Sunday, October 31, 2010
At any rate, I thought I would go ahead and post this week's menu. I actually completed it on Friday and did the grocery shopping yesterday. I am on top of things. I thought that would be a good start to SuperMom week, which is what I have declared this week to be. What is SuperMom week, you ask? Does it involve a cape? I wish. This is the week in which I will instill a weekly cleaning schedule, prepare a few meals to put in my freezer (on top of the normal daily meals) AND go running at least 3 times. And look totally cute doing it. When I mentioned SuperMom week to Matt, he just sighed and said something about every week being SuperMom week. Hrrrmm. A compliment? Or something sinister? The mind boggles.
Saturday (yesterday): Beef Daube Provenal and egg noodles (of course, given the spirit of the day, I called this Stew Made from Mutilated Monkey Meat and Little Hairy Piggy Feet) Note: This was, in a word, delicious. We ate it greedily and happily after a night of trick or treating in our neighborhood.
Sunday breakfast: Pumpkin waffles with trail mix topping and whipped cream (For the trail mix, I took our pumpkin seeds from two jack-o' lanterns and roasted them. Then I combined them with whole, unsalted almonds and just a touch of maple syrup and roasted them again. Then I tossed them with dried cranberries. We have a lot, so this will top yogurt and be lunch box fare this week.)
Sunday: roast chicken, scalloped sweet potatoes (because they are orange...and festive), and rosemary garlic bread (to keep the vampires away), pumpkin cobbler
Monday: Beef with Snow Peas, brown rice
Tuesday: French Onion Soup, baguettes (made with caramelized onions that I am caramelizing in the slow cooker tomorrow and croutons that I made with leftover bread yesterday)
Wednesday: Kitchen Sink Quesadillas, guacamole
Thursday: Make-Your-Own Pizzas (honey goat cheese for Matt and myself with, again, caramelized onions from the slow cooker and whatever conglomeration the kids come up with on their own), make your own salads
Friday: Date Night!
Saturday: elementary school fall festival (which means I'll spend the night making hot dogs and nachos for others). I will be taking a big batch of chili and a cake for the cake walk.
Treats: caramel corn and caramel apples (the kids are making these tomorrow--er, today-- and they will be lunchbox fodder this week), truffles (making these and taking them around as we visit family members who put together treat bags for the kids)
Breakfasts: I am making homemade apple butter in my other slow cooker tomorrow for biscuits and toast this week. We are also restocked on cereal and yogurt.
I mentioned that I am putting stuff in my freezer this weekend. I will be adding a batch of crock-pot Mexican chicken, a batch of enchiladas (making two batches of the chicken--one will become enchiladas and the other will go in as is) and a batch of Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies. My kids recently sold cookie dough for their school and we have loved being able to pull out a tub of it and bake 1-2 cookies as needs/tastes dictate. We are almost done with the dough, so I am making my own for the same reasons. These look much healthier and yummier than the preservative-packed cookies I have been giving them.
Please share your menu. Like I have said before, it doesn't have to be fancy AT ALL. I love getting new ideas, no matter what they are.
Hope everyone has a yummy week!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The other thing that I am requesting help with is FOOD. On my first day, I was telling some of the ladies that I work with that I am trying to lose weight with WW and hoped that having the new job and new schedule would inspire me to watch my food intake a bit more. They laughed at me and said that this office is some sort of a magnet for bad food. I was a bit chagrinned, but decided to hang tough, packing my lunch happily. But then yesterday, we had pizza for lunch while watching the IT guys work their magic on my work station. And it was GOOD pizza on a perfect chewy crust. So I may have eaten three slices.
And then this morning, I ate my regular oatmeal, but forgot my apple on the dining room table. And my water. I thought I could do without it. But then my stomach started really, really growling. So I got up and went to the vending machine. There is absolutely no even halfway healthy snacks in there. Nothing! I ended up getting some cheddar and sour cream Baked Lays, which were pretty good, but really, really salty. Anyway, I really want to get some good snacks that are healthy and that I can keep in my desk for when the mood/need strikes. So nothing perishable or that I have to prepare. But I don't want things that are full of preservatives or are generally icky. Any suggestions? Please share--I really, really need the help.
I should note that I still haven't changed the batteries in my scale. It has been a crazy, crazy week, let me tell you. But I reminded my husband to buy the batteries this morning, and hopefully he will remember!
Hope everyone is having a great day!
Monday, October 25, 2010
Then I came home. At first I was overwhelmed. Alice wanted to nurse like crazy and was waiting at the door when I walked in. She got all happy when she saw me and started to jump up and down and when I picked her up, she hugged me and then clawed at my shirt like some sort of ravenous wolverine. Thanks, Alice. I nursed her and then Matt came home and I talked to him and then I realized...Sam was starved. It was already time to fix dinner. That came a lot quicker than it usually does!
I was more thankful for my plan today than any other day in recent memory. Here is what I did this weekend:
Sunday: chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, honey glazed carrots
Monday: pasta alfredo with broccoli and balsamic mushrooms (had this been last week, I would have made some bread to go with this. I hope I get to the point that I am comfortable doing that in my new life as well. And note that I made this with half and half instead of heavy cream and whole grain pasta. It was a-maz-ing.)
Tuesday: Indian butter chicken with basmati rice and (probably) steamed green beans
Wednesday: manicotti primavera with bread that I'll pick up from Kroger's that day
Thursday: frozen dinners/leftovers (we'll be eating in shifts this night as Gabby has show team and Sam has Cub scouts, so best just to admit defeat in advance)
Friday: Mexican food from the restaurant down the hill post costume party!
Saturday: Halloween dinner TBA
Breakfasts: Cocoa Puffs (for Sam), Special K (with real strawberries and blueberries for Matt) and apple pie oatmeal for the girls and myself
Treats: Pumpkin Creme Pies and brownies (and I'll just tell you--if you check back onto one of these lists in 28 days or so, you'll see that I will also be baking brownies then too). I'll be taking these into the office and packing them in lunches to make my habit more figure friendly.
So yes, I should have done this yesterday, and in the future, I'll plan for that. But what say you, oh fearless readers? What have you planned for this week? Anything awesome? And feel free to post "I am going to stand over my sink eating Lean Cuisines all week." Because that is fine too!
I did plan my meals yesterday, but I didn't get on the computer AT ALL because it was more fun to snuggle with Alice and act as Spell Coach to Gabby and watch an actual halfway decent Lifetime movie. I did make chicken and dumplings and it was delicious. Recipe to follow (someday).
