Sunday, July 31, 2005

For the Chick of the Crib

(Sorry, I've been reading Manolo's Shoe Blog. Hys-ter-i-cal0.)

Don't sue me if my calories and carbs are off.

This is modified from a Molly Katzen recipe, Caribbean Fish In a Packet from MOOSEWOOD COOKS AT HOME.
Caribbean Fish In a Packet -- AK Style
*1 bottle caribbean sauce from Wegmans (look in your best grocery store's sauce/bbq section for something similar. It's mango-ish, not spicey at all.)
*aluminum foil
*fish fillets or steaks -- about 3 oz per person served. Adjust the rest to taste.
*olive oil
*1 small vidalia onion, sliced
*fresh cilantro (about 2 Tbsp)
*1 lime (or 2. or 3.)
*minced chile pepper
*a sweet pepper chopped (I prefer yellow or orange or ANYTHING other than green, but last week, green is what I had)
*salt and black pepper
*Preheat oven to 350.
*Tear off a large square of aluminum foil for each person.
*Use a pastry brush to brush on olive oil lightly in the center of each foil packet. OR lightly spray olive oil from a pressurized can OR use non-stick aluminum foil.
*rinse the fish and prepare the veggies
*place in the center of each foil square one piece of fish, some of each of the veggies (I adjusted to taste -- more fish for me, less chile for the kids, that kind of thing -- you can fold the foil creatively later to "mark" the packets), and a bit of salt and pepper. Divide the sauce up over the packets. It's okay to be generous. Squeeze the lime over each pile of stuff in each packet. Fold up as tightly as you can, place in oven. Cook 30 - 45 minutes (you can also cook at 450 for 20-25 minutes, but I like cooler, slower).
When done, give each person a small bowel of rice, have them open the packet (or open it for them -- the packets actually cool to touch fairly quickly, but the insides don't), and pour out the contents onto the rice. Mix well with a fork (this breaks up the fish, spreads it evenly throughout the rice, and makes it all less "fishy" for families that are less fish friendly).
Total calorie count is around 350-400 calories depending on how much rice you use. It's got a great protein count (about 22 grams) and about 30% of the calories are from fat. Before rice, it's about 10g of carbs.

Fish flesh has varying amounts of Mercury. The US RDA of mercury is NONE. Mercury in your food = bad. There are a few sites online that will give you some honest info about fish -- I like the ones that are more honest than the EPA and less honest than the sites that tell you to NEVER EVER EAT ANY FISH. A few have little printable forms you can take with you to the grocery store so you can compare what's on sale and looks and smells right to what could potentially cause irreversible damage to your central nervous system. And you know what I'm discovering? The stuff is more expensive than red meat!

But I really like fish so I go on clutching my list and shopping carefully.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Moving Round and Round It Takes Us Up and It Takes Us Down

Here's a bunch of photos from the week. I try not to blog when things get ugly and stressful. Today was not ugly and stressful, so most of the pictures are from today. (Monday evening was a HUGE exception, too -- but I don't have the words for Monday evening. So I'm just going to concentrate tomorrow on writing my thank you notes for that one and forget trying to blog it. But in case they have insomnia and are up reading really late. Jill, Thank you. Aunt Gee-Gee and Uncle Ted, Thank you. Omyheck, Thank you.)

1. This is Milo attempting to use chopsticks because Mom couldn't find enough clean forks (okay, in our defense, we're down to like 6 total. That means that we can use them all for ONE meal and then they all have to washed and put back in the drawer. Well, the dishes get washed maybe twice a day, but that leaves us often with one meal without forks. So this time around, everyone got a fork, but me. So I grabbed chopsticks because hey -- they work. Well. HOW COOL IS MOM?!? So soon everyone who was anyone (and we're all someone) wanted a chopstick. Milo is nothing if not persistent. (Okay, he's not wearing a shirt. It's been REALLY REALLY hot here. Not that they're big on clothing when it's cold . . . And the photo does not do the dinner justice. It got a round of thumbs up as a new fish/rice/veggie dinner. It looks kinda pale green and unattractive in the picture.)

2. This is Dad, later in the meal, using all the chopsticks and a few legos to explain the rules of football.

3. This is Ben, halfway through our shopping marathon this afternoon. We were out of everything so it was Barnes and Noble (yeah, snort, we were out of books) and Sam's Club, then home to put the milk and eggs and other perishable stuff away. Then on to Petco, Target, and Wegman's. We didn't get home for good until a quarter to eight. This photo was taken around 4:00pm.

