Tuesday, January 29, 2013

..."In a Timely Fashion"

***Warning:  This post is not for those with weak stomachs.  Serious "potty" talk ahead.  You've been warned.

It's not a secret that I enjoy a good cured meat.  People know this about me, and sometimes they give cured meat-themed gifts.  For Christmas, my friends Megan and Keith presented me with "Mr. Bacon's Big Adventure."  Think Candyland, but instead of candy, it's meat.  Instead of colored squares, the spaces on the game board are olive loaf, pepperoni, beef jerky, and corn dog. Strangely, the game says for players ages 8+. 

Each night after we put L to bed, we like to play a game with H for some "big boy" time - usually Uno or Blokus.  Tonight he asked if we could open Mr. Bacon.  So we did.  It's about to get gross.  Now's your chance to stop reading.  I'm warning you.  

Let me preface this whole story by saying that H can be a bit of a hypochondriac.  The kid would be thrilled to have a sippy cup full of any form of liquid medicine.  Tonight he kept saying his tummy hurt.  We placated him with "you're hungry," or "you ate your dinner too fast," and "you shouldn't be running around so much right after dinner."  And he was fine.  He's always fine.  L had her bath.  H had his shower.  They had their stories.  L went to bed.  We started playing Mr. Bacon's Big Adventure.

Captain America ready to get his game on.
I took this picture with the intention of sending it to Keith and Megan to show them how much we liked the game.

During the thrilling adventure through different meat lands, H came out way ahead.  He drew a card that led him to Gristle Gulch - right near the frying pan at the end.  As he was about to spin his last spin, he jumped up from the table, screamed, "I have to POOP!!!" and ran up the stairs toward the bathroom.  Then he stopped.  And we were all silent.  And he said, "Oh MAAAANNN!!!!!  It's in my pants."  

He's 4.  Accidents happen.  But not often at all.  We never make a big deal out of them.  B and I looked at each other and realized neither of us should have to go this one alone.  Up we headed.  It was a disaster.  I could not stop gagging, so B stepped up and helped strip the poor kid.  Long story short: I showered him while B did the tough cleaning (I MUST remember to thank him AGAIN for this).  He was changed into clean jammies and we were, I thought, ready to continue the game downstairs.  That's when this conversation happened.

H:  That bacon game made me poop.  We should have just played sling-shot.  (A "game" where we wrap him in elastic exercise bands, he runs, we let go.  Parents. Of. The. Year.)
Me:  Oh, Buddy.  I don't think slingshot is a good game when you just had diarrhea.
H:  I didn't have diarrhea.  That's in the potty.  This poop was in my pants.
Me:  You know how you couldn't hold it and it came out really fast?  That's diarrhea.
H:  Oh!  Because it was in a timely fashion?  That's what makes it diarrhea?
Me:  Wait.  What?!  
H:  A timely fashion.  The poop was in a timely fashion.  So it's diarrhea? 
Me:  I guess so???  
H:  Cool.  Let's go play so I can beat you guys.  

And he did.

In a timely fashion.

Monday, January 28, 2013

...An At-Home Workout

When I left work today, the sun was shining and I was carrying my coat in my hand.  In January. In Chicago(ish).  With an extra spring in my step, I started making mental plans to walk in the door when I got home, change out of my dress and boots, and go for a quick 2 mile-or-so run.

Instead, I walked in the door to L, who flung herself and her snot-crusted face into my legs, and there she remained.  H was coloring at the table, and was desperate for some Mommy attention.  And thus, my quick 2 mile run turned into time with my two favorite short people, dinner prep, laundry folding, bath and shower time, stories, Uno, and bedtime.  Since the beginning of January (yep, I'm one of those!), I've been doing well keeping up a great schedule of going to the gym.  The minute I tuck H in, I'm out the door for about an hour at the gym while B does his thing at home and gets ready to leave for work.  But tonight I wasn't feeling it.

Because I've been doing so well, and frankly, feeling so good about how hard I've been working, I didn't want to knew I shouldn't just spend the evening on the couch either.  So, I pulled up the Pinterest board I've created to help motivate me, and rocked out a little ab and arm work.

That's right.  I didn't change my clothes.
Just took off my tights and cardigan, and put my hair in a bun with a pen.
It's my work-to-workout look.
I can knock you out with these dumbell punches.
This one's no joke.
Or maybe it's easy and I just don't have any ab muscle at all. 

All this on top of the 37 push-ups for my January push-up challenge today. And the 35 I had to do today because I forgot skipped out on yesterday.  But I did those 35 girl-style, on my knees.  I'm not a freaking superhero. 72 is a LOT of push-ups!!!

