Monday, June 30, 2008

Ice, Ice Baby

Duuude, the first hit is free. Honestly, if you look at this picture you can totally believe that she fingered that ice cube straight out of my vodka-tonic.

She loves the stuff and has no hesitation eating it off the floor. It's been proven as a law of nature that any time you retrieve ice from the freezer a cube or two will escape and make a run for the next county. It happens EVERY TIME. And now when that distinctive thwick of ice hitting the kitchen floor sounds out through the house, Emmie comes crawling in like a mad demon-baby to grab it. It's worse than the dogs rousing to the sound of a can opener.

Oh shut up. You know you let your kid eat stuff off the floor too. Uh, you DO let your kid eat stuff off the floor, right?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Recipe of the Week

Do you ever go through spells where the idea of cooking dinner is just...beyond you. You don't want to cook anything you usually make because you are SICK TO DEATH of every single recipe you have. You don't have the energy to go through dozens of cookbooks to find something NEW AND EXCITING the whole family will eat.

With that in mind, I thought I would institute a recipe-of-the-week column to let you in on my newest and best creations. I promise I will try them first rather than letting my unsuspecting readers reader be my guinea pig.

SO - here is my very first recipe:

St. Simon’s Island Shrimp Bog
(and I don't know what the heck a bog is either)

1/2 pound slice bacon, finely diced
2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
3 1/4 cups defatted chicken broth
1 1/2 cups peeled & chopped tomatoes, with juice (I used a can of petite diced tomatoes with the juice)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp each cayenne & black pepper
2 lbs. medium-sized shrimp, cleaned
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a large pot, fry bacon over medium heat; drain and set aside. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat, add the onions to the pot, then cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Add the rice, 2 1/4 cups of the broth, tomatoes with juices, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and black pepper; bring to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

Stir in the bacon, shrimp and the remaining cup of broth; continue cooking, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the bog with a fork, adjust seasonings and sprinkle the parsley on top.

It was so good my husband wanted to ply it with drinks and then take advantage of it in the backseat of a car.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Full Monty

I've never been much for working out. I'll go in spurts, sign up at a gym and work out for a few months, but something always distracts me and I miss a few days, then a few days more, then suddenly it's been 6 months and at that point, really, what's the point of starting back? Come on, you know you've been there.

This past January when we moved back to the beach, Hubs wanted to get a family gym membership. "Family" meaning "parents" because the kids are way too short to use the elliptical. Hubs ranted on and on about it until I finally agreed that yes, if he bought the membership I would go and work out. And because they track your visits and it's accessible by internet, I knew I was trapped. I at least had to show up a few times a week and swipe my membership card through the little credit card thingy like they have at the grocery store in case Hubs was checking.

You know what? I did it! I have been faithfully working out a few times a week and I have come to love it. To need it. To actually feel jittery and twitchy if I don't get to the gym. I think it may have something to do with the fact I'm hitting a big milestone birthday this year and I've realized that I need to do something, ANYTHING, to get into shape.

I love the gym where I work out. Yoga? Check. Pilates? Check. Racquetball? Check. Stuff I actually use, like the elliptical and weights? Check and Check! Best part is - it isn't full of hard bodies. I used to work out at the same place where the strippers at the local club work out. They have free memberships because they bring in business. I hate them. I mean, no one with 4% body fat could possibly have boobs that big unless they bought them. And please, enough with the fake tans. You are ORANGE for pete's sake.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Yes, I love my gym. EXCEPT. I have noticed that there are several women who really have no problems walking around naked. Bare-ass naked. And I don't mean they modestly stand with their backs to the room while they put on their bra and undies. I mean they sit on the benches whilst applying lotion to their TOTALLY NAKED selves and chat.

I'm a little in awe that these women are so comfortable with their bodies. It is a sad truth that today's society puts too much emphasis on women being skinny-skinny rather than healthy and fit. So many women have poor body images and I'm proud of these naked-women-at-the-gym for not falling into that trap.