4. Milo, who loves to shop.

5. The place I don't get to go.

6. The start of Milo's pants. Only I may soon rip it out and start again, or maybe not. I go back and forth.

7. My sweater. I finally made flippin' gauge.

8. This is the yarn I want to use for my cousin's new baby to make him longies -- a long-pant kind of soaker. Problem is, I can only make gauge if I double up and go down a needle size (then it's oh-so-stiff) or if I go up to size 10.5 needles, which gives me a too-holey for good soaker pants fabric. Pretty, but not practical. I'm about ready to start doing some math. (If the gauge of the pant leg is 4 stitches to the inch and there are 104 stitches cast on, and x represents the number of stitches needed while using a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch . . .)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

How did it get to be Thursday Eve already?

So much to blog, so little time! Will try again tomorrow :)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Food Storage Czarina

It's official! I'm the new ward emergency preparedness nag. My teaching credential makes me licensed to nag in many states and I have reciprocity with many others, so I'm well equipped for the job. Years of tracking Scholastic book orders and managing fund raisers has prepared me well for putting sign-up sheets on the Relief Society clipboard and tracking down everyone who signed up for their $15 so I can place the potato pearls order.

Although on the upside, I went digging through my own storage today looking for more peach butter and found another whole can of potato pearls! Life is looking up.

I also found another sister at church who wants to go in with me on a side of beef. In addition to saving us a ton of money on meat over the next year, by the time we're done eating it all, we'll be ready to go vegan and that will save us even more money.

I really need to get my little food storage corner of the basement cleaned and repainted.

Funny part of today:

Brother D: [not knowing I'd received a tip-off about this calling and thinking I was going to need to be talked into getting excited about it] It's um, a really important calling. Well, truthfully, our ward needs a lot of help with this. Maybe we could have a canning trip soon . . .
Me: When was the last canning trip?
Brother D: Um. [laughs, tosses the whole "paint a rosey picture" tactic over shoulder] Never! I don't know. I can't recall one in years.

He says that his general feeling is that a lot of people who welcome the chance to improve their food storage with some encouragement and someone to organize it all. This is good as I'm getting better and better at using/planning my food storage in a way that actually benefits the family and our budget. I just need a LOT more of it.

I made a yummy oatmeal molasses bread last night. I need to post the recipe to my new yahoo group.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Daily Reason for Why YOU Should Move to State College, PA, too.

This view is one mile from our house. And free.

This view is six miles from our house. And parking and swimming and everything but the Spongebob Squarepants popscicles is free.

This kid is not for sale, but if you move here and become my friend then the view of him is FREE.

More free swimming. Sunshine included as available. Available a lot actually.

Knitting a shawl is not free, but the sunburn is :)

Grandma and grandson are NOT for sale, but the fun swim meet is and (soda) pop is only 50 cents.

This house is NOT free, but it is for sale, and it's on the national registry of historic houses or something like that. Great backyard. Open house tomorrow!

Sister Hults! Will you have some time tomorrow . . .

Ah, that phone call. I've been expecting it since moving into the ward. Not that I have any free time, but if I had some, I have a feeling it's soon to be gone. The question is: what calling will it be? Working with the young women for activity night? That's two evenings a month and while it doesn't sound like much, two evenings a month is tough when I don't get to pick the evenings (because of work). Still, I'll bet working with the young women is fun. mostly. Okay, no, the thought petrifies me. Anyway. The other possibility is being the emergency preparedness person -- AKA the bulk food and materials ordering coordinator type person. I'm REALLY hoping it's that one. I'm all out of potato pearls.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I give up!

Proper term or not, I'm shocking myself every time I go to look at my own blog. wimp.

This is Alaska, and this is her, um, female dog, Emily

Yesterday I heard that word more frequently than I have, I think, in my previous 37 years on the planet. I was, of course, at a dog show. Emily and I went over there to meet with a breeder who lives a few hours away and knows a thing or two about red/apricot poodles. I'd been doing my homework into what it would involve to breed Emily and after many emails and much Internet surfing, I'd contacted Terry. Terry had, by chance, planned to be here in State College this weekend for the dog show, and he agreed to take a look at Emily and evaluate her. You're not supposed to breed a female who would not "further the breed." Now that Emily is older, I thought I'd better have someone tell me if she really was of breeding stock.

