Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The world according to my kids

The red condiment commonly used on French fries is “dippy.” If more than one variety of dippy is available, they are also designated by color, “red dippy, yellow dippy, white dippy,” and so forth.

The man with the big white beard and red suit that breaks into kids’ houses at the end of December is called “Tinkerbell.” (Boudica-specific nomenclature)

The little squishy, stretchy toy animals (think gummy worms and the like) are made of a substance called “squeeze.”

The round, minty, chocolate-covered candies that give you the sensation that you are standing on a wind-swept mountain top are called “circle treats.”

Puff the Magic Dragon is completely acceptable for story time, but I should not, under any circumstances, have Puff engage in a conversation with Dippy the Dinosaur because, “Dippy is a statue, Mommy. He can’t talk.”

Ok. Good to know.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Risotto al funghi

Back when we first started dating, Mr. D gave me an Italian vegetarian cookbook (I can't remember if I was still a veg-head at that point or had just recently been). I can't find a link to the book or I would share it because it is chock full of lovely recipes. One thing I learned to make from this book is risotto, and while it does take some patience to make, it really is yummy stuff.

On Sunday, neither of us really wanted to go shopping, so when the "what's for dinner?" query was raised, I turned to the pantry* for an idea. And found everything I needed for mushroom risotto. To share with you the fact that it really isn't that hard to make (and to allow my closet foodie to get a little blog time), I thought I'd share the recipe and process with you (complete with my recipe modifications).

Here goes!

Risotto al Funghi


One pound mushrooms (the type you use will vary the flavor--you can use fresh or dried, but make sure to rehydrate dried ones first or it will affect the moisture of the dish)
Two cups arborio rice
4-6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup wine (I've used white and red--it's up to you)
6 cups stock (chicken or veg--homemade is best)
1/2 cup grated parmesan plus additional for the table
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Medium onion chopped (I normally use a sweeter onion)
1-3 cloves garlic, minced

Before you start working with the rice and veg, heat the broth to boiling and then reduce to a simmer for use in the dish. Chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces (or smaller if you like) and sautee until tender in about 2Tbsp of butter. If you are using rehydrated mushrooms, skip the sauteeing step and simply rehydrate them in just enough hot water to cover (save the water for use as broth!).

Remove the sauteed mushrooms from the pan and add 2 Tbsp more butter to sautee the onion and garlic combo. When the onion is just becoming translucent and before the garlic browns (watch it carefully), add two cups of arborio rice to the skillet and sautee on medium heat for another two minutes. If you need to add a bit more butter at this point, feel free. I keep pretty close to 4 Tbsp and the taste is still plenty rich.

Add the wine to the skillet and stir until absorbed. Now, add the broth to the skillet a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously and not adding a new ladle until the last one has been absorbed. Does this take a while? Yes, you need to plan on at least 15-20 minutes for this step. But, without the slow addition and constant stirring, your risotto will be crunchy, not creamy. It's worth the time.

After all of the broth is incorporated, taste a bit of the risotto and be sure that your grains are no longer crunchy (they will be al dente, but should not be hard). At this point, stir in the 1/2 cup parmesan and 2 Tbsp parsley.**


*Pantry = traditional dry pantry plus fridge and freezer. Basically, whatever is in the house and is edible.

**I used more than 2 Tbsp in this dish. Also, you really must use fresh parsley, either truly fresh or fresh-frozen. Dried just doesn't cut it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Deep Thoughts

Beyond the obvious fact that I've not posted here for two months (I think that's a new record for me), suffice it to say that I've been crazy busy with work and life and such. But I wanted to share a quick tidbit from the mouths of babes (specifically Mr. Moo):

Mr.Moo: Mommy? Who picked you?

Me: Picked me? For what?

Mr.Moo: Who picked you?

{this went back and forth about a half dozen times...skipping ahead}

Mr.Moo: Who picked you and Daddy to take care of me and Boudica?

Me: {stunned}

I wasn't really expecting a question like that, and I'm not quite sure why it was on his mind. I did answer him by saying that taking care of him and his sister was a very special job and that God had decided we could do it. I'm actually not quite sure what else I would have said, either. It's not that I'm defending using the "God answer" to the question, because we go to church and all (even if I don't talk about it very much on the blog). It's more that I always seem to find a way to put in more than one view. For example, when he asked about who made his body and how did it get here, I was able to combine the spiritual with the scientific for what, to me, was a more well-rounded answer. This time, even though I believe fully that having Mr. Moo and Boudica in my life is a miracle, part of me still wanted to spin some science into the story.

Have any of you been dealing with the deep philsophical stuff yet, or am I raising my own little Aristotle?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hola. ¿Como esta?

