Archive | October, 2013

Halloween in East Atlanta

29 Oct

One of the many things I love about Dave’s new job is the family-friendly atmosphere. Friday afternoon they designated the last hour and a half to the employees’ kids trick-or-treating around the office. Since Dave told me about this Thursday, I had no idea what I was going to dress Walter as. I figured since he wasn’t going to get any candy anyway (cause otherwise mama would just eat it all), I would bring him by just to say hi. Babies can get away with a lot that older kids can’t. But of course Thursday night after he went to bed, I searched the internet for easy costume ideas and of course found one: office worker. Given the clothes we already had for him, it required me making a tie out of scrap fabric. And what do I have lots of lying around? Scrap fabric and my sewing machine!

And then inspiration really hit Friday before we ventured over. Walt could be a claims adjuster like his daddy! And all it involved was pulling out a blank file folder and writing “Claims” on it. Walt wasn’t too interested in holding the folder, but everyone at the office got a kick out of his costume anyway.

DSCN8603Big man in the office.

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And then of course we terrorized the office with exploration and puff crumbs.

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IMAG1300Their office has a really great view of downtown Atlanta.

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DSCN8612Saturday night we went over to a friend’s house in the neighborhood before the Grant Park Lantern Parade. Walt is getting more and more social with other people and other kids, and he was playing by himself with a bunch of 2 1/2 year old girls at this Halloween party. At one point he got a little upset at something, and two of the girls came over to give him hugs and pet his face and head until he stopped crying. I wish I had gotten a picture of the first time he got some sweet girls to take care of him!

The Lantern Parade was incredibly fun. Hundreds of people gathered with many different types of lanterns, and when it got dark we followed this jazz band around the park. It felt like some New Orleans parade. Walt was a bit tired and wanted to walk by himself, but he wasn’t fast enough to keep up, so we had to hold him. It made it a little trying, but he really enjoyed sitting on his dad’s shoulders and staring at all the lights. This is definitely a tradition I would like to keep going!

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Now I’m looking forward to actual Halloween when we get to dress up the house and scare kids until they cry.

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Aunt Ridgely’s Bean Soup

24 Oct

Yesterday I had the soup on the stove literally all day and when the roof guy came by to check out a spot the repair guys had missed, he walked in the house and said, “It smells like soup!” and to be honest, it made me feel good. It was chilly outside even at 1pm.

When I first heard of this soup, I was nervous. I’m not that big a fan of beans, and when I found out it was all we were having for dinner, I thought I’d go to bed hungry. But I had two bowls that night and ate the leftovers later in the weekend too. It’s one of those recipes you could throw in any leftover vegetables you have lying around and play with the spices too, but here’s the base.

I buy the 16 bean bag of soup, ham flavored, but throw away the spice packet they give you. It’s in the rice/bean aisle and it’s really just a bag of 16 types of dried beans. Soak them overnight in about 4 inches of water.

Drain and rinse the beans the next morning. Put them back in your stock pot and fill it with new water. I usually fill the pot about halfway.

Add:
4 chicken bullion cubes (Knorr)
A large diced onion
A couple tsp of minced garlic
A quarter round of cooked ham, diced (doesn’t matter if it’s pre-sliced or not).
Worchestershire Sauce
Tobasco
Oregano
Thyme
Pepper
Turmeric
Extra lentils

Let cook at least 3-5 hours on low and serve with buttered, toasted bread. Yum.

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Happy Colder Days

23 Oct

I love the colder weather. While it can be a bit depressing that it’s dark so much more of the time, it also means soup weather. It’s a good day when you can just throw stuff in a pot full of water, let it cook all day, and have a delicious meal at dinner time that warms your bones. And the fact that it only gets better as the days go by means that I don’t have to cook as many meals that week either! I love cooking, but it’s nice on busy weeks to not have so many dishes to clean up after we get the baby to bed. And soon it will be cold enough to have a fire going too. Our old oak tree has served us well two years and counting.

I also love that feeling at night when it’s so dark outside, you know it must be 10pm, but it’s only 8 and you can get so much more done or relax for a couple more hours. However, the flip side of that is when it’s 7:30am and there’s no light coming in through the windows, it must mean a few more hours of sleep. I’m looking forward to daylight savings time for that reason alone. Luckily the baby has been sleeping longer and later in the morning, usually getting up around 8ish. It’s a miracle!

