Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Confession Time

Confession is good for the soul, or so "they" say, whoever (whomever?) "they" are. I'm really not proud of most of the things I'm about to list, but....I have no shame.

  1. I don't clean the dryer lint trap as often as I should. Every time I actually remember to do it and collect a way-too-thick layer, I can hear my dad tsk, tsking in my head.
  2. When Craig works at night, I let Caroline eat her dinner on the floor in my bedroom in front of the television.
  3. I fall asleep on the couch every night. If I don't, I have a really hard time falling asleep in my bed. That bed mate of mine is a wee bit noisy when he first falls asleep.
  4. I hate imaginary play. Whenever we had to role play in school, I tried to hide, to avoid participating.
  5. Every so often there will be a day where I'd rather not talk to a single soul.
  6. I HATE being called Mrs. Smith.
  7. With the exception of my parents (and Craig), I don't like talking on the phone. They are the only people, I call to just chat with.
  8. I buy two cartons of ice cream each time I do my bi-monthly shopping trip and don't share it. I would share if asked, but I don't offer.
  9. I've never eaten at Sonic, nor have I eaten a Big Mac.....and I worked at McDonald's for a few years.
  10. I once yelled at the automated lady on the cable company's technical support line, who was supposed to help me troubleshoot. She wasn't helping and I NEEDED TO TALK TO A HUMAN. It wasn't one of my finer moments.
  11. When I'm working out, I mouth the words to the songs playing. It helps keep me occupied, but I'm sure I look like a total dork. Surprisingly, I don't care.
  12. Sometimes I take the "when in doubt throw it out" slogan a little too liberally. I've been known to waste food just because I have a feeling it might potentially go bad sometime in the near future.
  13. (small voice) I like to watch Hannah Montana (/small voice)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Don't Care What You Think As Long As It's About Me

I've had this Fall Out Boy song stuck in my head all day; it's the chest track song from my
Body Pump class. The words, in all their self-centered glory, just speak to me.
Hmmm, wonder why?

At least the song lyrics formerly stuck in my head are now gone: "P.I.N.K P.I.M.P I'm back again I know y'all missed me." I'm far too vanilla to be singing about diamonds all over my "teefs" and 23 inch black on black rims.

I've been, quite happily, playing Betty Crocker again.

Do you think Betty would listen to P!nk?
I bet she was a Frank Sinatra fan. Perhaps a little Elvis if she was feeling a bit cheeky. Dresses, pearls, high heels and a lacy apron scream Frank to me.

Chicks in jeans and flip flops, sporting a messy pony tail aren't classy enough for Frank.
Betty was classy.
And me? Not so much. Now, let me assure you that even though I may not be classy, I'm most certainly not "klassy" like the Real Housewives of Orange County.
However, refined wouldn't be a word one might used to describe me. Sure, I have good manners, but, well, I'm a mess.

Regardless of Betty Crocker's supposed classiness, I don't think she was a real person, so this renders my WWBLT (what would Betty listen to) line of questioning completely pointless. Of course, that's assuming that this would even be a relevant topic if she were indeed a real lady. My verbal ponderings are rarely relevant. Or thought provoking.

Moving along....

Yesterday was "Feed Craig's Workmates Day." In celebration of the big event, I made the world's largest chicken pot pie.

Seriously, it was huge.
And heavy.
And messy; some of the filling escaped the four layers of foil I enclosed it in and wound up on my car upholstery. That doesn't make me very happy....and it reminds me of the time Craig made pot roast for his peeps in Hawaii. Our car smelled like pot roast for days. DAYS.



See how big it is:











That thing took me all afternoon to put together.



The air was pretty humid, which created a tricky (and sticky!) pie dough situation; I don't like tricky pie dough situations.

They annoy me.

And cause me to say bad words.



Thankfully I had enough flour and ridiculously expensive organic, non-hydrogenated shortening to make a second batch.

After I conquered my pie dough issues, I also dealt with flour lumps in the sauce. I wasn't being patient. In sauce making, lack of patience inevitably equals lumps. Or not. I don't know. With the help of my trusty strainer, I removed the hideous lumps and went forth to create a savory pot pie filling.

Caroline and I dropped off dinner at 5:25pm. Craig called at 5:44pm for the post-dinner report. Ever the pessimist, and alarmed by the quickness of Craig's call, I assumed that meant I messed something up. Au contraire.

They devoured the whole thing in fifteen minutes.

Yay! I love a pot pie success story.

Speaking of pot pie success stories, I never used to like pot pie. That is, until I started making it for Craig, who LOVES it and is so very nice to me when I make it for dinner. I've never been a *huge* fan of pie crust. I like graham cracker and cookie crusts, but real pie crusts were just "meh" to me. I also remember eating a frozen pot pie (you know the kind!) at a friend's house when I was about nine and being appalled by the fact that the little thing had 38 grams of fat in it. Yes, I read nutritional information at the age of nine! Believe me, explaining years nine and ten of my life to you would send your heads spinning. However, it would probably provide a little more back story to how I became the Neurotic Housewife.

Seriously y'all, you don't want to even know; I'm doing you a HUGE favor by not delving any deeper.

My mom, bless her heart, wishes with all her might that she hadn't ever uttered the words "fat grams" to me. Had she kept her mouth shut, I might not have turned out so wacky.

Thanks mom! And I'm still so very truly and deeply sorry for ages nine and ten. You deserve more than the snarky card I bought you (but haven't sent yet) for Mother's Day. Remember last year's Hillary Clinton card....where I wrote something about dodging sniper fire with you? Pure greeting card gold, I tell you.


OK, moving along again....

I also made chocolate peanut butter swirl brownies.

When I grow up I want to learn to cut brownies evenly. As obsessive as I am, I cannot cut evenly.

I try.

Oh how I try....

Before I shut up for good, I'd like to add two very random tid bits to this lengthy post.

1. Despite my well documented neurotic tendencies and compulsive hand washing, I am not worried about this swine flu. I just don't get caught up in things of this nature. I figure if Geraldo Rivera is making a big deal about it, I'm just not interested. He spent an ENTIRE HOUR Saturday night talking about it. I realize that those who have been impacted find this to be a very big deal, and I wouldn't want to down play that. However, just wash your hands people. And don't kiss strangers. Or pigs. ;)

2. Good riddance Arlen Spector. Take Susan Collins and Olympia Snow with you. No more RINOs, please.

Monday, April 27, 2009

One

I'm sure all three of my readers are tired of my tales of Caroline's tooth woes, but well, I've got nothing else.
Sorry.

We went back to the dentist this afternoon for a follow up. The tooth that was broken is just fine, but the tooth that took the brunt of the force from the fall is *better* but still in need of some attention.
Attention of the root canal kind.

Blah.

This wasn't exactly unexpected, but we were hoping for some sort of miracle.
The tooth is also still a little mobile, which worries me, but the dentist assured me that it should firm back up once the root canal is performed.

The bright side (I promise, no more Monty Python videos, as my mom claimed it was "horrible." It's Monty Python, it's supposed to be horrible. That's the charm of it all.) is that she needs only ONE root canal.

Somehow that seems so much more manageable.

Her dentist gave us the name of a child friendly endodontist, and we already have an appointment set up for next Wednesday.
Caroline is a little apprehensive, quite understandably, but her dentist assured her that the endodontist doesn't want her to tell her friends he did a bad job, so he'll make sure everything goes alright. That seemed to comfort her, for which I'm truly thankful.

Caroline is a stoic kid; she doesn't show tons of emotion, unless of course, we tell her it's time to come in for the evening when other kids are still playing out side. Cue the water works.
She doesn't get her feelings hurt very easily and doesn't seem to worry much at all. This is so completely foreign to me, but I find her strength quite fascinating. And admirable.