I don't feel so bad about not going to the gym tonight.  But I'll be there tomorrow.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I needed cilantro for dinner tonight.  This morning, I was running extraordinarily late.  Unfortunately this is a new pattern - almost to the point of running late being my new on-time.  I had planned last night to throw dinner in the crock pot before I went to bed, stick it in the fridge, and leave a note to have B turn the crock pot on before he went to bed this morning.  Well.  That didn't happen.  Instead I fell asleep.  And B, in classic B fashion, swooped in and saved the day by putting it all together this morning.  While you're allowed to be impressed at this incredibly helpful and competent husband, I might note that this required opening a can, chopping a few sweet potatoes and opening a package of pork.  And yet...I chose sleep over this simple process.  Anyway...in laying the ingredients out for him, I realized we had no cilantro.  I used it this week making this chicken and avocado soup, which was delicious.  And simple.

I remembered that I needed to stop for cilantro only after I had already gotten on the expressway on the way home from picking the kids up from their babysitter's house.  The only store on the way home was now Target.  Dun dun duuuuuuuuuun.  

"I'm just going to run into Target for a 99 cent bunch of cilantro," said no one ever.

So I loaded L in the cart.  H started asking about seeing the toys.  He's incredibly well-trained.  We go to Target to visit toys and to make mental lists of things he might want for his birthday (in June), not to purchase them.  So, after getting the cilantro, some bread, some juice boxes, and a box of Malbec (Yeah, I said box.  I'm classy.), we headed for the toys.  And wouldn't you know that there were 2 aisles of 70% clearance?!  2 aisles?!  And it was good stuff, too.  The next thing I knew, there was a shopping cart for L in my shopping cart.  Mom guilt kicked in when H asked if he could have anything.  Since the shopping cart only cost $3.44, he was allowed to choose anything that cost $3.  It became a shopping experience.  He searched the piles of disorganized crap high and low, searching for a price tag that began with a 3, and after being disappointed several times after finding toys that start with a 9, he finally found what he was looking for.  See?  Learning.  Justified.

$27 later, we were heading out the door with our 99 cent cilantro.  Target, you never cease to amaze me.  I guess it could be worse.  I could have bought the $35 workout pants that I checked out.  $35?!  For short pants?!  At Target?!  They should run for me!  But that's another post altogether.

I just said "Show me your loot!"
This is not an attempt to cover their faces a la Michael Jackson.
I like the lady looking at us with disdain.  What?  You don't take pictures in Target? 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

...Tastiness - Aunt Sylly Pasta for Dinner

Self-Portrait, of course
Yes, she's really that tiny and adorable
Photo taken in our hometown at the top of the fire tower in Oubache State Park 

This is my Aunt Syl.  For 29 years, that's how I knew her.  And then H began talking, and he began referring to her adoringly as "Aunt Siwwy." (Those l's were quite a challenge)  How did I never think of this?!  The kid's brilliant.  And so is Aunt Sylly.  I've learned a lot from her over the years about general life things:  happiness, always being true to myself, casinos, Belgian beers, living a good life, many uses for a pacifier clip, Rod Stewart, how to climb a tower, and this recipe.

Last week I finalized our Spring Break plans.  Spring Break is one of my favorite reasons to be a teacher.  Sure, there are a lot less busy travel times to get out of dodge, but having a Spring Break inspires me to be sure that we do.  This year, we're heading to Disneyland for a few days, then heading to the beach to visit Aunt Sylly.  And I couldn't be more excited!  I think B and I are more excited than the kids.  Like they need a vacation.

A few years ago, on an east coast beach trip to Isle of Palms, SC, Aunt Syl made this pasta for us.  I know what you're thinking.  "Pasta?!  At the beach?!  Bloat!  Heavy!  Ugh!"  Well, my (now 3! Yay!) readers, this pasta is perfect all year round.  I loved it then, and enjoy it on a regular basis now.

First in pictures. 

What you need.
Minus the bananas.  I have a really small kitchen.
And obviously, I do my shopping at Trader Joe's.  You don't have to.
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.
Add spices.

Add the tomatoes.
And maybe some more crushed red pepper.
My kids don't mind spicy.
The longer it simmers, the better it will be.  Aunt Syl lets hers go for hours.  You know, the way real live Italians do.
(Read "Eye-talian", like we heard growing up in the great state of Indiana.)
Mine doesn't simmer so long.  I don't really have that kind of time.  It's Wednesday.  
Add the kalamata olives just before serving
The finished product.
This is an ENORMOUS bowl.
This family eats.  Plates shown from tallest to smallest.
B's pasta mountain is covering some of his broccoli.

H's first bite.

L showing that eating with utensils is optional.  And adorable. 
As you can see from the many, many pictures above, I served our Aunt Sylly Pasta tonight with baked tilapia seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning and broccoli.  Part of the whole healthy thing I'm trying to do.  Often, we eat this dish for Meatless Monday.  Sometimes, I cube about a pound of chicken breasts and saute it with the onions and garlic before adding the tomatoes.  That's B's favorite way to enjoy the Sylly Pasta.  Do what you love. 

