Happy New Year, Dave Threw Up in my Sink.

31 December 2010 | 10 Comments

Ours is a love story of the ages, puke filled sink and all…

If you’re a long time reader, you’ll probably remember that Dave and I were friends for 6 months before we started dating.  I tried to hook him up with my sister.  And my best friend.  And I thought he was a sweet guy, but totally NOT my type.  You know, because I liked dating unavailable assholes at the time.  So, how did it finally happen?  I let him kiss me and he was a shockingly good great kisser so really, I thought we would fool around for a few months and be done with it.  This story is from that time.

Our first New Year together, we had been dating about 6 or so weeks and by dating I mean fooling around and hanging out and having fun.  Not dating like I was going to marry this guy.  I was saving that for the guy I would actually end up with you know, not some college guy.

So how did we spend our first New Year?  A romantic dinner?  Not for us.  He was still in college at the time and college guys don’t generally think of things like romantic dinners.  We went to a party at his friend Jason’s house with probably twenty other of his friends and we had a little too much fun. 

I’m pretty sure there are videos of that night that I would rather just pretend didn’t exist. 

Halfway through the night, I started to notice that maybe, just maybe he wasn’t going to be able to drive me home so I stopped drinking.  A party is one thing, but having to spend the night on the floor at someone’s house I barely knew didn’t seem like a fun idea.

Now, Dave claims even to this day, that it was the Jello shots that did it, but I am pretty sure that drinking out of the giant Heineken bottle with Jon {I would be remiss not to mention that Jon continues to maintain his innocence all of these years later despite the photographic evidence of him hoisting the giant Heiney bottle while Dave drinks it} that put him just enough over the edge. 

We went back to my apartment and he proceeded to throw up in my bathroom sink and all over himself.  Oh, did I mention that we were fooling around at the time and he insisted that he was fine?  Pointer for you college guys: running to the bathroom and vacating the contents of your stomach usually is a mood killer.

So I convinced him to get into the shower because um, he was covered in beer smelling vomit and the next morning I asked him to leave. 

He went back to Jason’s and proceeded to tell the whole sordid tale to Jason & his girlfriend Kerry.  He was sure SO sure that I would never talk to him again.  Really, I probably shouldn’t have.  He called,  offered to come clean the bathroom, and brought me flowers.  Then he apologized and has never in all of the years we’ve been together EVER gotten sick from drinking again.

And so I just want to take a second today to tell him that I’m glad I can still make fun of him for the whole internet’s amusement about puking in my sink and I’m happy I didn’t go running.  I’m also pretty sure that he owes Kerry big time for the suggestion of bringing flowers.  I am also sure that your mom {hi Sue} is going to be REALLY proud of you when she reads this.

Have a SAFE, happy {non-vomit filled} HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Three Year Old Stubble?

29 December 2010 | 2 Comments

Finn:  Uh, dad.  Is there a lot of cream left in your shaving?

Dave:  {Laughing noticing all of the mysterious blue blobs floating in the bath water that must have shot all over while a 3 year old decided to “shave”.}  I think there is quite a bit Finn.

Finn:  Ok.  Good.

Merry Merry.

24 December 2010 | 1 Comments

To you and yours. 

I hope that you have your heart’s desire waiting for you under the tree tomorrow morning.

Here.

21 December 2010 | 3 Comments

I’m here and doing ok.  Oddly enough, I don’t really have a whole lot to say.  I know… shocking for me, eh?

Christmas prep has certainly been lax this year and we seem to have 52,930 things going at all times so I highly doubt that beyond wrapping gifts and maybe making a batch of {boxed} cookies that anything else will get done.  I am strangely ok with that.  The Santa gifts are wrapped and so are the couple gifts I got for Dave… the rest?  Fuck it.  Next year I can do it up Martha style.

Finn has been a stinker lately.  Even with the threat of Santa looming in the near future.  He had a nasty case of bronchitis so that could be part of it, but woooo boy he and Dave have been butting heads like you wouldn’t believe.  I can see this being fun for the next fifteen years of my life.  Maybe it’s the Taurus-Virgo combination?

So that’s about all.  I’ve gotten a couple worried emails so I wanted to assure you all that things are fine here.  I’ve been feeling better, still tired, just taking it one day at a time.  Of course there are also promises of good {and more frequent} posting after the new year.

Hope you all are doing well also!

Finn

13 December 2010 | 11 Comments

025

He insisted on both macaroni & cereal for dinner… and made it through half before completely passing out at 7 pm.  You know, he doesn’t NEED a nap anymore.

He has never had one, but he’s been referring to Jolly Ranchers as Cherry Spit, we’re not really sure why, but he does have a point.  They do make your spit taste like cherries.

And counting in Spanish to cinqo before starting back over at dos.  Thank you Toy Story 3 and Buzz Lightyear’s Spanish mode for that one.

He is enamored with the tree this year and helped me decorate while Dave was at work.  Aside from the huge clusterfuck of ornaments at his level that we had to gently move upward, it looks pretty.  He is also enamored with the thought of Santa bringing toys to his house and asks me daily if tonight is the night.  I assured him that I would make it known when the big man intends to make an appearance.

There are days I feel like the luckiest mom in the entire world… and some days he’s questioned every single word out of our mouths and it’s the most maddening thing in the world.  But most days, it’s the lucky.

Perplexed and Ranting.

09 December 2010 | 13 Comments

So I read this article this morning about how bake sales and other food fundraisers would be affected by the child nutrition bill:
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/12/school-bake-sales-will-have-to-be-approved-and-infrequent/

My question is this... why are people or would people be enraged about this bill?  I don't want a bunch of junk in Finn's school if I can help it and some kids don't even have the opportunity for healthy food at home, so why not make it available for them somewhere?  And WHY for the love of God are we feeding our children crap?  To save a buck?  Because that is all they know?  Because change sucks? 

People, we should be PISSED our kids don’t know how to identify a tomato or an eggplant or an ear of corn.

I am by no means a food nazi, Finn gets candy and chips and crap sometimes though I really am still a freak about no fast food.  I just guess if given the choice of a healthy school lunch or a non-healthy sodium filled, fat laden, zero vegetable lunch, wouldn't you choose healthy?

And when you’re done weighing in {no pun intended} about this, hop over to my friend Mindy’s blog, scroll down and read about pre-school lunches in France. 

Things I Love Today. {that aren’t my family or friends}

08 December 2010 | 11 Comments
  1. Snail mail.  Everyone loves seeing a pretty colorful envelope mixed in with bills and ads that you just recycle, there is just something about a card filled with happy thoughts that makes my day.
  2. Cracky ice.  I am weird and love the ice that you get from the store because it’s rough rather than smooth.  It’s pretty much an obsession and Dave has been buying bags of it for me since I got sick.  The ice obsession started before the sick thing, but I have to say because of the iron deficiency it has amped up a bit.
  3. Oranges.  Also we’ve figured out is due to the iron thing, I’ve been eating several oranges a day. 
  4. Christmas lights.  Even though the tree isn’t decorated yet, those twinkling lights just make me so happy.
  5. The Sing Off on NBC.  It started on Monday and it’s on again tonight, there is something magical about the sounds that come out of these people as a group.  It’s insane.  Watch it.
  6. Real hot chocolate.  If you haven’t made it, do it.  I added a cinnamon stick to the cream last time and a shot of espresso.  Absolutely lovely.
  7. Shower/Baths.  OK, this one is weird, I’ll admit.  I always thought I’d want to live in a huge house and have a separate shower and bath, but I’d miss the combo of the two.  Close the drain, turn the shower on as hot as you can stand it and just lay or sit there as it rains down on you and fills up around you.  Taking a shower/bath in the dark is my go to for curing sleepless nights, it’s so relaxing you feel like you’ve been massaged.  Bubbles are optional.