The element of the unknown concerns her, but she is so not neurotic. She's not crippled by fear;
I find that truly fascinating.

Maybe this is proof that she leads a pretty charmed life?
She's loved, cared for, smart and lots of friends. No need to worry.

But wait...I was loved, cared for, smart and had lots of friends. Go figure?

How could someone so hopelessly flawed create someone so normal?
I'm not sure Craig's normal-ness could possibly out weigh my neurotic tendencies.
This is just further evidence that Caroline was created by a truly merciful God; she should get down on her knees daily and thank him profusely for turning out so normal.

All I know is that Craig is so, so, SO relieved that Caroline isn't neurotic like me. Two of me?!? THAT would be way too much for him to handle....a job way above his pay grade.

Whatever the case, when Caroline does show concern or worry, it just breaks my cold black heart. I told her that I'm the mom and therefore have been put on this earth to worry for her; she should just relax and enjoy being a kid.

Now, if only I weren't so transparent. Kids are smart enough to catch on and that is why I'm so thankful that her dentist was able to calm any fears she had.

Yay for highly trained professionals!

So, that's the Tooth Saga part XVIII.
Stay tuned for more as we approach root canal day.

I'm sure you're all on the edges of your seats.

Edited to add: The dentist let the "B" word slip this afternoon.
Braces.
I'm not surprised.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Like A Heat Wave

Gah!
It's hot.

Suddenly the only pleasant area in the house is our lower level, which during the winter is referred to as the frigid ice box. Funny how things change when the weather takes a turn.

Last week, when it was 75 degrees, Caroline begged, rather unsuccessfully, to wear her bathing suit. Yesterday, at nearly 90 degrees, I obliged. The kids had traditional kid fun, spraying each other with the hose, eating popsicles, laying out in the drive way on beach towels. They devised a plan for their summer time lemonade stand, ate more popsicles, and tried to convince me to break out the slip n slide.
Normally this wouldn't be a problem. However, I bought the slip n slide on clearance in Georgia a year and a half ago, when we had a yard. Somehow we never took the thing out of the box, but brought it along with us on our move, not knowing what our yard situation would be like. Well, our yard situation here in Virginia is that we don't have one.
We have a driveway flanked with some shrubbery.
I might know much, but I do know that driveways are not a safe slip and slide venue.

Oh well.

Once you take the slip n slide out of the box and it gets all wet and grassy, it's hard to find a place to keep it. Much like kiddie pools. They just end up getting moldy because you forgot to put it away before it rained or something equally disgusting.

As you can see, I really haven't had much to blog about these past few days.
Hot weather. Whiny kids. Laundry.

We did go back to the money pit running store yesterday.
Craig and I tentatively planned to go on Friday, his day off, but Caroline, knowing that we'd be likely to eat lunch out, decided for us, that we should go on Saturday instead.
Sneaky chicken McNugget eater.
She got her Happy Meal. Craig and I ate Subway. But we held back on the ice cream.

We have to have some sort of control over her, after all.

And sadly, that's about it.
Craig is out on some horribly long run and I have ambitious plans to tackle the ever growing laundry pile. The same pile I conquered (or so I thought) last week.

I'd also like to teach Caroline how to put a shirt on the right way: tag in the back and right side out. However, considering her dad's propensity towards inside out and backwards clothing (NOT in public, thankfully), it's probably not worth the effort.

We Smiths are an unconventional bunch.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life




I've never even seen "The Life of Brian" but I remember hearing Eric Idle sing this song once on the Daily Show and I never forgot it. I particularly remember Jon Stewart bobbing his head and whistling along in sheer delight; it was such a funny and endearing moment.

I find it peculiar that have a hard time remembering if I wore a matching pair of shoes to the gym, yet I remember something I saw on television years ago. Go figure.

So, the bright side is that we don't have to pay the entire $790 the dentist charged for our Saturday night visit to his office. That's good. Very good.

The not so bright side is that our dental insurance doesn't cover the splinting the dentist did to help Caroline's teeth reattach to the bone. Obviously an important procedure.

Guess what "important" costs these days?

$478 (!)

Yep.

Now, in all honesty, knowing that this is an imperative step in the reconstruction of Caroline's mouth, I would pay triple the amount. The thought of spending that much money on teeth is somewhat sickening, but I'm still so very thankful that the dentist was able to help Caroline.

It's all about perspective.

And, if anything, this is serving as an important (and expensive) lesson in safe games to play inside the house.

Can you believe that I STILL have to remind Caroline and her friends to slow down, stop slipping, stop running on the hardwood floors? You'd think they'd get it. Or maybe I'm just hyper-paranoid?

Monday we find out if the splinting worked and if Caroline will need root canals.

Oh yay!

Just what every seven year old (and her obsessive, worry wart mother) wants.

It has taken me two hours to put this post together. First I had to figure out how to embed the youtube video, which took way longer than I'd care to admit. I also had to tend to Caroline and the brigade of rug rats infiltrating our home. Bailey and Seth stayed here while their mom went to the gym. So, I made dinner. Then Rachel and Jordyn joined us. For sunflower seeds (the already shelled kind), the kid's new favorite thing to eat....through a straw. Guess how many sunflower seeds are on my floor? Would you care to wager a guess as to how a pile of sunflower seeds ended up in Bailey's shoe? Her brother, Seth, swears he didn't do it. But I'm not so sure. He's such a little brother!

I broke up about 38 fights, threatened to throw Seth in the dungeon twice, cleaned up sunflower seeds and water from the baths they gave their Webkinz and heard (and tried unsuccessfully to block out) lots of grumbling from beneath the tent they engineered.

"Stop, you're making the tent fall."

"Stop kicking me"

"Stop stomping your feet."

"Mooooove, you're in my way."

"You're ruining everything."

And my personal favorite.....

"Eww, who farted?"

Such a charming life I have.

And now I'm off to help to help Caroline with her bath, all the while, whistling and remembering the words of the great Eric Idle, "life's a piece of (bleep....this is a family blog, afterall) when you look at it."

Just purse your lips and whistle!

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things I've learned this week:
  1. it takes only one car washing session for my feet to start developing flip flop tan lines
  2. it's completely impossible to fully catch up on laundry
  3. three people sure can generate a whole lot of dirty laundry
  4. as soon as you clean the glass on your storm door, a random neighborhood kid will come up and stick his or her grubby little hands or face on said glass, leaving smudges once more
  5. pizza gives me heartburn
  6. Nivea Kiss of Moisture lip balm is awesome
  7. I hate the words "mom can I have a snack?"
  8. not because I don't want to feed my child, but when she asks what she can have, she NEVER wants what I offer
  9. Cinnamon graham crackers with peanut butter is the best afternoon snack
  10. it takes six hours for two adults to contruct and paint a cardboard castle
  11. it also takes 50 yards of duct tape and 657 staples
  12. only people without children choose off white carpet
  13. no matter how hard I try to remind myself nor how often I think of her, I never actually remember to purchase my sister a birthday card...I know, it's a lame excuse. Oh well, Happy Birthday Laura!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Think They Hate Me


23 blankets
14 pillows
two chairs dragged across the hardwood floors
one annoyed mama
I'm not really annoyed; I like for the kids to destroy my peaceful and tranquil home have fun.
What I don't like is for them to drag everything out, set it all up and then go outside, leaving the giant blanket monster alone to taunt me and my neat freakish ways.
Constructing the fort is evidently far more fun than actually playing in it.
Part of the fort consisted of the cushion to my favorite reading chair. Look what we found hidden underneath the cushion.

A cotton ball snow ball from Caroline's Winter Wonderland birthday party in January.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's Turn Off Your TV Week!