Posting will be somewhat spotty the next couple of days as I work out my schedule with the new job. I will return soon with the regular stuff though, and possibly (fingers crossed) a new feature that will be Awesome. And yes, that should have been capitalized.
So everyone, enjoy your Monday!
Friday, October 22, 2010
But...but. I have these two great recipes to share with you. That is about all I have to share with you as far as WW Friday goes, because my scale is out of batteries, and everyone has been in such a mad rush around here that no one has gotten around to buying and changing the battery in the thing. It is funny--I got on it on Wednesday morning and it said "E" and then clicked off. And I'm going "E for Excellent Weight Loss, Morgan? or E for Exactly Too Many Brownies, Fat Girl?" I've tried coming up on it unawares and pouncing on it, but all I get is E. So, you know. I have to get around to that.
But yesterday, around having my last day at work and having a sick child and going to parent/teacher night at school, I made two very awesome things. The first is this black bean and sweet potato chili. This stuff is freaking delicious. And totally vegetarian too. I have been trying to cut back on our meat consumption around here, and I tried this recipe on a whim. And it did not disappoint. Let me tell you how good it was. When my husband was touring graduate schools, he went to look at Columbia so we decided to take our kids to NYC on Columbia's dime. Yeah, yeah, I know. Anyway, we researched restaurants to take them to for about a month before time to go, and we found this restaurant in Times Square that is supposed to have the best chili ever (I could totally google this right now and link it, but I'm much, much too lazy and frazzled at this moment. Plus, I'm eating cupcake batter out of the bowl, and don't want to get it on my mouse.) We found the restaurant and went in, and yes, the chili was delicious. I got some spicy black bean thing. Well, this chili that I made last night bends that NYC chili over its lap, spanks it, and makes it call it "Mama." I had it with the feta and cilantro on top and holy crap. Spicy, but not overwhelming heat with a full flavor and great full-mouth feel. Plus, Alice ate a DISTURBING amount of it, mostly because she, like her father, seems to have a torrid love affair going with the sweet potato. I pulled out chunks of potato for her to eat off of her high chair, and then spoon fed the beans and tomatoes and corn. She kept making yummy noises and would close her eyes and throw her head back after each bite of potato, which was insanely cute. Future foodie, that one. Just watch.
And if you try it, know that I didn't cook it the full 1 hour and 30 minutes. Probably more like half that. I'm sure it would be even better if you let it go that long, but I just started it, went to get Gabby at dance, came home and tested a sweet potato, saw that it was fine, and ladled it up.
I also fixed these. My son had come home early from school because of a sore throat, and I just felt like he needed a little treat. And since he is as obsessed with pumpkin as his old mom, I thought, "Pumpkin cinnamon buns? Would that make my throat feel better? Yes please. For the child, of course." So I came home, and made up the dough. Now, if you are not a baker, this will not make any sense to you, and you might think me completely odd for saying this, but this dough was sexy. Perfect soft texture, not flour-y or wet or gross or anything. Just perfect. Kneadable. And amazing. And this is something very rare for a low-fat/lightened baked good. In my experience, usually those are a bit more flour-y and shaggy than a full-fat dough. This had all of the silkiness of something full-fat, but in a lightened package. I left it to rise and then went to parent/teacher conferences. When I came home, it had risen beautifully, and was so, so easy to roll and deal with. I would definitely characterize this as a quick and easy recipe because things just came together with an ease that was a-ma-zing. And the taste? Absolutely delicious. It wasn't even pumpkin-y in a "Great. Mom's cooking with pumpkin AGAIN." (Remind me to tell you about the pumpkin cream pasta I made earlier this week.) It was slightly flavored so that you bit into it and didn't immediately think PUMPKIN, but rather Fall. Or warmth. Or coziness. Just a perfect baked good. Everyone in the family liked these too. In fact, Matt may have attacked me with hugs and kisses while I was innocently watching the Phillies and Giants (and developing a deep disgust with both Tim Lincecum and his hair) to show his appreciation for them.
So that's all I got. This weekend, I'll be adding a new feature to the ole blog in the form of a Sunday Meal Planning Post. I'm hoping to post my meal plan for the week, as I need to get better at that since I start my new job this week. I am also hoping that others will chime in and post what they are doing for dinner this week (even if it is "I am going to Taco Bell every night this week to eat XXL Chalupas in hopes of seeing Mariano Rivera") because I would love to get new ideas. Community, folks. That's what it's all about.
Anyway, have a great weekend!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I am wearing purple, not because I am a member of the LGBTQ movement, but because I have three kids. And as a Mom, I love my kids. Like crazy. And I would love them, no matter who they love or choose to spend their lives with. I want all of my children to grow up happy with who they are and with their community. I want for all of them to have the opportunity to marry who they can't imagine living without, to experience the excitement of walking down any street, holding hands with that special person with no worries about who might see. And more than anything, I want them be able to enjoy life, unafraid of what others with narrow and insensitive minds might say or do.
So wear your purple, but also talk to your kids. Someone else's kids. Any kids. Let them know that you love and respect them. Because we all deserve it.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
And that thing is that if you go there, you can pry your adored little beings with tokens and pizza and you can eat your meal without having to answer why dinosaurs are not in the Bible. Or why Napoleon went into Russia that time. Or why Madison didn't invite you to a sleepover, even though technically it wasn't a sleepover because only one person ended up sleeping over. And, for that matter, why your mother won't let you stay at Madison's house because her parents let her watch Jersey Shore. And, while we're on the subject, what a "Snooki" is.
Every time my mother comes into town, we pick the kids up from school and take them to Chuck E. Cheese. I should note that it is an hour and a half away. But we drive, joyously. And we get there and we sit at the table and eat pizza (which is not nearly as bad as what you might think) and we talk. The kids run around and play games and talk to other kids and we talk. There are unlimited refills of Coke Zero and Diet Lemonade and we take advantage. And it is so, so nice. I mean, sure, I check on the kids every now and then. But if your kid has basic social skills and the knowledge of common courtesy, there are not many shenanigans they can get into in a Chuck E. Cheese. After all, the Chuck E. Cheese employees are guarding the door with this light and stamp thingie that makes sure that no one gets kidnapped or otherwise endangered. Chuck E. Cheese may be the place where a kid can be a kid, but it is also the place where a parent can gain some sanity. And you have to love it for that. Plus, there is Skee Ball. Show me someone who doesn't like playing Skee Ball, and I'll show you someone whose heart is two times too small.