Why is it that when you have a few relatively innocuous events coming up, they always seem to rally together into the Horrific Week of Doom? I mean it. I will have weeks go by with not much going on (of substance, that is; I always have something going on in general). Then, all of a sudden, it seems that every event that requires a personal action from me and works on a firm deadline is happening at the same exact moment. And then my head explodes.

This week has been one of those cosmic intersections.

Last weekend I worked on gathering, hanging, and pressing clothes for the upcoming consignment sale in which I will be participating. I shopped there last spring and thought I would give consigning a try come fall. You would think that I might have accomplished a lot of the clothing-related work ahead of time. Or not. I entered as much as I could into a spreadsheet knowing that I would have time during the week (cue foreshadowing).

Monday was a loss for getting any of that work done because I had to go straight from work to chorus rehearsal, and since we are Nashville Bound (Hi, Jo!) in October, we don’t actually get done until after 10pm. It makes for a long day. Plus, earlier in the day I added two new specimens to my biopsied moles collection. Just one more stamp on my Frequent Dysplastic Nevi* card, and I get a free bottle of sunscreen, SPF 500!

Tuesday night ended up hosting a much-needed haircut. To give you an idea of how overdue I was for a “trim,” there was more hair on the floor than she left on my head. That’s ok; Wednesday night will work for database entry (dun dun daaaaaaaaaaa).

We did have an appointment scheduled for Wednesday night at 7:30 to meet Boudica’s new teachers** at our house, but 7:30 turned into 8:00 and then into 8:30. To their credit, the teachers called, which can undo many wrongs when one is running late. (Learn from this you who are chronically late! Pick up the phone.) Anyway, the meeting went well, the teachers are fabulous, and most importantly, Boudica didn’t run away from them. Progress! But, with the late time and the kids now wired instead of tired, the night went on for a very long time. But there is always Thursday.

Tonight we will be attending a potluck at the kids’ new school. Kind of a “welcome back” type meal, except that since we are new, it’s just “welcome.” I made my famous chicken spread (if you’re really nice, I’ll share the painfully difficult manageable sinfully easy recipe on the blog). I have already warned Mr. D that when we get home I have to finish up the clothing stuff. Because, well, tonight is the last night to enter my goods on the computer. Period. Yeah.

Tomorrow night I get to start working on the transition for my Savvy Blog (we are all getting a brand new shiny format that rocks!). I have promised all of my changes by Sunday (promises made prior to realizing this was a bad week).

Saturday I will be helping to run a fundraiser for my chorus for the bulk of the day. Then, I will need to actually TAG the consignment items (after going out to get some tags).

Sunday, I have to drop of the consignment stuff, label it onsite (standard, not because I am lame and busy), and then finish up any last-minute school stuff. Sunday night I will gather up the school lunch stuff into the boxes with the exception of the PB&J.

Monday morning I will pack the first of many thousands of school lunches that will leave crumbs on my kitchen counter between now and 2025. I will also need to leave the house nearly an hour earlier than normal to accommodate the new work schedule that accommodates the new school schedule and allows me to stay on full-time. Have I ever mentioned that I am NOT in any way a morning person? Well, I’m not. At all.

Hmmm, seems that next week is going all “Henry the Eighth” on me. Crap.

*I won’t actually know the status of these moles, dysplastic or otherwise, until next week. Last time they were “completely normal” so I didn’t get a stamp.

**The kids are not only going to a new school, they will be attending on that is a language immersion program. Soon, they will be able to chat along with each other and Dora, and I will be none the wiser.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Overheard at 7am

Mr. Moo, upon waking, starts rambling on at 90mph...

Hi Mommy! I'm really hungry! And my mah-keeel-yon is really hungry, too. He would like some fly cereal please.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not Missing

Just chilling out in Rhode Island with the in-laws. The kids are eating up all of the attention with a spoon (or, as my MIL would say, a "shhhpoon").

Catch you on the return home...

Monday, July 27, 2009

It Was a Matter of Time

This weekend, as we enjoyed our Saturday morning laze-around in our jammies and eat breakfast event (which doesn't happen nearly as often as I'd like), we realized that Mr. Moo can read without pictures. And a lot faster than we thought, too. As we were surfing the TV menu, trying to find something that would not rot the kids' brains but also not make us want to pull out every last strand of hair, we paused for a moment to look at the upcoming selections on Noggin.

"Max and Ruby!" shouted Mr. Moo. "It's coming up next--I love that show. Max and Ruby, please."

Mr. D and I looked at each other in disbelief. We then pulled up the menu again and asked him to identify a few other shows. If the words were four letters or less--he could figure it out pretty easily.