So we went over to the fairgrounds and walked around looking at the RVs, the dogs in their pens, the puppies in their pens, the 60-year-old men and women sitting in folding chairs under their RV awnings. Emily was beside herself there was just so much to SMELL. I liked looking at all the dogs. The whole place was surprisingly quiet.

Eventually with the help of a cell phone I found Terry's RV. He was friendly, smart, and had that air of one who has been through the wringer in life and came out on the other side of it sure of himself, content with the life he has carved out, and independent of the opinion of the others. In short, I liked him immediately. His partner was busy doing I'm not sure what, but it had the air of chores and we said polite hellos but didn't talk much beyond that. He seemed maybe a little shy.

We spent a little over an hour talking and most of it was Terry giving me a crash course on poodle conformation (what a "perfect" poodle would have in the way of physical characteristics) and where Emily stood in all of that. (She's got great feet, but her head is too "wide".) [Chris has been walking around the house for the last day snuggling her up and then telling her in his Emily-dog voice that she's an ugly poodle and it's a shame she's so darn long but at least she has all her teeth.] He went over the tests she should have and there are more than twice as many as the ones her sire and dam have -- but two of them are adrenal system related and since I lost my absolute favorite cat ever, an Abyssinian, to a breed-related kidney problem, I don't have any problem doing more than Emily's breeder did. Losing her was devastating and I gather the increase in kidney problems in apricot poodles is relatively recent.

Are you yawning yet?

Well anyway, Terry went in to his RV at one point to get one of his other dogs to illustrate a point he was making and I looked at my cell phone and realized with horror that it was MUCH later than I thought and Max's swim meet had already started. So I choked out some thanks and then we ran the entire way back to the truck. There was nothing to be done for it. Emily had to come to the swim meet.

Well, Emily may have to come to all the fall football games, too because she was a HUGE hit with the other kids. Oh the petting and the attention and the celebrity-like status she had! She occasionally looked at me with a plea for peace, but in general, she knew it was only what she deserved. After Max's third race Chris and Gaye and the twins went home and they took Emily with her. I got a little knitting done and then it was Max's final race. We packed up and headed home.

Today Gaye went back to Northern California. We decided she'd come back for Halloween and the twins' birthday as she was getting in the truck to go to the airport. Then I went back in the house and sat down to work and most of the rest of the day was a quiet one. I worked on getting information for Max's football league because for some reason I wasn't getting league email. Max went to a friend's house to play and I took Emily and we went back to the fairgrounds for a bit.

Terry had said he'd introduce me to the groomer who works at the very place I took Emily to last week -- she actually lives an hour away and only works there twice a week, but she has her own poodles and she is, apparently, a well-known breeder. He must've already told her about our conversation because the introductions were about two minutes long. I had walked this time into a picnic he was having with his friends and while I didn't feel that I had annoyed him, I suffered a sudden attack of shyness and I stammered my thanks for the introduction, promised to call her at the time she'd requested and left.

From there Emily and I went over to the vendor area where we found a bottle of mildly medicated shampoo for Thor's itchy skin. A funny: when I walked up to one booth the vendor smiled and said, "What can I get for you squirt?" Indeed, among this crowd I'm just a kid. But I MUST be getting old because what they were doing looked like a heck of a lot of fun to me. Drive around in a big, fancy RV eating fried chicken and BBQd corn and talking about your dogs. I tried to imagine Chris and I pouring over maps and magazines trying to figure out a way to make the most national RC car races and dog shows. It doesn't seem like a big stretch of the imagination. We like road trips, he's balding, I'm plump, I think of my dogs as an honest-to-goodness child substitute, he's the kind of guy who will camp anywhere -- as long as there's hot water and a fridge involved. Yep. I see an RV lifestyle in our distant future. That our RV will be the only one blasting 80's rap is a topic for another blog ;)

We headed home and I tossed Thor in the sink. He put on a long-suffering expression and let me soap him down and rinse him off, but he broke down and let himself openly enjoy being brushed out afterwards. He's such a funny dog -- and so much more fun to cuddle and pet after a bath :)

Emily lay around and looked happy while I made dinner. Now I'm reclining in bed with a few of the pages of the book I'm supposed to be editing and keeping every puppy but Max company while they fall asleep. Max and Chris are watching Star Wars. I have the anniversary CD playing at lowest volume on the laptop. Life is good.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Snort, Choke, Gasp, Chortle, Snort

