Category Archives: Holidays

The Great Grilled Cheese Meltdown of 2017

Maybe it was because my husband has been swamped with work lately. Or maybe it was because we couldn’t find a babysitter so I could join him at a company Christmas party for a few glorious kid-free hours. Or hell, maybe because it was Tuesday…I think it was Tuesday…but really it doesn’t matter if it WAS Tuesday because the demands of motherhood never, ever stop, making the very concept of time irrelevant. And the concept of death, for that matter, since I can guarantee the kids will only visit my tombstone to ask me to refill their sippy cups and can I help them find their Batman toy?

But regardless of the reason, I had a meltdown over a grilled cheese sandwich. A flip out over the flipping of a sandwich. An existential crisis over an extraordinarily mundane dinner.  

It was all the pan’s fault. That stupid non-stick sticky pan. I should have gotten rid of it ages ago. But who wants to go pan shopping? I get 45 seconds of free time every day. Like I’m going to use it to do something necessary and grown-up and boring. Pffft.

So, since I am selfish and immature and use my free time to do outlandish things like pee and write curse words on Facebook, the grilled cheese sandwich stuck to the pan. Which destroyed the flip. Which destroyed the sandwich. Because while “technically” it was still edible, I was making it for the world’s most discerning and acid-tongued food critic in the entire world…

A preschooler.

A preschooler, mind you, who considers potatoes too exotic and spicy.  

(And that is a direct quote).

The whole reason we were HAVING grilled cheese for dinner in the first place was because it was supposed to be easy. I was tired. I didn’t want to fight about how my meatloaf smells weird and the lasagna looks like dog food.

(Also direct quotes).

And then the kids started fighting in the living room and the dog started barking at the kids because he thinks the solution to every kid-related problem is to just be louder than them (which is also pretty much my parenting method) and it just seemed like too much effort to butter some more bread and throw cheese on it and so…

I lost it.

I dramatically threw the whole mess, ruined sandwich, stupid sticky pan, any semblance of remaining dignity, into the sink and dropped to my knees right there in the kitchen and let out a primal scream. And then I cried a little. Not really a real cry but one of those “I wish someone could see me so they could feel sorry for me” cries. But still, it did include real tears so if you HAD seen me, you’d probably feel a little sorry for me.

And then, as I knelt there on the floor and looked around, I realized, with the clarity that comes after the release of intense emotions, that the pan is just one of the thousand items in my house that have completely lost their usefulness and are skating along the thin ice of their former reputation. Because my whole life is out of control. Because children are tornadoes of pure love and pure chaos.

And that’s why there is a case of Stella Artois beer bottles sitting in an obscure corner of our kitchen that has been there so long I’m pretty sure it’s essential to the structural integrity of our house now. The beer that was bought because hey, let’s try something new. And the beer that was abandoned because, hey, it tastes like alcoholic boogers.

Or the tupperware full of used batteries that I can’t get rid of because I want to properly and responsibly dispose of them but I don’t know how to properly and responsibly dispose of them and also don’t want to bother looking up how to properly and responsibly dispose of them.

Or the ever growing pile of Swiffer sweepers in yet another corner, only one of which isn’t broken, which is also coincidentally the one I can never find.

I need to get rid of all this stuff. Gain control. Any control. And I try to. Especially every year at this time. Because while I can blissfully ignore it the rest of the year, the thought of Christmas coming up and all the shiny new things that will be lovingly piled on top of all our old crap makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a candy cane.

But Aprill, you might be thinking, couldn’t at least part of the solution to your problem be to just ask for a pan for Christmas? And, yes, you’re right. But no. Ew. Gross. Why should my Christmas be ruined with a practical gift when I can so easily just buy a new pan myself?

Which I will totally do.

Eventually.

Maybe after the Big Omelet Breakdown of 2018.

Or the Pancake Freakout of 2019.

Or the Even Greater Grilled Cheese Meltdown of 2025.