What’s something you love today?

Babysitter-less.

06 December 2010 | 11 Comments

Can you believe it?  Today, it’s the first day that I don’t have a babysitter since before Thanksgiving.  Thirteen days, that is a long time to not be alone.  I love my family and friends, but dear LORD in heaven it is going to be nice for a little time with Finn.  He is as much in need of our regular routine as I am.  OK, it’s only for a day and Dave will likely be home at lunch, calling every 20 minutes and/or sending my dad over to check up on me, but it’s a start. 

Poor Dave told me Friday night that he would like to just leave the house without having a panic attack and rushing home because he doesn’t want to be away for more than a few minutes. 

I think that is husband code for, he likes me and doesn’t want me to croak on the bathroom floor, but I could be wrong?

Saturday was a good day, my best in fact.  We went out for Japanese for lunch, then I walked around Costco for approximately 25 minutes before getting winded and tired and promptly coming home and sleeping for two hours.  And of course, I paid for it Sunday when I felt like I was hit by a Mack truck and basically slept all day.  But back to the happy Saturday part… it was the first day I felt almost normal and for that I am grateful.

Baby steps.

So, that’s up with me.  I’ve been crawling through my reader catching up on you guys too, but why don’t you make it easier on me and just tell me in the comments what you’ve been up to.  I miss talking to people who aren’t asking me what my hemoglobin count is, if I need to lie down, or if I feel ok.  Are you done shopping?  Is your house all ready with stockings hung by the chimney with care?  Did you drink 14 martinis this weekend with your girlfriends and make an ass out of yourself?  Tell me!

Christmas Ideas?

05 December 2010 | 9 Comments

Obviously Christmas is going to be way scaled back for us this year.  I just don’t have any energy to get out and attempt to shop, so we’re not even going to worry about it and the adults… well they’re going to have to understand.  Dave and I aren’t even doing gifts for each other. 

The issue is Finn.  I need a list for him from us and grandparents also want to have a list so that means quite a few things to come up with and he has given me a few things to go from, but aside from just a couple wants, he doesn’t have any ideas.  I have some clothes ideas, but obviously everyone wants to get him a couple fun things too.

I am searching for fun stuff in the 3-4 age range.  We did get him a Tag Reader after lots of recommendations.  He loves Duplos, Ikea train tracks, anything Toy Story or Disney Cars, and books of all kinds.  We have a Wii and would love to find some little kid games that are fun and easy to use.

So tell me what did your boys {or girls if its a universally fun toy} like at that age? 

Little Update.

02 December 2010 | 9 Comments

I feel much much better.  My bloodwork from Tuesday came back *thisclose* to being in the normal ranges that they think the blood that I lost in my abdomen is re-absorbing well back into my system.  It’s freaky and weird how your body knows to take care of itself.  Still tired and sleeping a ton, but feel way less foggy when I am awake.  I have another appointment later today, so hopefully we’ll hear more positive things. 

Dave is taking great care of me.  I really really appreciate all of the texts, phone calls, emails, comments, and prayer thoughts you’re sending my way… it’ll be a bit before I can get back to them all, but I do very much appreciate the good thoughts, offers to bring dinner, and to keep Finn entertained for a few hours.  My friends near and far are truly amazing and so sweet.  Thank you.

Thanks… I think?

29 November 2010 | 29 Comments

Well, I really wanted this post to be about pretty tables and turkey and gobs of Black Friday deals, but that’s not exactly how it went.

Wednesday morning I woke up and knew something wasn’t right immediately.  I thought maybe I was just tired and got up to go to the bathroom.  About halfway there I knew something was really really wrong.  Most of those details are still fuzzy in my head but they involve me collapsing on the floor and screaming for Finn to bring me the phone.

I managed to call Dave and then crawled into the shower because in my logic, I thought a freezing shower would keep me from passing out.  Thank God Finn was there to get the phone and Dave was home within minutes because if I had been alone the doctor is pretty sure that things would have been very very bad.  I remember about 25% of the paramedics part including realizing I was naked from the shower and needed to get something on because I thought for sure my good friend, would be the one to arrive.  {Thankfully, he wasn’t on duty.}

A lovely day was spent in the ER along with another two in the hospital for good measure.  I have been poked and prodded, my arms are bruised and still burning from some of the stuff they gave me.  The care I received was amazing, one ER nurse in particular, I am told by my doctor, basically saved my life and prevented needing a blood transfusion by asking for additional non-invasive tests that stopped things going from bad to worse.   

When I came home, the first two days,  I slept anywhere from 18-20 hours a day and even walking to the bathroom made me winded.  Now I’m down to a respectable 15 ish hours of sleep a day and lots of resting.  I need a babysitter for at least a week and follow up appointments and tests are scheduled.  Right now, they’re looking for the source of the internal bleeding they think caused the excruciating pain and concentrating on getting my hemoglobin levels increased before doing any other tests.  

They think I should feel back to normal within 3 weeks and most days I seem to feel just a little bit better than the day before.  I’m taking that as a good sign.  So, I know this is totally out of the blue, believe me… it was for me too.  Posting for the next few weeks is going to be light and sporadic at best. 

Wine and Turkey. Turkey and Wine.

23 November 2010 | 6 Comments

I am not a sommelier.  For those of you who did not put on your fancy pants this morning, that is a wine expert.  They are specially trained and can tell you which wines to pair with any meal you might put together.  Except asparagus because not only does it make your pee smell funny, it also apparently doesn’t have a wine pairing.   They can also tell you about things like mouth feel and tannins and notes of cherry and oak.

I just drink it and if I like it, I’ll buy it again.

Here are my “go to” turkey wines along with a French aperitif {fancy pants translation: drink before dinner} that you have to try this Thanksgiving. 

I promise, you will love it.

My first pick for a great wine with turkey is a Cambria Pinot Noir.

 

Pick number two is a heavier red, the Trinchero Chicken Farm Ranch Merlot.

Lastly, for you white wine drinkers, give the Byron Chardonnay a try!

And on to that aperitif… a Kir Royale.  Well technically since I’m not using a true champagne from the Champagne region, it’s a Kir P√©tillant, but we’ll just call it a Kir Royale for good measure.  I’d also like to thank the brilliant and lovely S√©verine and her family for teaching me the joys of the Kir Royale.  At sixteen and in France for the first time, this was the height of sophistication.  Almost twenty years later it is still one of my favorites.

It also could not be easier to make.

You will need:  a champagne glass, creme de cassis & chilled champagne {or my favorite substitute Domaine Ste Michelle Brut which is about $14 and tastes amazing.}

Pour the champagne into the glass filling most of the way to the top, then very slowly add a bit of creme de cassis until it just turns a pretty pink color.  Voila!  Now you can drink and enjoy.

And stay tuned tomorrow for a sneak peek of our Thanksgiving tables!

Disturbed for the youth of America.

22 November 2010 | 8 Comments

Last night, I watched the AMAs.  {That’s the American Music Awards.}

I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone most of the evening, but then… then it happened.

The disturbing event that had me mouth agape on the couch praying that I was hallucinating.

Justin Bieber.

