Monday, November 30, 2009

Farewell NaBloPoMo 2009

Well, here it is, the end of November and the end of NaBloPoMo. Like always, I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad it's over.

I've got one house to decorate, another house to clean from top to bottom (that's a post of its own) and I've got three books on my night stand that have a thin layer of dust on them from neglect. Add in a visit to Santa, presents to wrap and cookies that need to be baked, and I've got a busy couple of weeks ahead.

I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break, but I promise to be back soon. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Three Little Elves

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

My children must have inherited their sense of rhythm from Ryan because they sure didn't get it from me!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bikinis and Birthday Parties

We experienced our very first instance of multiple birthday party bookings today. I took Liam to a classmate's party and Ryan took Sydney to a church friend's party. Poor Evan tagged along to Sydney's party as he really had no choice in the matter.

It got me to thinking about how birthday parties bring out some of my deepest parenting insecurities. For me, a child's birthday party is pretty much the equivalent of swimsuit season: it's a completely unavoidable situation in which I spend the entire time comparing myself to others.

What makes the better mom? One who bakes the cake or the one who buys a fancy one? One who hosts the party at home or one who pays a fortune to have it somewhere else? Should there be structured activities or free play time? Are crafts passe? Is everyone well-fed and having fun? How big of "swag bag" should be given to each partygoer? If you're invited to a big party, does that mean you need to bring a big or expensive gift? What will the other moms think of me if my kid has a meltdown in the middle of the party? And it goes on and on.

Taking your kid to a really awesome or expensive party is like seeing a mom of five at the beach who looks smokin' hot in a bikini. You're in complete awe and a little jealous, but the thought of putting that much work and/or money into it makes you want to cry. But then again, taking them to a really fun or unique home party is like seeing a mom of five at the beach who has a few lumps or stretch marks, but is completely comfortable with who she is. Having fun and enjoying the here and now are more important than looks or what others think of you.

So who do I want to be - the hot mom or the comfortable mom? Do I have to choose? Is it possible to be a combination of both?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Excess Screen Time

My parents kept the kids overnight last night and since Ryan and I are both sick (hurray for catching what the kids had!), we decided to spend the day clearing out the DVR and wrapping Christmas packages. I am now sufficiently tired of both "Chelsea Lately" and "This Old House." But on the upside, we got a lot of presents wrapped and I only have four more gifts to buy. Yay!

Then I dragged him to the theater to see "New Moon" for even more screen time. Ryan declared it to be the biggest chick flick of all time and said it was "worse than 'The Notebook.'" I thought it was good, but it was so s...l...o...w. I've read the books and even I got a bit bored. But it's just one movie in a series of four, right? Aren't most "middle" movies of trilogies pretty bad and/or boring? (I'm thinking "Empire Strikes Back" and "Temple of Doom" here.)

Anyway, other than that.....I got nothin' today.

Hopefully, for your sakes, something exciting will happen tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

I hope this post finds everyone sufficiently stuffed with scrumptious foods, with eyes that aren't too glazed over from parades and football and still in good moods despite spending the entire day with their extended families.

We celebrated Thanksgiving twice today, first at my parents' house and then at Ryan's parents' house. There's nothing like having turkey, dressing and all the fixings for both lunch and dinner. And let's not forget all those leftovers that will supply our lunches for the next few days. With all that turkey overload, it's no wonder I don't particularly like turkey any other time of the year. (I still have nightmares about the curried turkey dinners my mom used to make following Thanksgiving. Because of that, I refuse to eat any food with curry in it, which is sad because I hear Indian food is quite tasty.)

Like last year, I won't bore you with all the details of the day, but I've composed a little song to sum it up (to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"):

On my Thanksgiving holiday, my family gave to me:

12 fought-over toys,
11 expanding waistlines,
10 pounds of sales ads,
9 hours without internet,
8 thousand calories,
7 Christmas gift pitches,
6 rounds of "time-out",
5 rich desserts.....
4 poopy diapers,
3 half-deaf relatives,
2 kinds of dressing,
And a day full of blessings and love.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Nearly Wordless Wednesday - Thanksgiving Edition






What more could I possibly ask for?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not Enough Money in the World

Sydney is obsessed with boots. I bought her a pair before our big trip to NYC a couple of years ago, she outgrew them last year and I promised her we'd find another pair for her this year.