To be honest, I’m probably going to be buried with that stupid pan and that ancient case of Stella beer.

But hey, at least my ghostly essence will have something to refill my kids’ sippy cups with when they come visit the cemetery. I’ll even throw some used batteries at them for their stupid Batman toy.

 

Advertisements

Giving thanks for this dumpster fire of a year

I don’t know about you guys but, for me, this has been one doozy of a year. Trying to juggle two small children and marriage and jobs and deadlines and ever-rising bills and the tattered remains of my social life, all while being chronically sleep deprived and all while the outside world appears to be crumbling around us, has taken its toll.

I’m tired, ya’ll.

And disillusioned.

And anxious and overwhelmed and whatever emotion that googly-eyed emoji face is supposed to portray.

And yet, at the same time, I’m also blissfully happy in those in-between moments, when I turn off the TV and my phone, and remember to actually live my life and look my family in the face and kiss my husband and squeeze my little squishies until they giggle so hard they fart.

Welcome to 2017.

But that’s the great thing about Thanksgiving. No matter what kind of year you’ve had, you can always find something to be grateful for, even if it’s just the little things in those in-between moments.

Like tiny, little, giggle-induced, baby farts.

And with that I present what I am thankful for this year:

 

  1. That I have two beautiful, healthy children…who are napping right now.
  2. That I have a smoking hot husband…who is napping right now.
  3. That because everyone is napping right now, I can get the good, expensive chocolate out from its secret hiding place and eat it in the open.
  4. That my smoking hot husband will take care of our two beautiful, healthy and unreasonably energetic children while I drink wine in the kitchen cook the Thanksgiving dinner.
  5. That the chances are high I can convince that same husband to stick his hand up the giant turkey’s butt and take out the gross innards so I don’t have to.
  6. That we already bought all the food we need for Thursday and don’t have to get in a slap fight with an old lady at the grocery store over the last of the cream cheese.
  7. That no one in my family likes sweet potatoes so I don’t have to bother making sweet potatoes because sweet potatoes are garbage.
  8. That even though we can’t have a big Thanksgiving with all our family, since both mine and his live far away, this in turn means we can wear sweatpants to dinner.
  9. That I am healthy. Except for this weird rash on my neck. And that other weird bump on my wrist. And that thing where my legs randomly go numb. I’m sure it’s fine.
  10. On a related note, I’m grateful that we can still afford health insurance for the time being.
  11. On another related note, that I have never taken health or life advice from Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop.
  12. That even though we are living in the darkest of all possible timelines, coffee still exists.
  13. As does wine.
  14. And rum.
  15. That my son’s fall soccer league finally ended and I no longer have to pretend that soccer is awesome or fun.
  16. That my husband bought bathtub crayons for our kids, which we adults use to write dirty messages to each other in the shower.
  17. That I have wonderful, amazing friends. Who I rarely see. Or talk to. But when I do, also love to curse an obscene amount.
  18. That the season of letting my kids just wear footie pajamas all day is finally upon us.
  19. That now that I’m a grown-up I can just have mozzarella sticks for dinner but insist my children eat all of their green beans.
  20. That through it all, I’m still here, chugging along, still writing and still trying to find the humor where I can.

How to get your kids to eat Thanksgiving dinner

I have mentioned many times in this particular column of mine that I love Thanksgiving. The holiday that asks nothing of you besides gluttony and drunkenness. I don’t even mind that I’m now the one in charge of the cooking, because in the end it all leads to the gluttony and drunkenness. Plus, I found a recipe for deep-fried stuffing balls that has completely changed the entire Thanksgiving game, if not my entire life.

What I don’t love, however, is being the parent of small children at Thanksgiving. Because after spending eight hours cooking, the last thing I want to do is spend another eight hours negotiating with tiny picky dictators about trying the food I just lovingly poured my heart and soul into. Not even eating the food, mind you. Just trying one microscopic bite. A bite so small that technically it shouldn’t exist according to current laws of physics.