But I'll admit it makes me a tad uncomfortable to walk into the dressing room when I know that a totally naked rear-end has just left the bench where I will be sitting to put my shoes on.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Twist and Shout

Emerson has started this new...I'll call it behavior, but I'm hoping it's just a phase. When I put her on her changing pad to change her diaper or get her dressed she works desperately to twist away from me. I mean, this kid is MAD to turn over and get away from me, stark naked. When I pick her up to reposition her she arches her little body away from me. I'm pretty sure it's just a game for her but I swear I'm accidently going to break her clean in two if she keeps it up. This is just as I've gotten her past the need to open and close, forty bazillion times a day, each door she passes.

It makes me realize that each phase a child goes through is a challenge and those challenges stack up, one right after the other, so quickly you don't have time to really process them. You think "if I can just get through this phase..." But you know what? The next phase is EVEN WORSE. Next she'll be grabbing my car keys and toddling out the door to hit the bars. Or picking up inappropriate guys, the ones with tattoos and piercings, and I'll be snatching lit cigarettes out of her two year-old fingers and telling her that putting Mommy's chardonnay in her sippy cups is JUST NOT acceptable behavior.

In the meantime, if someone has ideas to help me change her diaper without causing irreparable harm or permanent paralysis I'd be mighty grateful.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back home

We met my parents yesterday at a restaurant half-way between our respective towns to pick up Thomas. I was so happy to see him that I squeezed and squeezed him until he started trying to squirm out of my arms. Then I squeezed him some more. He may not have missed me but I missed the hell out of him. I know the boy had a mah-velous time while he was there because the look on his face when he saw his sister was priceless.

It's the look of fear. The thoughts running through his head are so clear. "Oh, not her. She's going to tackle me. She's going to screech and grab my shirt and pull me over. GET ME OUT OF HERE." Emmie, on the other hand, was delighted to see Thomas and kept offering him food. I find that such an interesting comment on human social behavior. Think about it. When we get together with friends it is usually to have a meal. After weddings and funerals we feed the guests. Offering food is a gesture that needs no words and has universal meaning - You are my friend. Here is a piece of mashed-up banana to prove it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Hubby called just a few minutes ago to tell me he was having lunch on the pier and it was gorgeous at the beach. 82 degrees, sunny, the water is calm, just GORGEOUS. I hung up and looked around the house.

There is laundry in the washer.

There is laundry in the dryer.

There is laundry on the bed waiting to be folded.

The bed is unmade.

There are dishes on the counter waiting to be put in the dishwasher.

The dishwasher is full and needs to be turned on.

Screwitall, Emmie and I are going to the beach.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Missing a limb

Thomas is staying with my parents this week. They adore him and he adores them right back. Thomas's time with them is what Hubs and I like to call Summer Camp. They keep him busier than any other 5 people could and it's all FUN. Boat rides, playing in the pool, strolls around the block, he gets to do it all. I'm pretty sure when I call to talk to him he's thinking "Mom? Mom who?"

Oh, how I miss him. I miss how he snores so loudly at night that I have to turn the monitor down to sleep. I miss his musical laugh that is SO easy to elicit just by saying words he finds funny. I miss his eruption of happiness whenever we turn a ceiling fan on. I sort of feel like I've lost an arm or a leg - I don't really know how to function well without it.

That's not to say I'm not enjoying having Emmie all alone. She and I have had buckets o' fun so far this week and this is the first she's been without her brother for any length of time. She's really too young to miss him, but it hurts my heart a little because she looks so lonely when she's sitting on the floor playing with her toys. She also seems bummed that she doesn't have anyone to steal toys from. In her mind, toys are just no fun if they aren't snatched away from someone else, which makes me pretty sure that Thomas is also thinking "Emerson? Emerson who?"

I am amazed at how easy one child is when you are used to two. One child to get up and ready in the morning, one naptime to schedule around, and especially no SCREAMING when one kid irritates the other. It's so quiet around here it's almost spooky. I crack up when I think about how hard I used to think one child was. How very BUSY I was. Laundry? You think I got LAUNDRY done today?