I do have one beef with Chuck E. Cheese, and I'm just going to get it off my chest. Chuck E. Cheese knows that I do this--that I come into their establishment, tired and harried and that I just want to sit there and talk to whomever is with me and have my kids spend $20 to get a pair of stick on earrings and a rubber spider. They know that I am a mom, and because I am a mom, I like vegetables. Therefore, they sit this lovely salad bar in front of me, dangling it like a prize. But! That thing is like $6! For reals! For one trip, ya'll! And yes, I have $6 that I could spend on salad. But I'm also buying pizza and tokens and buffalo wings. And most likely, I have a coupon that enables me to get all this stuff for one, low price. But more importantly, it is the principal of the thing. I firmly believe that Chuck E. Cheese hikes up the price of the salad just to stick it us moms and that makes me very irrationally mad. So I absolutely refuse to buy a salad at Chuck E. Cheese. Not even if I win the lottery or write the Great American Novel or divorce my husband to marry a venture capitalist. I have now been bitching about the price of salad at Chuck E. Cheese for almost 9 years--I don't think it is physically possible for me to purchase the salad at this point. I will extoll the virtue of Chuck E. to any and all, but I will not buy your salad, Mr. Cheese. Take your $6 salad and suck it.
(When I was a freshman in college, I worked in the library. There were Starbucks everywhere on our campus, even at that long ago time. There was one right outside the door of the library, and it was pretty much a given that if you were going to the library, you were going to stop at that Starbucks and get a drink. Another student employee of the library set up a coffee pot in our breakroom and made a big sign that said "When the Revolution comes, Starbucks will close!" And he brought some of the nastiest coffee you've ever tasted for any and all to share. To this day, I believe that it was made out of pencil shavings, pocket lint, and marijuana detritus. Anyway, his name was James, and my husband says that I am "the James of the Chuck E. Cheese salad world." And I wear that label with pride.)
Anyway, though, if you are asked or forced or begged to take your child to Chuck E. Cheese, accept the invitation with pride. Go and sit and enjoy yourself--hell, bring a book (Matt and I have studied Biological Anthropology in a Chuck E. Cheese before--not kidding, but this takes a superhuman ability to tune crap out, one that can only be honed if you have a child very young and are very dedicated to your craft) or at least someone who you don't mind talking to for a couple of hours. Just go with the flow. Enjoy it. Just don't buy a salad.
When the Revolution comes, a salad for mom will be included in the combo.
Monday, October 18, 2010
On Friday, the kids got out half a day of school, and since I am now one of those employees who puts in their two weeks notice and then becomes wretched and horrible (but with the good graces of my boss who said, "If I were you, I'd just take a little break."--boy what a mistake that was!), I stayed home with Big Al. I cleaned a bit, and put dinner in the slow cooker (the only change I made was by making up my own taco seasoning with my own spices--the packaged kind has a ton of sodium) and gave Alice the first of her three baths on the day. Yup, homegirl is at that messy stage. In the afternoon, I got Gabby ready for the Homecoming parade because the cheerleaders were going to be riding on the back of a truck and smiling and waving and whatever. Matt got home just in time to watch Sam, and so I took the girls to the parade. When we got there, I helped Gabby settle in, and then walked down the block to get a good viewing spot. A woman walked over and introduced herself and told me that it was her son who was going to be escorting Gabby the next night on the field for homecoming. I knew who she was, but had never really talked to her because they are recent transplants to the area. We talked a bit, and she ended up telling me that her son had bought Gabby a corsage to wear, even though the league was going to be giving the girls flowers. He, evidently, wanted her to have something special. His mom said that he actually wanted to buy her a bunch of roses, but his mom talked him down to the corsage. Oooooohhh kay. She also said that she had wanted to ask me if it would be ok for him to buy the corsage, but her son had not wanted her to mention it to me because I was "really strict" and "like a lawyer or something" and that I might sue him if I thought he was getting to close to my daughter. Besides the no-cell-phone and bedtime policies, I have no idea why these kids think I'm so mean. I have to admit though: it tickled me. I'm going to start calling myself Attila the Mom. I hinted around with Gabby about the whole thing on the way home, and she said that she liked him "as a friend" and that he was funny and smart. I told Matt about it over burritos, and he looked like he'd been beat repeatedly with a blunt object. Because of the promise of what was going to happen the next night, we made an easy night of it: watched a bit of baseball, ate some Weight Watchers brownies and enjoyed ourselves.
On Saturday, my mom arrived home on a trip from Memphis. Sam was chomping at the bit because she had told him that she was bringing belated birthday presents with her, so the kids and I got ready early and went to my grandmom's to see her. The kids had a good time playing, and since Sam got some birthday cash as well, we went to our favorite drive-thru and then to Target. The kids bought some things, and I loaded up on a few tubes of my favorite lip gloss (seriously, ya'll, at some point in my life I'm sure I've purchased every color of this gloss. I bought three on Saturday to outfit my new desk). I had to get back early to sell tickets at the football game, so we came on back to my grandmom's. Al and I came home, but the kids stayed so that my grandmother could pump them full of Southern food, and probably shorten their lives by about 5 years. I'm living on borrowed time at this point, having eaten her cooking for as long as I have. My mom fixed Gabby's hair for her and cojoled her into wearing lipgloss and blush.
I sold tickets at the game which included the following things: getting almost picked up by a 60 year old toothless man, having smoke blown on me by my fellow ticket seller, and listening to some of the most inane, irritating conversations I have ever heard. Yeah, it sucked. Gabby's escort came through the gate while I was there, and pulled out the corsage to show me. His hands were shaking, so he dropped it. Fear, ya'll. I inspire it. I told him it was beautiful, and thanked him for buying it for her. He turned purple and stammered something that I didn't understand. When my replacement got there, I drove home quickly changed into my wooly J. Crew Nonno cardigan (from last year) and a pashmina, layered wooly socks under my boots and picked up Alice and Matt and returned to the game. It got pretty cold, but we all had a good time watching the cheerleaders. My brother-in-law got some amazing pictures of the kids with his new camera (he just bought this camera, so I'm just waiting on him to determine that photography is his life's work and devote 96% of his time to posting arty pictures on Facebook) that I will post when he emails them to me. At half-time, Gabby was escorted on the field by her "friend" and they spent the next four minutes looking incredibly nervous and cold, although they seemed to be giggling together, which warmed my heart. I'm not usually the sentimental type, but it was awfully sweet, to see my baby out there, wearing her corsage. I almost shed a tear, but wiped it away because she had already told me that if I cried, she would "D-I-E." Matt spent the time looking like a crack addict from an old episode of Law and Order--twitching and pale and biting his lips a lot. Alice and I left after half-time because I didn't want her to be in the cold. We had a relatively quiet night, with more (tivoed) baseball and a lot of jokes about Tim Lincecum's hair.