Uh, no thanks.

I know there is plenty of research to suggest that TV is harmful and demonic and makes us stupid. But you know what, I don't care. I don't care if others think my child will be dumb because she watches TV. I know she's smart, thanks in part to educational shows.

I heart television.

Reality TV, 24 hour news channels, Gilmore Girls reruns, reality TV, the Food Network. Oh, and reality TV.

I don't watch TV at all during the day, but I can't help but delight in a little time spent in front of the idiot box each evening.

I don't believe anyone who says they'd rather not watch television.
"Oh, I just have too much to do."
"I much prefer listening to church hymns."
"I'd rather play twelve thousand games of Chutes and Ladders with my children."
Oh no you wouldn't. Every parent hates Chutes and Ladders. Sure it was fun when you were four, but the game can go on forever. FOREVER. I used to cringe when Caroline brought it out. "Wouldn't you rather play Zingo or Sequence or how about beat me over the head with your Nerf bat instead?"

I could spend a lot of time listing the joys that television has brought me over the years, but that may lead me to realize how pathetic I truly am. I'd hate for that self disgust to cause me to start participating in this bogus event.
But I won't.
I'll stand strong, delighting in the awesome glow emitting from my television.
Enriching my life, yet brain washing me and killing what few brain cells remain.

I'm somewhat of a rebel anyway. Well, a wishy-washy rebel. A rebel in my own mind.
Tomorrow, in honor of Earth Day, I plan to NOT recycle. Ooooh, that'll show them.
I just despise manufactured holidays. Even more, I despise being told how to live my life by vapid celebrities.
I recycle every other day of the year, not because I'm told, but because I want to.
But not tomorrow.
Instead I plan to vegetate in front of the television, further increasing my carbon foot print.
It's a two for one deal!

So take that Leonardo DiCaprio...and your little clown car, too.





Oh Ina, How I Adore Thee

What's not to love about Ina Garten?

She has lovely shiny hair, impeccable taste, a beautiful home in the Hamptons, a kitchen to be envied and despite an unfortunate Mike Brady curly hair style, an adorable husband.

It would be impossible for me to make most of her recipes, since I cook with health awareness and cannot bring myself to wreak havoc on the arteries of those I love.
Butter, cheese and cream are staples, but, quite thankfully, not in an obnoxious way, a la Paula Deen.
Her recipes often contain pricey ingredients, as well. So, for the cheap and health conscious (like me!), she may not be a perfect match. Regardless, I just can't fight my Ina love.

In need of a tasty treat to prepare for Craig's work peeps, whose arteries I'm less concerned about (ha!), I turned to the Barefoot Contessa and her outrageous brownies.





Photo courtesy of Food Network


Outrageous. Indeed.


Only, I had some Oreos to use up from last week's baking disaster and turned to this version of her recipe.


Wow!

Holy Heck!

and.....

Sweet Mercy!

These were truly outrageous.


Like Jem and the Holograms....Outrageous, truly, truly, truly outrageous. Ohhhhh, Jem!

Sorry, just a little 80's cartoon tangent.


And then I did something very un-Ina. I made these Peach Cobbler Bars, which contain both a boxed cake mix (sigh!) AND canned pie filling (gasp!).

Thud.

That was Ina, dramatically falling to her knees on her perpetually shiny hardwood floors. Praying for my conversion to culinary purism.

Oh well.

Like I've said before, I'm no food snob.



Monday, April 20, 2009

Guess Where We Went This Weekend?


Please excuse the lone Nerf dart bullet pictured underneath my bed.
In case my picture wasn't obvious enough, we went running shoe shopping.
Again!
After Craig threw out two pairs of shoes, our collection looked sparse.
I'm beginning to think that a trip to Disney World would be more economical than a trip to the running store.
Craig ordered some shoes from our favorite online running shoe purveyor, but they didn't fit. Instead of having to stand in line at the post office and having to pay the return shipping fee, we found out that the online store has a brick and mortar location, just a stone's throw away in Falls Church. Yay!
So off we went. Craig was able to return the shoes and get a new pair in it's place. Only, they don't fit well either, so we're returning those next week.
I've been experiencing some foot problems that have been leaving me sore and cranky.
Not a good combo.
With the help of shoe dog, I was able to find a nice pair of New Balance.
On clearance.

I wore them today and am quite pleased. Even if they make my feet look HUGE.
Seriously.
Huge.
For a short chick, I sure do have big feet.
However, comfort trumps vanity when it comes to exercise.
The store is really nice and they even have coloring pages and markers for the kids to use. Caroline isn't a big fan of shopping, which is a shame because Craig and I both enjoy it.
However, with a picture to color, coupled with a bribe of McDonald's before hand and ice cream after, she was quite pleasant.
I can't imagine why?
Yes, we're not ashamed to admit that we've lowered ourselves to such unhealthy bribery tactics.
I'm sure in a few years child protective services will remove Caroline from our home because of our careless use of bribery by McNugget.
Hey, it works.
And sometimes, that is all that matters.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nothing Says Spring Like Sweet Potatoes and Cornbread Stuffing

Our week started out rainy and cold; yesterday it was 75 degrees and sunny.
Guess what? It's going to rain again starting on Monday.
Wacky.

To celebrate such beautiful weather, Caroline and I washed my car.

I'm a neat person.
I like to clean.
The inside of my car is quite tidy.
And this is where I hang my my head in shame and admit that I haven't washed the outside of my car since last June. Can you believe that?

I'm a little embarrassed.

However, I keep it parked in the garage so it wasn't TERRIBLY filthy. But still, 10 months?
I guess we've found the one area of my life where I'm not a neurotic obsessive freak.

Like I said, it was warm, moderate and comfortable. 75 degrees.
Hardly bathing suit weather.
Yet, I had to spend a great deal of energy trying to convince Caroline that she did not need to put on her bathing suit. If she's complaining about being hot now, what's going to happen when it's 95 degrees in the middle of summer?

She's just showing off anyway.
I wish I looked as cute as she does in a bathing suit. Heck, if I had her long legs and lack of cellulite and stretch marks, I'd wear a bathing suit every chance I could.

Moving on....after washing the car and battling over proper attire for a spring day, I went inside to fix the quintessential spring meal: turkey cutlets, sweet potatoes and cornbread stuffing.

Only, we didn't have any turkey cutlets. I remember looking at them in the commissary and thinking that I should buy some because I hadn't made a mini thanksgiving meal in quite sometime. Fully inspired, I decided they were an item in need of purchasing.

And so I did. Or didn't.
I thought I put them in the cart.

Evidently I didn't.
Hmmmm.

Luckily I had a package of chicken breasts in the freezer and chose to use my wonderful improvisational skills. Because, you know, chicken and turkey are so vastly different.

I spent the majority of my formative years in California. Therefore, I do not fry food. I grew up drinking skim milk and diet pepsi. We ate alfalfa sprouts on our sandwiches and went out for frozen yogurt all the time.
I didn't know what biscuits and gravy were until I moved to Florida. How I still wish I hadn't been introduced to that loveliness on a platter.
With that being said, I will never fry chicken. I don't know how and don't really care to learn. However, we love this stuff.
I coated the chicken in the flour and "fried" it. And by "fried" I don't mean as the package suggests in two inches of melted vegetable shortening (!). I "fried" in two tablespoons of Smart Balance canola oil with added Omega-3s.
I'm living on the edge!