That's it--our days of surfing the menu and declaring, "Gee, none of your shows are on right now," are over. Is it terrible that I'm not sure whether to celebrate the budding reader or mourn the loss of TV autonomy?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ick Factor

For the last few weeks, our house has been the epicenter of a viral infection* that just won't quit. It's the one that everyone seems to be getting these days--the lingering cough, mild cold-like symptoms, and did I mention the cough? I have been coughing for three weeks now, Mr. D has been coughing for longer, and the kids are following suit. No one is sleeping, everyone is coughing, so it's nice when we get a chance to sit down and actually VEG for a moment.

Last night, I walked back into the TV room after putting SC down for the night and found Mr. D watching a new show on Animal Planet called "The Monsters Inside Me." It's essentially a collection of personal encounters with various parasitic critters. Cool, I thought, this could be really interesting. And, actually, it was really interesting. Guy who had botfly larvae growing on his head? Interesting, but not alarming because I have no plans to visit the tropics. Lung flukes? Gross, but I like my shellfish cooked, thankyouverymuch. But then. Then they got to the piece on bedbugs. ICK. The thought of them makes me feel all creepy-crawly. In fact, every time I stay in a hotel, I check for the little bastards. I am seriously not a fan of bugs and especially not those that want to dine on me while I'm sleeping. But, of course, I keep watching the segment, knowing the mind games that will ensue. Little did I know that when they interviewed the woman further, she revealed that the source of the bugs was most likely a recent trip to Nashville where she stayed in a four-star hotel. At that point, I completely lost my shit because in October I am going to Nashville and will be staying in a four-star hotel. OMFG!!!!!

In no time, Mr. D and I were both online looking for bedbug directories** and such. The hotel I will be staying in does not have any reports of bedbugs anywhere at all. The worst thing said about them was that the staff was rude. I can deal with rude. Rude doesn't suck my blood in the middle of the night. But regardless of what I found online, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be searching my room there with a fine tooth comb and won't sleep until I do.

And it turns out that a few years back we used to stay in one of the listed places for our yearly outing to the Origins gaming convention. Luckily, we switched venues in 2007 and before then had no indication of infestation (typing that just sent a chill down my spine). Guess what site is now bookmarked on my computer?

*Based on the fact that Mr. D went to the doctor after two weeks of coughing, got a round of antibiotics, and the cough is still there. It's getting better, but something bacterial should have been evicted nicely by those meds.

**Go to the Bed Bug Registry or to Trip Advisor to get the scoop on your next destination.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Carefree Fresh Start Blog Tour

The lovely folks at Mom Central invited me to be part of the Carefree Ultra Protection Liners blog tour, and I was glad to do it because, well, I’m a woman, I wear pantiliners, and I certainly do have an opinion. But first, I wanted to tell you about a cool giveaway being sponsored by Carefree called the Fresh Start Fund.

The Carefree Fresh Start Fund is aimed at helping women make a fresh start in their lives – including starting a new relationship, changing jobs or even losing a few pounds. The top three finalists with the best plans for a fresh start will receive $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000 respectively. The winners also will receive a personal consultation from Ariane de Bonvoisin, change expert and founder of First30Days.com, as well as a three-day/two-night trip to New York City, where they will be honored at the Carefree Fresh Start celebration event, hosted in partnership with Step Up Women’s Network. Seven additional finalists will receive $1,000 to help begin making their fresh start. All in all—a pretty sweet collection of prizes, wouldn’t you say? But, you have to act quickly! The deadline for submissions is July 10, 2009 (P.S., that’s today). Go to the Carefree Web site to apply for funding to make your own fresh start. Go now. Go.

Isn’t making a fresh start in life one of the most uplifting feelings? It’s exciting, scary, invigorating, draining, and empowering—all in one little package. I think the fresh starts that stand out most for me were those I made pursuing my education. By my senior year in high school, I knew that I wanted to have the chance to live somewhere else, even if it was just for the time I was in school. I had a taste of living away the previous summer, and I really liked it. I also knew that I was tired of the cliques and nonsense of high school life (with a few very notable exceptions). I chose to leave the comforts of home and head off to the middle of Indiana where I knew NO ONE. Not a soul. Now, at 18, that’s a bit intimidating. But, it is also the makings of a clean slate. I could be the person I wanted to be, not the shy, geeky, awkward girl that I had become in high school. I took that ball and ran with it, and I am so glad I had that chance. People talk about their “coming of age” and I really do think that spending those years out in the middle of corn fields gave me the chance to make a fresh start in how I defined myself, who I would be as an adult, and how I would approach the world. Did I perfect it during my undergrad years? Heck no. In fact, I know I’m still working on it 20 years later. But I was able to lay the foundation for who I have become, and I am quite pleased with the results.

Ok, guys? Men, I mean? I’m going to talk a little about Carefree, so if talking about lady products makes you squeamish, you’re going to want to stop reading about now.