On Sunday, Matt took the older kids to the circus. I was never allowed to go to the circus as a kid because my mom boycotted it (along with Nestle chocolate bars, Exxon gas, Calvin Klein jeans and assorted other things), but Matt evidently went every year, so it is a big deal for him. His aunt always gives the kids tickets (and I guess gave them to him when he was younger), so they all look forward to it--especially Sam, who has a mild elephant obsession. I took Al and my mom and I went shopping. I was supposed to be buying stuff for my new job, but I didn't succeed, although I did find some cute things. At JC Penney, my mom and I found some very cute sterling silver earrings for $8-$10 a pair (they had been $35, I think), so we got some, and I got a striped boatneck top (yeah, I know, more stripes...I may be obsessed, but this shirt fit really well, and I was thinking of wearing it with my Talbots trouser jeans, and I think I got the shirt for like $16 or something). We looked at bags at other stores, but I didn't buy anything because I want to think about it more--my mom found a really, really cute one. I did not buy a striped button front shirt and cardigan at American Eagle (although the 16 year old dressing room attendant, Jonathan, told me that it was "love-ly"), but now I kinda wish I had. I may go back for it. They had some cute jewelry I wish I had gotten too, but Alice had just thrown her mall cookie on the floor, and I got out quickly to go throw it away.
We then went to Old Navy, where I got...jeggings. Yes. I have complained a lot about jeggings--how that it is the stupidest word I've ever heard, how it is a repugnant idea, but well, you know. I tried them on, and found that I may love them. They are super comfortable, and fun to wear, and I just liked them. Pure and simple. A quick in store note though--the store I was at had absolutely no 6's in the black. I have no idea why. I tried on a 6 in the dark rinse, and it fit, but I put on an 8 in the black, and it was almost exactly the same. Maybe a tinge bigger in the waist, but really not even that noticable. But the 8's in blue were huge. I don't know--Old Navy jeans are truly unique. You have to try on every.single.pair. because they are never sized any thing close to consistently. So I got the black 8's. But, I will also note that they were $20 in store, which was cool. For $20 jeans, I don't mind to try on. I also got this cardigan, which reminds me of the J. Crew bling button one, except it has full-length sleeves. I also tried on this with the elastic waist jeggings and holy crap. It was bad. Like I-am-so-going-to-get-an-Orange-Julius-after-I-buy-my-GNR-cassette bad. I actually laughed out loud. So, you know, be careful out there. This jegging thing is great, but it can get bad in a hurry.
At Target, I got this, which I actually adored, and cannot wait to break out to wear to a corn maze/pumpkin patch this weekend. I also got these, which I fully promise to never tuck a shirt into EVER. Seriously, Target. These pants are super cute and comfortable. Do them justice and actually take a picture of them that looks alluring. That is horrible. I also promise to always wear them with boots. Jesus. My mom and I also bought Alice some new togs and some hair products and some pillows and a candle and some Boo Berry fruit roll ups for my kids. That's what I love about Target. I can get a truly awesome sweater, and then load up on pillows and Halloween themed food products. In the same store.
Anyway, this is ridiculously long. Sorry about that. I'll try to be less wordy this week. Full disclosure--I'm currently wearing the jeggings. I have it with my new purple cardi, the J. Crew rolling ruffles tank that I wear way, way too much, and my Gap silver city flats. And a pair of new earrings. I wore my hair wavy today (tousled with Herbal Essence Tousle Me Softly mousse) so that I can get ready for my hair appointment on Wednesday! Yea!
Hope everyone had a good weekend!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Blunt bangs and loose waves. I'm thinking more Leighton than Kim, but even that is only a close approximation of what I want. I think I want the bangs to be a bit blunter. Actually, the best picture I found this morning was a picture of Selena Gomez but I absolutely refuse to say I want Selena Gomez's hair. I feel like I should be tutoring her for the SAT's, not stealing beauty tips from her. Plus, I can only imagine Gabby's face if I were to say, "Mommy got her hair cut just like Selena Gomez!" Oh well.
Every time I have gone to the hairdresser and asked for blunt bangs, they have told me I would regret it. But I REALLY WANT IT. Like I've wanted it for a while now, but now I'm getting all three-year-old-in-Toys-R-Us-on-a-Coke-bender about it. I.WANT.IT.NOW. And I don't care what anyone says.
Well, ok, I do care, or else I wouldn't be posting this. What say you, oh 4 readers? Should I go for it? Should I wait until after the interview for this other job (which is next Friday) and then go for it (if I got it before the interview, I would pull my hair back in a classy ponytail so it is not all loose and wild for the interview--I'm not stupid)? Or should I just get it like now? RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND? And while I'm at it, should I color my hair? I'm thinking darker. Not much darker. Just a bit.
So weigh in. And tell your friends to come weigh in. Because if we can't trust random strangers on the internet to tell us what to do with our hair, who can we trust? NO ONE, I TELL YOU.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
If you haven't seen this movie, I hate to tell you this, but your life is incomplete. It is a Lifetime movie, and, yes, that is Candace Cameron. And Fred Savage! Besides showcasing some of the most awful vest and pegged jean outfits of all time, it is a movie in which Candace Cameron dates Fred Savage and Fred Savage is this big high school wrestling star, but it turns out he's also a big douche and he beats her and is obsessed with her and generally makes her life a living hell. She has a friend who tries to step in, but it ends up being too late when ultimately, he kills her. And dumps her body in a lake. At the end, there is this horrible hodge podge of kids talking about how they knew about it, but didn't tell anyone. And for some reason, they are telling this to Sally Jesse Raphael, who is wearing this absolutely huge pair of red glasses. Seriously, foks. I haven't seen this movie in probably 5-10 years, but I remember those glasses like I saw it yesterday. So, the moral of the story is NO ONE WOULD TELL. Get it?
Reviving Ophelia is the same concept, except the socioeconomic status of the kids involved is considerably higher, and the friend who tries to step in is a cousin who likes giving blow jobs. Or doesn't "like" it, but she does it because teen oral sex is another Lifetime movie ISSUE. Which you would know if you had seen this movie , which basically teaches kids that if you go down on someone, you get syphilis. If they are teaching my kids though, I want the message to be "If you go down on someone, you get running sores all over your body. And then your head falls off." Interestingly enough, the "good boyfriend" in She's Too Young, the only one who is looking for something other than a hummer while he plays Mario Kart, is played by the same guy who plays the "good boyfriend" in Reviving Ophelia. In She's Too Young, he is an amateur photographer, which means being his Facebook friend is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment, but in Lifetime movie lingo, means he is sensitive. In Reviving Ophelia, he wears cardigans a lot and is in a band. Which means he is sensitive. Awww....