Dude, I get it.  I survived New Kids on the Block in my era, but artist of the year they were not.

Teen sensations and good performers to be sure.

Artist of the year?  REALLY?

What the fuck youth of America?  What.  The.  Fuck.

Conclusions.

18 November 2010 | 6 Comments

I’m a jump to conclusion-er.  It’s a fault.  A big one. 

Some idiot is speeding and cuts me off.  The nerve!  Jackass!  Can you believe they gave this moron a license??

What if that person just got a phone call telling them their child was hurt?  Or their elderly father fell?  Would I react in the same way?

She is SUCH a bitch today, why is she in customer service?

Maybe her pet died.  Or it has been an incredibly awful week.  Would I be kinder?  Gentler?

Sometimes words, just words tear through you with such force when all you need, all you want is just a bit of kindness. 

Don’t get me wrong here, sometimes an idiot is just an idiot. 

But maybe, just maybe taking a moment to think before I come to that conclusion will save me from making someone’s awful day even worse.  I’ve been there, both on the giving and the receiving end, and either way it feels like shit.

Roxy & National Prematurity Awareness Day

17 November 2010 | 7 Comments
Sam is one of my readers.  She sent me an email asking me if I would mind helping her this week and when she told me why, I was MORE than happy to lend her my {and your} ears.  Please take just a minute to read Roxy's story as told by her Mama, Sam. 

And Sam?  Thank you for letting me be a small part in helping you tell your story.




A little background: During a routine checkup, the doctors found out I had developed preeclampsia. I was given steroid shots to strengthen Roxy’s lungs and we were told that we would try to hold out 48 hours before delivery. I was already having contractions and Roxy was in position to deliver. About twelve hours later, I was wheeled away for an emergency C-section because Roxy was in distress and my kidneys were starting to decrease in urine output.

Our miracle baby Roxy was born 11 weeks premature. She weighed in at a whopping 1 pound, 9 ounces and was a mere 14 inches long (She was estimated to weigh approximately 2 pounds, 10 ounces). She was born with a head full of black hair and immediately whisked away from us to be taken care of. For us, the delivery room was silent - no newborn screams filling the air - and my husband got to cut Roxy's umbilical cord and then watch as the doctors began performing resuscitation on her.

We weren't in a normal situation where the waiting grandparents could see the newborn in the nursery. Everyone was in the room with me after delivery awaiting the anxious arrival of Roxy. We were told that she was too small to stay in the nursery at the hospital we were at. She would have had to weigh in as expected to be big enough. She was being transferred to a bigger university hospital with a better equipped Level 3 NICU. Although the idea of transferring me to the other hospital was tossed around, it was decided that it would be best for me to stay where I was. This was on Saturday.

What seemed like hours and hours later, they finally wheeled Roxy into my room so that I could see her for the first time and the only time before they transported her.

My little micropreemie came into my room in an incubator and was strapped in for transport with straps that looked to be as big as she was. She was on a ventilator. She was screaming to let us know she wasn't happy and her screams could barely be heard - her voice was as small as she was. We spent about ten minutes with her adoring her and I was able to touch her teeny hand. Her entire hand wasn't as big as the last joint of my index finger. Then they wheeled her away and it was almost two more days before I saw her again.

The following Monday, Labor Day, was the first time I was allowed to leave my hospital to go to hers and visit. Learning the NICU was an event all in itself. Roxy was only allowed to have two visitors at a time, one of which had to be a parent. Eventually, this was limited even further to only parents and biological grandparents. We had to stop at a reception desk and be buzzed back into the nurseries. We were only allowed to visit during certain hours - every three with an hour break in between. We learned how to scrub up as we went in. The first time you walk up to your baby's incubator, you see tubes and wires and hear machines beeping and groaning.

Its scary. Every little bleep had me looking at Roxy's monitor to see if it was her.

That was our life for almost the entire time Roxy was in the NICU. Roxy spent a total of 67 days in the NICU. We did have several scares. Roxy developed a staph infection soon after being admitted into the hospital. Then they thought she had developed another one.  After that they thought she developed NEC (which is potentially fatal to premature infants), she was routinely checked for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) which is common in premature infants and would affect her eyesight. She had several ultrasounds of her brain to make sure she didn't have a hemorrhage (intraventricular hemorrhages can cause several problems in premature infants from minor to severe) and generally made sure that anything that could possibly be wrong with her, wasn't.

The NICU is a rollercoaster ride. It has ups and it has several downs.

She was transferred to a Level 2 Nursery before she was discharged. We were in that nursery for just about two weeks before Roxy came home. That was the nursery where she was discharged from her incubator into a heated bed (her "big girl bed"). Roxy was discharged on November 11, 2009. It was the best day ever for me. It was frightening, but joyful!


Since Roxy's been home, we've only had a few scares. We stayed quarantined for most of the winter. But we've been so very fortunate. We've had an ultrasound of her head and her back to make sure there were no neurological complications and that her Grade I IVF (brain hemorrhage) left no lasting damage. Both came back perfect. Each trip to the NICU Grad Clinic and pediatrician are good. At the last NICU checkup they indicated that she appears advanced for her adjusted age.

She took off crawling and jabbering just before her first birthday. She's a happy and healthy baby and for that we are thankful. Now, at 14 months, she's walking and talking. She has about eight teeth in various stages of coming in. She's got attitude, she's got spunk, and most importantly, she always has a smile for everyone.


Not all babies are as lucky as Roxy. For that reason, we have joined with the March of Dimes to help all babies have a chance...for survival, for health, for a good beginning.

March of Dimes has a mission that all babies will be born healthy. Their focus is not only on premature babies like Roxy, but rather all babies. We’re fighting for those who are too small to fight for themselves. Please check out the March of Dimes website or join the cause by creating a team for your local March.

Our fight will not be over until all babies are born healthy!

Thanksgiving Pants.

16 November 2010 | 2 Comments

Join me over at Style Lush, I’m talking about Thanksgiving pants today!

Spoiled.

15 November 2010 | 14 Comments

I’m going to tell you something, but first you must raise your right hand and repeat after me…

“I (insert your name here) promise not to judge Michelle too terribly after she reveals her deep dark secret.  Well, I will judge her a bit, but I won’t stop reading despite being SHOCKED and awed at her secret.  I will not forget that she used to be a strong, extremely independent woman who was capable of doing things.  In the name of the Target, the Starbucks, and the holy Lowes.   Amen.”

Y’all.  I am spoiled.

Rotten, in fact.

Dave, he left for London Saturday night.  After he left, my sister Lyndsey and I were crafting and talking and in general carrying on like idiots.  {We do this when we are together.}  It was during clean up that I realized the garbage was full. 

Shit.

I could not even remember the last time I took the garbage out or replaced a garbage bag.

Lynds offered to do it for me.  Sisters are like the best thing ever, aren’t they?  It was totally embarrassing.  But I did it.  My very own self.

That isn’t the worst of it.

He does all the dirty stuff around here.  All of it.

Last week, I went to the park and Finn and I got a block from the park when I realized that something was ‘wrong’ with the car.  I thought that I had somehow knocked the alignment out.  He came to my rescue and looked at me like I was a lunatic when the entire front tire was flat.

As a pancake.

So he changed my tire.  In his work clothes.  Happily and laughing at me most of the whole time.

And ok, I’m going to admit this for all the world to hear… are you ready for this one?   It is Amy’s favorite.

I didn’t get gas myself for probably two and a half years.