But no matter how delicious everything is, no matter how much it has been bathed in practically pornographic amounts of butter and lard, no matter how kid-friendly I attempt to make everything, my children will take one look at their plate and immediately start howling about the disgusting mush of dog poop and gravel I apparently just set in front of them.

True story. This is the conversation I had with my not quite 3-year-old last year:

“I can’t eat this, Mommy. It’s gross.”

“Which part is gross, baby?”

“All of it.”

Ah, music to an exhausted and slightly drunk Thanksgiving cook’s ears.

He doesn’t even like mashed potatoes, which I didn’t even know was humanly possible.  

And this year, his younger sister just learned how to shriek “No!” so it should be a beautiful dinnertime duet of denial this time around.

But I decided that after last year, which ended with a tantrum (and my toddler was crying too) and an exclamation of “oh, just eat a stupid roll,” that I would do things differently this year. I would come prepared this year. I would WIN this year.

Which is why since March I have been brainstorming ideas on how I can get my kids to eat my Thanksgiving food without tears and fighting and threats (or at the very least, only minimal threats). And I am here to share my wisdom. Because, according to my research, it’s not impossible to get even the pickiest of kids to eat Thanksgiving dinner; it just takes a little ingenuity.

So, here are your Aunty Aprill’s tips for tricking getting your kids to eat Thanksgiving dinner:

Mold the mashed potatoes into an elaborate statue of a Mickey Mouse.

Tell them sweet potatoes are potatoes made with candy.

This one is rather labor intensive, but if you can, puree some turkey and stuffing and then, using a syringe, stuff some M&M’s with the puree.

Hire a playground bully to stand menacingly in the corner and glare at them until they take three BIG bites of the three bean salad.

Tell them Christmas won’t come unless they eat everything on their plate.

Instead of a turkey, mold some mac and cheese into the shape of a turkey (but the GOOD kind from a box, none of that fancy, homemade, gourmet cheese sauce crap).

Don’t feed them for three days beforehand. Who’s brussel sprouts sauteed with butter and bacon are icky now, starving peasant child?

A less severe version of the above tip: Only feed them peas and water three days beforehand.

Tell them that Elmo made the cranberry sauce.

Pour melted chocolate over their entire plate.

Use sibling rivalry to your advantage. Whoever eats the most turkey gets the most Christmas presents.

Only serve rolls with butter. Or, if they’re really picky, only serve butter.

And, if all else fails, just drink wine until you don’t care what anyone eats.

7faaee5b-d997-4173-ac99-802818cc6dd6.png

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

A funny thing happened on the way to New Hampshire

Family vacations are a funny thing. Essentially all you are doing is taking a group of people who are together all the time and plopping them down…

Hi!

Um…hi…

Where was I? Oh yes, and plopping them down into a new location. But this simple act of geography change can…

Hello!

Uh…hello?

That was weird. Anyway, as I was saying, this simple act of taking you out of your element, out of your daily routine, can expose a lot about your character. For example, my family and I are at a resort town in New Hampshire, where…

Good morning!

Oh, um, good morning.

How are you?

Good. I guess.

Have a lovely day!

Ok, sure.

Man, I lost my train of thought again. Um…yeah, so, anyway my husband and I schlepped our two kids to a tiny cottage on the lake up in New Hampshire for a few days to, as they say, “get away from it all.” A great idea in theory, of course. But in practice, leaving your house for even a small period of time with a toddler and a baby in tow is the opposite of relaxing. It’s basically spending all night getting kicked in the face by tiny feet (because, god forbid, they actually sleep in the bed provided for them) and spending all day hurling gallons of sunscreen at their back as they sprint toward the closest large body of water so they can eat sand and practice drowning.

How’s it going?

Huh? What..? It’s fine. Everything’s fine. Just sitting here trying to get some work done.

Fantastic! Lovely day, isn’t it? Well, nice talking to you!

I…sure. Nice talking to you. Random stranger.

