November 27, 2012

I'm Going To Look Up Like I'm Surprised You're Standing There

Oh, hello, internet.

I didn't see you come in.

You see, I've been busy not wearing my girdle, making up an advent calendar that doesn't have twenty-four horrible chocolates in it, playing Hay Day, avoiding That Woman That Bosses My Kids Around While I'm With Them on the walk to school and back, reviewing our insurance, working (and working and working) on our budget, getting Pintesty, and nursing Seth through the man flu, so you'll excuse me if I'm not as awesome as I normally am.

Why so busy, you ask, dear internet?

Because February 26th is rapidly (rapidly) approaching, and the bank is waiting for me.

Let's revisit this in a month or two, shall we?

Because right now, I'd rather die than think about it, and I'M TOO BUSY TO DIE.

The end.

p.s. For your general edification:

November 17, 2012

Lannis: This.

No, seriously, THIS:

I’ve never noticed muddy feet on our various (tabby) cats. Or it could be that Moghedien’s just exceptionally nervy...

[Ed: No, cats are dirty and gross. The end.]

 Regular Saturday poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

November 16, 2012

I Was A Bully, But Now I Have A Feather Pillow

Uh, thanks for not telling me about feather pillows, you guys.

Seriously, I've only been sleeping on a synthetic fill pillow with the (approximate) comfort level of a starving gerbil for the past 12,334 nights (give or take), so take your time filling me in.

Or is this that karma thing all the teenagers are talking about these days?

Have I had to suffer through thirty three years of being denied the ultimate middle-of-the-night joy of smooshing my pillow up to optimum fluffiness and sinking luxuriously back into a feathery pillowy sleep because I was a mean kid in elementary school?


I spent 95% of my grade school days with my face in a book, 3% being bullied, 5% being mean to B--- or T---, and 10% not paying attention in math class.

You know, I've been meaning to apologize for that (the bullying, not the math. At the bank, they give you a calculator, so math can suck it), except if I could find B--- or T--- and tell them how sincerely sorry I am for teasing them in school, I think I'd be giving my eleven year old self more credit for for their psychological development than she deserves.

I thought I was important. I'm 611% sure that I wasn't.

Which doesn't excuse the bullying. The ostracism, the outright meanness. Not at all. And although I was about to write something about how I was so unimportant that they probably don't even think of me now that they're adults, I caught myself recalling how much it hurt when M--- or M--- or D--- bullied me, and how the impact of their bullying still rears up in low moments when I catch myself assuming that of course the other woman dropping her kids off at school will think I'm a total weirdo if I smile and say hello to her...

They probably had to wait to find out about feather pillows too.

November 10, 2012

Lannis: The Marble Jars

Syndicated on BlogHer.comOkay, want to know what’s pretty freaking cool?

Independent kids.

No, I’m not talking about potty training—though no longer wrestling with diapers and being able to trust my kidlets are wiping themselves well okayish I think they wipe?... okay just being able to trust that my kids know where the toilet paper lives is enough right now...

Anyhow. I’m talking about having kids who are sharing some of the housework.

We’re not a “make your bed” family—their rooms are down the end of the hall, and I don’t have to look at them, so that’s not a battle I’m willing to choose—but they need to throw their dirty laundry downstairs so I don’t have to collect it every day. They have to pick up their toys. They have to hang up their coats and put their backpacks away after school.

They must be responsible for their own belongings.

These are daily givens.

What Mr Lannis and I implemented recently, after much discussion, was a reward-based chore system for things that wouldn’t normally be within the boys’ jurisdiction.

Like emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming the rug, clearing the table, folding the laundry (my standards have lowered, yes), and scrubbing the toilet (I swear this is the best thing ever!).

It’s not an allowance, this reward, but it is monetary—eventually. For each chore (or multiple tiny things that count as general “helping”) they get a marble to put in their jar. They each have their own, and the jar has tape on it, with their name and an arrow indicating how far it needs to be to be filled.

(The tape is deceiving, because one arrow points up, and one down—in actuality both boys have to fill their jars to the same spot to earn their reward.)

Once they’ve filled their jars, they get $10. And they can choose—put it in their piggy bank and save it, or use money in their piggy banks to pump up the amount they’re allowed to spend.

It took them two months to fill their jars the first time, and Mr Lannis and I artfully arranged it so both boys filled their jars at the same time this first round... so they both got to go on the reward trip to Walmart to purchase whatever their little hearts desired.

Which (after they added their piggy bank money) turned out to be Lego Ninjago for the five-year-old, and a Cars Micro Drifters Dump Truck for the almost-seven-year-old.

They were both stunned that they were allowed to choose something that would be on their Christmas wish lists (newsflash, children: your mother is the only one who’s done any Christmas shopping for you as of mid-October... heh).

The best part (so far) is that they were so excited that they tell everyone about how they earned their rewards... with marbles... and chores.

I’m crossing my fingers this lesson is engrained, and the next time they take a corner quick quick on their bikes, it won’t just slip out their ears...

This system is a hell of a lot cheaper than allowance, and I’m not killing myself harping at them to do their chores, so I’ll take it.

