Sunday, July 20, 2014


The Boy has been going to a new school for about a month, now.

Over the past several months we had considered moving The Boy to a different preschool.  We had increasingly felt that he was not being challenged, that he was bored.

I know. He's three.

But a bored three year old is a disruptive, potentially destructive, force.  It's serious business.

Plus, we want him to develop as much as he can develop in a way appropriate to his age.  And if he's bored, that's not happening.

We would discuss moving schools here and there in off-hand sorts of ways, and occasionally more seriously, but would always decide against it, mainly because of friendships -- The Boy's and ours. The Boy had gone to his old school since he was about 10 weeks old. It took me three days to even be able it leave him there. Then, when I did, I sat in our living room crying, sobbing, "I want my baby!"  It was incredibly difficult. 

But in time, it became okay. We developed trust of the teachers. And they loved our boy. 

And The Boy loved his friends he made at school. His buddy, The Dude, who I mentioned early on in this blog, remains one of his best friends.  Around age 2, he developed a strong attachment to a petite, loquacious, wide-eyed, intelligent girl.  Another girl with an affinity for Lightning McQueen, just like him, became a friend....  A boy with tremendous brown eyes and a sweet smile....  A girl with miles of gorgeous dark curls, who frequently went "lion hunting" with The Boy....  And others that we, his parents, didn't get to know as well, but The Boy did.

So whenever the idea of moving schools came up, it was soon packed away again because we didn't want to take The Boy away from these friends. The idea of it, in fact, made me extremely sad.

And, too, change is difficult.  And you get used to what you know.  You're not sure if the change will be better or worse.  And, well, there's a lot of bother to it.  The lazy part of you doesn't want to change if everything else is pretty much chugging along more or less harmoniously.

But, without going into detail, a series of concerning events at his old school, in late May and early June, caused us to, once again, consider changing schools.

In fact, we did withdraw him from his old school in mid-June.

It was an incredibly emotional thing for me. I cried. I fretted. 

All his little friends!  Some of them, we'll keep friends with -- the ones whose parents have become our own friends, like The Dude and the other kids mentioned. But the rest of the class, with whose parents we've not become close, they are in all likelihood lost to memories. It's the worst thing about the move.  But, as The Dude's mom said to me, kids are resilient.  He'll make new friends. 

And so, here we are, a month later and The Boy has thrived in his new environment.  He's actually, honestly very happy. One day this past week he said, "I'm excited to go to school, Mommy!"  That is something I have, frankly, never heard him say before.  I was elated!

It makes me wonder, now, why I was so upset and sad about the move.  We humans get comfortable in situations.  We develop loyalties that are difficult to break. Those are good traits that lead to stable society.  But they also make necessary change very hard.

Our change has yielded great results for our little guy.  The Boy seems engaged and more focused at his new school. (This is in the context of what may be expected of a three year old, of course. He's not suddenly doing calculus eight hours a day.)

Too, I honestly feel like he's even a little better behaved at home, now (the tantrum about Legos this weekend notwithstanding).

And he has made new friends. And many our old friends -- The Dude, and the rest -- are all still there too.

This has been, to take Martha Stewart out of context, a very good thing. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Why Don't You Just Bake Off?!

My office has an annual Independence Day bake off. 

Two years ago, I made red, white and blue swirl cookies.  I even blogged about the process of making them. 

I got, I think, second or third place for Most Patriotic Dessert that year.

Last year, I made some oatmeal, flax and dried fruit concoction under the guise of "healthy," and got a second or third place, for, er, something or another category. 

Undaunted, this year I present to you, and mainly to my office mates, these:

Red, White and Blue Cookies. 

They're not red, white, or blue, you say?  Well, they are and they aren't.  Essentially, they're chocolate chip cookies, but, instead of semi-sweet chocolate morsels, you use 1 cup white chocolate chips, 1 cup dried cranberries, and 1 cup dried blueberries.  See?  Red, White, and Blue.

I basically followed this woman's recipe, except that I used 1 cup dark brown sugar instead of 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated. 

The brown sugar makes a chewier cookie with a bit more caramel-like flavor. 

After you scoop the dough onto the baking sheet, you sprinkle them with a little kosher salt. 

That makes 'em classy.  All classy desserts feature the salty/sweet contrast in these our modern times. 

The Boy really liked them....

...until he hit a dried blueberry. Not his thing. But The Working Dad and I liked them, dried blueberries and all. 

But how did they fare in the bake off, you may wonder?





Seriously, I did get Honorable Mention for Best Tasting Dessert, and got these nifty prizes!

And five different people asked me for the recipe for my cookies, with many others telling me that they liked the cookies.  That's never happened to me before with the bake off.

So maybe competition this year was just particularly fierce.  (Still, participant, y'all?  Not even Third in one category?  What, was I half the office's second favorite, thus garnering no votes? Always the bridesmaid . . . .

But I've come to terms with the green ribbon and I am trying to look at it this way:  Now, I just need one more ribbon to have a complete set. 

Better luck to me next year!  And you'd better watch out, You-Know-Who-You-Are.  My Kitchenaid mixer and I are coming for you

Happy Independence Day, Y'all!