Well, apparently pint-sized black boots are no longer in style because we cannot find them anywhere. We went shopping this past weekend and found several pairs of brown boots and she tried them on, but they just weren't great. And our parenting skills while shopping for boots weren't exactly great, either.

Sydney: These boots make me look like a cowboy.

Me: Then try the other ones.

Sydney (now wearing pair #2): These boots are too tight around my calf.

Ryan: OK, try these.

Sydney (now wearing pair #3): These are OK, I guess.

Me: They look a little clunky.

Sydney: But they're the best pair we've seen.

Me: Just because they're the best ones so far, doesn't mean we have to get them. We'll try some more stores another time.

Sydney: What is wrong with this world?!? Why can't there be any nice boots?

Ryan: Ask your granddad. He'll tell you what's wrong with this world.

Me: Please don't ask him.

Sydney: Why did God make all the boots ugly?

Me: God didn't make the boots. Indonesian children made those boots.

Ryan: But a gay guy in New York designed them, so really he's at fault.

Me: OK...she repeats things, you know.

Sydney: Quit making fun of God!

Me: We're not making fun of God.

Sydney: Well, God made the Indonesian kids who made the boots so you're making fun of Him, too.

Me: OK, OK, we'll stop.

So how much does therapy cost these days? I have a feeling our kids are going to need a whole lot of it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Monday

Here's what we've got going on this week:

Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas
- I used a package of frozen chicken left over from the famous roasted chicken recipe

Friday: Mini-Meatloaves, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Saturday: Out

Monday: Slow Cooker Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

Tuesday: Lentil Burgers and Fruit Salad

Wednesday: Fish Tacos with Cranberry Tex-Mex Salsa

Thanksgiving Thursday: My contributions will be Sweet Potato Casserole, Tasty Green Beans, Roquefort Pear Salad
- I can't find the link for the sweet potato casserole, but I can tell you it does not have marshmallows on top. I'm not a big fan of that particular traditional Thanksgiving dish.

P.S. Fran, you were right. It's an Amish cherry pitter!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Any Guesses?

While Sydney and Ryan went camping last weekend, I took the boys out to my parents' house for a break change of scenery. One of their neighbors was having a garage sale and to be friendly, we ambled over to have a look. My dad picked up a new-to-him extension ladder (how exciting!) and my mom bought some copper pots and pans (five for $20!) that I'm going to clean up and polish for her as her Christmas present (inexpensive present - yay!).

I had my eye on a couple of cast iron skillets, but they were a bit rusty and I wasn't quite sure I was capable of using them correctly or cleaning them without ruining them.

And then I saw this:


As a person with a degree in history, I am a sucker for anything that might be considered historical and/or antiquey (yes, I just made up that word, but you know what I mean).

The owner told me what she thought it was, but she never used it for its expressed purpose, only for decoration.

I've googled it and it is indeed what she said it was, but I want to see if anyone can guess its purpose. Any ideas?

(Here's a hint - I think my Ohio readers may have an advantage as they may have seen or used one of these before.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

18 Months and 6 Days

When Evan was born, Liam was exactly 18 months and 6 days old. He was walking and (barely) talking, but he was still just a baby. And then we turned his life upside down by adding a newborn to the mix.

Well, today Evan is exactly 18 months and 6 days old. Like Liam was at that age, he's walking and talking, but again, he's still just a baby. And I when I look at him, I cannot imagine having another baby at this point.

I have no idea how we survived those first few months of Evan's life. We had a five year old, a toddler and a newborn. And, we packed up our house and moved when he was six weeks old. Seriously? How did we not drop from sheer exhaustion?

The tired cliche of "God doesn't give you anymore than you can handle" was my mantra back then and when I have tough days, I often think back to that time. It was a time of sleeplessness, general fatigue and post-partum weepiness. It was rough.

And now when both boys are yelling and Sydney is crying and I think I'm going to lose my mind, I am thankful that no matter how rough it gets, at least we're all sleeping through the night. And no matter how sad I get when I think about not having another wee little babe in the house, I am thankful that we decided to stop adding to our family and enjoy the three blessings we've been given.

They truly are blessings, my Sydney, Liam and Evan. Sydney with her curious mind, Liam with his mischievous grin and Evan with his sweet kisses.