Balance is the key, I figure. Finding that exact balance of how much effort in a chore constitutes one marble earned. This link was invaluable in figuring out which tasks could be considered appropriate for their abilities.

That marble-chore balance, though... that’s the big key. If you don’t gauge it right, you’re handing out marbles for not enough work, or the boys lose interest because the task is too large to equal the single marble earned...

So we give out multiple marbles for larger tasks.

My oldest was ecstatic the day he vacuumed the upper floor... and why not? He earned seven marbles! The breakdown went like this:

1 marble for picking up everything off the floor before vacuuming* [1]
1 marble for vacuuming each boy's room [2]
1 marble for vacuuming the hall [1]
1 marble for vacuuming the spare room [1]
2 marbles for vacuuming Mom and Dad’s room (it’s big) [2]

*By the way, that “picking up before vacuuming” marble is crucial. If you don’t train them to do it (and reward them for it) they won’t bother and will suck up every book and bed sheet in sight. Trust.

And dividing the marbles by room makes the task easier to split between the two of them when they decide to work as a team.

And who doesn’t want to man the central vacuum, when you’re five?! (or almost seven...)

The dishwasher’s another one I had to think about. It’s broken down by rack. Upper rack, lower rack, and utensils—three possible marbles earned for emptying the dishwasher. The silverware needs to be sorted in the drawer. The plates and bowls stacked neatly on the counter, the glassware placed neatly on the counter (because they’re too short to reach the cupboards where they’re stored), and the plastics in the clean side of the sink to dry...

But three possible marbles. And they fight over who gets to unload the utensil rack.

The most brilliant part of this entire plan? That I don’t have to harp on my kids to do their chores.

Oh, you don’t feel like earning any marbles today? No problem, you won’t be filling your jar very quickly, will you? MuahahaHA!

And if one fills his jar before the other? Then only one child is getting the $10 towards something he wants—we don’t give out prizes for maybe around this house, and my kids are going to learn that they have to earn their rewards fair and square.

(This depressing and baffling culture of entitlement that has cropped up in society is a rant for another day... possibly two.)

Anyhow. What has this accomplished?

Well, in the last two months there’s been a change—they actively seek things to do for marbles.

They voluntarily do chores they know constitute marbles, and then politely request one once the task is finished(!).

They ask if there’s anything they can do to help, when Mr Lannis and I are cleaning out the garage, or sorting through clothes for stuff outgrown.

They suggest tasks if they see something that could be done (my youngest asked the other day if he could have a marble if he tidied the van—dumped all the garbage and recycling cluttering up the floor, and put the toys back in their basket... hells yes!).

All in all, we’re delighted with this system. I’m not the house slave one picking up after everyone, and the boys are learning independence, life skills, and a touch of respect for what it takes to keep a house, uh, close to ship shape (let’s pretend, ha!).

And they are proud!

Just wait until someone realizes he’s lightyears behind his little brother... hehe...

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

November 8, 2012

Thirty Two Things That Are Totally Related

Hi there.

Facebook just told me to "update The Mrs", and I think he (Facebook is a guy, right?) meant something else, but then I realized that even though he probably meant "do something something to Facebook because WE NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOU SO WE CAN SELL YOU WEIGHT LOSS PLANS", it probably won't hurt to update the real The Mrs while I'm sitting here playing Hay Day doing important work.


(Awkward silence as we both realize that I have absolutely nothing of consequence to say.)


Tomorrow I have another super important secret meeting for which I will again be donning my girdle. I'm looking forward to not having to suck in my post-three-babies-belly for three hours. And looking like a human adult instead of a nineteen year old college student whose worn pyjamas for the last week.


Speaking of human adults, I broke out the wagon for the walk to and from school, and now get to school and back at the pace of a normal human adult instead of a toddler looking for sticks.


Speaking of toddlers, we went out trick-or-treating for the first time ever with Norah and Oscar. They think that everyone only goes to four houses. They were delighted with getting to pick out two pieces of candy to eat and surrendering the rest to be doled out as we deemed necessary. They didn't memorize the contents of their (meagre) haul, and we have therefore eaten most of it.

In summary: Halloween with little kids that don't know any better than what you tell them is pretty awesome.

(I have another story to tell you about Norah's tutu. You will love it...three months from now when I actually get my shit together enough to actually write it.)


Oh. Hello. I didn't hear you come in. I was busy being warm and gooey. 

Say hello to my new friend, Cheesy Zucchini Quinoa from Closet Cooking. Unless talking to something you're about to ingest isn't your style, in which case...why are you here again? Because here is only for crazy folks.


Speaking of crazy folks,  I made this too (and put it up on my Pinterest Stuff I've Actually DONE! board*). It looks pretty, but it didn't taste pretty.

Not even drowned in sour cream and bacon, which means whoever wrote this recipe is an enormous loser who I hate. ← not an exaggeration


Seth came home with swords last week. Now every night looks like this:


*Why don't you have a board like that?**

**Or why didn't you ever tell me you have a board like that? Can't we be all Pintesty together? Leave a link to it in zee comments, please, orIwillcutyouwithmysword.