Nevertheless, my turkey, er chicken turned out really well.
Coupled with the stuffing and sweet potatoes, our dinner was reminiscent of Thanksgiving.
Sadly, no parade, no football, no crisp autumn weather BUT best of all, no turkey meltdown.
I am queen of the turkey meltdown. I own it.
However, it's too emotionally draining to participate in more than once a year.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hat Tip To Ann M. Martin

Back in the day I was quite the babysitter. Perhaps I was inspired by the Babysitters Club book series, written by the aforementioned Ann M. Martin, and devoured by every pre-teen girl in the late 80s and early 90s. All I know is that I enjoyed the task; and my services were in high demand.
Parents would drive twenty minutes one way to pick me up so I could watch their kids...and then turn around and drive me back home rather late in the evening.

I had one family in particular that I loved to sit for. A Navy family with three very well behaved kids, who went to bed at 7pm. That left the rest of the night free for me to watch TGIF on ABC. Remember those days? Perfect Strangers. Full House. Urkel.
AND they paid me quite well. At the time, $20 for sitting in a quiet house as the children slept, eating chocolate chips and watching TV wasn't half bad. Heck, I'd take that now!

My love for baby sitting turned sour around the time I started high school. Instead, I re-focused my money earning strategies, and took to selling Big Macs and super sized fries to cranky people, who couldn't order properly through the drive thru speaker. That's another post for another day.

There's nothing quite like coming home after a hard day of work, hair glimmering with french fry grease and fingers smelling like those little dehydrated onions on the hamburgers.
Long lasting onion smell.
Charming, I know.
No wonder I didn't get any dates in high school!

As I have clearly documented on this blog, our house is the assembly point for the neighborhood kids. Much like the gymnacafetorium at the local elementary school. Caroline is the principal; I am in charge of refreshments. That must make me a lunch lady. Sans hair net, of course.

Whatever the case, this set up works well. Caroline is hardly ever lonely and my entry way is forever cluttered with shoes. Just the way I like it.
Today I found someone's crusty old sock on our front porch! I'd ask why, but it's pointless.
Besides, I'm sure I don't really want to know the answer.

I watch other people's children often, it comes with our open door policy. As long as Caroline is around to play with the kids, I'm good.
I may grumble, but it's really alright.

My neighbor called on Wednesday, rather unexpectedly. Her preschool aged son is on spring break this week and she needed to get some work done. Instead of calling her normal baby sitter, she thought to call me, because you know, I just adore children, to see if I was interested in earning a little money.

Money is great. But entertaining other people's children when my own kid isn't home, isn't exactly at the top of my list of things that make me go "yay."
However, in the interest of being a good neighbor, and not to mention, a neighbor with the inability to say no (others in this family might dispute that claim), I said sure.
Because, really, don't I seem like the type of person that would love to spend her afternoon with a five year old boy?

The truth is, there are a million things I would have rather done, but, maintaining a little perspective helped me remember that it's nice to be able help a friend out. I like knowing that there are people in the neighborhood to count on. And know that the favor can be returned one day, if need be.

Her call made me think that I must put on one heck of a good show to make her think that this is something I'd enjoy doing!

I seem to have a love-hateperpetually annoyed relationship with kids. I love babies. If they didn't grow up, I'd have a million of them.
I also enjoy talking to older kids; I like to do crafty stuff and bake with them. However, I don't enjoy the invasion into my personal space.
I should be used to it by now; yet I sometimes feel like my orderly life is being violated.

I'm glad they feel welcome in our home and I like knowing that they're safe and within ear shot, but the control freak in me cringes when they move my things, scrape my table with their rock collections and leave Legos floating in my over-filled bathroom sink.

Trivial? Yes.
True? Unfortunately.
Do I need to lighten up? Sweet mercy, yes I do.

Today, was babysitting day.
Jonathan is the younger of two boys and does not like to be alone. Doesn't like to play alone. Doesn't like to watch TV alone. Can't even go to the bathroom without a conversation partner close by.

My type of kid.

He's a polite, engaging, happy kid. But he sure does not like it if you give him apple slices in a "girl" bowl. I told him that's all I had; he wasn't impressed. That is, until I managed to scrounge up a Shrek bowl that the nice Kroger man gave me for free when we lived in Georgia. Thanks Kroger guy. You just made my day a little easier.

While I'm praising the grocery guy, I should also let out a big "hallelujah" for the Wii.
Jonathan loves that blessed thing. However, he doesn't love it enough to play alone.

Craig, who is off on Fridays, played for a bit. Then I took over.
That killed an hour.
And pulled every single muscle in my right arm. I batted, bowled, putted. And sucked big time.
That five year old beat me in everything! Caroline once beat me in real bowling...with the bumpers up!
I'm coordinated, but evidently lack athletic prowess.
Sorry Dad!

Despite my Wii short comings, somehow we made it through.

And it was OK.

I don't intend on letting this happen again...unless it's an emergent situation....but I survived.
And I made some bucks.

Do you know how long it has been since I've earned any money? Uh, me either.
I think the last time was when I watched a baby boy, close in age to Caroline, back when we lived in Arizona.
It's funny how someone lacking the warm, fuzzy gene keeps finding herself in kid-filled situations.

I haven't quite figured that out.

Perhaps I have an unrecognizable gift.

Or, more likely, as stated above, the inability to say NO.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Photo Edition

For lack of a better idea, I thought I'd dig up some pictures of Little Caroline. There's nothing like a trip down memory lane!
All of these pictures were taken the year she turned two, when we lived in Maryland.



Having snack at the mall. We went early on Saturday mornings during the colder weather to let her run around before the stores opened. As I recall (and I've tried, unsuccessfully, to block this out), Caroline wasn't fond of leaving the mall. And believe me, she was sure to let her feelings be known. Loudly.



Picking flowers on a breezy spring morning.



"Smiling" for the camera.


Deep thoughts.

Playing with string.


The cutest elephant ever.

Happy to be going trick-or-treating for the first time.


Awww.


On a pile of hay at a pumpkin patch.






She may look sweet......


I LOVED these pants. Yipes, stripes, fruit stripes gum.




Waiting for a carriage ride at our community Christmas party.


I miss those early years sometimes.
Sometimes.
When they look so sweet and cute it's easy to forget the torture character building they put you through.








































Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Goal for 2009

Learn to operate a kitchen timer successfully.

Evidently they only work properly if you set the time AND press start.
You might suspect that I'm leading up to a story about burned food, billowing smoke and an angry smoke detector. On the contrary, this is a sad story about soupy, undercooked cookies and cream chess bars. To be completely accurate, all but a one inch perimeter of the big pan was soupy and goopy. The edges were perfectly cooked. And very tasty.
I'm a pretty honest person, but I think I'll refrain from admitting how much of that one inch border of perfectly baked goodness ended up in my mouth. Ahem. A girl has to have some self respect.

Make believe or not.

All I can say is that the time I had tentatively planned to spend on the treadmill tomorrow morning is no longer negotiable.

Workouts fueled by self loathing.

Perhaps this should be my new workout slogan?

Sigh!

They looked done.

The top was slightly browned and I was actually fearful that I had over cooked them.  In my opinion, slightly under baked goodies are far more desirable than over baked.

Soupy is not under baked. Soupy is gross.
Even for my standards.

I'm making lasagna for Craig and his peeps tomorrow. I bring dinner around 5pm, but the dessert was going in to work early so Craig could share with the morning shift.

Uh, that's not happening now.

Instead, we're going to set aside half of tomorrow's re-made bars for the morning crew on Thursday.

So now I have to cut Body Pump even shorter than usual(on Wednesday I leave after biceps....tomorrow it'll be after triceps), run across the parking lot to the grocery store, grab cream cheese, oreos and a can of tomato paste (not for the chess bars!)...and a coffee (Bloom has the best coffee) and then rush to Caroline's school for lunch.