 Aunt Sylly Pasta

  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • crushed red pepper - to taste
  • 2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 jar kalamata olives
  • salt and pepper - to taste
  • 16 oz. whole wheat penne pasta (You could, of course, use whatever kind of pasta you like.)
  • parmesan-type cheese (I bought a shaved blend because I'm cheap. And lazy today.)
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan/skillet.
  2. Add onion and garlic.  Saute until soft (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper.  Saute another minute or until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add tomatoes.  Stir it up.  Now would be a good time to start boiling your pasta water.
  5. Once you sauce is boiling, (bubbling?) stick a lid on it and turn the heat down to medium/low.  Let that simmer.  
  6. Once the pasta water is boiling, cook the noodles according to package directions.
  7. About 5 minutes before removing the sauce from the stove, stir in the kalamata olives.  I like to cut mine in half first when I'm serving this to my kids because sometimes there are pits in them.  I try to avoid performing the Heimlich when enjoying dinner.
  8. Mix the pasta and sauce together in a (huge) bowl.
  9. Top with some parmesan, or serve with some at the table.  Or skip it altogether.

**This recipe is NOT an exact science.  In fact, today is the first time I've ever measured while preparing it.  Normally, I just add seasonings until it looks like enough.  Also, this may not be how Aunt Syl makes her pasta sauce at all.  But it's how I remember it.  So it's how I make it.  And it's delicious.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

...A Thank You Party

This morning, while eating breakfast, the kids were watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on PBS.  Yep.  I'm that mom who lets them eat in front of the t.v. in the mornings when we don't have anywhere to be.  If you're not familiar with the show (because really, why would you be?), it is a cartoon based on the puppets from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.  The lessons are cute and the songs are catchy.  On today's episode, the characters were throwing a Thank-You Party, and each one was writing a thank you note to someone else.  Simple concept.  H and L were loving the music and eating oatmeal.  All around win.

Not this morning, but a fine example of breakfast during vacation.
Okay.  It's a fine example of breakfast pretty much every other day, too.
They've got to be occupied somehow while I get everyone ready to get out the door  by 7:30!

When the show was over, H said, "Mom.  I wish I could have a thank-you party."  So I started asking him who he would invite and why.  Here are a few of his responses:

Tyler - because he plays with me and teachded me how to do Wii.
Bethie - because of her crazy hair and she makes it fun to play Tangled and Eugene.
Quincy - because he plays with me and he already knows how to play Wii, too.
Emily - because she runs really fast with me in the house.
Ms. Colleen - because she makes me really good lunch.
     **The above are his babysitter and either her own children or those who go to her house.**

We let the subject drop and then he asked me "Mom?  Could you please ask me who else would come to my party?"  So I did.

Grana (my mom) - because she takes me to her library when I want to go there
Papa (my dad) - because he lets me get gumballs from his shop and he cuts my hair good
You guys and Leila - because I love my family.

Dear God.  I almost burst into tears.  At Christmas time I really struggled with all the "stuff" that comes with the holidays.  This kid's list of things he wanted was 4 miles long, and I really feared that he's turning into a materialistic monster.  Aside from the gumballs and lunch, none of the reasons he would have these people to his Thank You party had to do with "things," but rather with just spending time
with some of his favorite people.  I think he really gets it.  He's starting to understand what's really important.

Isn't it crazy when little moments like this make you think?  If I were throwing a Thank You party, who would I invite?  So I started a mental checklist.  And it's a long one.  A really long one.  There are a lot of really amazing people in my life.  People who encourage and support me, make me laugh, make me cry, make me appreciate who I am, who I have become, and who I still hope to be.  I count myself so lucky.  My kids are being raised in a community of friends that are really much more like their own giant (and sometimes slightly dysfunctional) family.   So to all of you who would be there, thank you!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

...Looking Forward

That's right...Start getting excited...Here they are:

My New Year's Resolutions

If you've ever read the painful early entries of this little ole blog, you might recall that goal setting isn't really something I do.  Well, I do sometimes set goals.  But I'm pretty sure I've yet to obtain a single one.  So I'll write them here.  So both of you who read this will be able to remind me next month that I have once again not reached the finish line on them.  And I will smile at you and mention my track record for consistency.  

Without further ado (adieu? a doo?)...

Become a Runner.  For Real.