On those rough days when I lose my temper once too often or raise my voice a little too loudly, I wonder why I deserve such blessings and I pray that I never take them for granted. Before I know it, they'll be off to college, married and having children of their own. (But then I'll have grandkids that I can spoil and then send home!)

So for now, I'll try remember every little moment: every time Liam and Evan get the giggles at the dinner table, every time the boys sit and listen when Sydney reads a book to them, every tickle fight, every hug.

I just hope they'll remember those fun moments, too.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I'm always amazed at the things that come out of my kids' mouths. Unfortunately, some of the things they say are just repeats of what I've said. Talk about your words coming back to bite you in the rear end!

From Sydney:

"Evan James! You know better than that!"

"Liam - I don't hear the whiny voice."

"Liam, how would you like it if I did that to you? Not so much fun, now is it?"

"Ugh. I wish those boys would be quiet! My head hurts."


From Liam:

"Aw, man!"

"Evan, no! One.....two.....three. No, sir!"

"Go room, Evan!"

"Not nice, Sydney!"

"Only have two hands, Mommy." (Because I often tell them I only have two hands when they clearly can see I'm doing something [like carrying laundry or pouring drinks] and they ask me to do something else [like assemble Legos or pick them up]).

It could be worse, I guess. But it's become pretty apparent that they do in fact listen to what I say. Sometimes, at least.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week I'm thankful for:

* Awesome blogging buddies who let me know that I'm not alone in my parenting dilemmas.
* No mention of a transfer to Sao Paolo at the meeting Ryan attended in NYC this week.
* Yummy autumn recipes that contain pumpkin and/or cranberries.
* The little alarm in my van that tells me when I have a tire with low pressure (I just wish it would tell me which tire).
* My sweet sister and brother-in-law who helped me figure out how to check the pressure in my tires (since Ryan was in NYC).
* The patience to do the checking and fill the low tires in fifty degree temperatures with two unhappy boys trapped in their car seats. You wouldn't believe how excited I was when I started the van and the little alarm went off! I almost wanted to shout Liam's new phrase, "Do it self!!"
* The sweet little lady who played peek-a-boo with Evan while I had the van inspected.
* The new Train song, "Soul Sister." I don't know why, but it always puts me in a good mood.
* The great Toys 'r Us sale that let me pick up four board games for $12 and a cool Wii game for Sydney for 50% off. Score!
* The joy in Sydney's eyes as we read through her baby book together.
* Evan's little kisses.
* Liam's new found love of helping - "I helping you, Mommy!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Sometimes I wonder why I punish myself. With Liam's birthday being in November and Evan's being in May (exactly six months apart), I thought I'd be smart and schedule their well-child visits (Liam's third year and Evan's 18 month's) together. Not so smart.

We made it about 75% of the way through both checkups without incident and I was getting all excited. But, of course, all heck broke loose and by the time we left the office, I was a sweaty, disheveled mess who got looks of pity from every doctor, nurse and secretary in the office.

Evan was wearing nothing but a diaper and his socks when Liam declared in the windowless exam room, "I nee go potty!" Since I was still in the middle of talking with the pediatrician, I asked him to wait a minute. He proceeded to turn the lights on and off about ten times while the doctor was trying to write in the charts. He dumped his bag of goldfish on the floor. He threw his cup of juice. And when he tried to bite me for blocking both the door and the light switch, the pediatrician chuckled a bit and said, "Does it help to know that I have five kids and four of them are boys?" I just smiled, but honestly? No, it didn't help.

She left and I asked Liam to help me find all of Evan's clothes (that bought about two seconds of cooperation) and just as I was pulling up Evan's pants, Liam made a break for it and ran out of the exam room. I stuffed one of Evan's feet into a shoe and followed Liam through the maze that is the pediatrician's office. He'd made his way to the bathroom and had his pants halfway down when one of the other pediatricians asked him where his mom was. I took Liam's diaper off, he did his business and then we all marched back to the exam room to fetch the rest of Evan's clothes since he was wearing one shoe and had his pants around his ankles. And don't forget the diaperless Liam who proudly sauntered back to the exam room with his little behind showing.

