Welcome to the Club.

22 April 2014 | 0 Comments

Motherhood is magic sometimes. 

Don’t laugh.

There are days when you are beside yourself that you created these teeny tiny little creatures of awesomeness.  Plus, there is the whole second trimester of pregnancy when your skin is glowing and there is the added bonus of crazy good sex dreams, if you’re lucky.  These babies start doing all of this cool stuff and you are in awe.  You feel lucky that you get the privilege of watching them grow into little people.  You walk in their room at night to check on them and you see these sweaty curls and chubby cheeks and it nearly brings you to your knees how beautiful they are. 

I’m going to tell you the truth though.  There are also SO many horrifying things about pregnancy and babyhood.  And these, are the things that my friends and I tend to discuss when we’re together.  As we do, we dispense with the niceties and mention those little things that might make you panic a little and murmur, “ mmmhmmm” with raised eyebrows and pursed lips, because you’ve been there. 

Baby boys?  They pee all over you if exposed to the air for too long!  Did you know this?  It was like a fountain.  Then, he had an assplosion of epic proportions!  It was horrible, I had to throw that brand new outfit right in the trash.  I couldn’t even.  I was gagging, it was so disgusting.

My boob shot milk across the room.

She threw up.  All over me.  I don’t even know where it all came from, she’s only two months old, it was like The Exorcist!

When you hear someone else astonished that these things happen, you snicker a little because you too, used to be that innocent.  Then you had children and the illusion of this blissful, serene, motherhood journey went flying out of the window.  This crazy stuff?  You usually don’t figure it out until you’re already in the midst of it yourself.  You wonder if there is a secret maternal conspiracy not to talk about those things because you’re quite sure that people would totally stop doing this whole motherhood thing.  Except… because we don’t have a filter, my friends and I, we regularly have these conversations in front of our friends who don’t yet have kids themselves. 

She pooped!  Right there on the table when she was pushing.  Did YOU know that could happen, because I didn’t!  If I poop on the table, I will just die.

Did you know that little bundle of joy might make you sniss?  That’s pee when you sneeze, so do your kegels is all I’m saying.

I was just sitting there having a chat with my OBGYN and BAM!  I see GERIATRIC PREGNANCY written right there on my chart and I was so horrified that I lost my train of thought.

She had to have that baby without an epidural, there was barely even time to check her when she got there!  How she managed to walk to labor and delivery with an eight pound baby’s head half way out of her vagina is beyond me.

Then we’re off laughing.  And there is always the same horrified look and response from our friend Ann Marie.  “I am never having kids.  You guys have scarred me for life.”  Oh, the stories she’s heard over the last seven years…

It’s a wonder she is joining this magical club knowing what she knows, but joining, she is.  And we are all ridiculously excited on her behalf.  Maybe it’s time to start telling her all the magical things that happen?

Chocolate Butterscotch Nests.

13 April 2014 | 2 Comments

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Easter is just a week away, these quickie chocolate & butterscotch nests are something we LOVE to make at our house.  Just a couple ingredients and a few minutes, they are so easy, it is one of our favorite Easter traditions.  The kids can even help… or if they’re like mine, steal the chocolate eggs and leave you to do the nests yourself. 

I might even try to use them as Easter place cards with names written on the eggs in edible marker.

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You will need:

  • 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips {I use dark chocolate but, milk or semi-sweet are just fine too.}
  • 12 ounce bag of butterscotch chips
  • 12 ounce bag of chow mein noodles
  • Decorate:  small egg shaped candies, peeps, toasted coconut

If you aren’t making a bunch, you can easily halve the recipe by using half a bag of chocolate chips and butterscotch with one of the 5 ounce cans of chow mein noodles. 

Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.  Place the butterscotch and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave at 50% power for a minute, stir, then continue to microwave at 20-30 second intervals, stirring between until completely melted and smooth. In a large bowl, pour the melted chocolate and butterscotch chips over the chow mein noodles.  Use your hands or a rubber spatula, mix the noodles, coating evenly, being careful not to break, if possible. 

I typically use a heaping tablespoon of the noodles, it makes for a cute 2-3 bite nest.  You can also make a larger size if you want to share and tuck in a marshmallow peep or two.  Drop onto the baking sheet, I’ve found the more haphazard, the more natural they look.    Add decorations such as small, egg shaped candies, pushing them into the chocolate slightly so that they stick as it dries.  You can also sprinkle some with toasted coconut to add to the nest look if you like.  I really love the Cadbury chocolate eggs because they are tiny, have little speckles, pretty colors, and look like real eggs.  Also pictured are the Whopper eggs, these are a little bigger, also have speckles and come in brighter colors.  You can even use jelly beans or other chocolate eggs, just check your grocery store for options.   