Ok, gals—I have to tell you about the Ultra Protection Liners. First, I have to say that I love the fact that they are individually wrapped. Totally portable. (Although why is it that no matter how far you push them down in your purse they are right at the top when you open it around other people?) Anyway, I have a bit of a messy purse problem, so wrapping is good. I also noticed on the package that they claim to provide the protection of a pad with the comfort and thinness of a liner. Really? That thin? Cool. In the last couple of weeks while I have given the samples a test run, I have been plagued with a tenacious cough. So, I drink a lot to stop coughing, and then my bladder fills, and then I cough and…well…these suckers are really absorbent! They have that type of compound that transforms into a gelatinous form when wet. So, the liner gets thicker as it absorbs, but it really holds its water (so to speak). I was surprised and impressed. In fact, now that I am at the end of my sample I really need to hit the store because, well, that persistent cough is NOT gone. {ahem}

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a sample box of Carefree Ultra Protection Liners on which to base my review as well as a $20 gift donation certificate to GlobalGiving.com, where I can choose a community-based project to support. I have perused the site and can’t quite decide, but when I do, I’ll let you know and perhaps you can help to make the giving a little bigger.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Beach Bums

I mentioned that we went on vacation a month ago but never followed through with a post, so here is my vacation wrap-up. So you can sleep at night. You're welcome.

I have to admit that I am not a person drawn to a beach vacation. Between the extreme risk for repeated melanoma (I'm not getting linky today, but for those new to the blog, I've had it twice already) and my dislike for hot weather, the beach is just really not my cup of tea. So, of course, we went to the beach. Actually, I did have a say in the location, and a lot of my willingness to hit the sand is all of the great memories I have from beach vacations as a kid. It's a good thing in moderation, and I figured that if we went there early in the season, it would at least remove sweltering temps from the equation. And the sun? Well, that's gonna just shine on whether I like it or not, but a good lathering of SPF50, a beach umbrella, and a snazzy mumu make for some great protection.

I'm so glad we went with the beach because the sand was a HUGE hit. The kids spent hours and hours digging and building and smashing and digging and building and...well, you get the idea. And since they are my kids, they also got a liberal dose of SPF50 and a big ol' umbrella of their own. Of course, this pic reveals my poor mothering skills because one of Gabe's legs is {gasp} in the sun.

Now, the ocean was definitely not a hit. In fact, it was close to the bottom of the list of things the kids wanted to experience. Right after brussels sprouts and showers (they love a bath but flip if you make it a shower). I think it was the strength of the current, because we almost got them in a few times. In fact, I had SC standing with me as a very small wave rolled in and covered our feet and ankles. But, as it went back out, it actually pulled her off of her feet--thankfully I had a good grip on one arm, but it scared the poo out of her. No more ocean after that! SC would happily go to the beach ("Walk by MY SELF") and parade around at will, but she gave the big blue a wide berth. (Side note: One of the great things about having a girl is giving her my hand-me-downs. That beach cover-up was mine. And, yes, it's unisex, but Gabe wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.)

We also spent a lot of time doing activities with the National Parks Service. I had no idea that there were so many programs available! In fact, I was so blown away that I wrote a piece on my parenting blog about it. And because we were just south of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, we had access to all of their programming but didn't have enough time to partake. So, I think a return trip is in order. Really, the worst part of the whole adventure was the LONG drive to get there and back (14 hours each way), but for the level of relaxation, kid-friendly activities, and generally beautiful surroundings, it was well worth it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back in Service

Wow--it's amazing what a bit of scrambling to finish work before a vacation--followed by said vacation--followed by catching up on work that piled up while you were gone will really eat into blogging time. Sheesh!

But, first things first--NO SURGERY for Mr. Moo. Yay and yay. I guess I should have posted that long ago even if it was just that, huh? Bad blogger. Bad. Now, we will go back for a thorough appointment in a year, but everything we saw this year points to a treatment of leave-it-alone-already.

I promise (no really) to update more soon and tell you about our week at the beach. I loved it, and I am really not a beach person. Really.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I am not a golfer—never have been, don’t expect that I ever will be. But for some reason as I was thinking of a way to compose this post, the interjection, “Fore!” jumped into my head as a summary of the holding pattern I find our lives in at the moment.

Golfers will yell “Fore!” because it sounds a lot nicer than, “Hey you! I’m sending a hard round object in your direction so you might want to pay attention in case your head manages to intercept its path,” or some similar sentiment. I guess they could also yell, “Yo!” or “Ho!” or any other attention getting phrase (Except “Fire!” That one would probably only cause confusion on a golf course.).

But I digress.