No, really.  It started when I was pregnant for Finn and it was cold and crappy out.  This is when he sweetly started making me drive his car as well.  He would take my car and fill it up for me and I never had to get gas. 

It was magic.

So one day, when I did, I had to call him at work and ask which side of the car the gas thingy was on and where the release lever was.  {Turns out on the driver’s side and there isn’t one.} 

The thing is about all this, I used to be such an independent to a fault, take charge kind of girl.  I thought people who admitted things like this were ridiculous.  You can’t change your own tire?  Really?  Your husband gets gas for you?  You have GOT to be kidding me.

But y’all, I know I could if it came down to it.  It just doesn’t take away from the fact that that man of mine, he spoils me rotten.  And I’m not giving that up for at least the next 50 years.

Throwdown at Our House

11 November 2010 | 17 Comments

My dad and I have a special kind of relationship.  It mostly involves me giving him a bunch of shit and being the most difficult of his four {plus two step} children.  He swears that I am, out of all of his children, the one who challenges him the most and is the toughest on him.  I think he likes that my expectations are high and I know he is proud of the woman that I am.

We like to pick on each other.  We debate, both playing devil’s advocate.  And we have cooking throwdowns.

It’s been going on for ages, probably close to fifteen years now.  We do cakes, chocolate cream pies, mashed potatoes, cheesecakes, chocolate chip cookies, and of course, there was the great meatloaf incident of 2001 that I don’t like to discuss.

So my dear readers, here is where you come in.  We need a challenge.  Ideally, the suggestion will be something that neither of us has made before, but that might be a stretch.  What do you want to see us make?  I will even leave the visual judging to you since obviously there isn’t taste-o-vision yet on the internet.  The taste portion we will leave to the un-refined palates of my rag tag family.  I am quite sure there will be bribery involved.

And to thank you, there *might* be a little prize package for whomever’s idea we choose.   

So, what’s it going to be??

Green.

10 November 2010 | 9 Comments

Saturday Dave is leaving for London.  And for reasons like it was scheduled less than two weeks before he was leaving, I have an appointment that I absolutely can not reschedule, finding a last minute sitter for a week is not in the cards, and I am insanely busy getting ready for a holiday bazaar, it is literally the busiest week of my year… I can not go with him.

I can not tell you how incredibly sad this makes me.

Awfully.  Painfully.  Horribly sad.

And green with envy.  Green like Elphaba. 

No Marks & Spencer holiday shopping.  No sticky toffee pudding.  No bundling up against chilly British winds.  No driving like a madwoman on the ‘wrong’ side of the road while Dave stealthly navigates us.

Oh, I know there will be other trips.  It’s not like it’s Paris I’m missing.  Well, I’m missing that too since my friend Lisa is there with her husband Arik celebrating their tenth anniversary.  And I know that a seven hour red-eye trans-Atlantic COACH flight is going to blow, but still.

Green.

Mad Love for the Thanksgiving Table

09 November 2010 | 2 Comments
That's what we're discussing at Style Lush today.  Get over there and give me your hints for an inexpensive, yet beautiful Thanksgiving table!

Four Things That Disturb Me.

08 November 2010 | 5 Comments

1.  My sister and Dave are excited by TRON.  Really a TRON movie?  Where do these people come from and why are they related to me?  I might be able to get behind a HeMan or Jem and the Holograms or GoBots movie, but Tron?

2.  Bed Bugs.  They freak me out so completely that I can’t even tell you and yet, I am disturbingly attracted to stories about them.  I sit there reading them and squirm.  Before we went to Kentucky, I had to check the bed bug site to make sure there weren’t any complaints about our hotel.

3.  I am feeling out of sorts lately with the writing.  I’ve had minor bouts of writers block before, but I’d love your suggestions for getting my mojo back.  This summer I was tripping over myself because I couldn’t write enough and now, eh… burn out.

4.  Realizing that summer is gone.  I mean really, it is NOVEMBER.  Where did this year go?  I want it back.

 

So what is disturbing you these days?

 

By the way, I wanted to say thank you for all of your kind thoughts and prayers for Colin.  They still aren’t sure what it was, but he is doing much much better.

This Week Can Suck It.

04 November 2010 | 14 Comments

Really and truly.

I can’t really wrap my head around everything so I was just keeping quiet till I could process things.

Monday night my hormones went all whack-a-doodle from the fertility crap and I was sick.  Like so sick, I almost called my mom at 2 am to come and stay with Finn so Dave could take me to the ER.  It felt like someone was stabbing me repeatedly in both my ovaries and my sternum.  Did I mention that I was dehydrated to the point of having orange urine?  I think I slept an hour at a time here and there between being awake all night.  Dave was leery about leaving me at six in the morning to go to work, but I assured him I was fine and went back to sleep.

Then the nurse from the doctor’s office called me at 7:50 am and woke me up again with more results from blood work last week.  Who the eff does that?  I don’t even remember talking to her, or getting my results, so I am hoping that I’m not dying.  It was at this point that I realized that I probably shouldn’t be driving Finnegan to his class on a couple hours {interrupted} sleep.

So I called Dave and asked him, in the middle of a really huge project, to come home.  Which he did gladly and took care of Finn like a champ until I had slept until noon all while working at home.  Then, he stayed with me another hour until he had given me enough Gatorade that my eyeballs were floating and my urine was finally a dark yellow instead of orange.  He went back into work for a bit and Finn and I took a nap.

An hour after we had fallen asleep I woke up inexplicably and five minutes later my sister called and told me to get to my cousin’s {across the street} immediately.  Her voice wasn’t right.  I ripped Finn out of bed and was out of the house in a minute flat.  I had on pajama pants and Dave’s old band t-shirt, I wasn’t even wearing a bra for crying out loud.

Lyndsey nannies for my cousin and while she was watching the boys on Tuesday, the littlest munchkin spiked a fever, had a seizure and stopped breathing.  Needless to say she did everything right, called 911, gave him a breath, and took him via ambulance to the ER at the hospital where his mom works, my cousin met them there.

I stayed with Myles until they were able to come get him that evening.  Lynds came to my house and we just sat, quiet while she processed everything and cried a little.  She loves those boys and I think seeing that happen scared the ever living shit out of her.

So I’m asking for your thoughts right now while they try to narrow down what spiked his fever to 105.4 and for Lyndsey that she has a little peace and gets some sleep and for Colin’s parents as they are working hard to keep his fever in control even now.  They are hoping that it isn’t bacterial, they’ve ruled out meningitis, and his white bloodcell counts came back in the normal range.

This baby is tough.  He already scraps with the big boys.  He dances like a maniac everyday to 90s music.  We want him back to his red headed, angry little midget, ankle biting self as soon as possible.  So please say a little prayer today.

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I’m taking tomorrow off and I’ll see you Monday morning bright and early with something entertaining and a week that doesn’t suck.  How does that sound?

Currently Craving.

03 November 2010 | 6 Comments

I should really learn to stay off TasteSpotting because it is, without a doubt, food porn at its finest.  It also makes me want to {attempt to} cook things like Pumpkin Gnocchi and Grand Marnier Souffles which I am clearly not capable of doing. 

I also blame autumn.  And cold weather while we’re at it.

Stace posted about roasting a chicken in the crockpot and the very next day after cajoling the recipe out of her,  I made a roasted chicken in the crockpot.  And the day after that?  Homemade chicken stock.

This weekend I’m making a spice cake for Oma’s birthday.

What kind of deliciousness have you been cooking lately?