(I promise I'll get back to bullying. This all makes sense. In a cosmic way.)
Reviving Ophelia, however, scared the absolute shit out of me. In No One Would Tell, Candace Cameron's mom is this total mess who is in an abusive relationship herself and is a single mom who may or may not be a waitress or some other low-wage type earner. So it is easy to say, "Well, if she'd just had her shit together, maybe her daughter wouldn't have ended up getting killed by Oswald." However, the girl in Reviving Ophelia has a mom who is a lawyer. And is totally invested in this kid's life. It is a two parent household, and these parents are all about knowing the names of their daughter's friends, having their cell phone numbers, baking homemade cakes, having discussions around the dinner table and generally being awesome, stand-up parents. They have a big house, and they look worried a lot, but it is in that good parent way, that "I'm so worried that my kid will not get into Barnard" way and not in the "I'm worried my daughter might be eating pot brownies and having oral sex right now. But oh well. Pass me that Tall Boy! Mama's gotta life too!" way. The movie is basically about the fact that these parents did things right, but their daughter ended up being with a boy who slaps her around and is just generally douchey. Which is a very sad thought, if you think about it. Of course, in the end, everything turns out ok, because it is a Lifetime movie after all, but still. Not a good heartening message for us parents.
Especially when you have an 11 year old daughter that you worry enough about as it is. This week is Homecoming Week at my kid's school which means that everyday is a different theme to dress up as. Monday was slouch day, Tuesday was blast from the past day, Wednesday was cartoon day, and today is pajama day. It has been fun for the kids to pick out an outfit, and we have tried to really get into it. The last couple of nights we have laid out clothes for both kids to fit the theme, and the whole family has gotten excited and laughed and joked together. However, both yesterday and today, Gabby has emerged from her room wearing a drastically toned down version of what we have discussed (and what she has been excited about the night before). When I ask her about it, she has this quiet, almost affected tone in her voice and some kind of excuse as to why she doesn't want to wear what we talked about. The hat might harm her vision, she won't be comfortable in those shoes. However, I know it has to do with wanting to fit in and not wanting to stand out in the least. And it is like she knows that I know and is almost daring me to say something about it. I don't. Wearing your pajamas to school is fun in theory, but when you are 11, someone might say something and then life would suck. Suck like woah. For some reason, I don't want her to know that I know that. Especially not when I have about 6 minutes to feed her, smile at her and get her out the door before we are all late.
And had I not seen about 3,456 Lifetime movies and had Jane Lynch not accosted me from the side of my computer screen, I might take this for what it is. Preadolescent angst. But now I worry. Is her self esteem so low that it puts her at risk for being beaten by some douche bag with a shitty homelife? Is someone bullying her? What should I do? Do I talk to her about it obsessively? Do I read Reviving Ophelia? Good thing I have Amazon Prime--maybe that can be in my hands tomorrow.
Raising kids is crazily tough. I mean, I know this is not a new thought. In other news, water is wet. Right? But the more I imagine bringing up my kids now, in this time of total access through Facebook and cell phones and texting and sexting and all of that, the more I want to move to New Zealand and become a sheep farmer. I know this is crazy, but someday it just seems like an almost insurmountable task, this raising of well-adjusted kids. And when I see Gabby coming out of her room, not dressed up like the cartoon penguin that we had planned, my heart hurts because I see the future and it is not a future that I want for her. I don't know. I worry. Such is life, I suppose. Sigh.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
This week I think I have really come into my own with the WW. Meaning, I am learning how to live my life on WW, not force WW on my life. I have come to terms with the fact that I like having a big dinner with my family. Therefore, I am now planning for that. I eat a medium sized breakfast (so I don't get hungry--I've noticed small breakfast means BIG 4:00 pm snack), a small lunch, a tiny snack here or there, and for supper, I eat whatever I fix for the family (within reason, of course). I just love that time--preparing the food, sitting around the table, making something that the kids enjoy and that makes them excited. So I plan for that. One additional thing I've been doing is doing more "make your own" stuff. For example, we are doing make your own tacos this week with some chicken that I'll put in the slow cooker with spices during the day. Kind of like Chipotle stuff or something. Anyway, I got all the additions to tacos that we all love, but I'll just make mine a little more WW-friendly--more veggies, less cheese, etc. The kids love feeling involved in dinner, and it is good for me to eat what they are eating, but with a few adjustments. I also have a big bowl full of pizza dough I made last night chilling/rising in the fridge. It should be enough for two pizzas, which is a half for each kid to do with as they please and a pizza for Matt and me. I am going to do ours with chicken, spinach and caramelized onions and goat cheese and just a drizzle of honey. Then we'll have a big salad together. There will be great leftovers for lunch the next day and plus IT'S PIZZA. Who doesn't love that?
(I'll go ahead and confess here--I don't always add up the points after supper. I have an idea of how I did, but I've found that actually adding it all up makes me feel pinged in or something. So I add up during the day and eat a mindful dinner, and then I just go on happily. It makes me feel good about the whole thing. I do measure and weigh my servings [most of the time] because I feel that if I'm letting myself off the hook as far as adding up diligently goes, I do need to remain mindful of how much food I'm piling on.)
This brings me to the other thing that I'm making peace with. Since I like to cook so much, I don't buy many prepackaged foods. It is just something that I started doing pre-WW. I don't trust preservatives, and I hate wondering what I'm giving to my kids (I will cop to my Lean Cuisine/Diet Coke habit, however, although I'm trying to move past that). Plus it costs a lot more to buy a jar of pasta sauce or a packet of taco seasoning than it does just to jazz up a jar of crushed tomatoes or mix up some chili powder with spices. The problem with this is that a lot of WW recipes or diet recipes in general rely on convenience foods and sugar-free/fat-free ones at that. At first, I really thought about giving in and just buying that stuff. But, really, just thinking about that stuff makes me throw up a bit in my mouth. C'mon now...fat-free half and half is an abomination. Fat free processed cheese? Just say no. Why eat loads of that stuff when you can have a bit of the real thing? So that's what I've been doing. And I find myself much more satisfied. I do occasionally buy the "light"versions of things (one brand of sour cream in particular that I like), and Neufchatel cheese is just fine because I don't feel like it is "messed with," but I don't go out of my way to buy fat-free. And I've found much better go-to's than relying on prepackaged stuff. For instance, this morning my throat was hurting, which means HOT CHOCOLATE PRONTO. It is the only cure, amirite? But instead of reaching for that sugar-free mix that tastes like the the grindings of the chocolate that God forgot, I just mixed up some cocoa powder with a tiny bit of sugar, vanilla extract and 1% milk. Tasted fudgy and delicious and while having a bit more fat than the mix, left me satisfied and cured. Plus, that's a milk serving.
