The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

How Do Soccer Moms Make Butternut Squash Soup? Very Carefully.

I’m so over soccer. The laundry involved alone might kill me. If we wake up one more Saturday morning and have to spend 43 minutes looking for the yellow soccer sock that matches the yellow jersey for Team Awesome that it turns out Gray took off in the car on the way home from the game last week and left it there so it never actually got washed for this week (and oh THAT’S the smell in the car… I totally thought one of the cheese sticks I bought in bulk on sale must have fallen out of the package and wedged under the seat) I’m probably going to commit myself.

And then there’s the endless (and endlessly changing) practice schedule. They’re SIX and TEN, Coaches. Do they really need to hone their ball to foot tapping down the field toward the netty-thing abilities (or whatever it’s called) 3-4 times a week right during the dinner hour? I seriously don’t know how people with more than 2 or 3 kids do it. Does that crazy woman on TV with babies constantly dripping from her womb (what are they up to now? 35?) do soccer? She can’t right? They’d have to own their own soccer complex; it just wouldn’t work.

Take last night, at our house, just for example. And keep in mind that I only have three children, and only two of them are old enough to participate in extra-curricular activities yet. When I did the round of pick-ups from school, Gray reminded me that it was ‘Bedtime Stories Night’ at this school and that he really super a whole bunch wanted to go. In fact, he didn’t even say that, he said, “Mom, we’re supposed to wear our jammies to Bedtime Stories tonight at school, so when we get home I’m going to put mine on so I’m ready.” (I think he took that class on marketing that I did a couple of years ago where they teach you if you don’t ask a question, they can’t tell you ‘No’. So if you just sign right here, Sir, we can get everything moving.) Suffice it to say it was hard to tell him he wasn’t going. And totally conveniently, this school activity was scheduled for 5:30PM. Which was exactly the same time Ben’s soccer practice started. Which was at least 30 minutes before Jason usually gets home from work. And also the time during which I usually make dinner (and Jonas likes to spend that time peeing on things he shouldn’t and pouring the dry cat food into the full cat water dish, so it totally messed up his plans for the day also).

To keep a long story fairly reasonably shortish; we did make it through and all of the kids eventually got around to each and everyone one of their activities (Jonas even managed to find time to shatter the power button on the one remaining TV we have he hadn’t yet destroyed, so it was a fairly productive day for him despite all), but getting through it did involve each of the following:

1. Me screaming at Jason that if he didn’t come home from work early our six year-old wouldn’t love us anymore.

2. Roughly 75 miles of driving racked up between our house and schools or soccer fields within 2 miles of us for the day.

3. Jason getting stuck in traffic and arriving home 15 minutes later than the scheduled time thus throwing THE ENTIRE PLAN out of wack and lots of crying (only from me, the boys handled it all fine).

4. A total lack of cell service between Jason’s and my phones while he was at the elementary school and I was at home resulting in an inability to coordinate Ben’s pick-up portion of his soccer practice, which I had completely forgotten about till then.

5. Me throwing an almost naked Jonas into the car (he stripped down for no reason, as usual) to rush to the soccer fields because I had concluded that probably if I couldn’t get a hold of him Jason wasn’t going to just remember to leave the school and go get Ben, and if I didn’t leave THAT SECOND, Ben would probably get kidnapped by a homeless pedophile.

6. Me carrying shoeless, shirtless Jonas the mile or so across the billions of soccer fields in front of the billions of parents who stared at me wondering, “When did they start letting hillbillies into this league? AYSO has really gone downhill out here…” to grab Ben and get him back to the car.

7. A decimating of all safe driving laws to get home as quickly as possible when I realized the timer on the oven for our dinner had started going off 5 minutes earlier and the good bet was on a return to a smoke-filled, alarm-going off house.

8. Gray getting a tummy ache from the damn chocolate milk and cookies the stupid school gave them at 5:45PM (hello? Were we supposed to feed him dinner at 4:45PM before he went to this activity? What about the ‘family dinnertime’ you authority figures are always preaching about?)

9. The family sitting down to dinner at 7:45PM, an hour and a half later than usual.

Yesterday’s debacle of scheduling and driving and kids and work almost ruined family dinner, but in the end, it was delicious. Because, of course, in addition to all of that insanity, I had also already made all of my quick and easy recipes for the week and all I had ingredients left for was the homemade soup I’d never made before. Luckily it wasn’t that complicated (unlike my life).

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Soup


4 chicken thighs (with skin and bone)
1 medium butternut squash (peeled, seeded, chopped)
1 small yellow onion (diced)
4 cups chicken broth
1 lemon
Fresh cilantro
Olive oil


Bake chicken, butternut squash, yellow onion, salt and olive oil in a large flat baking dish (or cookie sheet) 30 minutes (ok, I baked ours 40 minutes and it was ok and didn’t burn the house down) at 425 degrees or until butternut squash is soft and chicken is cooked through. Boil chicken broth and toss in squash and onion mixture (mush the squash up with a spoon if you feel like it). Let chicken cool and de-skin and de-bone it and shred and toss in pot. Add more salt, cumin, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Serve with cilantro on top (and sour cream if you want).

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