Right now I feel like the Universe has just yelled, “Fore!” and I’m sitting here waiting to see whether I’m going to get beaned in the noggin or the impending strike will miss me entirely. What the hell am I talking about? Well, tomorrow morning we go for Mr. Moo’s annual cardiology appointment, which is normally not more than a blip on our radar. We go in, the nurse does a little EKG action and praises Mr. Moo for not fidgeting at all, and then the doctor comes in, takes a listen (usually has a few med students take a listen, too) and then we’re on our way. Easy breezy.

For those feeling like you are coming in at mid-story with no idea what the heck I am talking about, you’re not confused. Really. I just never posted about Mr. Moo having a ventral septal defect (VSD) because it was so small and so innocuous that it was hardly worth mentioning. In fact, I thought about it so little that I would forget to tell doctors that had never seen him before and only remember when they got an alarmed look on their face while doing an exam (physics lesson—liquid passing through a small hole causes a LOT of turbulence, so you can both feel the vibrations if you touch his chest as well as hear a loud WHOOSH WHOOSH if you put your ear to his heart—no fancy medical listening devices needed).

Anyway, last year at our easy breezy appointment, the extra test du jour was a chest x-ray (the previous year it had been an hour-long echocardiogram—whee!). No one expected to see anything of note, but as it turns out, Mr. Moo’s heart had become larger. When the doctor told us, I almost choked because only a few weeks earlier, our friends had lost their child unexpectedly, and one of the things found at autopsy was an enlarged heart. I think the doctor saw my panicked look because he calmly told us that what he would like to do is wait until this year’s appointment to make a decision on how to proceed. In explaining further, he said that if his heart gets any larger (and for the life of me I can’t remember if it was also that if it didn’t get smaller, sang the blues, or a number of other idiosyncrasies) they would have to repair the hole. Small hole. Should be simple. But the location combined with the design of the heart means that repair involves open heart surgery and heart-bypass machines. None of which you want to use in reference to your just-turned-four-years-old little boy.

I expect that we will have an answer before we leave the appointment tomorrow, so I’ll know in less than 24-hours whether the Universe has clocked me a good one. But in the meantime, we just sit in our little corner and wait. And I may obsess a bit, so if I seem distracted, you’ll know why.

Friday, May 08, 2009

My new BFF!

This woman, this Alice...she gets me. She really gets me. From her pearls of wisdom circa Monday:

"It's so humiliating, being such an emotional slave to one's hormonal cycles. I woke up this morning and I was all, wait, why is the world a terrible place all of a sudden? Then I looked at the calendar and realized what was up. This is an improvement on my usual routine, which is to cry and rage and have no idea why until I get my period. I am almost 40, people, you would think I would have this figured out by now. And yet, every month, I'm pissy and weepy and my husband has to point out to me what's going on and then I have to kill him."

First, the scary moment where I grab the tinfoil and wonder how she got into my head and stole my thoughts. Then, the realization that she is just that good. Then the origins of my genious plan where she becomes my BFF. For real! It will be Teh Awesome.

Hi Alice! {waving frantically} I have choooooocolate for yoooooou...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Eating in Appalachia with Andrew Zimmern

Do any of you watch Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern? I found his show on the Travel Channel shortly after we signed up for cable TV, and I have been a fan ever since. Even my kids have gotten into the action. Mr. Moo will ask if we can watch the “man that eats the funny things.” I spend most of the show playing a game of “Would You Eat That?” with the others in the room. I am usually pretty open about trying new foods, but I admit fully that I draw the line at insects. It’s a texture thing. I know I couldn’t get past the legs and exoskeleton. {{{shiver}}}

Most everything else, the obscure seafood, animal testicles, aged beyond belief items, and cultural oddities…sure, I’d probably give them a try.

What I also love about the show, besides the culinary insights, is the fact that Andrew embraces the culture of the place he is visiting. While I have seen him hesitate to eat something and give his host a funny look as if to say, “Do you really eat this around here, or are you getting a laugh on my behalf?”, he never starts the interaction with an Anglo-centric arrogance that is found far too often in our country. There is no judgment of people who eat pieces of the animal we normally discard or even items that would we might not normally consider eating. There is simply an appreciation of the culture, the cuisine, and the experience of taking it all in first-hand. I love that I can experience that with Andrew and share it with my kids (who really do find the show fascinating).

So, when an announcement came across his Facebook fan page asking for bloggers to promote upcoming shows, I responded immediately. Here is what you’ll find on tap for tonight:

Appalachia Episode

This week's episode takes place right here in the US in the Appalachian mountains. The mountain range runs north to south touching more than a dozen states, and many of the people in the area still maintain the traditions and foods that were a part of life for their ancestors.