Yesterday I took Walt to the library for his first story time. We were late, and of course when we first walked in he started screaming a bit. Excited about the story? Perhaps. But he loved it when the guy finished reading the book and everyone clapped. His face scrunched up in his happy smile, and he clapped too. They played a song between every book, and Walt danced and enjoyed trying to touch his head, shoulders, knees, and toes. They have a craft time afterward, but I left that for the older kids since there weren’t very many spots. We picked out some new books and headed out. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Walt watch all the other kids and adults. He is definitely becoming more social and more communicative the more he moves around and interacts with the world on his own terms.

So instead of summer bug songs and the hot, bright sun, it’s crisp wind and crackling leaves under our feet. I like the changing seasons because it reminds me of all the different reasons this world is interesting and beautiful. And Walter gets to wear super cute long sleeve shirts.

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Look, Nana’s holding me and I’m happy!

“I’m a ramblin’, gamblin’, hell of an engineer!”

16 Oct

This past weekend Dave, Walt, and I went for a walk around Georgia Tech campus with my good friend Never Contrary. She was one of my best friends at Tech, and she hadn’t been back to Atlanta in almost a decade, so we decided to take our families on a little tour after lunch at The Varsity.

Whenever I go back to campus I get a good mix of nostalgia and intellectual energy that just permeates the air where so many geniuses are thinking. It makes me wistful for times gone by and wishing I could go back and study some more. I didn’t actually get an engineering degree but did learn a lot about history and writing thanks to my History, Technology, and Society degree. If I could do it over again I would definitely do something more technical and had HTS be a double major or minor or something like that. But I don’t find it shocking that my 30 year old self is much smarter than 18 year old Katherine.

I will definitely let Walt know that he should only go to Georgia Tech, if he decides to go to college at all. Besides the fact that Tech is awesome, it is also more awesome than any other school out there (especially Georgia). And it has only gotten prettier and better since I left. They turned all the parking lots on central campus into green space. We walked around noting where buildings and other things were different and where things were the same too. It was fun showing it off to little boy.

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Headed down Skiles Walkway.

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Yes, he dipped his feet in the Campanille.
I used to eat lunch on those steps all the time.

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My future little Ramblin’ Wreck!

Blogettes

11 Oct

We visited baby Edward in Chattanooga again a couple weekends ago. David was talking to Jeremy and asked him if he wanted to know the worst thing about being a parent. “It isn’t the sleepless nights, crying, or the insane worry over everything. It’s having butt cream permanently stuck under your finger nails.”

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I am never comfortable cooking pork. For whatever reason, it never seems quite cooked, even when it’s been in the oven for hours. Other people don’t seem to have this problem. But luckily I’m married to a man whose solution when I ask him if he thinks the meat is OK is “how sick could we really get?”

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Bought some all-natural fish sticks for lunch food for Walt. He likes them, which is good, cause it’s always nice to have food a toddler will eat. The instructions of course include cooking time but also “or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.” Why does this company think I am going to stick a meat thermometer into a fish stick?

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We spent a yummy evening eating dinner at Jalisco’s, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Atlanta. Dave decides to break off little pieces of chips for Walt so he can better eat the guacamole. Not long after Walt chokes on a piece, a different waiter than the one serving us comes up to our table with some oyster crackers, telling us how they have them for the little ones since they tend to choke on chips.

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Me, “Walt must love to chew on shoes because they’re extra germy.”
Dave, “Yeah, they have lots of flavor.”

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Here’s how I see the status of our kitchen floor degrading over the next few years: some parts weakened and mushy from the near constant mopping (there’s a certain throw radius around Walter’s chair) and the other bits scarred from pot and pan throwing (loud noises are fun).

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I walk around my house sighing at the forgotten mess/destruction in each room and clean it up yet again. Then I remember I’m still in my pajamas at 3pm. I think I should put “shower” on my to-do lists.

IMG_20131011_171323What you can’t see is the overturned kitty water bowl, soaking most of the bottom layer of tissues. The rest I had to refold by hand.

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The more cabinets I open, the more fun I can have.

Too much hospital lately

7 Oct

In the past month Walt and I have been to the hospital three times. Three! For all different reasons!

The first time was to visit his new cousin. If you have to go to a hospital, that’s not a bad reason for it. Fun, even, especially when everybody is healthy and happy. And the new parents still remember what sleep is!

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Two weeks ago we had to get to Scottish Rite before dawn for a little operation for Walt. Nothing major at all, he is perfectly healthy — thanks to the surgery, — and after a couple hours he acted like everything was exactly the way it always was. That made it very easy on us, but I didn’t like watching the nurses take him through the operating doors sobbing and there was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t leave the doorway until I heard him stop screaming. It was over so quickly that the only drawback was that the fire alarm went off for a good 5-10 minutes and I thought the flashing light was going to give me a seizure/make me throw up. The nurses and staff there were fantastic though. When we got home we ate a little lunch and everyone took a good nap. I was glad Walt was ready to go back down again cause I had been falling asleep on his floor while he played. Does anything phase these little kids? Made of energy!