Add in a few more light switch tricks at the main reception desk and an attempted break-in of an "Authorized Personnel Only" room and you can understand why, despite the temperature outside being in the 50's, I was covered in sweat by the time we left.

I'm telling you, everyday is an adventure. Someday I'll laugh about this and other crazy days, but for now, I'm counting the minutes until Happy Hour.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Because I'm Apparently Doing it All Wrong....

About a year ago, an acquaintance and I were talking about staying at home with our children and she said, "If you're a stay at home mom and you're bored, then you're doing it wrong." I was so shocked by her frankness, I had no idea what to say.

I still have no reply to it. It obviously hit a nerve because for nearly a year it has been eating away at me and I cannot get that statement out of my mind.

Do you think it's true? Does the fact that I'm bored to tears while singing "The ABC's" for the billionth time mean I'm doing it all wrong? Does the fact that I'm often bored at home mean it's time for me to go back to work? I just don't know.

It's not as if I let the boys watch TV all day while I read or get on the internet. We play with blocks and cars, we read books, we go to the park/library/zoo. Granted, I find myself not reading to the boys as much as I did with Sydney (my bad, I know), but I certainly don't ignore them. In fact, I think there's quite a bit of merit in making them learn to entertain themselves; after all, of the three kids, it is Sydney who had my undivided attention for so long and now has a really tough time finding things to do on her own.

I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about going back to work. I would love to be able to have adult conversations every day; you know it's bad when you look forward to grocery shopping so that you can have a two minute exchange with the sales clerk. I would love to be able to contribute financially to our family, too. For six years, Ryan has been the breadwinner and he has not complained one bit, but I still feel guilty about spending money and not earning any.

But then, there's the guilt of daycare. The dreaded daycare decision. For both boys to go to a good, full time daycare, my entire paycheck would be eaten up, so, really, what's the point of going back to work? And there's the issue of sick kids. All three of them have been sick a lot in the past few weeks and it has been convenient that I've been home to take care of them. Mind-numbing, but convenient. Had I been at work, either Ryan or I would have had to take off to stay home with them.

But I am bored a lot. I just don't have the energy or even the desire to entertain/teach my kids all. day. long. I would love to be one of those moms who home-schools and loves spending 24 hours a day with her kids, but that's just not me. I'm a certified teacher and I know I could do it, but it does not interest me one little bit. In fact, I am more than happy to send Sydney off to school each morning and the ten hours that Liam is in Mother's Day Out each week are almost more precious to me than ten hours of sleep, and you know how much I love my sleep.

Most days, I feel like if I don't get a break from my kids, I am going to lose what's left of my mind. (And for those of you who would say something to the effect of, "Children are a joy and blessing. I just don't understand why you don't want to be around them all the time!" I would counter with something like, "I love my children more than life itself, but I dare you to do what I do day in and and day out for years with no end in sight.")

So do these thoughts make me a bad mom? Should I throw in the stay at home mom towel and go back to work? Should I suck it up and pretend to be thrilled to read "Goodnight Moon" for the 6,789th time? Or should I just stop whining about it all and shut up about it?

I just don't know anymore.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Monday

Here's Week #3 of menus:

Thursday: Homemade Chicken Pot Pie and fruit salad
- I used a bag of frozen chicken left over from my roasted chicken of last week

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Scrounge
- In my defense, we were supposed to be camping, so I didn't have anything planned. The boys and I had grilled cheese sandwiches and what was left of the leftovers (which proves how desperate I was to eat, because leftovers of leftovers? Not so good.).

Monday: Black Bean Nachos (our vegetarian meal)

Tuesday: Breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon)

Wednesday: Spaghetti

Nothing too exciting this week, as you can see. Next week is Thanksgiving, so I'm sure the menu will be more exciting. Well, as exciting as a menu can be.

****Also, I have no idea why my post from yesterday is being shown as being posted on Friday. But I'm still going to count it as posting everyday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Short Sunday Post

Scared of the dentist like me?

Maybe you need one of these.

I know I'm going to ask my numerous dental professionals about it the next time I have an appointment with the dreaded drill.

Either that, or I need to start asking for a tranquilizer before any major procedures. I gotta do something to take the edge off.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Dear Helmetless Motorcycle Drivers,

I'll bet you didn't know that when I see you on the freeway, I say a little prayer for your safety. But when I see you purposely driving recklessly, I almost want to revoke that prayer.