First, Andrew goes squirrel hunting in Cass, West Virginia. You have probably heard of chicken fried steak, but have you ever tried chicken fried squirrel? He also samples good, old-fashioned Swiss cooking in Helvetia. Next, Andrew heads to North Carolina to attend the Livermush Festival. Livermush, made out of ground-up pig parts, was invented here. Other items on the menu this week: bear meat, wasp larvae, and mushroom coffee.

Be sure to tune-in tonight at 10 E/P. If you’d like, you can watch a promo video of the episode. You can also get a detailed list of the places he visits and food he eats on the Appalachian Travel Guide.

See if you can get your house together for a lively game of “Would You Eat That?” I think you might be surprised at what you find out about each other.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And the weiner is...

I was catching up on my blog reading today over lunch and realized that I won an awesome prize over at Cecily's blog. A year of Typepad. Sweet! Of course, she mentioned the contest outcome in her blog, complete with a link to my blog (thanks, Cec!), and it immediately dawned on me that I haven't updated in WAY too long. That's the blog equivalent of leaving dirty underwear strewn around the house and having guests walk in the front door unexpectedly. Not that I have any idea what that's like, of course.*

So, if you are here from Uppercase Woman, welcome! April has been a wee bit hectic, but May promises to be full o' posting and bloggity love (and a new blog announcement), so please stop back for another visit!

*We have a fairly neurotic dog that spends the day walking around and cuddling with our dirty clothing. Usually socks and underwear (hey, she's a dog, and what other clothing would have quite the same...um...aroma?). So, if anyone comes to our house unexpectedly, we might be caught with our panties on the floor. Literally.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rhythm of Spring

The eggs are dyed, the baskets are hidden, and the bunny needs to get to sleep. But I thought I'd send out a quick hello before that standing date with my pillow. May I just say that the pollen levels this spring are completely kicking my butt? Sheesh. I have had hay fever since I was 12 and each year is a random collection of symptoms. Out of the collection of runny nose, itchy eyes, rash, hives, dry cough, and plugged sinuses, I could have one symptom or the whole ball of wax. It's a little different every time. That's just like my body to make a run of the mill thing like hay fever a game of roulette. Fun.

Because I know you're just dying to find out, I won't keep it from you. This year it's a good dose of the dry hacking cough. I thought a bit of sinus impaction was on it's way, but I seem to have dodged that one.

Unfortunately, the season is still young...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Doing the PP Dance

Last night, the whole family was doing a little pee-pee dance because Boudica used the potty. Yay! It was completely unexpected, but when she started pulling on her diaper and looking distressed, we figured what the heck--might as well try the potty. I know that it's only one time, but my little girl is a bullheaded thing. If she sets her mind to doing something, she's going to do it (gee, I wonder where she gets that from...?).

What I really hope is that the green-eyed monster rears it's ugly head and Mr.Moo decides that *he* should be the one getting potty praise (and then promptly trains). Yep, he's going to be four in May and he is still in diapers (mommy hangs head in shame). We've tried all of the tricks in the book (and no tricks at all) and he just does not want to train nothankyou. If we declare a pants-free day, he can use the darn thing without fail. If we add underwear to the equation, we have a mess on our hands (literally).

So, we're going to bring one of the little potties back and forth from my parents' house and try to co-train them. I figure it can't hurt because so far nothing else has worked. How could this be worse? And if I'm lucky, I can just go through the transition accident period with both of them together and get it done already.

I hope I get to do the pee-pee dance a lot more often. Soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

After the Bath

My mother relayed this little conversation gem from her day with the kids:

Scene: the kids are splashing around in the tub together...

Mr.Moo: Grandma! Boudica doesn't have a pee-er! Why, grandma? Where is it? I can't see it!

Grandma: It's ok, she has one. Don't worry.

Mr.Moo: Grandma! Grandma! Where is Boudica's pee-er?!? Where? I want to see it.

Grandma (squirming): Don't worry about it, honey.

Mr. Moo (insisting): But Grandma, where is her pee-er? I can't see it!

My mother finally realized that she was not getting out of this one easily, so as she took Boudica out of the tub, she casually gestured in the general direction of her crotch and said, "See? It's just flat, that's all." I expect his next inquiry to be along the lines of asking (incessantly, of course) what squashed Boudica's pee-er, and why is it flat. This kid. He is the elephant.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Weekend Brain Goo

This past weekend was my first girls' weekend getaway since the kids were born, and it was well overdue and much needed. The problem is, I can't seem to get my brain to get back into gear now that I am home and am expected to work. It's as if my brain turned into a bowl of goo while I let it relax. That'll teach me to drink margaritas (sweet, sweet nectar...) on the beach at sunset.

See, when that happens and the brain goes into full mush mode, you are unable to do simple things like--oh, I don't know--go to the correct gate for your connecting flight. And then you find yourself seeing downtown Atlanta whiz by while your sweeter-than-that-sweet-tea-stuff-they-serve-down-south friends take you in for the night so you don't have to sleep at the airport. Or something like that. Not that it happened to me, of course. Just a warning to those who might be travelling this spring. {ahem}

And the kids survived, but they were none too happy with me gone for so long...

