Archive | February, 2013

Parental Logic

26 Feb

Baby has been sick all week with a cold. It’s miserable to watch someone unable to blow their nose. He’s finally getting better, but now Dave and I have felt sick the past two days.

After dinner…
Me: Do you think maybe it’s Walter who got us sick?
Dave: I was thinking about that earlier. I don’t know why it wouldn’t be. There’s no one else who slobbers all over me and my stuff like he does.

 

Yesterday was a beautiful day outside, so we sat on our large bed of weeds lawn with the baby so we could all get some sunshine. After, of course, contemplating sitting on our neighbor’s nicely sodded yard first. It was nice to lay outside for a little bit and watch Walt watch nature.

Me: I don’t want him to stare directly into the sun
Dave: He’ll be fine.
Me: No he won’t!
Dave: Is this why you won’t let me turn on any overhead lights in the house?

image

Advertisements

The Art of the Pot Roast

22 Feb

I’m still on a pot roast high from two nights ago. I have been struggling for years to make a good roast. I always do it with vegetables, and the meat always comes out overdone and the vegetables are always crunchy. Even when the darn thing was in the oven for two hours. I guess you can’t just stick things in a pan and hope it comes out delicious. I guess this is why my crock pot skills are well below average.

Here is what I did in case someone else also has a pot roast deficiency.

I took my thawed meat and rubbed Trocomare seasoning on it that I got at the Farmer’s Market the other day. Why is everything so much tastier and cheaper at the farmer’s market? I think Walt and I will have to make weekly visits there even if it is half an hour away. Although, what isn’t at least half an hour away in Atlanta? My dad now refuses to visit us during the week because traffic is so terrible. I completely understand. And one day we will move out to the suburbs, hopefully very close to a farmer’s market. And a Costco. And lots of trees.

I put the hunk of meat directly on the roasting pan. Maybe this is the trick, to use an actual roasting pan. Previously I’d put it in a baking dish, but possibly that cooks it too fast. Who knows.

I quartered potatoes and halved mushrooms, cutting up the bigger pieces again, and spread them around the meat. I wedged an onion, cut the wedges in half, and also spread those around the meat. I like to use baby carrots so I don’t have to deal with peeling and cutting regular carrots, and I added a 1 lb bag of those too. I put Trocomare, salt, and pepper on all the vegetables and the meat again. I also sprinkled olive oil over it all.

I mixed 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup red wine (probably a little bit more), one beef bullion cube and a heaping spoonful of minced garlic and poured that over the meat, making sure to spread it around the pan too.

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, covered the pan in tin foil, and left it to roast in there for 2 hours and 15 minutes. I didn’t use a meat thermometer but it’s always a good idea to. We have a fancy remote one that I’m afraid to use, but I really should just get over that, for the sake of my cooking.

It turned out perfectly. The meat was pink, the vegetables cooked properly, and everything was so very tasty. I am incredibly proud of myself because I have been attempting this dish for at least 5 years. Luckily I have a sweet family who told me it was good, but this was the first time I believed them! Because I thought it was good! My father-in-law, husband and I ate our meal with a side of wine, and then finished off with berries and cream for dessert.

A very tasty, easy meal indeed!

The six month mark

19 Feb

My dream last night:

I was riding on a train in Paris to get to the airport to come home. It was crowded and somehow David wasn’t on the train with me and Walt, but he did get on partway there. I started playing bridge with an older lesbian couple and their son, who was trying to teach me the rules. I was paying so much attention than when I looked up, the train was empty including David, who had gotten off at the correct stop for our particular flight home. I asked the attendants if I could hop on another train to get back to my stop, and they told me there was only one train going one way, so I’d have to go the entire route again if I wanted to get to my stop. I started freaking out and telling them that I needed to catch the noon flight home; I already had my ticket! My husband was boarding that plane! They said, how are you still on this train, it’s already 2pm in the afternoon!

I searched through my bags to find my cell phone to send a text to David to wait for me. I began pulling out phone after phone, none of which was mine. I would grab a phone that looked like mine but then was another brand. When I finally got to my phone I kept messing up typing in the words. Before I could get a text message written (I frequently have trouble texting and taking pictures in dreams), Dave got back on the train. I flew over to him and hugged him and said, how did you know? And he told me he wouldn’t have gotten on the plane without me.

I woke up, not really in a panic because that wasn’t a nightmare, but I turned over and hugged the real David before falling back asleep.

Baby has let us get some normal sleep again. Oh, the joys of regular sleep! I am consistently getting 6-8 hours in a row of delicious, amazing shut eye. It started when we decided to put him down to sleep later in the evening. I’m not really sure what prompted the change, but somehow it has really worked out to put him to bed between 7 and 9pm, rather than 5:30-6:30. We sometimes take a late afternoon nap in order to make this possible. But this makes things really flexible around here.