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What a trooper this kid is! He looks pretty cute in his gown too!

But I guess you can’t go too many times before your luck runs out, at least in terms of the ease/joy you feel when entering/exiting those hospital doors. One of my very best friends came down with Guillain-Barre syndrome almost a month ago. He is on the mend, thank God, and improving all the time. Almost everyone recovers from this disease, but it is a difficult process. It is a scary disease, as it leaves you temporarily paralyzed and you have to relearn everything while rebuilding your muscles. Many people have to be put on ventilators and other such things as the paralysis affects their organs. Luckily Jason has a “mild” case and was only in the ICU for a week and a half! I was really happy to see him┬áthis week (he has already been moved to the Shepherd Center for rehab — where a former, very sweet employer of mine is his case manager! Small world!), and I am determined to bring him lots of goodies to help his weight return to normal. I’m just so happy that he is going to be OK. Walter definitely treated Jason like normal as he flung smoothie and puff crumbs all over his bed when we visited. Sorry, Uncle J!

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Playin’ with Uncle Jason

It’s pretty easy to say: “Too much hospital! Time to stay away!” Well, once Jason is out, at least. I hope there aren’t more reasons to go back any time soon!

Choptober is here

6 Oct

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I can’t believe it is already October. I’ve barely had time to think about what we’re going to do to the house for Halloween! But one of the best parts of the month this year is that the Braves made it into the post season. And by a wide margin, despite my dad’s eternal pessimistic views of how good the Braves will do. Dave bought tickets several weeks ago just in case, which he does every time there’s a chance of an October game. There is just something special about attending a post season game, where every pitch and every out is so much more vital. You don’t have much time to win. You won’t lose for very long before you’re out for good. And there is a chill in the air that isn’t there during regular season. I got a little too excited and brought a scarf to the first game that was completely unnecessary.

The first game was a downer. The Dodgers took control early on and dominated us the whole game. They scored almost every inning and we could barely get on base. No one likes watching a game like that! And we sat next to Dodgers’ fans, which made it even worse. At least they weren’t drunk and annoying. The stadium’s credit card machines went down for most of the game, causing extremely long ATM lines, disgruntled fans, and I’m sure a disappointed stadium accountant.

Last night was so much better. The Braves led most of the game, and it was exciting the whole time. So exciting at times that I had to sit down and read the brochure while every other fan was on their feet in anticipation of the next strike! The foam tomahawks they pass out also turn into great stress balls when not chopping the opposing team. We only won by one, but the 2013 Braves definitely came out to play, thank goodness. We were surrounded by lots of Braves fans, which made it really fun, and there is nothing like a 50,000 crowd of happy, nervous, cheering fans. Atlanta was on their toes in support of their team. And the Dodgers knew it that night!

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I hope that flag is red by the end of the World Series!

Yes, even laundry can be fun

1 Oct

Over the past few weeks I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed, as if I will never catch up on everything I have to do, even when I work as much as I can around Walt’s schedule. Maybe it is because every day he is more mobile and moves like a whirlwind around the house, exhausting me with his energy and my need to clean up after every mess he makes. And he knows because he is completely adorable I will do anything he wants.

Saturday morning, before another busy day got started, the baby woke up and I took him back to our bed to nurse, like I do every morning. It’s a good way to wake up. Then before breakfast, we all went outside to hang laundry on our new clothesline. I asked Dave to install one for me specifically so we could sun dry Walt’s cloth diapers to bleach out the stains. But I like the idea of using natural energy to dry more things. Hopefully our neighbors won’t mind, since it has to be in our side yard to get the most sun.

I don’t usually like waking up with the sun, but since it’s not so early this late in the year and ever so beautiful peeking over our neighbor’s house, I didn’t mind at all, especially with the crisp fall air joining us too.

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And then because hanging laundry outside seemed to slow things down, reconnecting me to a time when it was acceptable to wait for something to get accomplished, it wasn’t so much a chore anymore. I wasn’t plugging into the machine, hurrying on to the next task.

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I’ll take life’s little pleasures where I can. It’s so easy to get sucked into my to-do lists, to believe that smaller and faster technology really is the best answer. I know it’s just laundry, but hey, it can be pretty too.

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