We get Thomas back on Sunday and our regular schedule will begin again. I'll have gotten totally lazy by then but I can't wait to squeeze him and mess up his crazy monkeyhair, then turn the ceiling fan on so he can scream with delight.

Monday, June 16, 2008

No dog poop in THIS post

We were in Hilton Head this weekend and the Hubs and I got to go out for a real, Adult Dinner WITHOUT CHILDREN and WITH wine and everything. Or should I say Beverages, because that's what the server kept saying. We had dinner at a restaurant on the harbor at Palmetto Dunes which had a lovely view, the breeze was perfect and the humidity, surprisingly enough, was low. Our server came over to start us with appetizers and drinks and right away I knew I had my next blog post.

She starts by saying "May I offer you an appetizer or a beverage?" Sure! I'd love a beverage! Make it an adult beverage please! She was so very refined with that smile plastered on and the oh-so-interested tilt to her head. I thought she was a bit odd but I let it go. The night was so perfect!

She comes back with our beverages and proceeds to tell us about the chef's specials.

"Tonight we offer our risotto du jour which is topped with wreckfish and served with a persimmon coulis over our risotto du jour which is made with roasted red peppers and saffron. Wreckfish is a very rich, meaty fish with a lot of flavor and it goes quite nicely with our risotto du jour." Gah!

"In addition we offer Alaskan King Crab legs. I don't know if you follow 'Deadliest Catch' like we do around here, but these are HUGE crab legs and we offer a pound and quarter of Alaskan King Crab legs served with clarified butter and our vegetable du jour, which is broccolini."

"Lastly we offer a (air quotes here) sand and surf dish which is a petite filet cooked to your temperature perfection and two Alaskan King Crab legs, all served with our vegetable du jour, which is broccolini. I'll give you a few moments to make your choice."

She walked away and I looked at Hubs like "what is up with the Stepford Server? Do you think she knows what 'du jour' even means? Did they give her a script and threaten her with waterboarding if she didn't memorize it word for word?"

She soon returns and asks if we have had sufficient time to peruse the menu. It turns out we had perused to our hearts content and so we ordered.

Then she heads to the next table and gives the EXACT SAME SPIEL that she gave us. Right down to multiple repetitions of "du jour" and "I don't know if you follow Deadliest Catch like we do around here..." I heard her give that little speech no fewer than 4 times while we were there.

She brings us a basket of bread to "nosh" on while we waited for our food.

She offers to "refresh our beverages". Over and Over. Those exact words. "May I refresh your beverages?".

I know she was working hard. Believe me, waiting tables is one of the hardest jobs out there, particularly in a tourist destination. But she was such an automaton that I couldn't help but think that maybe her meds needed to be tweaked a little.

Meanwhile, back at the condo, Emmie is discovering what vacation is all about:

Let's see what we have here.

Can I get anyone anything?

Only three left!

Thomas preferred the first restaurant we went to because they had green beans he could floss his teeth with.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The most disgusting post I've written yet

We have two dogs - an English Bulldog and a Yellow Lab. The bulldog is usually the bane of my existence. He's stubborn - he ONLY listens to my husband and when I tell him to do something just looks at me as though I am speaking another language or something. I mean, I KNOW he speaks human.

He stinks - all those wrinkles on his face collect nastiness and said nastiness creates a stench that makes him smell like his rearend reached around and licked his face.

When he shakes his head he can spray slobber on all four walls of a room PLUS the ceiling, all at the same time.

But this post is about the Lab. He has the runs right now. It's awful. Each night since last Thursday Hubs has to get up 2 or 3 times to clean up pools of it on the floor. And the gas. The gas will make your eyes water, singe your nose hairs and make you want to curl up into a fetal position and cry. We stopped his food in hopes of letting his poor tummy rest and give ourselves a break. It continued unabated and I finally broke down and took him to the vet yesterday.

The vet initially came off as being sort of a gruff old man but has actually turned out to be quite charming. When we went yesterday he stated right away that they needed a "sample" to see what was causing the problem. I let him lead the dog away and called "Have fun Mason. This is YOUR version of the gynecologist!"