I am also getting better at baking things that are delicious and WW friendly. This week's recipe is a prime example. My kids called it Elvis Bread because they both love Elvis (Alice may love him too--I'm not sure. I haven't asked.). My mom lives in Memphis, so whenever we visit her, we go to Graceland. On one trip, I bought a little Elvis cookbook. It contains the following recipe:
Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwiches
2 large bananas
6 slices white bread
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup peanut butter
Peel and mash bananas. Mix peanut butter with bananas thoroughly. Toast bread lightly and spread mix on bread. Melt butter in skillet and brown sandwiches on each side slowly until golden brown.
I may or may not have made this. A couple of times. It may or may not be ridiculously delicious. I admit nothing. But if you believe everything that you hear, this is what Elvis was eating when he died (here is where Sam would pop up and say "ON THE TOILET!" because as much as he loves The King, he cannot get past the place of his death). And for good reason. A cup of peanut butter? A stick of butter? It made my heart sieze when I ate it (if I did eat it at all) and I'm a healthy 20-something year old girl with no narcotic addictions.
This peanut butter banana bread from Cooking Light is also ridiculously delicious. In fact, it is the best banana bread I have ever eaten and the favorite of every member of the family. Bar none. And for 200 calories a slice, it is the perfect breakfast with milk or coffee and a bit of fruit. I made it exactly as it is listed in the recipe because I had all that stuff on hand, but, if you plan on making it, be sure to read the comments because a lot of people have changed it up a bit here and there, and it all sounds delicious. Just a note--don't be tempted to leave off the glaze. It really makes it. And makes it feel indulgent and naughty and Elvis-like. It is funny because we were all enjoying some yesterday morning for breakfast and Sam got really quiet and goes, "Elvis would have loved this," and just sighed like his heart would break. Oh, Sam. Now if we could only find a replacement for another recipe in the book: Meatballs and Bacon. And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. I have never made that one. Nothing to come clean about there.
Anyway, I hope everyone is having a great, healthy week!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
(Yeah, I know, tomorrow is WW Wednesday. I was a good girl today--I kind of planned for this. And I only ate one tiny little piece of bacon. But that whipped cream....holy smokes. I just had to say a Hail Mary and dive in. There was really no other choice.)
ANYWAY, we're eating happily and all of a sudden Gabby starts talking about time travel. This segways into this very philosophical, ethereal discussion of different theories of time. I'm not sure how. I was just feeding Alice a strawberry and making yummy noises and all of a sudden I hear Matt say something like, "Well, Einstein would say it this way..." Nice. Gabby listens intently to what Matt has to say and then says something like, "So I believe that time is all running together and right now everything is happening...JFK is getting assassinated, Martin Luther King is eating a sandwich, I'm being born. That's what makes time travel possible, and that's how I think time works."
And my mouth drops, and I think, Who thinks up this stuff? My 11 year old daughter? Seriously? When I was in my first year of college, I sat through the mind rape that is Intro to Philosophy and heard people say things like this and I thought, "Why does their mind do this stuff?" I'm a very practical person in a lot of ways--I'm creative, but I never let my mind move to time travel or something so...out of the box. But here sits Gabby, just talking about this stuff with this air of confidence, this total surety of her knowledge. I love it. I love just being totally surprised by my children.
And then she just bursts into adolescent laughter. That full-on body racking laughter. Her face turns red and she almost pulls in on herself she's laughing so hard. And she goes, "So if everything is going on simultaneously, in some other time, RIGHT NOW, I'm POOPING!" Cackle cackle cackle.
Ah, yes. The 11 year old rears it's potty humored head. Philosophy can wait.
Monday, October 11, 2010
On Friday night, I made dinner in and we just hung out. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Alice got a fever. The fever, I think, was spurred by her teething (she just got two upper molars and is working on a couple of bottom teeth), as she had no other symptoms of anything. Anyway, this made for a rough night. Alice was up a lot, in that, she would fuss and moan in her sleep and I would nurse her to keep her from waking up. So she slept all night, and I got maybe 2 hours of sleep, none of it uninterrupted. When she finally fell asleep at around 8:00 am, I got up because Sam was up and wanted someone to hang out with. Why was he up, one wonders. Probably because I did something really, really awful last week that I needed to karmically pay for. I don't know what it was, but I'm sure it was really wretched of me. Anyway, Sam and I watch cartoons and eat cereal and then I take Gabby to her extra dance workshop. I also go to the drugstore in sweatpants and the shirt that I slept in to get Alice some Motrin. I normally avoid these kind of outings, but after the night that I had, I was in no mood for frivolities. And of course I see these three women who had daughters on Gabby's softball team, standing outside selling hot dogs for some kind of fundraiser. And I have to talk to them. In my sweatpants. Who buys chili cheese nachos at 9:30 in the morning? But I digress...
I spend the rest of the day begging, cojoling, and pleading with Alice to take a nap, which she never really does. I manage to fall asleep for about 30 minutes while watching The Next Iron Chef which is what was on (and I was too lazy to switch off of) after I said, "I don't care what she does! I'm going to go watch Barefoot Contessa. DON'T BOTHER ME." Told you I was in a charming mood. The Barefoot Contessa, though, as you may or may not know, has major restorative and soothing properties. She is the lavender of the TV chef world. They should show her to felons when they are thinking of committing a crime, because I'm sure they would all be like, "Um, no, I think I'll just sit right here and make this truffled mac and cheese. Who needs an extra Escalade anyway? Not this guy."
Thankfully, I had put dinner in the slow cooker so I didn't have to go, you know, shank somebody to get food. I sit down and watch some baseball, which is just what I needed to do. I'm getting nice and mad because the Tampa Bay Rays have decided not to show up to play when I have to get up and take Gabby to her football game to cheer. Matt stays home with Sam and Alice, since Alice is still hyped up on Motrin and we don't want her to get sicker. For the only time this weekend, I wore something without an elastic waistband! For those keeping score, I wore Gap Long and Leans (the size 4's are once again feeling comfy--thank you WW!), the J. Crew rolling ruffles tank in charcoal and over top a J. Crew purple merino v-neck which I somehow successfully shrunk and now fits me again even though it is an XL. Don't ask me how--I couldn't tell you. Luck? I also wore Earth shoes because I needed to burn extra calories. That's how I roll. I also wear earrings and make-up. OMG.