For instance, we are able to go out to eat again. That is nice because we have both sets of grandparents in town and now they don’t always have to come over to eat dinner at our house. So far we’ve gone to Jalisco’s, Johnny’s Pizza, and Holy Taco. Walt isn’t ready for Bones yet, but since we love going to family places anyway, it works for us. I feel like this is prep for all the vacations we’re taking this year. It’s good to know that Walt can manage something besides a rigid routine.

I feel like I’m finally getting in the parenting groove here. Sleep, venturing out of the house… what more can you want out of life?

Also, we are using cloth diapers! The very wonderful owner of Green Mountain Diapers sent me a lengthy response to my cloth diaper query, and I believe from her suggestions that Walt was having sensitivities to the high pH levels of Charlie’s Soap. A little bit of vinegar in the washing machine and problem solved! He can’t be in them all day every day, but I’m just so happy about using cloth it doesn’t matter.

I’d say everything is working out perfectly around here, but on the way home from dinner last night three black cats ran in front of our car within a mile of each other. We were wary of crossing intersections by the time we saw the third one. Was the world sending us an ominous message? I’ll be watching out, world.

Johnny's Pizza
Taking over the world one pizza joint at a time.

A note on the news… and kudzu bugs.

18 Feb

A couple weeks ago I succumbed to a door-to-door salesman. Unfortunately it wasn’t a Girl Scout selling delicious cookies but was actually a kid trying to earn some scholarship money for college. Commendable. He had sold 300+ newspaper subscriptions so far and his goal was 500. I’m not sure I’d like to even go up to 300 houses and knock on the door let alone try to sell that many people something. I hope he was figuring out some good sales techniques. I imagine he had his work cut out for him selling newspapers. They can barely give those away these days. The AJC really should be offering more money to the poor guy. At least I already wanted what he was offering.

He was selling 3 months worth of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and an accompanying coupon booklet for stuff around Atlanta. The coupon book had several Braves tickets buy one get one free (up to $35 each) so I figured that alone was worth it. And I had been thinking how it would be nice to have a paper delivered to our house. It would only be the Thursday and Sunday paper, which is better because a daily paper would mean lots and lots of trash and not much reading.

There are two differences between reading the news in the paper and scrolling through my phone’s news apps.

One: my phone doesn’t make my fingers dirty with ink. I need a Downton Abbey footman to iron the paper for me before I put my delicate hands on it. But it does give me a sense of nostalgia for my childhood when I would spend summers filling out the crossword puzzles every day and looking at the headlines in bold to see what was going on in the world. You could leave the news on the kitchen counter and go about your day, rather than have the world’s news send instant pings to your phone so you’re never ignorant of any catastrophe for long.

Second: the AJC is clearly not as well funded as the other news sources (even though I’m sure it costs more to make and distribute). One section’s front page said “Payphones on the decline” as if we, as a society, forgot to notice that it’s actually hard to find a payphone anymore. And that maybe this change happened ten years ago and not this week.

But I did really like the article I read on Kudzu bugs. Kudzu bugs are the bane of my existence. They are ugly little bugs that make you think you’re looking at a lady bug until you look closer and see no spots just brown. They’re easily squished (on accident or not) and emit this sickly sweet smell that stains your fingers and whatever else touched the bug. I will accidentally vacuum them up in the house and pop that smell is in the air. They are attracted to white, so don’t go outside in a white t-shirt during mating season or god forbid have white washed porch railings — oops. They eat kudzu and other ivies like soy (currently they’re destroying the state’s crops, yay). The little monsters showed up here unknown four years ago and apparently had hopped an international flight from Japan to Hartsfield Jackson. Wanted to take in a bit of new scenery?

kudzu-bug
They look so harmless, don’t they? Apparently they procreate like crazy.

KudzuBugDistributionSoutheast24June2011
Look at that epidemic distribution (this was just 2009-2011). Next think you know the AJC’s last article will be about the kudzu bug apocalypse. Except no one will be around to read it. Was that my phone chiming in the other room? I’ll go check.

Don’t think you can escape Valentine’s Day.

12 Feb

Walt and I cruised through the grocery store today for some last minute Fat Tuesday items. They were chocolate glazed donuts and Hershey Kisses. I am giving up sweets for Lent but not before I fill my tummy to its sugary brim. And to test my skills at self-denial, I will be attending a cookie party on Thursday that promises to tempt me with dozens upon dozens of delicious delectables I won’t be able to eat. That is actually what the Hershey Kisses are for. The donuts are just because.