The vet returned moments later. "We weren't able to get a sample sufficient to run all the tests". Wha..?? Are you KIDDING ME? We've had lakes of it in the house! It's EVERYWHERE in the yard! Are you telling me NOW he's out of ammo?

"Here's a little container and a tongue depressor. We need you to collect a sample for us."


Here Piggy Piggy

My brother lives in the UK and has frequently mentioned that they don't seem to have a "serious" newspaper to read. Nothing that simply informs on issues of the day. What they do have is a serious paparazzi problem and a whole mess of gossipy, trash-filled tabloids. Even the weighty matters are treated lightly and given outrageous headlines. I love reading them. In lieu of an actual post, I thought I would offer a few links to start your day off right.

This made the front page.

I actually read this with interest because, after all, who ISN'T simultaneously fascinated and horrified by The Donald's hair?

Are you kidding me? I'm speechless.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I found this site the other day and OH MY GOSH was it fun. I wasted practically a whole naptime at this site. You simply upload a photo of yourself, answer a couple of simple questions (whether you are male or female, how old you are) and then start clicking. The first one I tried was "young adult". It gave me this:

What on EARTH???? I look just like my BROTHER!!


I have NEVER thought that my brother and I look alike, yet here is photographic (sort of) evidence that we are actually TWINS.

I went back to the start to find out why the Transformer was making me look like a boy. Oh. I forgot to tell it that I'm a GIRL for Pete's sake. Whew.

So here is baby Anna Marie:

And OLD Anna Marie:

Eek. Need to wear more sunscreen.

And Botticelli Anna Marie:

And just for fun - here is Old MAN Anna Marie:

It's strange to see oneself made old - it sort of brings that whole "mortality" thing into view. I don't much like it, so I think I'll stick with Baby Anna Marie and Botticelli Anna Marie. Those are much nicer, don't you think?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Spring, we hardly knew ye

Summer is here. The temperature is 90, the humidity is 150%. The dogs have to stay inside. Ah well, that means we get to explore indoor activities for the kids for a while. Today we were invited to a tile painting for the new pediatric hospital opening up in August. (Another cool month.) I discovered my kids are burgeoning Picassos. The theme the hospital was going for was undersea creatures, so I dipped their fingers into the paint and touched them to the tiles, then I made the fingerprints into fish and stuff. I'm pretty sure I had more fun than anyone.

Here is Thomas' tile (taken with my phone because, naturally, I forgot my camera):

And Emmie's:

The tiles will be fired in a kiln and hung at the hospital as a permanent exhibit. I hope the only time we see the inside of that hospital is when we go look for our tiles.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Pardon the bad '80's allusion. I'm not even old enough to remember that song when it first came out. Heh.

I had to fire another CNA yesterday. It's getting really ridiculous around here. The whole point of the wonderful program that Thomas is part of is that I get 12 hours a week of help from a CNA (Certified Nurse's Aide). This is someone who, in a perfect world which is CLEARLY lightyears from the world in which I reside, will work with Thomas on his fine motor skills, his walking, play with him, read to him and generally engage him and make him happy while I'm busy cleaning house, grocery shopping or lounging by the pool sipping margaritas. I'm JOKING about that last one. We don't even HAVE a pool.

We've had 4 aides since January. The first one kept not showing up so I decided that if she needed that much time off she could have it - permanently.

The second was a darling little old lady who loved to take Thomas out in his "scroller" for some "extrycize". Every time she said that I giggled to myself and wanted to hug her. She found a position closer to home and, with gas prices at approximately $100 dollars a gallon, who can blame her?

The third was a sweet girl who had just had a baby of her own. I thought that would be great because she would have lots of mother-love going on that she could just transfer to Thomas. One morning the agency called and informed me that she, too, had found another position.

At this point I started to get a little paranoid. Was it me? It couldn't be Thomas - he's too sweet - but maybe I was being a controlling ogre that no one wanted to work with. Ack! I am chasing away my help! No, I was assured by the agency, it isn't me. Whew. My self-esteem intact, I awaited the next one eagerly.