Actually, in that picture they had just finished a lively percussion piece played on the table and did not like the intrusion of the pappa-razzi. Get it? Pappa? Yeah, I'll just shut up about now.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Alphaboat Giveaway!

I have another giveaway going on over at the Savvy blog. So far, I only have one entry, so your chances are good! The giveaway is a book called Alphaboat, and it has adorable illustrations paired with witty little poems that tell a story whose main characters are letters. The kids will love it and you'll love it. Now go give me some bloggy love at the other site and enter, ok?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Naughty Mommy

Best cartoon line of the day:

"Thomas' voice was muffled by his bush."

This was said shortly after the narrator (George Carlin...may he RIP) read the part about how the front of his engine was festooned with his bush.

I mean, seriously, did Carlin get through those lines in just one take? 'Cause I would have been ROFL.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random Musings

I am completely stoked that I got one of the woot shirts today. It was designed by Wil Wheaton and whispers sweet nothings to the mega-geek-gamer in me.

The school visit yesterday was a bit chaotic, but overall I really liked the place. We're going back on Saturday for the open house and will be turning in our applications. I was on the fence until I found out that Boudica can also go there full days. Yay--reduced morning chaos is wonderful. Now we just have to be admitted to the terribly small student body.

I finally found the list of skills that a child should have when entering kindergarten in our school district. Mr. Moo is at or beyond all of them (at age 3.5) except for using the potty (still working on it...I think Boudica will get there first at this rate). So, while my head reels at the thought of paying a lot for private school, I love that we might be able to offer him a chance to maintain his innate curiosity and academic drive. That whole spelling words and reading thing he's doing now? That was all a result of him really wanting to do it--we didn't direct him there at all (although we are now following his lead in that direction).

I love the new coffee cup that I stole from Mr. D. :-)

I need to get back on my treadmill...winter weight is creeping.

I'm trying to tweet more--didn't know I was on there, did you?

I completely love my new winter coat and my new rainboots. Unfortunately, they don't even closely match each other. Is it terrible that I really don't care?

My brain is empty now--back to work!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The School Dilemma

Before I forget, I wanted to let you all know about a cool giveaway at one of the Savvy city sites (Silicon Valley). She is giving away a book that chronicles one woman's struggles with infertility. Since a lot of us have been on that island/boat/etc, I thought I'd share. The contest is open until Feb 26.

Ok, on to life. I've been so lax in posting here that I'm not sure how to catch up. I'll start with the fact that I am going tomorrow morning to visit a school that might end up being Mr. Moo's kindergarten. Kindergarten! Gah. We keep wavering between just sending him to our local school district (which is decent) or going with a private school ($$$...panic). At one point, we thought we had bought ourselves a bit of time by deciding that when he got to kindergarten, he would just go to the one at our current daycare. Except that they are closing the program as of this summer. Doh.

One of the things we really want Mr. Moo to experience is exposure to a foreign language. He gets a bit of that at home because Mr. D is fluent in Italian (it was actually his first language) and speaks it on the phone with his family as well as using some terms around the kids to teach them. But I'm not great with language and can't hold up my end of the conversation to give the kids a true bilingual home experience. I do remember a bunch of Spanish from HS and college (and living in Los Angeles for six years), so I can help a bit in the Dora and Diego category. But still, not anything formal.

Then, I get to wondering to what degree a preschooler would get a "formal" language education anyway? Well, tomorrow, I am going to visit a local preschool and kindergarten that is a Spanish immersion program meant for non-Spanish speaking homes. It seems like a good idea, but I want to be sure about it because it will cause extreme chaos (more than usual, if you can believe) to descend upon my mornings. If it will benefit Mr. Moo, I'm all about making it happen, though.

I guess the main thing I want is for him to be engaged in his education and feel challenged (not in a sadistic way, just in a not-sitting-on-his-laurels way). Two weeks ago, he started reading. At 3.5 years old. To me that seems early, but maybe it's not. Oh, and he also eats up math problems with a spoon. Story problems, that is...basic addition and subtraction are "fun" to him.

He finds learning to be a wonderfully enjoyable experience, and I want to nurture that tendency without being overbearing. In other words, I want what every mother wants for her child. I hope I can find it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Highlights giveaway (updated)

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am hosting a giveaway at Being Savvy Pittsburgh for a subscription to Highlights High-Five Magazine. Mr. Moo absolutely loves it, so it gets the preschool sticky-thumbs-up of approval. The winner can either keep the subscription or give it as a gift, so don't feel like you can't enter if you don't have any kids in the house in that age range (2-6).