I warned her I may be a few minutes late.  It all depends on how well my hair chooses to cooperate during the drying/styling portion of the morning. If it feels like treating me nicely, I won't have to rush too much.
But, my hair is much like me: finicky and compliant only when the mood strikes.

Man, I really wish I hadn't eaten so much of my reject bars.

Excuse me while run up and down the stairs a few times.

And then convince Caroline that the television does not have to be on while she's reading her book in an entirely different room.

She's supposed to be reading.
She's not watching the TV. She can't see it. Or hear it.

She's in another room, yet she wants it on. With the sound down.

Say it with me, huh?!?

For some reason her little brain isn't thinking clearly.

Or maybe I'm not able to comprehend, since, you know, I'm about to enter a diabetic coma.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Are You Singing? Are You Dancing?

I'm singing and dancing.
And why? You might ask.
Well, because Spring Break is over. School is back, baby!
Cue arena rock music and shameful, unrhythmic dance moves.

I'm exaggerating; we actually had a very nice Spring Break.
No travel or excitement or anything to be envious of, but it went smoothly. Emergency dental visit, aside.

We went to Washington DC, Craig took Caroline and two friends to see a 3-D movie, there was lots of outdoor playing (except on the rainy days) and we can't forget the Easter egg hunt, complete with pony rides, a petting zoo and more candy than one child should reasonably hold in her possession.
Simple, but fun.

Caroline enjoys school, but prefers playing, so she's not as happy about the ending of Spring Break.

She'll get over it.

You ought to see the lunch I have packed for her; it looks like a two year old's lunch!
A two year old with a hearty appetite.





Everything is cut in bite sized pieces. Caroline is technically off the soft food diet, but she finds that small bites are still much easier to handle.

In case you were wondering, that's a cream cheese and jelly sandwich. Unlike Craig and I, who could/would eat pb & j every day, Caroline is not a fan. She takes after her Aunt Laura. Caroline WILL eat it, she just doesn't ask for it. Aunt Laura, on the other hand, refuses. She had an unfortunate post-pb &j eating tire swing incident when she was three that turned her off to the stuff. Nearly 23 years ago. And she still won't eat them.
Maybe Aunt Laura possesses some of the neurotic, too?
Guess we should blame Grandma!

That's alright. I can't judge.
It took me years to eat ranch dressing again after the infamous events of New Year's Eve 1989.

Wow, that was a huge tangent.
Back to lunch.
In case you thought I only packed healthy foods (snort!) those aren't bits of (day glow orange)carrots. They're mini Cheetos balls. Every girl, functioning front teeth or not, needs Cheetos.
And for dessert, a cut up jello egg.
You can't beat colorful, preservative laden snacks.

Hey, I use whole wheat bread. And we can't forget about the grapes.

It could be worse.

After joining the kids for lunch so often, I'm appalled at what they end up eating. Especially the ones that buy. Not that the lunches they bring from home or buy from the school are bad, it's just that the kids only eat bits and pieces of their meals.

Wednesday is ice cream day. Guess what they eat first? By the time they eat the ice cream and talked to their neighbors, it's time to clean up.
Thursday is cookie day. I'm willing to bet that at least one kid will only eat their cookie and some chocolate milk. Even if there is a hamburger or some chicken nuggets on their tray.
Priorities.

I wonder if their parents know?

Caroline eats a variation of the same lunch every day. After two years of preschool, followed by kindergarten and now first grade, I'm quite tired of packing it. But, the lunch is generally healthy and she likes it. Nothing goes to waste. I guess I'll just deal with it.

It's just about time to read Henry and the Clubhouse and tuck the kid in bed.

And then I think I'll grab my book and brew myself another cup of tea. I accidentally made lemon tea instead of quietly chamomile. I don't like hot lemon tea.

I wish I weren't such a dunderhead sometimes.

Flat Stanley Visits Washington DC


Hi everyone, I'm Flat Stanley.

My friend and host for Spring Break, Caroline, colored and decorated me to look like a Colonial soldier. I think she did an excellent job!

I was excited to spend the entire week with Caroline and her parents. They kept me busy, including two slumber parties, bike riding, roller skating and a 9pm trip to the dentist on a Saturday night. Boy, that was fun! With all the excitement we had this week, the day that sticks out most in my mind, and the one I remember mostly fondly, is the day we visited Washington, DC.

We left Caroline's house around 10 am and headed to the Metro Station, ready for a day of learning about our nation's history.

Here I am in the back seat. Caroline's mom tried to buckle me in for safety, but I'm just too flat. Don't worry, Caroline's dad is an excellent driver; we arrived safely.




Here is a picture of me and Caroline before we took off on our journey.






The first stop on our adventure was to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station.


Here I am holding my ticket.




The Metro was noisy and VERY crowded, so I found that riding in Caroline's mom's purse was the perfect spot for me. I did peek my head out occasionally to see what was going on. I didn't want to miss a single thing on our DC adventure.





Once we arrived in Washington, DC, at the Smithsonian Metro exit, we enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine while walking to the Air and Space Museum.




Here I am reading about lunar landings.



By this time we were all really hungry, so we visited the museum's food court.


They have McDonalds!




That was a good lunch!


When our bellies were full, we went outside again and started walking toward the U.S. Capitol Building. On the way there we saw a cat being walked on a leash! Too bad Caroline's mom forgot to take a picture.


Pardon our squinting; the sun was shining really brightly that day.

Perhaps Caroline should have drawn some sunglasses on me.

After visiting the outside of the Capitol, watching a flock of seagulls and enjoying the lovely weather, we started walking again, hoping to see the cherry blossoms.
We sure did a lot of walking that day. Caroline's dad used Google Map and estimated that we walked 5.3 miles! Well, I didn't walk much, I was happily riding in Caroline's mom's purse, but I know Caroline and her family kept their feet moving an awful lot. I appreciated being carried and I only got a little bit wrinkled, thankfully.

The cherry blossom trees were so beautiful.

Here's a picture of me sitting on one of the branches.




We also saw the Tulip Garden. Tulips were blooming all throughout the Mall area, in such vibrant colors. I liked the red/orange ones the best, but here I am next to some purple tulips. Caroline's mom had to take this picture fast. The wind was blowing and they were afraid I might fly away. Strong wind is a huge hazard when you're flat.



Our next stop was the Jefferson Memorial.







After visiting the memorial and reading Thomas Jefferson's wise words that were carved into the Memorial's walls, we sat on the steps for a bit and listened to some music. The Cherry Blossom festival was still happening and there were many vendors in the area selling Cherry Blossom Festival merchandise.


From the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, you can see the Washington Monument so clearly.






After a quick rest we started walking again. This time we walked across the Arlington bridge to get to the Arlington Metro station. From there, we reboarded the Metro, and enjoyed the ride home. Because Caroline and I behaved so well on our visit to DC and didn't complain at all about the walking, her parents treated us to some ice cream. I love ice cream!


Caroline's mom left the camera in the car, but I had a double scoop of mint chocolate chip. My favorite!


I really enjoyed my time with Caroline and her family. We had a fun visit to Washington, DC and I'm so happy to share our day with you all.


Thanks for listening!


Love,


Flat Stanley

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'm Not Sure Why I Even Bother

First, let me say that I sure have been a busy blogger today. Some days I can't think of a thing to say and other days I've got TOO MUCH to say.
I guess more happens on the weekends. Weekdays are just too scheduled and predictable.

My ham turned out quite tasty. I nixed the glaze packet that came with the ham. I'm not a natural foodie by any stretch of the imagination, given my addiction to diet pepsi and all, but I do try to chose a healthier alternative when I can. So that meant making up my own glaze. Armed with 6,875 recipes for ham glaze that google found for me, I just decided to wing it. Pineapple juice, brown sugar, mustard (prepared and dry), a little bit of cayenne and black pepper. It worked and I'm quite pleased.
However, when it comes to holiday dinners, I just cannot get the whole thing to work. Everything is done at different times and I usually have one dish that is a complete disaster. I've pretty much mastered Thanksgiving, excluding the annual turkey meltdown (that's a given) , but the other holidays give me fits.