A Concerned Driver


Dear Lady in the Parking Lot,

Did you honestly think that rolling your eyes and tapping your fingers on the steering wheel while waiting for my parking spot was going to make me load my packages and kids into the car any faster? If anything, I moved more slowly, especially since there was an empty parking space three cars down. Lazy lady.

Not Sincerely,
The Lady Who Has the Power to Move Like a Snail


Dear My Old Hometown,

While driving down your main street today, I saw not one, but two billboards advertising a medical study for people with leprosy. Is there something you need to tell me?

A Former Resident With the Heebie-Jeebies


Dear Virus,

I am respectfully requesting that you leave my house. I have replaced toothbrushes, washed sheets and blankets and sprayed every surface with Lysol, yet you continue to bother us. You have overstayed your welcome and we'd be much obliged if you would find another home to inhabit.

Thank You,
A Broke and Tired Mama


Dear Liam,

Thank you for getting up several times the last few nights to cough uncontrollably, wheeze and cry. Any second thoughts we may have had about having another baby have been vanquished by your reminders of how tough life is when you are running on no sleep.

Your Sleep Deprived Mom


Dear Pharmacy,

Thank you for always having my son's medicine. I can't imagine having to drive all over town looking for his breathing medication.

A Mom to a Sick Boy

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fun Fact Friday

1. In the past four weeks, the kids have been at the pediatrician's office four times. We're set to go next week for Liam and Evan's well-child visits. In one month, we'll have spent as much at the doctor's office and pharmacy as we do for one month's worth of groceries.

2. Today, as Ryan took the day off, I made him take Liam to the pedi's for another breathing treatment. After last time, I wasn't too keen on going. From the sound of it, he had as good a time as I did.

3. Thanks to all the sickness, I have barely left the house in the past few weeks. Stir crazy doesn't come close to how I'm feeling.

4. We were supposed to go on a family camping trip this weekend. Thanks to Liam's breathing issues, I'll be staying home with the boys while Ryan takes Sydney.

5. One of our contributions to the camping trip (about 10 families are participating), was a panful of dressing (as in turkey and dressing). I made a huge pan of my grandmother's cornbread dressing and I won't even get to eat any of it. I love that cornbread dressing.

On the brighter side of things...

6. We found a renter for our former house in The Big City. Hurray! She asked if she could plant some flowers in the front flower bed. Are you kidding me? She can plant a whole meadow's worth of flowers if she wants to!

7. My family's annual holiday candy making day is just around the corner. I can't wait - I love Candy Day!

8. I bought all of the ingredients to make Mommy Daisy's glazed pumpkin cookies. Yum!

9. Somehow, I got put in charge of planning the Thanksgiving party for Liam's class at school. I decided to serve Chick-fil-A nuggets....just the excuse I need to get some Chick-fil-A for myself!

10. They're building what looks like a fast-food restaurant about a mile from our house. It looks like a Wendy's. I am beyond excited about the possibility of having a Frosty machine that close.

11. I just realized that four of my fun facts involve food. What can I say - I love yummy food.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:

* trees with leaves that change color. Someday I'm going to take a vacation in the fall to a place that has a lot of these trees.
* caffeine, in the form of Coke. I'm not a big coffee fan.
* all of the sweet people who have wished Liam a happy birthday.
* bottles of bubbles. I love how something so simple can entertain a child for hours on end.
* two boys who will play together without fighting. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's like heaven on earth.
* my tireless washing machine and dryer.
* Liam's inhaler. I don't know what we'd do without it.
* the antique furniture that I've inherited through the years. I hope it survives long enough (see reference to boys a few lines above) for Sydney to inherit. (I'm pretty sure the boys won't care :) ).
* Evan's blossoming vocabulary. Just yesterday he said "go" and "Sydney." I've never seen Sydney smile so big before. He's now up to about 40 words.
* my sweet husband who secretly ordered a pair of black leather, knee high boots for me nine months ago when my cheap old pair of black boots wore out. They arrived yesterday evening (they'd been on back order that long since I have a very small foot) and they are absolutely fantastic. Pointed toes, two inch heels....I'm in heaven. I'll be wearing them around the house to break them in the next couple of weeks. Just imagine me folding laundry or vacuuming in them!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Birthday Pics