Pumpkin Pancakes

Roasted Garlic

Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Cider, & Vanilla Bean

Butterbeer

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Chile Roasted Feta & Watermelon

Blueberry Crumble Cake

Pretzel Bread

Black Friday

02 November 2010 | 3 Comments
Y'all, it has been a day and a half & I'll have stories for you soon... the good thing? 

It's only 24 days until Black Friday!

Come visit me at Style Lush today where we're talking Black Friday

It's a HOLIDAY in our house.  Is it in yours?

Quiet.

01 November 2010 | 5 Comments
Today, I just feel like being quiet.  It was such a crazy weekend that I'm still trying to get my head on straight. 

How was yours?

Happy Halloween!

29 October 2010 | 11 Comments

From our house to yours, I hope you have a safe, fun, candy filled Halloween! 

I suppose that I should finish up Sheriff Woody’s costume.  That’s his best buddy Ollie as Buzz.  And his cousin Myles is going to be Rex, but his slacker Dad didn’t have a costume ready for him on Sunday when we went to a trick or treat event, so he’s masquerading as Spiderman.  The three of them are a Toy Story force to be reckoned with.

What are your munchkins going as?

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Thrilling you with tales of cleaning.

27 October 2010 | 5 Comments

So today, you don’t get a real post.  Only a post that is a fake post telling you I’ll be back for a real post soon.

Why am I slacking on the post today?

My inlaws and my mother are coming to my house for Halloween.  And that means my house has to be clean.  Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest clean.

Which incidentally is the nickname we had for my mother while we were growing up.  Sometimes we still slip and call her Joan.

It’s not like she beat us with wire hangers, but she did wake us up at 7 am on Saturday mornings blasting the OSU fight song until we got out of bed and cleaned.  In my book, that is surely as bad as getting beaten with a wire hanger, right?  No?  Well it sure felt as bad when you were 16 and none of your friends wanted to spend the night on Friday night because they all knew what was coming.

So, I’m cleaning. 

Well, really I’m writing this fake post when I should be cleaning.

And you wonder why I miss having a cleaning person?  I would MUCH rather be playing with you guys.

Candy.

26 October 2010 | 20 Comments

Can we talk Halloween candy today?

Remember when you were a kid and you would hit the trick-or-treat jackpot with the house that handed out full size candy bars?  If I had a boatload of cash and a house that didn’t get 500 kids, I would totally be that house.

If nothing else, I’m pretty sure the look on Dave’s face when I tell him I spent $250 on Halloween candy would make it worth it.  Oh sure, there are the kids’ happy faces too, but really it’s all about screwing with Dave.

Dude, it’s not like I’m the house handing out pennies or crappy fake Tootsie Rolls.  I hand out the good stuff, it’s just in the fun size. 

I’m pretty sure a ‘funner size’ would be full size, but I digress.

I’ve avoided buying any because inevitably what happens in our house is a month before Halloween, we buy 25 pounds of chocolate.  Between Dave and I having a snack or two here and there, it’s gone by the time Halloween rolls around.  So this year, we just decided to hold off… and by we, I mean I did. 

Dave would like nothing more than to snack on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or an Almond Joy.  Seriously, what kind of weirdo lists Almond Joy as their favorite Halloween candy?  It’s like I married a communist. 

I think he only loves Almond Joy because I don’t have the heart to hand one to a three year old in a Little Bo Peep costume.   I save those for the asshole teenagers who slap on a werewolf mask and trick-or-treat long past their prime, so there are always a ton left over.

The little bug usually chooses something fruity.  Gummy things, Skittles, and Smarties are amongst his favorites.

Me?  Heath, m&ms, and Butterfinger top my list.

So, what are your faves?  And what do you hand out?

Naps.

25 October 2010 | 8 Comments

I like naps.  A lot. 

I'm a napper.  Nappy McNapALot.  Napasaurus.

A little afternoon siesta?  Hell yes.

We gave up {and by we I mean the three year old} naps a few weeks ago because it helps him sleep better and longer at night.  At the time I thought this was a good idea, but now I am rethinking it.  Oh sure, there is a nap here and there still, but it's not like the old days when we'd have an hour or three each day.


Do you know what I want more than anything in the world right now? 

A nap.

By my very own self.

A nice long luxurious afternoon nap cuddled up under my white cotton duvet with my head resting on a down pillow or two, ceiling fan softly whirring.  {I totally know ceiling fans are ugly, but I would rather die than not have one in our room.  Interior decorating gurus be damned.}

In this house either I have a 6 foot hairy dude, a three year old, or a poodle who is considerably more space taking than he should be on me when I sleep and a cat who wants nothing more than to wake us up if he thinks Dave is supposed to go to work.

Each one of them is like a sweat machine, one more sweat inducing than the next.  I wake up sweating my ballz off, violently kicking covers off and having nightmares about being in a toaster.

As if that weren't enough, there are cats waking us up by jumping on our full length mirror... pouncing on his own reflection.  Or a poodle who barks at the slightest noise.  Or phones ringing.

Most of the time, it's all three.

So, if you could send the perfect nap fairy over here to my house, I would be eternally grateful.

And when she's done, the cleaning fairy can pay us a visit next.

Pumpkins and Hay Bales and Chickens, Oh My.

22 October 2010 | 6 Comments

We decided to venture to the Pumpkin Farm on a weekday when there weren’t 2938320 people. 

It didn’t matter that the snack shop was closed or that they didn’t have hayrides, there was plenty to keep us entertained.   

We had important business to attend to.  There were chickens to feed.

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Goats too.

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Pumpkins to choose and a pumpkin perfectionist to satisfy... I am pretty sure J looked at every pumpkin on the farm. 

I stocked up on the purpley grey gourds for our Thanksgiving tables.

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There were gourds shaped like swans and little girls in hats.

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Hay Bale towers with bright yellow slides.  And mazes made of hay that you crawled around in.  According to the preschool set, it’s cool to be covered in hay.

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And bright orange pumpkins and clear blue skies.

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And snuggly babies who can’t wait for next year when they can run around with the big boys.

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Do you have a cleaning person?

21 October 2010 | 12 Comments

Do you know what I miss most about working?

Having a cleaning person.

{And a nanny.}

I know it’s a weird thing to miss.  Even after two years of being home, you just never forget.  Do you know the awesomeness of coming home to bathrooms scrubbed clean?  Of shiny sparkling floors?  Or fresh sheets on your bed?  Or refrigerators without fingerprints all over them and windows that gleam in the sun?  All done magically without spending an entire day huffing and puffing and doing it myself.

No matter how much I try, I can’t justify the cost to myself {or to Dave} for having someone in to clean when I should could be doing it.

But I miss it.  I miss it so.

I am lucky if I get the beds made around this joint on a daily basis.  And the mountains of laundry.  I don’t even remember the last time my stove was scrubbed down.

So do you have one?  Do you want one?  I think I need one.

Stuff Crowding My Brain.

20 October 2010 | 11 Comments

Fair warning to look away.  You’ll probably wish I had kept it all in there instead of sharing with you.

Sharing is caring.

Does juice taste like syrup to anyone else?  I swear it’s like a concentrate that I have to dilute at least 50% with water for it not to taste so syrupy.  Am I the only weirdo that thinks that?

According to my friend Sarah, Adam Morrison of the Wizards looks like a creepy porn star.

I am inclined to agree, though one from the seventies era, no?  We texted at length about him last night for reasons that are completely beyond me.  The only concrete thing I can say, I am pretty convinced he is one who would be sporting a full head of hair ‘down there’ too.  BTW, the image was shamelessly stolen from his Wiki page.