When you're a perfectionist, OK just doesn't cut it.
When you're a homemaker and preparing food comprises 75% of your daily tasks, OK is not enough.

The ham was great. The homemade whole wheat crescent rolls were tasty. Same goes for the vegetables. But that stupid hash brown casserole just didn't work. It has worked before. It's the same recipe. It was just OK. I hate OK.
I like Yum! Wow! Great!

Pffffft.

I stress about holiday meals, but I shouldn't.
No one cares.
I care.
Craig and Caroline couldn't care less. I could serve tuna sandwiches or chicken nuggets and they'd be perfectly happy.
They have every right not to care, I can' fault them for their feelings. It just makes me feel dumb for sweating the details.
It's just that we never do anything special.
Sometimes I want special. Something that everyone appreciates. Not because I like receiving a pat on the back or need the affirmation, but because I enjoy doing it.
But, it's pointless.
I stress out and Craig says "you don't have to do it." He's right. I don't HAVE to do it.
But, you see, I want to do it. I want dinner to come out perfectly.
Not just for me, but for everyone.

Preparing food is all I have to offer sometimes; but it's perceived as superfluous.

I'm not warm and fuzzy.
I'm not particularly creative.
I detest chaos.
Hugs from me don't come out of the blue.
I love my family, am loyal and worry about them constantly, but I'm not the huggy, warm, mushy type.


There wasn't some sort of horrible dinner time blow up or anything. No tears shed or sharp words exchanged.
I'm not looking for sympathy; I'm just thinking out loud. Unleashing my inner conflict and self loathing out into blogland. It's nice to vent and not have to listen to someone else's point of view. A one sided argument. Only I'm not mad at anyone.

Well, that's not entirely true.
Quite frankly, I'm mad at myself.
Mad because I'm too hard on myself, creating stress and pressure when it's absolutely unnecessary. Mad for being upset about something completely and utterly ridiculous. Mad because I'm sucking out all the joy in my life by setting unrealistic goals and ideals.

I shouldn't be surprised. And I'm not.
This always happens.
Will I ever learn?
Probably not.

One day we'll have a picture perfect holiday dinner with cheerful attitudes, lively conversation and brilliant food. Until then, I'll get over my funk, grab a handful (or two!) of jelly beans, put away the pile of dishes waiting for me and figure out what to do with six tons of leftover ham.

You're Doing It Wrong

We just finished dyeing Easter eggs. This should be a joyful task, however, the control freak in me finds it less than soothing.
I should have known.
It happens every year.

I get frustrated.
I worry about food coloring leaving it's mark on our clothing and counters and floors and fingers. Last year we had some sort of green food coloring explosion that left the skin around the nail of my left hand middle finger green for weeks. Weeks! Showering daily coupled with my obsessive hand washing tendencies did nothing (NOTHING!) to get rid of that green dye.
I boiled a dozen eggs last night in preparation for today's festivities. All but two survived the boilage, which is amazing. I make hard boiled eggs often, but still manage to crack a few in the process every time.

When I arrived home from the gym, Caroline was playing at a friend's house, so I took the opportunity to set things up without having a little shadow following my every move, peeking over my shoulder, asking endless questions and causing me to trip over her big feet.
I have personal space issues.
Caroline, quite oppositely, lives by the "closer is better" motto. If it weren't for the fact that I clearly remember giving birth to her, I'd start wondering if she were even my kid. She certainly doesn't look like me; I'd kill for the long lean legs she inherited from her dad. At my gym in Georgia, one of the instructors said she actually thought that because we look nothing alike and I looked too young to have a six year old (at the time), I was Caroline's nanny!
I wish!
A paycheck and weekends off, would be fabulous.
Clearly this instructor needs glasses. I can't dispute the fact that Caroline and I don't look alike, but my developing crows feet, speak for themselves.

Anyway, in orderlyAlison fashion, I neatly laid out the paper cups on a cookie sheet. I carefully added 1 tsp of vinegar and made up six different color combinations using the little guide on the back of the food coloring box. Feeling generous, I left three cups out to let Caroline create her own color combinations. We were set.

When Caroline and her two cronies, Sarah and Rachel, appeared and saw the egg dyeing prep, they concluded that it would be a great idea if Sarah and Rachel brought over their boiled, yet stark white eggs so they could dye together. Oh yay!

"Um, sure" I said, half heartedly. Great, now I'd have to worry about six hands covered in food coloring. Three outfits to shield from wayward sunset orange splatters. Three people refusing to heed my direction. Oh yay!

Knowing that this would be fun for them, I lightened up a little. Creating memories for your child IS more important than having an obsessive orderly approach to the process. Letting go of control is hard for me, but I'm trying my best to focus on what truly is important: my sanity fun times for Caroline.

Feeling light hearted and generous, I let each of them create a color. Not too surprisingly they all turned out a muddy green color. That's what happens when you mix red, blue, yellow and green haphazardly.
And then the dunking began.
Now the box states that the eggs should remain submerged in the dye for 5 minutes. Guess how long the girls left them in? 30 seconds is a good guess. Maybe 32, but not any longer.
I told them that the longer they let them soak, the truer and darker the color would be.
They didn't care.
McCormick deemed it necessary to include this information on their box, so I believe it's in our best interest to follow their instructions. They're professionals. I'm sure they've endured countless hours of egg dye testing in their research and development laboratory. And yet, this meant nothing to three eager young girls. They don't care about the process. Or deeply set dye colors. They just want to do it and move on to the next thing.

That's the part that frustrates me year after year.
I'm sure I was as equally unconcerned when I was a kid.

I remember bringing out all the various miss matched coffee cups and doing the same thing year after year.
As I recall, my eggs were more vibrant than the ones we produced today. Maybe we didn't use food coloring, but those Paas tablets instead? Or perhaps I'm imagining it.

Who knows!

As predicted, the girls had fun in the haphazard, carefree way that they find so appealing and I find so appalling.
Rachel splattered green dye on her clothes and then proceeded to spill the contents of the cup onto the counter. Thankfully our counters are blue and things were cleaned up quickly and without a trace of dye infiltration.

I wish I could say the same for my hands.
Unlike last year's bright green cuticle stain, this year the color adhering to the palms of my hands vaguely resembles the color of Oscar the Grouch.

How's that for evidence that God has a sense of humor?

No Easter Egg Hunt For You!

It's raining. Mightily.
Consequently the neighborhood Easter egg hunt has been cancelled; but don't fear, it's being rescheduled for tomorrow.
Whew!
It just wouldn't be Easter without one. Especially the kind where kids show no mercy, knocking down everyone in their path, stepping on fingers, trampling the littlest ones, on their way to claim the free, yet half melted piece of chocolate stuffed inside a colorful plastic egg that parents end up stepping on because they were carelessly left in the middle of the floor.

Pure kid fun.
Until someone gripes about how unfair it is that they didn't get as many eggs as the other kids.
Someone always ends up crying.

The best part of this whole neighborhood deal is that the lady who organizes the Easter Egg Extravaganza (my neighbor) is Jewish.
Evidently if she doesn't put it together, no one does.
Maybe some of the eggs are stuffed with matzo balls.

Craig works tomorrow, so we're eating our Easter dinner tonight.
I haven't cooked a ham in forever, but I bought a spiral cut kind and it looks pretty easy.
We're also having hash brown casserole, broccoli and roasted asparagus. If I muster up the desire, I may even make some homemade crescent rolls.
I didn't plan anything for special dessert, which comes as quite a surprise, but I sort of forgot to.
I find that quite puzzling.
Alison NEVER forgets dessert.

