that without a hint of sarcasm. You see, somewhere along the line, I got it into my head that anything less than a superheroic effort is unacceptable. If there's a will then there's a way, right? That's always been my attitude...until now. And I feel bad. I feel bad for even thinking of leaving one of my children at home. I feel bad for not feeling bad enough. I feel bad for wanting time with my oldest son without the added responsibility of caring for a 9 year-old who isn't really 9. Do I feel bad enough to cancel the trip? No. There, I said it. And I feel bad.

There are several factors that went into our decision:

Eating and Sleeping
Our youngest son can also be a picky (and messy) eater, which is not good when you're eating out in restaurants all the time. The rest of us can always find something on the menu to eat. With him, there's no guarantee. He also likes to be in a familiar environment. He likes his bed, his room, his toys, his house, etc... He doesn't even like to spend the night at grandma and grandpa's house. Grandma and grandpa are only two hours away, which means we have the option of driving home if he absolutely will not stop screaming. We can't drive home from Italy.

Walking and Flying
When in Rome, we plan on walking alot. Our youngest son has mild cerebral palsy (in addition to other stuff) and he walks with a limp. When he's done walking, he's done. I'm also unsure if Italy has anything equivalent to the ADA, but I'm going to assume it doesn't. Let's not forget about the whole flying on an airplane thing. We have two stops before we get to Rome - one in DC and the other in Munich. Flight time and layover time will take 20 hours. (I hope the airlines serve drinks. :-) I will be traveling solo with the kid(s) as my husband will already be in Europe.  I will also be traveling solo with the kid(s) coming home as my husband could not get the same flight that we got.

Personal Care
The fact that my youngest son is not 100% potty trained is pretty much a deal breaker. Seriously. Without getting too technical, let's just say that sometimes it's an hour-long process; or sometimes there is alot of cleanup involved followed by a shower. Enough said.

I hate to admit this, but even when it's not about the money, sometimes it is. Financially, this will be a splurge, a stretch even. But it's one of those opportunities that is too good to pass up. Family vacations can be expensive, especially if an airplane is involved. Truth be told, I would hate to spend the money for him to fly halfway around the world and be frustrated and disoriented most of the trip. None of us would have a good time.

There you have it. Are they valid reasons? Yes. Are they merely excuses? Maybe. A friend of mine - who has two special needs children - asked, "Don't take this the wrong way, but would he really know what he's missing? If he's happier at home in his routine, would that serve him best?" I'm glad she brought that up because it's exactly what I was thinking, and tears came to my eyes as I was thinking it. What about my oldest son? Sure, I could have done the "fair" thing and left them both at home and be completely free of guilt. Yet, I think it will be a great experience for my oldest son to actually see one of the places that he's been studying. Would it have been "fair" to deny him this experience? Either way, it's not a fair situation, and my husband and I had to make a judgment call.

My husband's parents have graciously offered to come house sit and babysit. (Pray for them.) My youngest son will keep his routine and he'll be given the opportunity to have grandma and grandpa all to himself. I'm already doing things to alleviate my guilt like buying him some Sesame Street DVDs. I'm sure as the weeks pass I'll think of other things. In the meantime, there's lots to do. I'd better start making my list: Sesame Street DVDs? Check.


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