I have 6,809 emails in my inbox.  Dave has like 11, everything else is all categorized out and in pretty folders labeled things like “crazy shit from my wife I am afraid to read.”  I am really really bad about deleting stuff in case I need to refer back.  Here is the weird thing, I have had 27 unread emails since I can remember and now I’m wondering what those 27 things are that I have never read.  Are you a deleter or email saver?  And someone just tell me to get my ass in there and start reading and deleting.

Wearing heels makes me want to poke my eyes out.  I am 5’3” tall, I should love heels for the extra few inches they sneak in, but I don’t because they suck.

I want to see Hereafter, but I am pretty sure that I will cry uncontrollably.  In a theater.  With lots of strangers.  Maybe I should wait for dvd?

Speaking of movie theaters, my friend Amy lives in New York and refuses to see a movie because of bed bugs.  Apparently they are spreading like wildfire including places like movie theaters.  Ew.

You’re still wondering if Adam has a groin afro aren’t you? 

Of course not, only weirdos would think of stuff like that.

Which leads me to my last point.  I hate more than anything when people say Happy Hump Day. 

Happy Wednesday where I am not thinking of you humping anything.  So, if you’re still talking to me after this post, say hello in the comments.

Monster Stew Halloween Dinner Plans.

19 October 2010 | 3 Comments

Last year we had a wonderful Halloween party.  This year we’re keeping it slightly lower key, based on a wonderful children’s book that Finnegan is currently obsessed with.  We’re still having a few guests, though it will mostly be family, followed by trick or treating in the neighborhood.

Monster Mischief is a sweet story written by Pamela Jane.  It is the tale of four monsters who make monster stew in a garbage can.  Until the fifth, the little one named Moe, shows up and ruins their plans by letting their stew crawl, slither, and fly away into the Halloween night.  Needless to say, their dinner is quite happy to have an escape and the monsters are left with empty bellies.  Then, the sixth monster shows up with a sack full of something different, something new… all kinds of sweets.  That little Moe eats and dances so much that he splits his pants, which Finnegan finds absolutely hilarious. 

We’ll be partaking in some hearty monster stew of our own, my Meme’s recipe.  Though we won’t be using a garbage can, our huge 22 quart stockpot will make a brilliant substitute.   I’ll reuse a lot of the black, purple, and lime green decorations from last year and add just a few pieces in orange and blue and pink to match the napkins and plates I found at Target.  I am hoping for a warmer night so we can leave the french doors open and enjoy the front porch one last time this year.

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What are your Halloween plans?  Do your children trick-or-treat?  How do you keep it fun and not frightening for the little ones?

The Birthday Curse is Broken.

18 October 2010 | 8 Comments

Hotel in Lexington   $454

Cookie Cake   $25

Tip {left for the most amazing waiter on the planet}   $50

Breaking my sister’s dreaded birthday curse  PRICELESS

 

Y’all we spent the weekend speakin’ Southern and every last minute was worth it because Lyndsey?  She had an amazing birthday.  It was a sister weekend, plus one fifteen year old brother who is probably now scarred for life… and sure sure Ohio State lost which sucks, but that right there is the only thing that went wrong.  Ten bonus points for Kentucky kicking the birthday curse’s ass.

We had an amazing dinner at Saul Good Pub on Friday night.  If you are ever in Lexington you need to go there & I am so thankful that Jackie recommended it.  First, the food is incredible.  Second, the customer service is even better than the food.  The hostess staff, the manager, and especially our waiter Dru… it was by leaps and bounds, the best customer service we have ever had, ever.  They went SO above and beyond I can not recommend them highly enough.  If that wasn’t enough, they play the BEST music, New Kids on the Block, UB40, and Cyndi Lauper?  Yes, please.

Saturday we spent doing everything Lyndsey wanted to do.  Shopping, relaxing, cookie cake, Mellow Mushroom pizza, and several crazy ass rounds of Apples to Apples, watching the OSU game, watching Jersey Shore, and carrying on like idiots most of the day.  Don’t forget the wine.

I am pretty sure I am going to need to sleep for a year to recover.

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Off.

14 October 2010 | 7 Comments

I’m taking the rest of the week/weekend off to finish up a few last minute odds and ends for our sister trip.  Currently figuring out a couple birthday surprises for the girls and trying to get some semblance of order restored to the house so Dave isn’t stuck cleaning all weekend.  I also have to do some planning for the most important part… the travel snacks. 

I hope you have a fabulous weekend.  See you Monday!

E.gg Timer

13 October 2010 | 6 Comments
Have you seen this site?

E.gg Timer is a crazy simple concept.

You go to the site, type in a specific amount of time, and a timer goes off alerting you that time is up. 

For me, it's great for things like baking while Finn is taking a nap {also when I do most of my blog reading}, I don't have to set the loud incessant oven timer.  Or if I have laundry, I can set the timer for when the dryer should go off and know it is time to switch a load. 

It's great for using your time wisely online too.  You want to spend 15 minutes catching up on blogs?  Set the timer.  You want to check your email and not get wrapped into sitting there for an hour?  Set the timer.  You're not watching the clock, you're getting done what you need to get done in the time that you pre-determine. 

It interrupts what you're doing by beeping twice and popping up the timer screen when time is up.

You can use it to monitor your kids' online time as well.  If you give them thirty minutes online, set the timer.

Sisters and Travel and Birthdays, Oh My!

12 October 2010 | 7 Comments

Sisters.  Mine are lunatics.  It’s ok, it is a genetic thing.  Or maybe environmental since Rachael doesn’t share DNA, but she is still my sister, and a lunatic.  Sunday was her birthday and she couldn’t remember that the date was 10.10.10.   I am thinking it is spending our formative years with my dad?  Maybe that is the link.

We are taking a trip together to visit Elise at college.  On Lyndsey’s birthday, which is this coming weekend. 

I should tell you that Lyndsey’s birthdays are, how can I put this delicately… epic badness?  Apocalyptic?  Awful?  People, they are just bad.  Like really bad.

She went out with her friends on her 20th birthday and they completely forgot her and left her at the bar. 

There was the year that we decided to try a new {now closed} fancy restaurant and Lyndsey wanted a hamburger, well done, ketchup only for her meal which they were happy to accommodate.  So apparently something happened in the kitchen because our fancy meals came out and Lyndsey’s simple hamburger did not.  Happy Birthday you get to sit and watch your family eat your birthday dinner!  So she went to the bar because this is back when we used to both smoke and she drank martinis until she was suitably drunk enough to deal with her lack of dinner and waited for her hamburger to arrive which did another twenty minutes later.

And then the year we went to a great Italian place… they served us raw meatballs, then proceeded to spray down the tables with noxious smelling spray while we were still eating.  Happy Birthday, you get trichinosis!

Her 19th birthday she got fired.

You see the trend here?  She wouldn’t even let me tell you the bad stuff!  Pssst… one year I totally walked in on her having sex.  If that isn’t a bad way to spend your birthday, I don’t know what is. 

I am packing every emergency kit I can think of… just in case.  I’m guessing several flat tires, a forgotten room reservation, food poisoning, and a homesick three year old?  Take your guesses in the comments and please please say a little prayer for us.

Dave is bowing out of our sister trip.  He said something about work and the long hours, not having a sitter for the dog, and yada yada, but he was scheduled to go until he figured out it fell over Lyndsey’s birthday. 