Perhaps it's my subconscious telling me to lay off the sugar? Bathing suit season is (regretfully) right around the corner, afterall.

Anyway, I love a good rainy day and plan to read a little, cook a little and do some laundry.
I have to finish up the book I'm currently reading because I have The Cream Puff Murder waiting on hold for me at the library.
These books are fun to read and a little hokey, but they combine two of my favorites: murder mysteries and baking.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'll Take My Smoothie With Extra Shards Please

With Caroline's current mouth situation, I've been making a lot of smoothies.
I'm not one to brag, but I'm a competent smoothie maker. They're sweet, refreshing and mighty tasty.
Even without a recipe.
I just throw some stuff in the blender and blend.
No rhyme or reason. And they always turn out well.

We even had a smoothie maker at one time. I think I broke it.

I broke my blender today.
I've always had a rocky relationship with the blenders I've owned. Sometimes they sit in the cupboard for years, collecting a one inch layer of dust, feeling neglected and unproductive. Other times I use them with vigor, only to burn out the motor. Or let them drop from the top shelf of our pantry, leading them to an untimely demise.

This week of smoothie making has encouraged my ego a bit and I think I just got too cocky. Caroline and her two friends put in their fruit request (pineapple, banana, peach, strawberry) and I got to work. I over confidently added the ingredients and blitzed them to an icy yet creamy consistency. The flavor was a little off. It needed more punch.
I added some more banana and a few more frozen strawberries.
And blended away.
But what was that sound? At first I thought it was the icy frozen strawberries.
But what was that smell? Nope, not strawberries.

No, the removable plastic knob on the top of the blender fell through the hole and found itself inside the swirling smoothie concoction. It took me WAY TOO LONG to shut off the blender. When I did, I fished out the mangled plastic knobby thing and sighed a long sigh and laughed a hearty, yet self loathing laugh.
It's not a surprise. We've had this blender for nine months.
It's day was coming.
Coming at the hands of an overconfident smoothie making ding bat.

That wasn't a fun way to waste half of a fresh pineapple, two bananas, half a bag of frozen fruit and a perfectly acceptable blender.
I sniffed and pouted as I poured the plastic shard laced smoothie into a big baggie to throw away. I couldn't pour it down the sink because the plastic bits would ruin the garbage disposal.

At least I had the wits to remember that important piece of information.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

So Tired







We went to DC today to take Flat Stanley to see the cherry blossoms.
Although quite windy, the day was beautiful, and we found ourselves walking and walking and walking. And walking some more.
Flat Stanley had a grand old time, but that's because his feet didn't touch the ground once. He was safely tucked away in my purse, enjoying the ride.
Sometime this weekend I'll write a post from Flat Stanley's perspective about his visit to the Federal City so I can forward it to Caroline's teacher. I'm sure you'll all be interested in what F.S. has to say.
The cherry blossoms (or cheery blossoms as Caroline is apt to call them) were very pretty.
We also made our way to the Jefferson Memorial, which we have neglected to visit so far. Even Craig, who has lived in this area three times over the last 15 years years had not been there yet.
I'm not really sure that I should write this because I'm sure I'll get it wrong, but I think that President Obama, who this week claimed that the United States is not a "Christian nation" should make the short walk from the White House over to the Jefferson Memorial for a US history refresher. Thomas Jefferson's words, etched into the walls of the memorial, dispute our current President's claims. Jefferson was reported to have not been a fan of organized religion, but he had no beef against religious ideals and sentiment. Our country is definitely not, and should not be a theocracy, but it's hard to reject the idea that the United States' foundation is solidly based on Christian principles.
On a lighter note, Craig and I experienced a Smith Family first at the Jefferson Memorial. We saw a transgendered person! If it weren't for the five o'clock shadow on HER, I wouldn't have thought twice about the encounter. However, it's hard to not notice copious amounts of facial stubble on a make up wearing, floral blouse sporting, blonde haired woMAN.
Interesting, to say the least.
All in all, it was a fun day.
Even with all the walking, Caroline was quite pleasant; this made our hearts happy.
Although, we did spend a good amount of time keeping her from walking into oncoming traffic, walking into parking meters, staying out of the runner's (who were out in droves) paths and encouraging her to stay away from the edge of the water. She's a walking wanderer. Crossing in front of you, running you off the sidewalk, paying absolutely no attention to her surroundings. I know I did the same thing as a kid, much to the annoyance of my mom.
Hmm, paybacks? Maybe.
Completely worn out from the trip and the miles upon miles of walking, we rewarded ourselves with ice cream from Baskin Robbins.
Always a welcomed treat.
Have you been to BR lately? Wow, it's expensive. Two single scoops, a medium shake and two bottle of water cost almost $16.
I could buy five half gallons of ice cream at the commissary for that price.
Oh well.
We don't do this often. Splurging is ok every once in awhile.
Especially when the splurge involves chocolate peanut butter ice cream.



Thursday Thirteen

It's Wednesday night and I just remembered that I needed to put a Thursday Thirteen list together. Without a topic in mind, I quickly decided to list the thirteen words or phrases I say way too often. You know, the words that you say and then cringe because you realize they're always coming from your mouth.

  1. seriously
  2. it's like
  3. um, NO
  4. slow down
  5. you know
  6. hey
  7. awesome
  8. the problem is
  9. huh!?!
  10. oh crud
  11. oh man
  12. I suppose
  13. really?

This is like really lame, you know? Seriously.

The problem is it's late, you know, and I suppose I didn't take the time to slow down and think of something more awesome.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hopefully the Second Time is the Charm

This morning I took my last dose of Accutane. Hooray!
For the uninitiated, Accutane is a potent drug, laced with annoyingly crazy side effects, used for the treatment of stubborn acne. I affectionately refer to it as "the devil in a yellow capsule."
Yep, it's a whole lot of fun to take.

My first round of this stuff, taken when we lived in Georgia, was not successful. Well, it was for a month or so, but my skin revolted and my acne returned with a vengeance last summer. Just what every 32 year old wants!
Don't get me wrong, I'd like to appear youthful for as long as possible, but not with the complexion of a 15 year old.

The unwelcomed reoccurrence brought some really nasty breakouts that have left some unfortunate scarring on my forehead. The scars will hopefully fade overtime, but I'll never have a complexion that can go make up free in public, confidently.

As this round of drugs comes to an end, I'm not feeling very positive that my skin will stay clear. It didn't work once. Why would it work this time?
I'm somewhere between cautiously hopeful and counting down the days until my next breakout appears.

Nevertheless, I'm happy to be done.
I'm excited to have moisture restored to my skin.

I'm thrilled that my lips and the corners of my nose will no longer be dry and cracked.

I'm happy to be done with a drug that increases cholesterol and triglyceride levels and causes horrible birth defects.

I'm glad that I no longer have to drag a sleeping Caroline to the lab once a month for blood draws and pregnancy tests at 6:45 am. And then having to wait until 7:30 am to find my doctor and ask her to put my lab tests in the computer, which she forgot to do the day before.

I'm happy that the lab won't have the opportunity to lose my urine again. Yep, you read that right. They lost it.

I'm glad that I don't have to wait for an hour in the pharmacy to have my number called, only to have to wait another 20 minutes for the pharmacist to do all the paperwork required to hand out the sensitive prescription.