Good luck!

Updated to add: The Savvy site CMS has been changed to allow comments without having to join. I know a few of you were turned off by that last time I had a giveaway. So get over there and enter!

Monday, January 26, 2009


One of the good things about being more “out” about my location is that I can now tell you about cool things that I have done around town without being so vague. Yesterday, we went to a symphony concert that was part of our subscription, and I was so moved by the performance that I wanted to tell you about it. We have, without question, a world-class group of musicians. At many of the season’s concerts, guest soloists enhance what is already a memorable experience. In all cases, I appreciate the soloist’s talent and enjoy the music. In a few rare cases, I am blown away by the individual’s talent. Yesterday was one of those days.

The soloist was pianist Gabriela Montero. For those thinking that the name rings a bell, she was the pianist in the quartet that performed at Tuesday’s inauguration. That fact alone was pretty cool. Then, we saw her play Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Her fingers seemed to simply glide along the keys…no pounding, no effort, no fuss. They just floated along and beautiful music came forth. After the piece was over, she asked for input from the audience in order to provide us with musical improvisation. After someone finally brought forth a theme (Over the Rainbow), she took that simple melody and composed, on the spot, a musical piece so complex and beautiful and riveting that I am still awestruck at what I witnessed. And if that were not enough, after the intermission, Gabriela was joined by three other musicians for a special piece. John Williams gave special permission to the symphony that his recent composition, Air and Simple Gifts, could be performed. In this new era of hope and change and personal responsibility, I was moved by hearing the inaugural music brought to my hometown and rendered so carefully.

It was a pretty awesome day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Talking with Mr. Moo

I have the best time conversing with my son. I mean, who knew that you could actually converse with a three-year old (I didn't before I was a mom) and enjoy it, too?

Thoughts On Election Day

Me: Mr. Moo, did you know that today is a very special day?
Moo: Is it my birthday?
Me: No, we get a new president today (spent another sentence or so explaining the president...)
Moo: What does he have for breakfast?
Me: (thinking that my child is so insightful to wonder what the president-elect was having for breakfast) I'm not sure, honey. Maybe we can ask him someday.
Moo: No, mommy--what are we having for breakfast?

Teaching Boudica to Talk

Boudica: Ease! Ease! (reaching for a cracker)
Moo: No, Boudica, it's PUH-lease. PUH-PUH-lease.
Boudica: Ease!! Ease!!!
Moo: No, No...PUH-lease. PUH-lease! (getting angry)
Boudica: (laughing and delighting in the moment) EASE!!! EASE!!! (more laughing)

On Destinations

Moo: Where are we going, mommy?
Me: Crazy, honey. We're going crazy. (It had been a long morning)
Moo: No, mommy. We're going to grandma's house, not going crazy.
Me: Ok, honey--sounds good to me.

No Soup for You!

Thought for the day...

When the okra in your soup is actually jalapeno pepper, you will have an entirely different lunch than you anticipated.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bad timing supreme

Not that there could ever be a good time for something like the crash of flight 1549 to occur, but did it have to occur only an hour before I bought plane tickets? And, of course, I have spent the last week debating whether to get Boudica her own ticket* because she would be better off in a car seat if anything goes wrong (yes, I do really do a "worst case" thing in my head when we travel).

I didn't hear the story until I was heading home (post purchase), but it's probably good that it happened that way or I might have put off buying the tickets even longer and missed the good price (go Southwest!). I am truly awestruck by the fact that everyone survived that crash. It is a testament to the pilot and crew and an honest to gawd miracle IMHO.

*In case you're wondering, I decided to take advantage of the lap child option because (a) it's probably the one and only time and (b) the two flight legs are only an hour each.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Christmas Pic

Yes, it's January and I am finally getting to the post where I share our Christmas picture. This year, the kids actually agreed to pose with each other and stopped roughhousing for long enough for me to snap this one:
We actually took quite a few that day, but it shortly dissolved into something more like this:
And then we all went to visit Santa where the small ones proceeded to completely freak out. But there were cookies, so all was good. I also now realize that our livingroom carpet and drapes should never be featured in closeup. It is just me, or does the pattern mix make your head spin? It's actually quite nice when you see the whole room at once...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I need mental download

I have written so many awesome posts in the last few weeks. In my head. If I could just hit a button to transmit them to the blog or at the very least save them, you'd have a lot more to read. As it is, I get to the keyboard and try to remember the really cool thing I wanted to say and draw a complete blank.

Before I forget, I am hosting a GIVEAWAY over on the Savvy blog, so go check it out and enter for a cool DVD. The winner will be chosen on January 19, so get a move on.

In the meantime, I hope to either find my brain or a wicked cool USB cable to capture those lost posts.