Ugh. Why won’t people leave me alone? People around here are so weird. ANYWAY, like I’ve been TRYING to say, there’s nothing like a vacation to expose who you really are. Everything is different and you are constantly tackling unforeseen challenges, like how to tactfully deal with your son who just pooped his pants in the fancy bookstore…

Beautiful day, huh?

Alright, that’s it. What the hell is going on here? Can I help you with something, buddy? Huh?

Oh, my apologies. Just trying to be friendly. Have a good afternoon!

Trying to be friendly? Well who the hell does that? See, it’s just like I was saying, going on vacation exposes who you really are. And someone I truly am is apparently someone who has lived in a city for too long and is now just super rude and glares at everyone who smiles at me with my best April Ludgate impression.

Only it’s not really an impression anymore so much as it is just my face now.

Because we have apparently ended up in the world’s friendliest town and I am confused and angered by this tendency of people to be overly nice even though I used to BE one of these people when I was growing up in a small town. But I have now forgotten how basic human decency works. Meanwhile, my husband, within 30 seconds of arriving here, reverted back to his old, friendly, Midwestern roots as easily as breathing. I think I even heard him blurt out “howdy” at one point.

And so I guess the only thing to do now is to finish up this stupid column of mine and go sit in front of the mirror and have me a “come to Jesus” moment about how I have transformed into a stereotype in just a few short years of living in Boston…

Oh, excuse me, ma’am? You forgot your purse. Here you go.

Oh, and so you just thought you’d give it back to me? Without stealing my money or anything? Of course. Well, thank you, Mr. Nice Friendly Man. And sorry I sound so sarcastic. I am actually very grateful. But I just realized I am a horrible, rude, human pile of garbage.

Have a nice friggin’ day.

 

 

What My Kids Did On My Summer Vacation

Hey! Hi! How are you?! We are Aprill’s kids! And we want to tell you all about what we did on our summer vacation.

This summer was great! We did so many fun things! And we did all those fun things for roughly an hour and 15 minutes before having dual marathon meltdowns! Mommy said this was because when we get overstimulated we turn into evil swamp demons! She’s so funny!

Like any good summer vacation, ours started early, with a trip in mid-May to visit family far away. We even got to fly in an airplane! Surprisingly, we both behaved extremely well during the flight. So, of course, we made up for that by refusing to sleep in the beds provided for us every night! And instead crawled into the bed our parents were sleeping in, not letting them get any sleep for seven nights straight! Because who needs sleep on summer vacation?! Who doesn’t love waking up to a baby foot in your mouth and a toddler foot buried in your rib cage?!

On Mommy’s birthday in June, we went to a pond to swim. Except neither one of us wanted to get wet. Because we can all agree that the best part of going to any body of water in the summer is baking in the hot sun while sitting on sand the temperature of lava!

There were also a bunch of little day trips this summer to fun and exciting places! Where we’d get in the car and complain, and then we’d get out of the car and complain, and then we’d go do stuff and we’d complain, and then our parents would finally give up and say “fine, we’ll go home!” and then we’d complain about not wanting to go home. Traveling truly is a priceless experience!

We also spent a lot of time this summer at the library. We did so many interesting things there, like pretending to listen to books during storytime but really just trying to steal the other kids’ snacks.

We also did a bunch of fun stuff at home!

One of our favorite things to do was climb all over Mommy when it was 92 degrees out with a humidity level of one thousand. This was especially fun that week that the air conditioner broke! The best part of this game was Mommy would pretend to get mad and holler “get off me!” but that just meant she wanted us to do it more!

And what is any good summer vacation without some cool treats?  Even though Mommy forced us to eat our popsicle outside, sticky melted popsicle juice still magically appeared inside. Mommy said bad words. It was so funny! We laughed and laughed and smeared our disgusting sticky hands all over the TV and then laughed some more. Which is why we repeated this exact same scenario with ice cream.