The football game is a roaring success. We score 24 points. We do lose, but hey, 24 points is like a freakin' ton compared to what we normally do. The cheerleaders are happy and optimistic and do a dance to Tony Basil's Mickey during halftime. Gabby is not amused by the music and says it sounds "Way old." There is major intrigue in the stands when it is uncovered that the boy running the ball for the other team (and the only player who scores for them, ever) is a) too heavy to run the ball because evidently there is a weight limit and b) plays JV ball. People are incensed. He does look a little old. Especially when the kid running the ball on our team is smaller than my daughter. Who wears a size 12 slim in girls pants. I play with my phone and get excited when Matt calls and tells me that the Rays are in fact now beating the Rangers. When I get home, I do a whole lotta nothing because I'm still really tired. Alice stays up until 12:00 or so (when that kid gets revved up, she gets revved up). Then we fall asleep in a big heap on the bed.
I'll just tell you: on Sunday, I did nothing but watch baseball. Alice napped on my lap and my other children amused themselves building nuclear reactors or plotting world domination or converting their bedrooms into spaceships. I don't really know--they were quiet, so I didn't chance it by asking. Well, I take that back--I did fix breakfast, even though I hate making breakfast with a purple passion, and I made these which were delicious. A side note: how did pumpkin get into EVERYTHING? When I was a kid, people ate pumpkin pie. That's it. My mom made pumpkin cake rolls, which were exotic, and kind of like "her thing." But now you can get pumpkin coffee, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin bagels (which I am totally making this week), pumpkin ravioli, EVERYTHING. I blame Starbucks. But really, why blame anyone, because pumpkin is delicious. I'm on the pumpkin train, ya'll. Somebody stop me before I start making pumpkin...hmm...I am trying to think of something that would be really nasty in a pumpkin incarnation....but I can't really think of anything! It all sounds delicious! PUMPKIN!
At any rate, Matt and I got sick of seeing the Phillies beat up on the Reds and decided to watch our first horror flick of the year. We used to watch a horror movie every night in October to get ready for Halloween, but we started running out of movies, since I absolutely refuse to watch anything that I call "torture porn" which is basically every "horror" movie that has been released since 2006. We are digging deep this year, though. Last night, we watched Suspiria, which was this Italian horror movie (in English) set in Germany about witches, made in like 1977. It definitely wins the award for creepiest soundtrack ever. Seriously. And it had one of the absolute nastiest things I've seen in a movie--maggots. Lots and lots of maggots falling from a ceiling. Gross. But overall, not bad at all, if you like slightly campy scary movies.
So that's that. How did I manage to write all that about a weekend where I did NOTHING? That's talent. Or hubris. I'll let you decide. If you glean anything from this though, go make those pumpkin biscuits. They are very, very awesome. Unlike my weekend.
Friday, October 8, 2010
But in the kitchen I am the Housefrau to End All Housefraus. I love to cook, in fact, it is the one thing that I do that makes me feel totally comfortable. As much as I love fashion and clothing, I am never as happy as when I am wearing my old yoga pants and a tank top, tooling around in the kitchen. And I find myself getting continuously better at it. I used to be scared out of my mind at the thought of making yeast breads. And then...I did it. And now I do it weekly, if not more. I cook to show love, I cook to get myself out of a funk, I cook when there is nothing left to do but cook. In my tiny kitchen (it is insanely tiny, ya'll, and I have no modern appliances--I do not own a food processor or a stand mixer or a blender--just the bare minimums), I am simultaneously myself and the woman that I want to be.
But real life steps in. That is, life outside of my tiny kitchen. This week, I got a new job. A job that is full-time as opposed to my old job which was just 30 hours a week or so. I am definitely excited--mo' money and a position that is more in line with what I ultimately want to be doing. BUT, I wonder what this means for my housefrau tendencies. Especially with the holidays coming up. And now I find myself wondering what all I can get away with making now and storing in the freezer. I am thinking this weekend will be the weekend of the Cinnamon Rolls . And how many batches of cookies can I fit in our freezers? Should I go ahead and go to Sam's Club now to stock up on my stuff? What about lasagnas? How many of those can I put in the freezer? The mind boggles.
I think this desire to put up stuff for harder or busier times is genetic. Last night I was down at my grandmother's house. My children had sold cookie dough as a fundraiser for school, and my grandmom had sold a bunch at her weekly bluegrass dance. I was helping her to get it stowed in her freezer when I noticed....my grandmother lives alone. And she has a full length stand freezer FULL of stuff. FULL. And the whole time we're stowing the cookie dough, she's talking about making more fried pies to put in there. We finish stowing the cookie dough and take the rest over to my aunt's house across the street to deliver it. While we're over there, a green truck pulls up in my grandmother's yard. My grandmother hurries out of her house, and there stands these two men holding a 50 pound bag of potatoes. They give it to her--just give it freely and happily because they are nice people and this is just what people do. They even take it down to her cellar for them. She promises to pay them in fried pies. Then after they leave, she starts putting the potatoes in a box for me. I tell her to keep them, that I don't need them, and she goes, "Morgan, I've got another 50 pound bag coming tomorrow that I've already asked for. I don't know what I'm going to do with all these potatoes! I might freeze them...or find some way to can them...or..."
Yup, it is definitely genetic.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I was a teen mom.
Yup, I was once 16 and Pregnant. I was one of those girls that you have probably seen and shook your head at, one of those girls buying a prom dress with a baby in tow. One of those girls at Wal-Mart looking forlorn while her mom tucks the diapers in the cart, the formula, the little onesies, all the stuff that she can't afford on her own with her hostess job. You've probably seen her 100 times, riding the Bart train with a cell phone, ignoring the tiny being in the stroller beside her while she catches up on the latest dramas, fluffs her hair. You've seen her holding the baby and wondered what her life is like, will be like, if the baby knows what a shit situation this all is, if its wise little face is cognizant of the odds stacked against it. I was her, and that baby was mine. Is mine.
I say this because I am seeing a bunch of magazine articles about teen moms lately. If they will find love, if they are pregnant again, if they are broke. And yes, I know it comes from that MTV show. I will be honest--I watched selected episodes of 16 and Pregnant, but hopped ship when they started the Teen Mom thing because I didn't like that it made celebrities out of something as serious as teenage pregnancy. Really, these kids need to be worried about getting educations and developing relationships with their children--not looking pretty for MTV. Further, it bothers me that people think all teenage parents are like that--hitting their significant others, crying about missed opportunities, constantly embroiled in some sort of made for TV drama.