This last one was a doozy. She was about 20, had peroxide-blonde hair with black roots to her ears, black eyeliner traced around her eyes like Ozzy Osbourne in his heyday, and absolutely no sense of responsibility. I gave her two weeks. This past Monday I came home from the store to find Thomas sitting BY HIMSELF in the living room while she checked out MySpace on MY computer. I won't go into all the excruciating details of what was said, but she honestly seemed a little surprised when I told her it just wasn't going to work out. Here's the jist of the conversation:

Me - I just don't think this is going to work out.

Her - okaayyy.

Me - I don't like seeing Thomas sitting by himself while you blah blah blah and I don't feel like you really pay attention to him blah blah blah...(several minutes of ranting to make me feel better.)

Her - Huh. Ok.

Long pause where she sits and looks at me expectantly.

Me - Would you like me to sign your time sheet for this week?

Her - You don't want me to stay today?

Me - What part of "you're fired" do you not get?

Ok, I didn't actually say that last part but MAN did I want to.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

peas porridge hot

This is Emerson. She is eating her bib because she is SO HUNGRY. STARVING, actually.

When she wasn't chewing on her bib she was yelling at me to HURRY WITH THE LUNCH. At least, that's how I interpreted the monotonous, repetitive Huh! Huh! Huh! she was yelling at the top of her lungs.

I bought her one of those toddler dinners - it had mac n' cheese and peas and carrots in a nifty little divided tray. She completely refused the mac n' cheese. Again. Let me just say, I have tried repeatedly to get this kid to eat mac n' cheese because, well, I'm just having a hard time believing that she doesn't like it. I've tried Kraft Dinners. I've made it with tiny little pasta shells. I've cut the noodles in half to make it easier to eat. I don't get it! What one year old DOESN'T LIKE mac n' cheese? I know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, so internet, I making an on-the-spot self-diagnosis.

What's really crazy though? She loved the peas.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pack mules

Ok, raise your hands if you've ever taken small children, plus all their stuff, to the beach. Uh-huh, ok, you can put your hands down. NOW, raise your hands if you've ever taken small children, plus all their stuff, to the beach TWICE. Yup. That's what I thought.

UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE is what it is. We loaded up the car this morning. Towels, the sun tent, chairs, the wagon, diapers, juice, change of clothes, hats (not that they keep them on), sunblock. We managed to cram it all in the back of my CRV and off to the beach we drove. Found a fabulous parking spot. Things are lookin' good!

Unloaded the towels, sun tent, wagon, diapers, juice, clothes, hats (still won't keep them on) sunblock. Put the kids in the wagon, added the pile of towels in the middle (they have to carry their share!) slung the sun tent over one shoulder, the bag with the diapers, clothes, juice etc. over the other shoulder, pointed out the two chairs to hubs to carry, paid the usurious fee to park and off we trundled to the beach.

The kids had a blast. Thomas played in the sand for all it was worth. Emmie crawled around, ate sand, found someone else's nasty soda straw full of sand to chew on. We took them down to the water to experience the ice-cold Atlantic Ocean (we'll try that again in, oh, maybe JULY). Then decided it was time to go. It was getting really hot and the kids were starting to get a little cranky.

So we loaded up. Towels, wagon, diapers, juice, clothes, hats (never worn), sunblock and the sun tent...oh, that sun tent. It's one of those pop-up things from One Step Ahead and it folds up into a tiny little bundle for easy transport. I love it and had actually practiced folding it up so it wouldn't be a hassle, but I had never practiced it while standing on a windy beach. I wrestled with that thing for 10 minutes; I'd get half of it under control and something would pop out on the other side, cracking me in the side of the head. The wind would take hold and blow me 100 yards down the beach while I held on for dear life. I'd whip one side up and into place and throw sand all over myself.

Here are the kids waiting patiently for me to STOP PLAYING WITH THE SUN TENT MAMA, WHAT ARE YOU DOING??


We'll do it again soon, I promise. Right after I recover from this trip.