You know you have a precocious child when you bake their birthday cupcakes, set them out to cool and come back five minutes later to find this:


Luckily, there were plenty of cupcakes left for the party. :)

Sydney had fun trying out the bouncy house we rented all by herself while we waited for the guests to arrive:


Evan was a bit more apprehensive about being in an enclosed spaced that moved and jiggled, though:


The party really got underway when my mom climbed in to have a bit of fun:


We took a break from jumping to create our own celebratory cupcakes (since my cake decorating skills leave something to be desired):


Evan was not so thrilled with his plain, non-messy cupcake, though:


Liam enjoyed opening up copious amounts of presents:


And the guests went home with their very own goody bags buckets:


I knew all those trips Ryan has to take to NYC would pay off - I made him pick up a pound of yellow M&M's and a pound of red M&M's the last time he was there to put in the "Cars" themed buckets.

After the guests departed (we really did have guests, but I don't want to post their pictures without their permission), we all had fun playing in the bouncy house until the rental company came to pick it up:



Yes, that's me attempting to do a somersault. And, yes, I was quite sore the next day.

I even got all three kids to sit still for two seconds in order to snap a picture of them:


Can you tell they were tired? Right after that, we headed inside for a quick dinner, bath and bed.

Good times were had by all.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Speaking of Birthdays

Liam was not the only one to have a birthday this week. I'm sure you've already heard, but Big Bird and his pals on Sesame Street are celebrating their birthdays today. This fabulous children's program has been on PBS for forty years now and I am so thrilled that my kids love it as much as I did as a kid. Of course, it has changed since I watched it (Elmo, the current star of the show, didn't exist when I watched it as a child), but it still encourages learning through singing and playing. I don't know how many times I've heard Liam singing along to one of the songs or Evan attempting to imitate what the characters are saying.

I love how it spoofs real life people and television shows. It's like a cleaner version of Saturday Night Live for a pre-school audience, but it is still funny enough to hold the attention of those pre-schoolers' parents, which is more than I can say for most of the other shows geared toward kids. I love how current musicians, actors and politicians appear on the show to either parody themselves or pass along inspirational messages: "Sharing is fun!", "Everyone is worthy of respect!", "It's OK to ask for help!" and "Learning is cool!" I love that it makes my kids laugh for almost a full hour without the aid of fart jokes or put-downs. It is just an all-around great show.

In honor of this great show, I thought I'd find out my Sesame Street personality:

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you lovable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

I'm not so sure it fits me (my emotions pretty much rule my household life), but at least it didn't say I was Oscar the Grouch!

So, what's your Sesame Street personality?

Menu Monday

Our menu for the week:

Thursday: Broiled Tilapia, baked sweet potatoes, green beans

Friday: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash, breadsticks
- This was a new recipe for me and while Sydney and I ate it, the boys (the little boys, Ryan wasn't home) wouldn't touch it, but then again, they're pretty picky eaters. I might just go back to serving spaghetti squash with marinara sauce.

Saturday: Leftovers (very exciting, I know)

Monday: Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Tuesday: Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, peas
- I shred the leftover chicken and freeze it for use in future dishes. If you want a laugh, you can read about my first experience making this chicken here. I am happy to report that I can now make it without gagging at all.

Wednesday: Green Bean Okazu over rice
- This one sounds like an odd combination of ingredients, but it really does taste good. And it gets my kids to eat fresh green beans which is a miracle.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Liam is Three!

Three years ago, he weighed a mere 5 pounds and 12 ounces:


He can be serious:


And he can be happy:


He likes to dress up:


And, he loves to eat sweets:

(At his birthday party today.)

Happy 3rd Birthday to my energetic, rambunctious, mischievous, silly, fun and sweet Liam. We love you!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I know it's been a few weeks, but I'm finally getting around to posting pictures of our pumpkin patch adventure. (My apologies if you've already seen them on FB.)

Here they are with my niece, Laura:


And Mr. Smiley, aka Evan:


Then there's my testosterone-filled boy, Liam, attempting to lift a pumpkin that weighs more than him:


And what do you do with all those pumpkins when you get home? Well, when you're too little to use a knife to carve them, you paint them!!