Pop these in the fridge and they harden up in just a few minutes, ready to eat

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Oma.

08 April 2014 | 12 Comments

Before Dave and I got married, he came home and handed me a box from his Grandma with my name on it.  In it, her pearl necklace.  Her husband gave it to her and she was gifting to me.  She didn’t do it at my shower, she did it in her special Kelly way and it’s something I will be forever grateful to have been given.  I cried, both for the sentiment and for her welcome into the family with something so personal.  She has noticed and delighted every single time I wore that necklace over the last nine years, she’d pat her neck and wink at me. 

Yesterday, I hope she was there to notice when Dave’s sister, who was gifted a similar necklace for her own wedding, and I wore them to say goodbye to her. 

It was a hard goodbye to say.

Everyone that Kelly touched will tell you how much she was admired, how kind she was, or how warm she was with friends and strangers alike. They’ll tell you how thoughtful notes were slipped into the mail and there, scrawled across the page in her beautiful penmanship was ‘I thought you might like this,‘ and an article carefully clipped out of the newspaper about something you’d talked about or a thank you card for some inconsequential thing you did for her.  Her neighbor recalled the time when she brought Kelly some tomatoes from the garden and Kelly called her the very next day, just raving about the tomatoes.  Finally, Mary Ann said, “Kelly!  They’re just tomatoes!” and Kelly responded with, “Well, Mary Ann, they sure taste better than the ones you get in the store!  Don’t they? I’m just so happy you brought them over.” 

She was gracious, thoughtful, and an amazing hostess.  My sister in law and I were laughing because we found just gobs of party things she had tucked away in the house.  I pulled out some hilarious Easter plates from the seventies and made my mother in law promise that we could use them for dessert this year because I’m pretty sure she would have loved that.  Her pastor talked about the time that he had been over to the house to visit and noticed and remarked on this beautiful orange pot she had.  A week later, a yellow orange Le Creuset arrived at their house as a gift to his wife.  It made me cry the moment he started talking about it, because the original has lived at our house the last five years, it was getting too heavy for her and she knew Dave and I would love and use it as much as she had.  Every time I make something in it, Dave and I swear it’s got 50 years worth of Kelly’s cooking magic in it.

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I loved her even more for treasuring our children the way she did.

When Finnegan was born, she decided that she wanted to come up with her own special name.  She settled on Oma, a German term of endearment similar to Granny, that fit her to a T.  Her parents were from the old country and she would lapse into German cooing with our kids frequently, something Dave and I loved to listen to.  Even he, with four years of German didn’t understand a thing she was telling them, but that seemed inconsequential because they could feel her sentiment.  She tutted over anything Finn told her, from stories about super heroes to race cars and everything in between she listened and soaked in every detail like he was the most important person in the world.  They were thick as thieves, she marveled over how tall he was or how much he was learning in school.  He would write her these little notes telling her that she was cool or that he loved her, she saved them and made sure he updated them.  We were over there just two weeks ago and she was laughing hysterically because Tate asked her to drum something and then promptly removed the drumsticks from her hand when she started to play.  She looked at us, “I guess I must be a terrible drummer!” and then peals of laughter. 

She’d fill our kids pockets up with little candies and when I caught her, she’d reply to me, “well what’s the point of being this old if I can’t do things like this?”  You could see the twinkle in her eye when she feigned innocence in whatever outlandish thing she decided to do, like the time she made the family dogs Cornish game hens for Thanksgiving.  Once, shortly after our honeymoon, Dave and I were telling her about this amazing meal we had in Ireland and how much I loved sticky toffee pudding, so she {without internet} tracked down a company that made it in the US and had it shipped for Christmas dinner as a surprise for me.  She did these very Kelly things and then would look at us with a smirk, like we were the silly ones when we sat there mouths agape.  She was a force to be reckoned with.  She did things solely for the absolute joy it brought others and sometimes for her own amusement and I don’t think there was a thing in the world that she couldn’t make happen if she wanted to. 

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She’s a woman I wish everyone had the pleasure of knowing, she will be missed immeasurably.  She will be missed at every holiday absent from her table.  She will be missed each time I come to her house not wearing socks and there isn’t anyone to fret about it.  She will be missed in a hundred tiny ways.  She will be missed each time we see one of her aprons without her in it.  She will be missed with every inch Finnegan grows, with each time Megan and I wear her pearls, and for every single one of her distinctly Kelly things that is missing from our lives. 

She will be missed.  I am so grateful to Dave for sharing her with me for the last twelve years.  

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