We were at Barnes and Noble the other afternoon for no good reason other than to spend money we hadn't budgeted for. I wanted some new blood in my "healthy recipes" cookbook collection as I was feeling burnt out and bored with all the good stuff I'd been making for my kids to turn their collective noses up at. I needed something new for them to reject. And a coffee wouldn't hurt. So we went to B&N and I found two new Moosewood cookbooks and the twins found some paperbacks and Max bought a mammoth hardcover that has the first four books in the Bionicle series all under one binding. We haven't seen much of him since. Chris looked for a book that Sarah Poppins had recommended and Gaye, my mother-in-law, looked for some new fun fiction. She bought Chris his book and then bought me this one:

Now I admit at first I didn't know what to make of this. As I have a tendency to do, I missed any signs of humor in the cover and it registered as one of those "Xxx who do too much" books that are overwrought on most days and but can still make me cry if I'm PMSing. Nevertheless, the gift of a book is the gift of a book and I said "Thank you" and meant it. Later, when we were home, I picked it up and started to thumb through it. This was followed by me annoying the pants off both Gaye and Chris by bursting out into guffaws once or twice EACH minute and insisting on reading them the HILARIOUS knitting in-jokes. After about ten minutes of this it was clear even to me, the social incompetent, that I'd worn out my welcome. I took the book back with me to the bedroom, as well as the kids, and tried to put them to bed. But the twins weren't remotely tired and Max is well beyond the age of napping. So I lay there and told them to shush every three seconds and kept reading and laughing and reading and laughing. It drove Max nuts so he got up and left. Soon the twins did, too. I fell asleep still giggling.

Here is a thought for today :)

Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, "No, thank you," to dessert that night. And for what! --Erma Bombeck

When I was frustrated that my baby daughter wouldn't sleep through the night, my mother urged me to be patient. "This could be the last night she gets up, " she told me. "How do you want your last nighttime feeding to be?" I've applied this attitude to my yarn-buying activity. This could be the last yarn I buy. What would I want the last yarn I buy to be? What if tomorrow . . . I can't buy yarn anymore?

I will remember that this attitude, although it increases the quality of yarn that I buy and my willingness to treat myself, can hamper my ability to pay the mortgage.
IF you are a knitter and you need a giggle, GO to www.B& and buy the book (so Stephanie Pearl-McPhee doesn't sue me for copyright infringment). It's the funniest $10 you'll spend this year. If you're so broke you can only barely feed your family and you have to knit Micheal's yarn, then go to her blog. It's free and it's even more irreverent and funny. I want to quit my job and just knit and read her blog (but I can't because Chris, well Godblesshim, but he can't cook).

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World

We got up shortly before 7am and started ironing the clothes we wanted to wear to our re-wedding. I don't want to call it a re-comittment ceremony because we never uncomitted. We just wanted to get married again :) We didn't go with anything too formal or casual. Aimed for somewhere in between and hit it well enough. It was slightly overcast, hazy, hot, and humid -- but not nearly as hot and humid as it would get later. Two hours sped by and we were soon giving hurried instructions to the sitter and dashing out to the truck. We went to church and picked up the Bishop who was tired but cheerful after a night up with his daughter and her friend at the Harry Potter party at B&N. From there we drove out to this spot that Chris had found. It was private enough -- I saw a few people here and there later but didn't notice anyone while we were having the actual ceremony. Oddly, there was a diesal truck there with a huge load but he cheerfully turned off his motor during the ceremony at Chris' request. You couldn't see it from where we were and I completely forgot about it as soon as the engine was shut off. The spot was beautiful.

It didn't matter though. Honestly, it could have been (as my mother-in-law kept humorously suggesting) the public fountain in front of Target. The spirit was there. The Bishop was fantastic, reading a few paragraphs that he's CLEARLY spent some time and prayer preparing. I *loved, loved, loved* it. I can't say that about any of the stuff the minister at our "first" wedding said before our vows.

The vows themselves were totally normal and perfect and I was just so FULL of the RIGHTNESS of it all. You go hoping this won't be totally goofy or cheesy and it turns out that it's just exactly what God had in mind for that morning. You KNOW this because the whole forest melts away and the words of the Bishop is all you hear and your husband is all you see and you're just there completely locked in the moment.

