The Dog Ate Our Stress-Baking

It's currently 10:34 a.m. and I have been listening to Ezra and Ike argue about what to name their island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (a game they do not own) for over an hour and a half. Meanwhile, Noah's been watching YouTube videos about the technical specifications of every single version of the USS Enterprise for probably twice that time. (There are 14 different versions, I learned today, along with many, many more facts than I ever wanted to learn about the USS Enterprise.) So yeah, just another day in quarantine, slowly watching our brains morph into mush. *** Just before noon on Saturday, I was briefly shocked to realize that it was almost noon, since Jason and I were still in bed watching Making the Cut.* I felt guilty, like, oh man, we need to get up and moving and go do...go...do... Then I realized there was no end to that sentence. *** On Sunday, Jason got up and made what was -- no exaggeration -- the greatest, most perfect batch of pancakes he's ever made in his illustrious pancake-making career. But then he left them stacked on a plate on the kitchen counter and went to watch... Read more →


The Dog Ate Our Stress-Baking

It's currently 10:34 a.m. and I have been listening to Ezra and Ike argue about what to name their island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (a game they do not own) for over an hour and a half. Meanwhile, Noah's been watching YouTube videos about the technical specifications of every single version of the USS Enterprise for probably twice that time. (There are 14 different versions, I learned today, along with many, many more facts than I ever wanted to learn about the USS Enterprise.) So yeah, just another day in quarantine, slowly watching our brains morph into mush. *** Just before noon on Saturday, I was briefly shocked to realize that it was almost noon, since Jason and I were still in bed watching Making the Cut.* I felt guilty, like, oh man, we need to get up and moving and go do...go...do... Then I realized there was no end to that sentence. *** On Sunday, Jason got up and made what was -- no exaggeration -- the greatest, most perfect batch of pancakes he's ever made in his illustrious pancake-making career. But then he left them stacked on a plate on the kitchen counter and went to watch... Read more →


Day Whatever and Two

THAT'S. FOUR. MORE. WEEKS. (AND CHANGE! I AM COUNTING THE CHANGE!) I am the bulging eyes emoji right now, even though I thought I'd fully resigned myself to the idea that schools aren't going to reopen at all. Next fall, if we're lucky and our entire species hasn't been wiped out thanks to a couple dozen idiots throwing coronavirus parties and/or licking toilet handles for a TikTok video. Four weeks is actually more optimistic than that! And yet...this was a lot to take in this morning, especially since the announcement happened right while I was pretending that letting Ike watch PBS Kids cartoons counted as homeschooling. I'm coughing a lot. I'm sure it's just allergies, because it's late March and I am being personally attacked by my backyard. I don't have a fever and feel fine otherwise, except after every cough I am compelled to assess myself for any shortness of breath, which OH HEY, I get that from anxiety, sooo... Snort some Flonase, pop a Buspar, wash hands, rinse, cough, repeat. I haven't been 100% isolated long enough to be solidly in the clear, mostly thanks to the logistics of trying to find a job during this mess. I... Read more →


Brain Food

Weekend Stress-Baking/Stress-Eating report: More blueberry sourdough muffins Oatmeal Scotchies Two loaves of oatmeal bread Six more pizza dough balls, for freezing Two no-knead sourdough loaves, to accompany this cheesy white bean-tomato bake, aka Apocalypse Dining At Its Finest We also ordered a no-contact delivery of Indian food and bought some homemade pasta and short rib ragu from a local restaurant that was selling whatever they had left out on their patio for a few hours on Friday. They also had plenty of wine, so we bought some of that too. All non-essential businesses have been ordered to close in less than an hour from now. Thankfully, liquor stores have been deemed essential, so there's no reason to panic. Yet. Tonight's dinner: Beyond Burgers, which are my kids' new favorite thing. They're sold in packages of two and I typically make six burgers total, but Safeway had zero packages and Target had exactly five packages. I put three packages in my shopping basket but then my reptilian brain made me grab the last two, just in case these were the very last Beyond Burgers on earth, or maybe just as payback over the whole toilet paper hoarding thing. (I found a... Read more →


The Stress-MAKING Diaries, Day Four

AND ALSO, TOO, IN THE MIDDLE OF EVERYTHING ELSE: So I've been looking for a job. Like, a real job. A proper full-time, non-freelance job. My timing, as always, is beyond impeccable. I quit my last full-time office job when Noah was six months old. At the time, I hoped I could cobble a few writing gigs together for a few years, maybe until he started kindergarten. That was 14 full years ago, this month. Instead, I rode the mommyblogging boom and the display advertising bust. I wrote about parenting and blogs and blogs about parenting for whatever site that would have me and pay me. After a few years, I pivoted to corporate copywriting and marketing. I wrote proposals, email campaigns, website copy, user documentation, case studies, you name it. I taught myself code and data analytics and website accessibility and content management and probably talked my way into a few gigs that I technically wasn't qualified for but hey, that's just good hustle. I always came "highly recommended" by a friend of a friend of an old coworker with a boss who read my blog. I charged $100 an hour. Sometimes I had so much work I had... Read more →