Coincidence? 

I think not.

To TV or Not to TV?

11 October 2010 | 21 Comments

That is the question.

Today we’re talking about TV in the bedroom.  Do you have one or not?

I am firmly in the no TV camp.  Also no laptops. 

But lately… lately, I’ve been revisiting the thought probably out of my own sheer laziness.  And maybe it WOULD get me into bed earlier if I could snuggle up with Dave and watch my 10 o’clock shows, 95% of the time he falls asleep on the couch anyway.

My reasons for years and years of not having a TV in the bedroom?

It disturbs your sleep and your sex life.

So I want to know what goes on in your bedroom, TV or  TV-less?  And let me hear your compelling reasons for or against having one in the bedroom.  Even if your compelling reason is, “shut the hell up Michelle, I just like it.

Oldies But Goodies the Halloween Edition

08 October 2010 | 3 Comments
Next week I’m going to have a couple new Halloween ideas for you, for now, let’s just take a look back on some fun things from last year, shall we?  Have a great weekend!

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Halloween Dessert Buffet

Halloween Party

Spooky Halloween Sucker Holder

Halloween Cupcake Toppers

Halloween Invitations

Gauntlet.

07 October 2010 | 11 Comments

Dear Dave,

The train track building gauntlet has been thrown my Love.  Finn is totally going to like me best thanks to my mad train track building skillz.  I also managed to use every piece of track in the house.  Bring it ya big Sir Topham Hat wanna be.

Love,  The Coolest Mom Evah

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Hot Chocolate.

06 October 2010 | 8 Comments

This is more like liquid chocolate that tastes like velvet on your tongue.  In a mug.  It is really chocolat chaud, the French way to make hot chocolate that I learned from my Belgian host mom.  Those Belgians are awesome at beer and chocolate.  Both are extraordinary. 

I think once you take a sip of chocolat chaud, you will be crazy to return to anything from a mix.  It has been freaking cold here in Ohio, so it’s the perfect time to give this a try.

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You will need:

2 cups of whole milk, half & half, or cream {I used 1/2 cream, 1/2 half & half}

3 – 4 ounces of chocolate with  70% or more Cocoa, chopped {I used Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate}

1 TB dark brown sugar {light brown is ok if you have it on hand}

I also added 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the cream to give it a little extra something, but it is not necessary and not part of traditional chocolat chaud.

Heat the cream and dark brown sugar {and vanilla if you want} until just steaming.  Remove the cream from heat and add the chopped chocolate whisking furiously until it is completely incorporated.

It yields about three small mugs of hot chocolate.  I’ve also been known to do a half a mug of this and fill the rest with hot coffee for a yummy mocha.

Enjoy!

Style Lush

05 October 2010 | 16 Comments

I found Style Lush when the fabulous Jennie featured my mom’s birthday party.  It is one of those blogs that is a genius concept, every day a team of writers share their favorite things, share their style, and show you how to design the life that you want.  Everything from the best fall boots to tips on how to throw a party, it’s there.  The writers involved are real women from all over, they are talented, funny, intelligent, and above all fabulously stylish.

And Jennie, editor and the brilliance and brains behind Style Lush and the new Food Lush wanted me.  Me? 

I probably should have asked her if she was drinking heavily when she decided to send that email, but I didn’t want to give her the chance to change her mind.

Be a part of this team? Yes.  Absolutely, without a doubt, YES.

So, you will find me there each Tuesday, spreading the lunacy style and hoping that Jennie doesn’t sober up come to her senses and kick me out.  {I’ll send you an endless supply of alcohol Jen, if you’ll let me stay.}

This is something I think you will love.  It is something that I am SO proud to be a part of.  Please stop over and have a look around Style Lush, I hope you’ll find it as brilliant as I do.   If you decide to subscribe {and I think that you will} please stop back and leave me a comment that you did.  I’d like to thank you personally. 

Um, and leave a comment on my post so I don’t feel like the new girl sitting all alone at the lunch table.  Pretty please.

And my small business girls?  Big business girls?  I’m talking to you!  Style Lush is accepting monthly advertising at totally reasonable rates.  We can help you reach 25,000 monthly readers or host a giveaway and gain exposure for your products.  If you want more info, just ask, I’ll answer what I can and be HAPPY to put you in touch with the right people.

The things that shape who you are.

04 October 2010 | 11 Comments

When I was in grade school, my friend Jeff’s mom would leave us little plastic cups of milk with lids on them in the fridge when I spent the night.  Our cereal bowls were laid out on the table along with spoons, different kinds of cereal to choose from and a cute Flinstones vitamin next to it.  There were never knock off vitamins or knock off cereals.  She also came up with spelling games after school, I would slip on his shoes that were near twice the size of mine to make it equal and we would take a step when we got a word right.   She got out the medical text book in sixth grade when we were studying about sexual health {in a very Catholic way} and very patiently explained to the two of us the parts that were skipped over and answered the questions we didn’t have the nerve to ask in front of the entire sixth grade.  I never thought that I would be her.  I don’t know that I even knew it was possible. 

I always thought I would work because my mom always had to. 

My mom was seventeen when she had me.  Looking back, it’s really amazing to me that she and my dad were able to do it.  They got married the month before she turned eighteen, he had just turned nineteen.  A {very young} recipe for marriage disaster in this case.  I know I didn’t know a thing about who I was at that age, so I can’t imagine that either one of them could have known either.  My Meme still says to this day that pushing them to get married wasn’t the smartest idea, but that is what you did back then when your seventeen year old comes to you and tells you she is pregnant.

They lived in a little apartment for awhile before buying a tiny little house in a sketchy neighborhood.  It was the best they could do at the time and even then, it was a stretch.  I remember most of our neighbors houses smelling like bologna and ketchup, my babysitter’s breath always smelled like Pepsi.  All of this was before I was six, and to this day, those smells skeeve me out a bit and remind me of poverty.   Though to be fair, it was more lower middle class than poverty. 

They were divorced when I was five.  I thought it was my fault because of one terrible fight they had about turning the radio up.  I felt caught in the middle.  And scared.

I was determined not to live that life, but I, or my sister for that matter could have just as easily slipped into that cycle.  It happens all the time, every day.  Girls having babies.  It happened to friends of mine in high school.  It happened to Lyndsey’s friend in the eighth grade.

Eighth grade. 

It was hard for my mom as a single parent and I watched that too.  She very luckily had an incredible family who supported her through the times that she didn’t know what she was doing, or was broke, or was at her wits end raising two little girls when my dad was living in California for many years of our childhood.

That’s not to say that he didn’t have it tough either.  He was a mess when he couldn’t make it home for Christmas or our birthdays or for our cheerleading or volleyball or plays.  He was lonely.  He missed a lot and he knew it hurt.  I know it festers in his head on a daily basis, thinking about the kind of parent he was when we were little.  Often times he didn’t know what the fuck he was doing when two little girls hopped off the plane when school let out and stayed with him all summer.  He tried to cram a year of parenting and a year of good memories all into one summer.  My sister barely remembers that part.

I don’t know why I’m thinking about all this, other than the infertility ordeal has babies weighing heavily on my mind.  It makes me think about things like adoption and wondering how different my mom & dad’s life would have been if they had chosen to give me up.  I have to say, if it was me counseling my seventeen year old pregnant mom, that is probably what I would have told her to do.