I was surprised and elated when the ceremony was over. We took some pictures, smiling, and chatting happily about how well that went. Then we dropped the Bishop back at the church and headed home. Chris and Gaye went to the store to pick up some items and I started picking up around the house after sending the sitter home.

Everything sort of chugged along. Veggies were chopped, salads assembled, rice steamed, pita slices baked . . . there was a deluge shortly before everyone got here and then not again during the rest of the party. It was, for me, the best party we have ever, ever thrown. I got to cook my heart out (that's how I throw a party -- I feed you to death, while Chris pours you drinks (non-alcoholic or alcoholic, your choice) and happily talks all that great party talk.) The timing was just perfect for everything. There were tons of kids, and Emily got to participate without making everyone nuts by staying on a five foot lead tied to my waist. (She's sleeping under my chair right now and her idea of heaven is sleeping under my bed at night -- so being tethered to my waist is no torture -- she's FAR more miserable in the kennel for the party.) Thor was a Good Dog, so he got to wander freely and help keep the floor clear.

I was just so thrilled to have everyone there. I kept turning around and thinking, "Oh! I'm so glad (person's name) is here! This is just perfect!" But I do have to give two kudos in particular for my A, A's wife, B, Aunt G, Uncle T, and Karen who all drove over three hours to come. Karen has a really busy life and came even without my brother -- so she had every excuse to stay home and not drive through all that rain. It was so great having her here and it wouldn't have been the same without her. My Aunt, Uncle, their kids, and one spouse -- I just don't have the words to explain how much it meant to me to have them here. They are each of them some of the best people I know. Just GOOD people. But our families have not often been able to get together and I haven't seen most of them (except my cousin who came by when we first moved here) in about two years. I was supposed to get the boys out there last month but finances got snug and my cousin's baby came a little earlier than predicted (oh my, that is one beautiful baby. I over bounced him though and shook him up like a milk shake. BAD me. Oh but I was so grateful for the chance to hold him and he cheesed me good, so it's not like he didn't get his revenge.) Anyway, their visit was one of those wonderful things that sometimes just happen like a surprise baby (that you were secretly hoping for) or winning the lottery or getting a letter from an old friend telling you where to move your family to so you never, ever have to move again. Yes, it was that good.

It was a magical, delicious, nothing-bad-about-it day. Were there goof ups? Sure, I forgot the corn-on-the-cob and pasta salad in the basement. We'll be eating corn and pasta all week :) But jeez, we didn't even have the obligatory child-spills-something moment! Absoluely everyone we know in State College (on a first name basis) came and I it served to remind me again how very much I LIKE these people. I found myself begging more than one to come back soon under quieter circumstances.

I highly recommend the "get married again" anniversary experience. As mortal experiences go, it was one of the best. Right up there with the births of my babies. And yes, it really was better than the first wedding. Although one thing was the same. At the first wedding I said the vows with this strange feeling like I wanted simultaneously for this moment to last forever while also wanting to FASTFORWARD to the point where we were pronounced husband and wife and all while wanting to close the gap between us to hold this man tight because he was/is so, so right. You know, we're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. If you think we're not over here squabbling about whose job it is to do the dishes now that we've switched "roles" you're giving us way too much credit. We've had some tough moments since settling in here as we pursue that happy ending/living we so stubbornly want. But today standing there in the grove I had all those feelings in exactly the same doses. Squabble all we want there's still only one man I want to share the toilet paper with. Still only one guy who motivates me to continue to slay my own demons, to dump my own "garbage", to not settle for mediocrity. I loved listening to the words of the ceremony. At the same time, I was poised with anticipation for the chance to say "I do!" And at the end of it all, I wanted so much to get to that kiss -- even if I held back a little because, you know, I was two feet from my Bishop and my mother-in-law ;)

Chris wanted to give everyone a party favor. So I suggested one of his wonderful music mixes. His choices were perfect. Email him if you want one. He made a few extra.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful



GROOMER: She's all done! (with some surprise) She's got a REALLY pretty face under all that hair!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Twin Boys

The twins did not want to co-sleep. They were okay with falling asleep on you, but they had reflux and they wanted to sleep on an incline. A crib and a big foam wedge was perfect for that. So in the morning I would hear them in their room and go in to get the day started. They didn't usually start up fussing. They woke up happy and chatty. But they were, you know, very young babies and didn't really do much.