The Stress-Baking Diaries, Day Three

The majority of our preparations for this...waves in the general direction of the entire goddamn country...were definitely mostly food related. I mean: It's now Day Three and we have eaten exactly zero cans of beans or tuna, but OH MY GOD WE WERE NOT PREPARED FOR THE TOGETHERNESS. THE BRUTAL, TERRIBLE TOGETHERNESS. Five minutes after I took this photo they were shrieking at each other over...something. I don't know. I stop listening whenever I hear Ike's name dragged out into three or more syllables. (Oh, all the wine hanging from that pretty dangling wine rack? Empty. Like my soul.) All bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms were officially ordered to close by 5 p.m. on Monday. Social gatherings were slashed down to no more than 10 people. And while I'm certainly not mourning the loss of a gym I never planned to go to in the first place, the announcement added to the overall oppressive, claustrophobic mood of this whole thing. We already knew we weren't going to see The Band's Visit this week, we assumed we missed our chance to take the kids to see Onward in the movie theater, but for some reason knowing that nope, can't even... Read more →


The Stress-Baking Diaries

On Friday morning, after the kids left for their last day of school for...well, who really knows at this point, I made a batch of chocolate chip granola bars. They taste just like the Quaker/Annie's bars, but are much cheaper and stupid-easy to make. I add semi-chopped Cheerios to them which is inexplicably exciting to my children when they come across an almost-whole one. I don't know either. They're a favorite snack to pack on after-school activity days. Which are also cancelled now. Later on Friday, I baked a chocolate sheet cake. I usually cut this cake up into mini squares to send as a special treat in their lunchboxes, dusting the tops with a little powder sugar in the morning so it still looks pretty at lunchtime. Instead, I just cut them big full-sized squares for dessert. I also helped myself to a couple small stress-bites right out of the pan, no powdered sugar required. Meanwhile, Jason baked bread and made some pizza dough we could freeze for later. On Saturday, we were supposed to have our annual neighborhood wine tasting party. It got cancelled because drunk people are bad at social distancing. We'd planned to take some pinot... Read more →


All the Small Things (That I Forgot To Mention the First Time)

Not really a full post today but more of an addendum to yesterday's, since a lot of y'all seemed to appreciate the book and Positivity Jar recommendations. (Which, for the record, both came from Ike's private therapist, who is just wonderful. [AND ACCEPTS OUR INSURANCE WOOOOOO.] We -- okay, technically Jason, because he's even more On It than I am sometimes-- found someone who does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy AND who understands the connection between learning disabilities and the resulting depression and social anxiety that frequently come along with them. Her input helped shape Ike's IEP and the school's plan, so if you're kind of flailing around with this stuff as well, it really helps to have someone like that on your child's team. Ping me if you're local and need a recommendation.) Wow, went on a TANGENT!! after just one sentence there. Anyway! Ever since hitting the publish button I've been like OH WAIT AND ANOTHER THING, and since I'm too lazy to go back and edit an existing post I figured I'd just write a new one. This is personal blogging. We don't edit things! We just go on and on and on forever about the things. A WEIGHTED... Read more →


All the Small Things

I'm happy to report that our school has really stepped up quite admirably in response to Ike's most recent struggles. I'm sad, of course, that he's having all these struggles in the first place. It's heartbreaking to watch your happiest, bubbliest child suddenly close up and fold into himself, unable to look out at the world without a lens of suspicion and anxiety. We're on it, though, and so is our school. One of (several) services Ike now receives is a "stress reduction and mindfulness" small group that meets once a week and is run by the school counseling department. (All the third graders were asked to rank and rate their stress levels. Anyone who rated themselves as REALLY STRESSED THE FUCK OUT was invited to join the group. Turns out Ike has plenty of company there.) At the most recent meeting, they were asked to draw where they physically feel stress, and to describe what it felt like. This was Ike's: (I asked him if I could share all of this, by the way, and he said yes. He also gets to clear any photos I post, but usually makes his selection by deciding which one will "get all... Read more →


Curb Your Enthusiasm

Something Jason and I struggle with is making sure each of our individual children get enough quality one-on-one time with us. We finally seem to have hit a solution by just picking random dates on the calendar and marking them off as "Mom and Ike Night" or "Dad and Ezra Night." We have no specific plans for what we're actually going to do on those nights, but dammit, we're going to do something. For the last couple months, Mom and Ike night has mostly been about ribs. Ike loves ribs. He is otherwise our pickiest eater by far, but ribs, man. He will eat the shit out of some ribs. Chocolate milk is another must for Mom and Ike Night. (Please note the happy face drawn on the chocolate milk. He did that because that's how chocolate milk makes him feel. Thank you, chocolate milk!) These nights are a screen-free zone, so we usually bring along some word searches and books and art supplies. (And plushies. So, so many Very Important Plushies.) This past Wednesday was our latest Mom and Ike Night, and our plan was ribs, chocolate milk and a trip to Michael's for more art supplies. We ordered... Read more →