Kroger, since I was there a week ago, has become a gauntlet of Valentine’s propaganda. Even though I am happily married, I still don’t care for Valentine’s day. I try to show my love to my family and my sweet husband every day of our lives. I already give presents for our two anniversaries (wedding and the day we met), Christmas, birthdays… another day would be just too much. But Kroger makes you think otherwise. To get to the checkout line from the dairy aisle, you must pass through the eye of the needle! You must be swayed by the passionately colored items for sale!

The Gauntlet

I mean honestly, what do they do with all the leftovers after Thursday? Maybe I’ll buy Dave a half off balloon and we can celebrate the day after Valentine’s.

You can't resist this!

I was doing self-checkout like I always do, baby in one hand and the other trying to perform the function of both hands, when the checkout lady offered her assistance. I declined this time (I have learned to accept help occasionally!), but it is so nice how helpful people are when they see you with a baby. It has been pretty amazing how people react when you have a child. First, you get pregnant, and when people know they are very excited for you, ask you when you are due, talk about their children, tell you how much you are going to love having a [insert gender here]… and then you have the baby. People hold open doors, help you with bags, tell you how cute your child is (like the very sweet lady today who stopped me on my way out just to tell me I had the cutest baby)… and generally just have a smile on their face because they see the baby. They laugh when the baby makes a face or even tolerate it when the baby cries.

I wonder, however, when this all changes. At what age do they start giving you dirty looks when your child cries, and when do they not think you need extra help? Then, on my end, how old will my child be when I call the cops because some stranger stops me to tell me my little boy is oh so cute? Eventually that would be creepy.

But for now I am just awed at how society rallies around its children and their mothers. Every little bit is noticed, helps, and makes my day a lot better. I try to pass it forward, so the message of kindness will continue in this consumer-ravaged world.

Despite my earlier protestations, a trip to California is scheduled for 2013

10 Feb

Although I have been to many awesome places in this world, I also seem destined to travel to the same places over and over again. My brother lived in Germany several years ago, and my father graciously sent me over there every summer and winter for three years. While I did travel some (France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Holland), I also spent most of my time in the same small town in Germany and never went to Berlin or Munich or even a concentration camp. I did visit Anne Frank’s hiding place and was surprised the Nazis didn’t notice it earlier (it was a sizable portion of the house).

So, despite my earlier post, I am going to go to California in May. I was looking at ticket prices Friday night, and they were so cheap I couldn’t not go. So Dave, Walt and I have plans. However, they only include the crazy city of Los Angeles. I used to live in a small town outside of LA when I was a little babe (my first memories take place in Claremont, CA). I visited a friend in LA in high school. In college my boyfriend moved out there and I visited him several times. The last time I was in California I stopped in LA. I have never been to San Francisco. I used up all my rewards points for these tickets (which took me six years to build up), but if the tickets are ever that cheap again next year, Dave and I are going to SF. And wine country. It will happen.

I’m actually pretty excited about it because based on our current travel plans for this year, little boy will be able to dip his toes into the Atlantic Ocean (Ponte Vedra Beach), the Gulf (Longboat Key, FL), and the Pacific Ocean. That is pretty cool, even if he won’t remember it. I’ll put it in his baby book so he knows how awesome and brave his parents are for wanting to travel with an infant, albeit the cutest one I know. I think that will help on the long airplane ride out west. I just decided to go for the craziness because I don’t want to live with any regrets. I don’t want to stay at home because it’s easy and I am afraid to mess up his routine. He’s a human. He’ll adapt.

Last night we took him out to a restaurant for dinner for the first time ever. And I have to say it was a success. We went to Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, which is probably the perfect place because it is such a family restaurant. It was loud enough so you couldn’t really hear Walt when he got bored and whined a bit. But he didn’t even whine that much. He played in our arms, drank water from a cup, and threw his toys across the restaurant. And of course, his favorite toys, the rings, got stuck in between the booth and the wall. I tried very hard to get it out but I couldn’t get my hand in there at all, so we had to ask the nice people behind us to get up so we could move the booth out and retrieve the toy. I am not losing those things! We should have filmed the escapade, my mother-in-law and our family friend laughing at me the whole time. And my mother-in-law was the doctor who delivered the babies for the lady behind us! Small world. You are drawn to the same places, and you run into the same people you know.

I have visions of being more nomadic, losing my attachment to all our stuff, selling the house, and traveling the world with my husband and son. But then again, I do love sitting in front of the fire on Friday night, baby in bed, TV on, a puzzle on the coffee table, and getting to sleep before midnight. I look forward to all the roles I am here to play, because I know there is so much more ahead of us.