Then one morning I woke up and walked in their room and they broke simultaneously into this full body happy dance. And I felt, in that moment, that the best thing that could ever happen to a woman is to have twins. I still feel that way. There are LOTS of horrible things that can happen to people, but having twins is not one of them. The pregnancy, I won't sugar coat that. It is hard on a woman's body -- even if you're 6 feet tall and skinny, and I was neither. The first six months after their birth -- that's hard on your brain. You don't sleep much. And the whole experience just forces you to toss that whole supermom junk out the window. You do what you have to do and then you move on. But it's beautiful. It's magic.

This week the twins are working on a growth spurt. Milo can't decide whether to be "big" or "yiddle". He can't decide if he wants to grow up or be "a baby." But Ben is sure. He is sure he wants to be big. He tells me frequently throughout the day that he's "very big" and he "just gwew, Mom". Today we were in a sporting good's store that is having a sale looking for replacement sandals for Max. Max was looking at sandals. Ben and Milo found a small display of one pound weights. They delighted in picking up the weights and hoisting them above their heads in weigh-lifter fashion. Ben told the sporting good's store girl that he was VERY strong. The girl was completely charmed.

And they are growing. They are eating five waffles at a sitting and two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ordering up more. I cut them off and offer only milk at that point. Their jeans are rolled down a little more. Their roomy shirts aren't so roomy. Their new sneakers are already looking kind of snug. Their faces look more boyish, less babyish.

And yet in the middle of all this expansion they keep running back to me. I get a million little cuddles a day sitting in my corner typing. Up into the lap for a close cuddle. A happy sigh. A request for a kiss. Then it's wiggle, wiggle, wiggle back to the floor. Land on their feet and run away. "I'm running!" they narrate as they disappear around the corner.

And it's just all the more delicious because there are TWO and it's all happening at the same time and yet in wonderfully different ways.

So if it ever happens to you, and you tell me, and you're scared and worried and hoping I'll have something to say that will reassure you I can tell you already that my heart will be in my throat for you knowing what is ahead. That every worry, every stretch mark, even if you end up on bedrest, even if the pregnancy must deliver with a c-section, even if you feel completely unprepared because these are your first kids -- that it will all be worth it.

I know, I do, every pregnancy, every child is wonderful. I mean to take nothing away from the glorious experience of having a singleton pregnancy and the experience of raising that child. There was nothing lacking in raising Max. He is still my firstborn. The boy who turned me into a mother and the boy who continues to teach me what being a mother is. I don't wish to tarnish that at all.

I'm just saying that if you ask *me* if having twins is as fun, as cool, as great as it looks then my answer is, "Oh, yesss. Yes it is."

Monday, July 11, 2005

And I would walk 500 more . . .

So yesterday afternoon Ben let both dogs out. Wild and free they went carousing through the neighborhood. Only at this time of day, there were plenty of neighbors around to point and hollar. So I left Max and Milo with one neighbor and grabbed Ben and we hurried off in the direction of the pointing. Barefoot. (Hey, it's SUMMER, okay?)

Ben did great till we hit the blacktop because he has soft little preschooler feet. So I taught him to stick to the grass and we hurried on calling for the dogs. Finally another neighbor caught up with us and said that the first one had it wrong, they'd been heading back to the house (not away from it) and the dogs were back in the house.

Hokay. So there wasn't any shortcut back to the house from that place -- we finished going around the block. Problem was, we got to a couple of lawns were the owners were at peace with their weeds. One of these weeds is dry and prickly this time of year. Because I have, as Chris says, "Becky" feet, this wasn't a HUGE problem for me, but it was for Ben. "OUCH! OUCH!"

So I picked up my 42 lb preschooler and carried him across the lawn. I'll have to paraphrase this some as when I was writing this my mind went completely blank and I lost his exact wording. This is something close to it (and NOT the words of a kid with speech issues).

"I'm sorry, Mommy," he said in a voice full of despair.
"What for?" I asked with some surprise.
"I'm supposed to carry YOU over the grass. I want to be YOUR hero."


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hop, Hop, Hippity, Hop!

I was following Rabbit Trails started by Jill and came across the following lyrics. So here it is, with my favorite bald-headed guy.