Speaking of the TV, we also spent a lot of time this summer whining and crying about wanting to watch very specific movies! Even though we have already seen those specific movies 78 times! And when Mommy finally relented, we would watch exactly 17 minutes of the movie before deciding to ignore it because climbing the bookshelves that are definitely not attached to the wall seemed way more fun. Even though this activity was bound to end in certain death!

The best part of this summer is that it’s not even over yet! In two weeks we will actually be going on real vacation even though all the cool and important people of the world are already done vacationing. SOMEONE (and I’m not mentioning names although it rhymes with “if you don’t like it plan it yourself next time”) was a bit late in trying to book a place to stay anywhere close to water and so was stuck with dates at the end of August.

We can’t tell you how excited we are to yet again share a room with our Mommy and Daddy and not let them get a wink of sleep! It’s the kind of stuff memories would be made of if it wasn’t impossible to make memories when you are brain-dead from chronic sleep loss.

Now most people feel sad when summer vacation comes to an end. But not us! Since neither one of us is in school yet, these good times can keep right on rolling into the fall. And winter! And spring! And next summer! And next fall! And next…

 

I’m a Fitbit person now

Guys, it’s been nice knowing you. You’re all swell, really. But eventually all good things must come to an end. So, while I enjoyed our time together, it’s a new year and time for me to move on. Time for me to leave you in the dust as I walk exactly…*checks wrist* …6,101 steps away from you.

I’m a Fitbit person now.

Yes, dear readers, thanks to my husband and a very merry Christmas, I am now the proud owner of a Fitbit, those magical little devices that shoot laser beams into your arms and let you know just what a lazy sack of human pudding you are on a near constant basis.

What a time to be alive!

Needless to say, I instantly fell in love. There is something weirdly intoxicating about having every single movement and moment of your day logged by a tiny robot who gives you electronic stickers and trophies when you do good (like walking in a circle around your house while eating frosting straight from the container instead of eating it on the couch like some kind of barbarian). I should hate it. The lazy me terrified of Big Brother that I have been for the past 30-odd years should absolutely loathe it. But I don’t.

Because I’m a Fitbit person now.

And don’t worry. It’s not like because I have a Fitbit now that I’m a better person than you or anything.

Except I’m a better person than you now.

Just look at how this divine little watch has improved not only my life, but the life of my family. Our house is now filled with health-conscious conversations such as this:

Me: Guess how many steps I’ve taken today!

Husband: Is it much different from the amount you told me 15 minutes ago?

Me: 879! Wanna know how many times I was restless last night while sleeping?

Husband: I haven’t even had my coffee yet, babe.

Me: You only have yourself to blame.

And this one:

Husband: Hey, can you run upstairs and grab me the tape? I don’t know where you put it.

Me: No.

Husband: Um…please?

Me: I can’t. My Fitbit is charging.

Husband: …

Me: I want credit for walking up the stairs.

Husband: …

Me: You only have yourself to blame.

And this one:

Toddler: Momma, can you carry me?

Me: I wish I could, sweetheart, but then my Fitbit doesn’t log my steps when you’re in my arms.

Toddler: …

Me: You only have your father to blame.

I mean, can I help it that I’m pretty much the healthiest person alive now? I have a resting heart rate of 55, thanks to lugging around two adorable children (who I’m pretty sure are made up of chicken nuggets and quark-gluon plasma, the densest material ever created) all day around the city. And thanks to living on the second and third floor of our rented house, I climb on average 18 flights of stairs a day. Shoot, I burned 43 calories just in the time it took me to eat half of a leftover holiday cheeseball.

And, AND, I managed to get 15,000 daily steps in last Wednesday, enough to earn me the Urban Boot badge, thankyouverymuch. I can’t believe I spent all those years walking around without a computer logging every step like some kind of idiot. What a waste!

Alas, clearly, my family doesn’t understand.

I guess I can’t blame them. I mean, I’d be bitter too if I had never earned the Happy Hill badge or the Weekend Warrior trophy.