I'm SO excited that I will no longer have to search for a parking space on appointment days. The hospital at Ft. Belvoir has a horrible parking situation; one that never fails to incite great annoyance within me. Which reminds me of last month's appointment when some guy convinced me that he needed the space I staked claim to. He gave me some sad story about having a big truck and needing a long space; and insured me that there was a short space two rows down for me to use. I'm a kind person. I gave in. You know, random acts of kindness and all. I took off, letting him have my sweet space and some other joker pulled into MY short space before I could get there. Guess where I parked? A quarter of a mile away down by some tennis courts. Did I mention that there was snow and ice on the ground that day? My shoes got wet.

And finally, I'm thrilled that I no longer have to take ridiculous iPledge quizzes about birth control practices.


Blah, I'm in quite a funk today.
Tired and sore.
I think I need new running shoes.

Tomorrow we're taking Flat Stanley to Washington, DC. We're taking him on the Metro, to see the cherry blossoms and to visit the Capitol building. Don't be alarmed if you hear any news reports about a one dimensional paper cut out yelling rude comments to law makers on Capitol Hill. He's been listening to Rush Limbaugh with me this week and is quite displeased with what is happening in Washington these days. Assuming Flat Stanley doesn't wind up in jail for his potential raucous behavior, we'll have lunch at the Air and Space Museum, as well. My one complaint about the National Mall area is that there aren't a whole lot of options for food. They have little snack huts, but we're not hot dog eaters. Caroline, like many kids, has McDonald's radar, and we found one at the Air and Space Museum. She'll happily eat her chicken nuggets, all cut up into tiny pieces. Just like a baby.

This morning Caroline wanted a change from the Carnation Instant Breakfast she's been having in the morning. She requested something more substantial, like a Pop Tart, so I just cut it up into little squares for her. We eat the Fiber One brand and they're softer than the Kellogg's kind, which is great for her busted up mouth. This whole experience has reminded me of feeding her when she was a toddler. Little bites of cheese and fruit. Applesauce and yogurt. Soft, over cooked pasta.
A perpetually messy face.

This injury has really caused Caroline to slow down at meal time. She takes food quite seriously. Even in the cafeteria. While all the kids are yakking and picking at their lunches, Caroline is down to business, refueling. No time to talk until the food is all gone. That's a major feat for a chatterbox like Caroline.
At home she shovels the food in as quickly as she possible so she can get outside to play faster.

I'm happy she's been forced to take her time, but regretfully, this slower pace has not turned her into a neater eater. Limited mouth space = food everywhere.

And her face?
Still perpetually messy.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Mania

Nah, not really.

I just couldn't think of a title.

I'm happy to report that everyone managed to stay upright, refrained from letting their faces come into contact with any hard or sharp surface and kept their teeth inside their mouths today.
Woot woot.

Forgive me for that. I actually hate woot wooting, but it just sort of happened. That's what you get when your fingers work faster than your brain.

Speaking of the words "that's what you get" Caroline's friends have Rockband for their Wii. She spent some time over there last week playing with them, both singing and playing the instruments. One night she came home singing "The Eye of the Tiger" and some other song with lyrics that say "that's what you get when you let your heart win." For the life of me, I cannot figure out what song that is. Nevertheless, I find this all very comical. She's such an outgoing girl, but is surprisingly shy in the singing in front of people department. However, this Rockband thing has loosened her up a bit.
This all reminds me of an episode of "Who's the Boss" way way back where this little boy with a bowl haircut, who was visiting Tony, sang "The Eye of the Tiger." Totally adorable.

Caroline is invited to a sleepover this evening.
She's had great luck sleeping at other people's houses so I'm confident that she'll come home with her remaining teeth in tact. And hopefully the rest of her body parts, as well.

Craig is at work, fighting the bad guys sitting at his computer and gearing up for the NCAA basketball final tonight so he won't be able to enjoy the kid free zone for a few more hours.
I, on the other hand, will enjoy this welcomed quiet time all evening long. Caroline is happily partying away at Jordyn's, about 25 feet from our house. Thanks to the close proximity of townhouse developments, I can see Jordyn's house from my kitchen window. I don't think we'd survive living in a secluded area. Well, if Caroline weren't around we would, but she just needs people. Military housing and closely spaced townhouses suit her very well.

Yesterday I blogged about how I felt overcome by some sort of peace concerning this mouth issue. Peace is a foreign feeling to me. A fleeting, momentary feeling at that. Not even thirty minutes after hitting "enter" and posting my blog, I was back to my old self. Fretting and worrying. Neurotic and anxious.

Evidently the effects of tension tamer tea are short lived.

Ack, this is very disjointed.

And now it's time to unload the dishwasher.
Living it up while the kid is gone!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Jello Anyone?

With the tooth binding contraption Caroline has attached to her four front teeth, she's limited to a soft foods diet for a week or so. The doctor said five days, but I think it's probably best for her to be especially careful to insure tooth reattachment success.
I'm paranoid extra cautious.

This morning I stocked up on anything I could find that would be easy for her to eat.
Yogurt, jello, pudding, smoothies, applesauce, mac and cheese, spaghettios.
She can handle anything on the softer side as long as it's cut in small pieces. Grapes, strawberries, cheese, broccoli, chicken nuggets. Basically the things she eats anyway.
I even bought her some of those Gerber Graduates snacks that melt in your mouth.
Those yogurt meltaways taste really good!

It's a good thing she's not a meat and potatoes girl.
Gnawing on a chicken leg or tearing into a big hamburger are not things that she's likely to do, so she really won't be missing much.
You won't hear her complaining that she can't bite into her hot dog or a piece of beef jerky.
Meat bad.
Well, except for chicken. And only in the form of a nugget.

Caroline's pickiness is one battle that I've put off fighting for way too long. I keep holding out hope that one day something will click and she'll just suddenly start eating real dinner food.
I try. She sort of tries.
It'll click eventually. Maybe?
I'm just happy that the foods she does like are healthy. Fruits and vegetables are mainstays in her diet.

Sigh!

Food issues aside, I'm happy to say that we all woke up with a positive outlook, especially Caroline, who was free of pain and ready to play.
We know that her teeth will be fine, but it just might take longer than we'd like, to see the end result.
It's hard to be patient. Especially when you're a control freak and want things done. Yesterday.

This is very unlike me to say, but I feel oddly at peace with all of this. Not 100% at peace, mind you. For that would be asking way too much of me. I guess I realize that I have NO control over this. Nothing I can do will erase what happened. Nothing I can do will make Caroline's roots heal perfectly. Only the dentists can repair her teeth, not me.
I can't do anything and that feels somewhat freeing.
I'm not ready to quit worrying altogether; that will never happen.
I am the Neurotic Housewife, after all. I have a reputation to maintain.
However, knowing that I can't do anything but hope and pray takes some of the pressure off of me.

Maybe it's this tension tamer tea I'm drinking?

Despite this new found relaxed attitude, I'm still planning on being hypervigilant on the Caroline's-face-meeting-something-hard-or-sharp front.
You can never be too cautious.

I'm seriously considering taping bubble wrap over her mouth when she's outside.
We'll just teach her sign language so she can communicate.
Wait, she can spell. We'll just write notes back and forth. I welcome the silence.

Craig suggested buying her a catcher's helmet to wear.
All I know is that once this is all done, I'm definitely getting her a mouth guard.
Seriously.

I figure this contraption is good practice for when she has braces.
Her dentists haven't mentioned the B word yet, but I'm sure it'll happen.
It seems like they're prepping kids earlier and earlier for them.

However, she has great spacing, so maybe we'll get lucky and skip the whole journey into orthodontia.
The possibility of two root canals at age seven is more than enough mouth torture for one kid.

Those will be costly enough. I don't want to even think about the bill for braces.

I know that even twenty years after the fact, my dad still makes reference to my neatly aligned, yet very expensive teeth.