(lyrics by Christine Lavin)

I don't like men who exaggerate

about the places they've been

about the money they've made

I like a man who's honest and true

You can look him in the eye

When he's talking to you

I like men who accept who they are

Not everyone can look like a movie star

If you can follow this thought

to it's logical end

You can see why I like bald-headed men

. . . ooh, I like bald-headed men

Everyone knows that it's testosterone

that turns bushy-haired men into a chrome dome

But testosterone is what makes a man a man

The more that he's got the more that he can

Do the things that make the women go "Oy!"

I'll take the bald-headed man over a big-haired boy

Big-haired boys make very good friends

But they cannot compare to bald-headed men

I've said it before

I'll say it again

I like bald-headed men

So why did you waste your money

joining that hair club for guys?

Oh, why would you cover your manly badge of honor

with such a bad disguise?

Oh, why would you throw away money on Rogaine and Minoxidil?

When all they can guarantee are years and years of pharmacy bills

. . . please don't do it!

I believe the hair replacement industry for men

is like the cosmetic industry for women

A giant black hole that will suck your money away

for the rest of your life

. . . please don't do it!

No matter how you fight it, time marches on

Some new things appear, some old things are gone

Let it move - - it's a natural thing

Like a leaf on a tree or a bird on a wing

Try looking in your mirror from a whole different place

You're not losing hair, you're gaining face

Be confident! Be cool! It won't be long when

You are bound to be one of the bald-headed men

Said it before

I'll say it again

I love bald-headed men

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It's Not Naptime!

Chris says it's bedtime, but it's been a bouncy, flouncy, fun, fun, fun day for me and I feel like the kid in Not Naptime. I can't find the lyrics sheet, so I'll spare you this time around.

But I know soon I will hit the wall and turn into a big ball of sleep deprived nothingness, so I'll blog quickly before the noodles I just ate turn to carbo sedative.

My father, step-mother, and sister are visiting from California. They're on a big multi-state, see a million relatives trip. First it was Rochester, New York, now here. Next Baltimore, MD, and from there down south to see the folks in North Carolina. The kids are in a tizzy because of all the attention. Yesterday we ate, gossipped, and enjoyed each other's company. Today we made it out to Penns Cave which I'd only heard of earlier in the week. This was a good move. Milo nearly made the back half of the boat wish we'd never come, but he finally permitted himself to be soothed about five minutes into the tour and by the end he was just so proud of himself for having survived. It's a tour through a big cavern, stalagtites, et al, in a boat. At the other end you come out blinking into this little lake, turn around, and go through it again from the other direction. We saw a young white-tailed deer, an albino deer (no, really), lots of ducks, and a pair of swans. And a lot of rocks.

From there we went to a nice restaurant that was reasonably priced and had good normal food. I got the best deal as I got to open birthday and anniversary presents :)

We had a quiet afternoon in which I worked and my sister read a million stories to the boys. (Then Milo put her to bed for a nap.) From there it was off to Max's swim meet where he did very well. His relay team vastly outswam the others. He dropped 3 and a half seconds from his freestyle time (which he donated to his backstroke time. Oops! But he still came in third in his heat.) It was just great to be there and have EVERYONE else there, too. Husband, kids, grandparents, and an aunt. No wonder he swam well.

So tomorrow is school picture day and everyone is coming along to make them smile. I need to get up in time to iron everything, so I'd better put my punchy self to bed.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

You Learn Something New Everyday

So I'm reading along at Effervecence and I stumble across a delightful knitting witticism that I've never heard before. Did she invent it herself?
In other sock knitting news, though, I frogged (rip it, rip it) my lace sock back to the third row. In other words, I undid all of the lace and started it over.
I cannot wait to use FROGGED (or frogging) in context. I'm sure, the way my projects are going, that I will have the opportunity soon.

And now, I leave you with some Justin Roberts. He is my fave children's music guy that totally appeals to any adult with a sense of humor. He's an ex-montessori teacher. It shows.