And my mom could have just as easily not been living in her 5,000 square foot loft overlooking the city.  She could have been the one in an endless cycle of debt and just stretching to make ends meet who never finished college.  Lyndsey and I could have continued the cycle, maybe we wouldn’t have gone to college?  Maybe we would have had babies in high school.  And my dad?  He could have stayed in California and would have missed out on our junior high and high school years.  Elise and Christopher wouldn’t be our siblings. 

It’s amazing and weird what shapes you.  The crappy house in the sketchy neighborhood, the young parents, the incredibly supportive extended family, the single parent, the summers in California, the watching both of my parents struggle and work and dig themselves out of what could have been their reality, Jeff’s mom being the mom that she was, all of it made me who I am.  Even the infertility journey.  All of it is a part of me.

Cottage Pie

03 October 2010 | 2 Comments

Last night we made braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and roasted parsnips & carrots.  I can not tell you enough how much we LOVE this recipe.  It really is close to the perfect fall or winter meal.  Try it.  You will love it.

But, what to do the next day?

We wanted to use up all of the leftovers in a slightly different way so we decided to make a cottage pie.  For those of you who don’t know, cottage pie is a British casserole dish made using beef (usually ground) very similar to shepherds pie which is traditionally lamb.  I’ve talked before about how I am really not a fan of casserole type dishes, but this is one of those exceptions.  The beauty of recipes like this is you can throw in whatever you’d like, there really aren’t any right or wrong ways to go here.  It’s easy and it reminds me of a hearty winter stew with a twist.

We took the leftover short ribs and cut them into bite sized chunks {maybe 2 cups?} taking care to cut away any fat that was visible.  Then we mixed that with the leftover pan sauce from the short ribs.  Since it was well seasoned already, I gave it just a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce and mixed it all up.  Then I chopped up the leftover parsnips and carrots {about a cup} and added that.  Then, I added a cup of frozen peas and a cup of frozen corn, both thawed and mixed that all in.  Last night we had fingerling potatoes, but I didn’t make a ton so we just picked up a container of mashed potatoes in the deli section of the store to use here and spread them on top.  Next time, I would probably make my own so they can be thicker.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes until heated through.  Then you pop it under the broiler for just a minute or two to brown the potatoes on top.  We served flakey biscuits alongside.

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Here are some other cottage pie recipes for you to try:

Cottage Pie from Bon Apetit {found at Epicurious}

Shepherd’s Pie from Williams-Sonoma

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie from Gourmet {found at Epicurious}

Gordon Ramsay’s Cottage Pie {from his book Great British Pub Food}

Jersey Love.

01 October 2010 | 7 Comments

Last year my mom bought Finnegan a Nike warm up suit looking thing.  It was red and black and white.  He thought it made him look like a football player.  He called it his jersey pants and jersey shirt.  When he wore it, he looked a little less like a football player and a little more like a mini guido.  He should have on a wifebeater and gold chains and a little chest hair peeking out. 

He would beg us to wear it.  No, I’m sorry honey, the Toledo Club isn’t a place where you can wear your jersey pants.  There was one incident where Dave was downstairs grabbing the laundry and Finn caught a peek of his jersey pants and started chanting, “Jersey pants!  Jersey pants!  Jerseeeeey pants!”  He had it bad. 

We considered a twelve step program.

Well it came time that the Nike warm up wasn’t cutting it anymore, those lanky legs will get you every time.  As with almost everything he has owned, it gets passed down to his cousin Myles.  As we were packing up that batch of clothes {we do this every few months} Finn started crying because he didn’t want his beloved jersey to go anywhere.  I mean, great big inconsolable sobbing tears.

So I went off on a mad dash to find a jersey replacement because there is nothing more I love than seeing my three year old look like he belongs on the cast of Jersey Shore with his beloved jersey suit.  And as with all places magical and good, Costco held the answer in the form of this lovely Adidas number and its matching red black and white one.  Yes, now there are two.

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We have taken to letting him just wear the jacket… a little fix is better than the whole shebang or so I tell myself.  We limit the full ensemble to soccer practice or to and from swimming classes.

What clothing type battles are going on in your house?

Rehearsal Dinner Fiesta

29 September 2010 | 10 Comments

I’ve talked about this before, but I normally won’t do event planning for anyone other than myself.  From time to time, I’ll point close friends or family in the right direction with ideas and leave them to it.  I’ve helped hands on with a few large projects here and there when I am personally invested in the recipient of the event, like the fundraiser for Annabelle, or my cousin John’s wedding. 

So, my first instinct when Ruth {who happens to also be Annabelle’s grandma} called me and asked for some help with her youngest son’s rehearsal dinner, was to say no.   Especially since I knew she was capable of magnificence all on her own… for Jon + Nikki’s rehearsal she hand dipped and painstakingly decorated something like 60 caramel apples, arranged in rows down long tables.  Their wedding was in late fall so they held the rehearsal in a stone lodge in a park right on the river, and every last detail was gorgeous.   I’ve been to a lot of events and that sticks out in my mind as show stopping even 6 years later.   She’s crafty and she’s talented and she was asking if I would make an exception to the rule and help her with a few planning pieces for the rehearsal dinner.  So I did.

If all ‘clients’ were like Ruth, I would do this for a living.

Chris and Niki are going to Mexico for their honeymoon, love margaritas + Mexican food, so Ruth {and Ken too} had the idea of having a Rehearsal Dinner Fiesta to celebrate.  They had decided the location, one of their favorite Mexican restaurants, she just wanted a little help with the details.

We looked at several invitation ideas.  I thought maybe something like this boxed invitation only using margarita salt containers, but that would get expensive to ship.  We looked at simple invitations that we could download free, print and send.  We looked at invitations that would be easy to design, assemble, and to print. 

But nothing seemed to be perfect, until these.  The tutorial and the inspiration were from Denise Mieko Cherry for Once Wed.  Mini picado amor banners that you pull out and the invitation is strung along.  Gorgeous.  The complete tutorial is on the Once Wed link, I encourage you to go over there for the info.   Here is a peek at our version:

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They wanted lots of color, so we put them in bright envelopes and did a quick envelope wrap with Day of the Dead  sugar skull images behind the address.

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The restaurant took care of most of the decor with brightly colored plates and sombreros and awesome brightly painted barstools.  Ruth added these fun parasol topiaries inspired by those found at Hostess Blog.  They were weighted down with pinto beans and she also made a few mini topiaries as well as the large.  She wanted to bring in more color with the bright yellow tablecloths and contrasting bright red napkins.

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And the favors!  This is my favorite part.  Ruth created layers of Mexican cocoa in handled mason jars.  They are beautiful and will be awesome for the cooler weather that is settling in here in Ohio.  She went down to the Mexican market to get bricks of authentic chocolate and did all the chocolate shaving for these.  Some brightly colored labels with the directions printed and a spoon attached with raffia tied everything together.

As if the Mexican cocoa wasn’t enough.  They also had a baker make two sugar cookies for each guest, a square with Chris + Niki and wedding date, plus a round with a margarita glass.

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And finally, the menu.  Ruth worked out the choices with the restaurant which were served buffet style.  I created these menus, backed with all of the bright colors we used for the decor and had one at each place.  They also {of course!} margaritas and a selection of Mexican beers.

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Ruth and Ken, you did an amazing job.  You can be on my {very short} client list whenever you’d like.  It was an absolute joy working with you both.

Chris and Niki, I am so happy to have helped just a tiny bit with the day before your special day.  You throw one hell of a party and I hope to remain on the guest list for many many years to come.  Congratulations!

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