But I’m hoping, my dear readers, you do. That you do understand why my health has become my top priority and why I only want to talk to other people who know at any given moment exactly how many steps it took them to walk to Starbucks in their fancy athleisure wear.

So, please, by all means, keep reading my blogs and columns. But if you see me in person, let’s just ignore each other and awkwardly avoid eye contact. Which should be easy enough. I’ll likely be looking at my wrist anyway.

I’m a Fitbit person now.

 

Dear Virginia, where the hell is Santa Claus?

There’s a famous (at least for me) story from my childhood where I looked at my mom one day and just bluntly said “Santa Claus isn’t real, is he?”

“No, he’s not, sweetie,” my mom replied.

And that was that.

But the famous (infamous) part came next. Because I went to school the following day and felt it was my duty to kindly inform several of my fellow 2nd grade peers of this breaking news.

Surprisingly, this did not help my popularity.

And now all these years later, the joke is on me. Oh, karma, you wily minx. Little did I know that in my 30’s I’d still be dealing with the whole “does Santa exist?” question. Because I’m a mom now and I gotta tell you, I can’t find that bastard anywhere.

But let’s start at the beginning.

My son’s first Christmas, when he couldn’t have cared less (since his only interests back then were my boobs and old, gross, fast food receipts) we were lucky enough to randomly run into a Santa while out and about in early December. So we plopped our son down and took a million photos as you are legally required to do. Easy peasy. And they are photos we cherish to this day even despite the fact that both my baby and Santa look like they’re being held at gunpoint.

So, naturally, I just assumed that was how it worked. Last year, I figured we’d run into another one while out shopping or looking for a restaurant that sold spaghetti tacos (did I mention I was pregnant again?). We never did. Luckily, my son was still young enough that it didn’t really matter and I didn’t really care about anything except spaghetti tacos and not puking on random strangers whenever I left the house.

But this year, oh, this year, I came prepared. He’s almost three. And this is his sister’s first Christmas. Time to stop phoning it in as a parent. So, starting the day after Thanksgiving I started Googling where and when Santa would be. I was leaving nothing to chance.

Imagine my surprise then, when two Sundays ago, we went to meet Santa and he wasn’t there. Apparently “Santa will be taking photos until 5 p.m.” meant if you showed up at 4:30 p.m. he’d be gone on what I can only assume was a very important Santa emergency involving happy hour eggnog shots. Luckily, people working the event were super helpful and reassured us that they had “no idea where he was or if he’d be back.”

I was mad, sure. The Momma Bear in me wanted to start mauling people with my festive Santa hat. But I managed to keep my calm. We still had one more weekend before Christmas and my toddler got chocolate as a consolation prize, so crisis averted.

Still, again, I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. I checked, then double checked, then triple checked when and where Santa would be this past Saturday.

7 p.m.

No less than three local event calendars said 7 p.m.

Santa would be hanging out in this particular location until 7 p.m.

Looking back, I should have known better. It was the same location that Santa had abandoned to go on a bender the weekend before. But, silly me, I thought if we showed up three hours before closing time, he’d be there.

Ha!

He wasn’t.

Needless to say, I was frothing at the mouth at this point. And again, the helpful people working the event assured us that “um…I don’t know, man.”

So, again, my son got chocolate as a consolation prize. But I am running out of time and one more no-show by Santa is likely to give my toddler diabetes.

I need some chubby, red jerkface to sit on his ass and interact with my freaking children before I lose it. I need a photo of my baby girl screaming on his lap and one of my son doing that weird toddler smile where it looks like they forgot how to smile. It’s Christmas. Why the hell can’t I find a Santa? Why is this so hard? WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED FOR A MISTAKE I MADE WHEN I WAS SEVEN?!?

Sigh. This is a good lesson for you kids though. Apparently once you’re on the naughty list, you stay on that naughty list. Santa does not forgive nor forget.

Well played, fat man. Well played.