Dad Caught Stars
It was a summer night oh yes it was it was mmmmmmm
It was a summer night oh yes it was it was mmmmmmm
When my Dad caught stars in his hand
Yeah my Dad caught stars then he let them go
And he'd sing na na na na na na blue moon
And I'd go hey hey yeah yeah mmmmmm
It was so dark, we could hardly see
Yes it was so dark, just him and me
Then I said, "Hey Dad, the stars have fallen down."
And he said, "Hey yeah, the stars are all around."
And it was so dark we couldn't see too far
Yes it was so dark we kept catching stars
Then I said, "Hey, Dad, we better go inside."
And he said, "hey yeah, just one more firefly."
My Dad caught stars in his hand
My Dad caught stars then he let them go
And he'd sing na na na na na na blue moon
And I'd go hey hey yeah yeah mmmmmmm
Not Naptime animation

His website

Monday, July 04, 2005

Boom Boom BOOM

I've seen fireworks in:

  • St. Paul. Or maybe it was Minneapolis. It was Minnesota anyway.
  • Washington DC, more than once. many more than once.
  • Boston and vacinity. With and without the Pops.
  • Philadelphia
  • various suburbs of Northern and Southern California
  • some beaches in New England and Southern California
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Disneyland
  • and now, State College, PA.
Now, I'd *heard* that someone rated State College, PA possibly the second best fireworks show in the country, but you know, those central PAians can get carried away.

The music was not as good without the pops. The sound system needed work.

but the FIREWORKS were truly, masterfully done. I ooooohed. I aaaahed. I got choked up. I blinked in the sudden brightness. I pointed excitedly at a firework I'd never seen before. I said over and over, ooooh, THAT'S my favorite one.

I am never, ever, ever moving again. And if you don't see the State College PA fireworks once before you die, well, it's a loss.

But park as FAR from the stadium as you can get. Trust me, the walk, even with two nearly comatose so-happy-they-can-barely-talk (oh yeah, they can't talk ANYWAY :::hairflip:::) preschoolers will TOTALLY pay off cause there's only one road out of the place.

And Ben did NOT pee on the lawn in the middle of the display. No matter WHO tells you otherwise.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Every Girl's Crazy Bout A Sharp Dressed Man

I did a Google Image search on "Sharp Dressed Man" to accompany this post and found:

So we'll go with that since this post is about Mr. Nando Pupdaddy and me.

Today the Pupdaddy came to church with his puppies and ME.


Your "love language" may be presents, or physical affection, or whathaveyou, but mine is "be there for the ordinary". Be there for the dishwashing and the house pick-upping and sitting in the pew. Be there for the walk to the playground and lawn maintenance and the laundry. And I don't mean, "do it for me," although I'll take that if it's offered, but if you REALLY want the warm fuzzies you'll mow while I weedwhack. You'll dry while I wash. You'll fold the darks while I do the whites. To me that's marital bliss. And we haven't done ANY of that in our marriage because we've always been so BUSY that it's just made more SENSE to delegate. You do lawn maintenance WHILE I cook. You fold the laundry WHILE I put the kids to bed. But as I write this I know I'd love it ten times more if it were, "put the kids to bed together, then go fold the laundry together."

Assuming of course I got my two to three hours of quiet time by getting up at 5:30 am ;)

Anyway, Mr. Puppdaddy got up this morning and without one whit of complaint at the early hour, no put-upon-ness, nothing but cheeriness, helped me get the minions ready for church and we all went out the door, got in the truck, drove to church, and sat through Sacrament meeting. It was all so incredibly ordinary. You'd have never known it was Chris' first time sitting through a service and he didn't fall asleep even once (although it was Fast and Testimony Sunday and that means no talks -- and some testimonies are just more coherent than others).

So that was it. There's nothing to blog about in regard to it all except that he DID look TERRIBLY handsome in his suit and I just walked on air the WHOLE WHOLE time. At the beginning of Relief Society one of the Sister Missionaries found me and said something about expecting to see us in the more basic Gospel class that the investigators and new members usually go to. Now, I used to go to this class all the time in So Cal because it's a great class and there's more conversation than in the big class since it's a smaller group and in a smaller classroom. But I've been going to Gospel Doctrine which is the "regular" Sunday school here because it's a nice group and I really think the teacher is fantastic. So I took Chris to that class. Now I can see how it could be helpful to go to the basic class because it's much more condusive to asking questions and getting them answered. But today wasn't about getting answers. Today was about


So I took him with me to Sunday school. And I said to the Sister Missionary, "Okay, maybe next time." Because while it may be 12 weeks till the next Sunday that there's no RC racing, I'm hoping he'll come then, too. He just looks so GOOD in that suit in a pew and I just feel so wonderful with him there.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Ode to My Neighbor's Garden

Grape Tomatoes, Buttered Lettuce,
chives, green beans, sweet peas,

Okra, cucumber,
parsely, dandelion,
basil, thyme, and sage.

Ten times as tasty
from the neighbor's
summer garden.