Jalisco
First family night out!

What will your destiny be today?

7 Feb

I started off my morning by having a dream that I was on an elevator so packed with people we thought it wouldn’t be able to move but faster and higher we went until we flew around the house and through the attic door while I thought “and here awaits our destiny.” Then someone died after being thrown out the window (the elevator was moving too quickly) and Dave became friends with a zombie woman I didn’t like. I could have just left it at the scary elevator ride.

It was a beautiful day today so Walt and I went to the park after his afternoon nap. We walked around and then we went to the playground so he could watch all the other little kids play (I can’t wait til he’s old enough to walk around!). Every time I go there it is filled with children and their parents. There is even a stroller parking lot.

Stroller Parking lot

We stayed a while to enjoy the 60 degree weather and sunshine and then started back to our car. I was walking ahead of a crying child, and the further we got the more I wondered, Why couldn’t the parents or mom quiet this little kid? I didn’t want to look at them because I thought it would be rude to stare at the unruly family but at some point I stopped to let them pass so I could enjoy the rest of my walk with Walt without the crying following us. Much to my surprise I saw a mom holding a fairly sizable child and he and his sister were covered in blood. They were accompanied by another mom and her kids. Whoops. I offered some assistance but they had it somewhat under control. The kid had fallen on his chin and I think the blood was the result of a rather superficial wound, the child looked like he was crying more for show than true anguish, but the mom was definitely still freaking out. The other mom told me head wounds bleed like that as she walked back to the park with her children. I guess I should get used to that. Dave’s parents keep warning me about what kind of headstrong child their son and I most likely produced.

But right now he’s so cuddly it’s hard to imagine what he’ll be like.

IMG_20130206_200916

He’s so interested in the world. I love watching him watch everything going on around him (like how he loves petting the cat now). I’d like to get some memberships to the places around Atlanta (the Zoo, the High Museum, the Botanical Gardens, etc.) so even though he’s not one year old yet we’ll both be entertained by the sights and sounds of these places. Atlanta has a lot of stuff to offer that I don’t usually take advantage of, unfortunately.

There is a new Draft Filling Station on the way home from Dave’s work. Cool concept; you buy reusable jugs and then fill them up with draft beer. They have a large, unique selection — uh oh! They’re thinking about doing wine on tap too! So far it’s turned our drying grass into a multi-functional tool for both Daddy’s and Baby’s bottles:

IMG_20130206_200548

So many possibilities await us.

Mama meets the idea of traveling with a baby

5 Feb

I had hoped that we would be one of those cool couples with kids that traveled the world with our baby and didn’t let having an infant “stop us” from living our lives the way we wanted.

I guess what you want changes after you have a child.

Oh, I still want to travel. And I suppose I will one day. But right now going to bed before midnight is what I want. Getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Finding ways to entertain both a baby and myself 12 hours every day of every week. These are my goals!

I have a few places I’d like to visit this year. I really wanted to go to California for Dave’s brother’s graduation. See a few friends out there. Visit San Francisco (I’ve never been). Tour wine country. I’ve heard it’s spectacular, and I’m a huge fan of red wine. But the thought of a three hour time difference with a baby who naps 2-3 times a day… well, we’d pay a lot of money to sit in a hotel room on the other side of the country. And could we afford a really nice hotel room to make it worth it?

We have several friends who live out of state we like to see every year. Many of our best friends are out-of-towners. It exhausts me just trying to figure out how to see a couple of them. Do we fly on a plane? That will be a quicker commute but we’re limited in the baby stuff we can bring. Do we drive? We can bring all the baby stuff we need, it’s cheaper, but then we have to subject Walt to 5-8 hours in a car. I don’t even like doing that, and I’m not sure he’s old enough yet to logically understand what we’re doing to him and that there will be a beach at the end of the road! I think maybe it’ll be more fun to travel with him when he’s closer to two, but I don’t want to miss out on everything for two whole years. Even though I believe if I had to stay in my house for two years without even leaving once I still would be a happier, more awesome person for having Walt in my life.

I am someone’s mommy!

I called my girlfriends for a girls night last weekend. Three friends and I went to Dip ‘n Dab, a BYOB paint class that’s oh so much fun. You sit around for three hours drinking wine and beer and talking while a nice teacher tells everyone step by step how to paint the painting you’re doing that night. It was packed Friday night and the coolest thing was that even though there were 40 people painting the same exact painting, every one of them looked different. I can guess it’s similar to how God feels when he says “Let there be X and Y chromosomes” and then 6 billion different interpretations come out of two tiny cells joined together…

Blue Shutters
My Masterpiece.