Happy Fall, Y'all!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What I'm Watching

Now that the current TV season is well underway, I've had plenty of time to check out new shows and decide if they are DVR-worthy or not. Granted, I haven't watched episodes of all of the new shows (I don't have the time or desire to do so), but this is what I've come up with so far:

* Modern Family - This show is hilarious. It reminds of me a cross between The Office and Seinfeld, but with a focus on a large, extended and blended family. If you're not a fan of shows that make you cover your eyes out of embarrassment for the characters, this one is not for you. Julie Bowen and Ed O'Neill are particularly funny, although the entire cast does a great job.

* Cougartown - I wasn't so sure about this one. I really like Courteney Cox-Arquette, but the subject matter wasn't exactly appealing at first (older woman {and by older, I mean late 30's - which is scary since I'm not far from there} dates younger {in their 20's} men). While Cox is funny, I relate more to her stay-at-home-mom neighbor played by Christa Miller. I kinda wish the show was more about her.

* Eastwick - Eh. This one revolves around three women in a New England town who discover they have magical powers after a mysterious stranger comes into town. It's okay and it's something to watch at naptime, but I'm not going to be particularly sad if it gets cancelled.

* The Good Wife - Like Cougartown, I started watching this one because of the lead actress, Julianna Marguiles. I've been a fan of hers since ER. The premise is that Marguiles' character has to go back to being an attorney after her politician husband (played by cutie Chris Noth) goes to prison for corruption. This one is well-written and the actors who star in the supporting roles are all excellent, too, which is unusual for a drama.

* Community - Yuck. We tried to watch this one, but it was terrible. The overall plot is thin and implausible, the writing is not funny at all and the acting is terrible. I'm embarrassed for Chevy Chase - he deserves way better than this show. We only watched three episodes of this one. Talk about a huge miss for the NBC comedy night.

* Bored to Death - Another yuck. I only made it through one episode of this one. It is not funny and while I respect Jason Schwartzmann's dedication to taking "indie" roles, this one is not worth his (or my) time.

How about you? What new shows are you watching this season?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Just like last year, I'm going to devote Thursdays in November to not-so-serious things for which I am thankful. Today's list may be short because I have a had a very trying week thus far (read: a sick 6 year old, a separation anxiety stricken 1 year old and an almost three year old who must have received a surge of testosterone because he thinks we're all his own personal punching bags).

I am thankful for:

* Wine. See above description of my week.
* People who RSVP for parties. "Yes" or "No", I really don't care, just let me know so that I can plan!
* Being able to get all dressed up for a fancy night out with Ryan. I love feeling like a grown up. Not a mom, just a grown up.
* Online shopping. Getting out and shopping with three kids? Not so much fun.
* Non-noisy toys.
* Sweet grocery store clerks who make my kids smile.
* Leftover Halloween candy that I can sneak during nap time.
* Our new temporal thermometer.

What silly thing are you thankful for?

Nearly Wordless Wednesday


Apparently Evan should have been born in the 70's since he enjoys the bare chested jumpsuit look.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Yesterday, my old (as in former, not OLD) play group pal Jenny wrote a hilarious post about living in a neighborhood full of attachment parenting (AP) families. It had me cracking up remembering some of the conversations I had with AP moms at some of our play groups. I also remembered how much I don't miss that aspect of our former neighborhood.

Take the time when I took Sydney to a paint your own pottery place one rainy day and was hit in the head with some random object being thrown by an AP kid (in a store full of breakable stuff, mind you). How do I know he was an AP kid? Well, his mom saw him throw said object, saw it hit me in the head and rather than forcing the kid to apologize (like most parents I know would do), she said, "That was not a wise choice, now was it, Ashby?" The kid looked at me, laughed and went on his merry little way. Ugh.

There are a lot of things I do miss about our old neighborhood, though. I miss our friends. I miss walking to various parks, the market, little cafes and Sydney's pre-school. I miss being ten minutes from any kind of restaurant you can imagine. I miss our old church and church family.

But along with the AP parents, I don't miss the crime of our old neighborhood. We used to watch drug deals take place on the street in front of our house. The very busy street in front of our house. We should have realized how busy it was when our neighbor's dog was hit by a car two days after we moved into our house. I petitioned the city several times to put in speed bumps and/or stop signs, but no one seemed to care. We never did feel comfortable playing in our front yard for fear of a flying, out of control car (which happens - we had one land in our ditch at two in the morning one time). And we didn't particularly want our kids to witness a drug deal, either.