I read a lot of blogs.  Most of them are "Mom Blogs."  You know the type: moms who write about their lives, their home improvement projects, what they're cooking, what they're wearing, and how they're fighting the weight loss battle.  And some of them are really inspiring.  Others are just plain entertaining.  But the fact of the matter is, of all of those mom bloggers who are fighting the weight loss battle, each one runs.  So back in November when I was whining about not being able to walk, I decided that once I could, I would run.  Like for real.  And with a purpose.  This is where my best friend in the whole wide world, Natalie, steps in.  She doesn't read this.  I don't even think she knows I write this.  Just before Christmas, I got this indecent proposal.

So yeah.  I'm going to do it.  Duh.  We've been friends since kindergarten.  How do you say no?  And she has a point.  It took me 2 years to bounce back from H, and about a year and a half to lose my L weight.  IF and when a third little bugger joins the family, I'll be really tired and pretty old by the time I bounce back from that one.  Since there's some pretty heavy training that I should do before this endeavor, I'd say that I just might reach the end result of this one.

Get Healthier.

This does not say "Lose Weight".  But let's be honest.  That's what it means.  I'd like to say that I just want to feel good and don't care what the scale says.  But that would be a lie.  So I won't say that.  We'll see what happens.  I think this one's pretty obtainable, too, due to the training for the half marathon.  Why am I sweating with anxiety right now?  This is a good thing, right?!  Maybe it's the giant bowl of my mom's party mix sitting next to me.  

Become a Better Listener.

I don't know that I have some form of ADD.  But I don't know that I don't.  Maybe I'm just a self-centered biotch.  This could be the case.  I'm not going to get real detailed here, but sometimes when people talk to me, I tend to think about anything BUT what they're saying.  I'm usually busy thinking of the 45,000 other things I need to be doing at any given moment.  And sometimes I'm simply (and not always intentionally) being a rude biotch.  So I really am going to make a focused effort on actively listening when others are speaking to me.  Even when I feel like they're just talking at me.  I'm really afraid this will be the toughest one.  

And if you're still reading...

This one's not really a resolution.  More like a wish.  If you're reading this, and you're not one of the 2 people that I know who do, consider following me.  Add me to your list.  I really don't know why you should or why you shouldn't, for that matter.  I think of the blogs I read and the inspiration I get from them and how much I appreciate it.  I'm not saying I'll inspire you.  Maybe mine will be that blog you read and you're like "Oh. Dear. God. Thank goodness I'm nothing like her." And then you'll be able to feel good about yourself for a moment.  Or maybe, just maybe, when I'm in the thick of the training for this half marathon and I'm whining about it here, you'll be able to offer words of encouragement.  And I'd like that.  Just think about it.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

...Reflecting on 2012 - Self-Portrait Style

So I've got this friend, Anne.  She's one of the best ones I've got.  You can meet her here.  My B and her B have been friends forever.  Luckily for me, her B got her for me about 4 years ago.

Now we spend quite a bit of time together.  One of our favorite past times, it might seem, besides drinking wine and ending up on a kitchen floor in deep conversation is to grab a nearby camera and take a portrait of ourselves.

Here's just a few of them from 2012.

*Note:  I am including a few that were either photobombed by others or that we allowed others to grace our photos with their presence.  You may notice that a few photos are, in fact, being taken by someone else.  Sometimes we have beer or babies in our hands, making it difficult to take our own shots.

**Another note:  These are in no particular order, as that would have made this take even longer.

December - Not that I remember

July - A 16 mile bike ride in Colorado 

July - Rocky Mountain National Park

November - On Anne's Wedding Day
The ULTIMATE View of our selfie

November - You might remember seeing this in the photo above 

November - Getting ready for Anne's wedding

New Year's Eve - Our last shot of the year

July - Andrew Bird/Wilco Concert

July - Garden of the Gods
Technically a Draping shot, not a selfie, but still necessary

November - Sometime during Anne's rehearsal dinner

August - Anne's bachelorette party.  We didn't invite the dolphin, but we certainly didn't mind. 

March - Sola

December - Attempting to Bake

July - Andrew Bird/Wilco Concert
The aforementioned "our hands were full of beer" 

April - Hands full of baby

November - Anne's rehearsal - joined by the Maid and Matron of Honor 

August - Round Barn Winery - joined by Ashli

October? - Wedding shower

August - with Ashli again

July - Andrew Bird/Wilco Concert - Joined by our respective B's 
July - Garden of the Gods - Clearly, I was in a crevice and couldn't snap this shot  
November - The last selfie of Anne's wedding night
December - At Glenn's Diner with Colleen on New Year's Eve 

December - New Year's Eve - Our buddy was more interested in the train than the perfect shot
He's obviously not my child.

July - Rocky Mountain National Park
This gorgeous photo would not have worked had it been a selfie 

July - Garden of the Gods

October? - Lung Run with Amee

August - Bachelorette Party with Amanda

November - Rehearsal Dinner

And the amazing thing is...I don't think this is all of them.