And as if drug deals aren't bad enough, our former neighborhood is now plagued with a serial arsonist. Over a dozen fires have been set within a few blocks of our old house in the last couple of months. The closest one was just three blocks away.

And, while out watching for the arsonist and any suspicious activity, a neighbor around the corner from our house noticed a man lurking in another neighbor's yard. When the police arrived, the suspicious man was wearing latex gloves and carrying a butcher knife. He told the police that he'd been watching the house for several days and knew that the husband had gone to work and that the wife was home alone with the baby. This was just around the corner from our house. Five houses away. All I can think is That could have been me.

And, don't get me started on the schools. That is a whole other blog post.

So, as much as I miss our sweet little house and our friends and all, I'm glad we moved. At first, I was so homesick for our old neighborhood that I wasn't sure we'd made the right choice. But I'm happy that the worst crimes I hear about include the spray painting of the park slide or houses getting wrapped in toilet paper. I'm thrilled that our kids can play out in the yard and the driveway without a huge fear of getting hit by a car. And I'm overjoyed that the schools here are great.

Our old neighborhood in The Big City is a wonderful place, but it's just not the place for us anymore. Who knows...once the kids are grown and off to college, we might be ready to move back to the little artsy community we grew to love. But for now, we're home.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Monday

It's the second day of NaBloPoMo and I'm already out of ideas. How sad is that?

So, I'll steal an idea off of another blog I read. She posts her menu for the week and I've found a few great things for us to eat. Of course, there is an official "Menu Monday" site that you're supposed to link to if you want to use their cute little badges, but I'm not tech savvy enough to figure it all out, so I'll just skip the cute badge and linky stuff.

Since I usually grocery shop on Thursdays, my list will not start on Monday, but "Menu Thursday" doesn't have that cute alliterative ring to it.

Thursday: Pork sandwiches (the pork was left over from earlier in the week), fruit salad

Friday: Ten Bean Soup (a store-bought mix), cornbread muffins

Saturday: Chicken Quesadillas

Monday: Slowcooker Southwest Chicken Casserole over rice

Tuesday: Lasagna, salad, breadsticks

Wednesday: Chicken tacos

A few side notes:

* I almost always fix something in the slow cooker on Mondays since Sydney has gymnastics after school and we don't get home until after 5 pm.

* We eat a vegetarian dinner once a week.

* I'll post a link to a recipe I've found online, but if there is no link or recipe listed below, then it's something easy or something I've made so often that I don't need a recipe.

* You might have noticed that Sunday is missing from the list. It's a tradition for us to eat popcorn, fruit and cheese cubes in front of the TV on Sunday nights. We eat at the kitchen table the other six nights of the week.

Slow-Cooker Southwestern Chicken Casserole

3 chicken breasts, thawed but raw
16 oz. salsa (any variety)
1 can black beans
16 oz. frozen corn
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 pkg cream cheese (I use lowfat or Neufchatal)
rice or egg noodles

1. Mix 8 oz. salsa, black beans, corn, garlic and cumin in a bowl. Spread on bottom of slow cooker.
2. Place chicken breasts on top. Pour remaining salsa on top of them.
3. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
4. Remove chicken, shred it and place it back in the mixture. Cube cream cheese and place it in the mixture.
5. Once the cream cheese has blended in, serve the casserole over rice or egg noodles.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Here We Go Again

Well, it's November and you know what that means: NaBloPoMo. Yep, I'm going to attempt to do it again for the third year in a row. As always, I make no promises as to how interesting the next 29 posts will be, but I'll do my best.

For now, I'll leave you with pictures of our little Halloween celebrants.

Here is Sydney as WordGirl:


Liam as Winnie the Pooh:


And Evan as a cow:


Trick or treating went quite well and we now have a huge bag of yummy candy sitting on our kitchen counter just to torment me for the next couple of weeks. Between it, the pumpkin cookies and breads I'll be making and Liam's birthday cake (next week!), my waistline is not going to fare well this fall. I did, however, manage to "re-candy" all of the junky candy we don't like, so at least that's less I have to worry about. :)