It is not like that. Teenage moms are moms. They are just like you--they feel the same things, they are overwhelmed, they are joyous, they love their children. Yes, things may be harder for them and they may not have the same life that you have or want. But the thing that bothered me when I was a teenage mom was feeling so different from other moms when I knew deep down that I was experiencing much the same things. I was so lucky in that I had a wonderful mother and a boyfriend (now husband) to support me. Unfortunately, a lot of girls do not have that. And it bothers me that we as mothers and women look at these women and feel revulsion and pity and sadness. We feel like we know them because we have seen them on TV or because we think we know what they are like. But we do not. And that is sad. Just as you shouldn't judge someone for their shoes or their skin color or their religion, you shouldn't judge them for having a child early.
I recently became aware of a program in my community that provides mentoring services to teenage moms. I am getting involved with it (obviously!), but I would encourage you to look for similar programs in your area. I'm not saying devote your whole life to curing this or any other societal ill you hear someone bitching about on the internet--just see if there is a place to donate used clothing or see if they need anything. Or next time you see a girl in Target, trying to make sense of the diapers, smile at her. Smile at her baby. Ask her if she needs anything. She might tell you no, and that will be fine. But she might have a legitimate question. And she might just want someone to talk to who won't judge her. Who knows? Just be that person for a few minutes and see what happens. You could be very surprised.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
How I have done better:
1. I haven't had a cupcake for breakfast in a long time.
2. I haven't dreamed about having an intervenous drip of chocolate in at least a week.
3. When I have had fatty foods (pizza, pie), I haven't eaten until I got sick. Just a little bit here or there.
4. I have made healthier options of my favorites instead of making it a full-on Full Fat Baking Extravaganza around here.
I think I've lost about 1.5 pounds. Better than that, I have noticed my jeans fit better with less muffin top. Yummm....muffins. Why does something so nasty (muffin top) have to remind me of something so delicious?
Anyway, I discovered the holy grail last night. I made this soup last night and it was freaking delicious. In fact, light or not, it was the best potato soup that I've ever had. Bar none. My first job was actually at this restaurant that is known for its baked potato soup, a soup that should be outlawed in several states because of how fattening it is. This soup is better than that stuff (or at least I think so, but I'm not the hugest fan of the other stuff, so maybe you shouldn't take my word for it). ANYWAY, everyone in my family loved it. In fact, Alice ate a frightening amount of it and then proceeded to eat handfuls of shredded cheddar with handfuls of green onions. She loved the onions. Interesting... Anyway, we had it with multigrain bread. Perfect for a cold night. We will definitely be having it again. And maybe I should look up more light recipes while I'm at it because I really want to make these. Like woah. A girl can't be pious all the time, can she? And besides, I'd be making them for the children, my sweet little angels who deserve cookies and love and above all COOKIES. Right?
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Because Gabby and her friend are involved in the same after school activities, Alice and I are around this baby quite a bit. And it is striking how different the two kids are. Alice is friendly and loving, always close to me and a bit clingy. She smiles easily at others, and is always happy to wave "bye bye" and talk to others, but appreciates knowing that I am near her at all times. The other baby is very social and independant, perfectly content to be toted around by the cadre of 11 year olds that surround her. She contends with being passed from kid to kid and doesn't complain. She strays far from her guardian and is pretty unflappable. It is even more striking how different looking they are. Alice is big and soft, with a peach fuzz head and pale, creamy skin. I think she has LOADS of hair, since both of my other kids were even more bald than she, but others remark on her "baldness". She frequently rocks the Pebbles look after a nap. The other baby is small and wiry with a halo of blonde curls. In short, Alice looks like she could eat her. In one gulp.
Tonight we went for cheerleading pictures. I brought Alice along in her stroller with her favorite books, Moo Baa La La La (which Matt and I have effectively memorized at this point) and The Belly Button Book (which explains her nickname--Bee Bo). She was wearing elastic waist pink corduroys (over a Swaddlebees dotted diaper), an orange long-sleeved tee shirt with a pink sparkly bunny on the front, pink socks, and purple Robeez with pink flowers on them. On top she had a blue hoodie with a rainbow on it that Sam got her for her birthday. Very colorful, and just very...kid like. I like a kid in colors, you know? Because when you get older you can't exactly rock the pink and orange. At any rate, we show up. The other baby is there and is wearing jeans with rhinestone embellishments, a sparkly waffle henley style shirt, a green fur vest and pink patent leather cowboy boots. The boots were full on boots, ya'll, with a little heel and everything. Hard soles, it goes without saying. This baby, not afraid of walking in any circumstance, comes right over to us, carrying her bottle, one of those cheapie Gerber things. It is filled with orange Kool-Aid. Alice sits timidly in the stroller and then warms up, waving at everyone and holding out her book to get a willing reader. She has started this thing where she wants to look at one book while you read her the other one. And then you switch. I get Alice out of the stroller so that she can sit in the floor comfortably. She sits right with me and looks at her book.
I begin talking to Gabby's friend's mom, who watches the other baby. She is a very nice lady. She is telling me that the baby will only drink Kool-Aid and watered down 7-Up. She asks me what Alice likes to drink and I just tell her water and watered down juice, but mostly water. She asks me when I will give her soda. I want to say "NEVER" (both of my other two ended up getting it through my mother-in-law for the first time, not through me), but I just smile and say "Someday." She also tells me about the baby's mom who pops up every now and then and brings her clothes, including lacy dresses and more boots. She tells me about giving the baby spoiled formula by mistake and asks me how long that stuff can be out of the fridge before it curdles (I tell her that I don't know). She complains a bit about the baby not sleeping well, and how she has to let her "cry it out" every night because she doesn't want her to get spoiled.
And I sit there, and think about my Alice. Alice sleeps with me. It started out not by choice, but has now come to be something that works for all of us. I can see how it wouldn't work for many families. But it does for us. Alice is breastfed. She stopped drinking from a bottle abruptly at 1, as she no longer has milk when I'm not with her. She nurses in the morning, once in the afternoon when I get home, and at night. And as much as I am into fashion, I am all about comfort for my kids. I mean, I want them to look nice, but there's a limit, you know?
I say all this, knowing it makes me sound like some sort of elitist parent, that whole "My child has never had a chicken nugget in her life!" kinda thing. I'm not that at all. I'll be glad to sit you down and tell you all the things I've done wrong with my kids, including Alice. For instance, I'm not even going to front: I adore the scent of that cheapie Johnson and Johnson lavender sleep baby stuff. LOVE IT. And I have bathed Alice in a few times when she was teething and I was desperate (and then I proceeded to use the rest of the bottle myself!). I know that it can be bad for baby's skin, just plain bad for baby. But I did it. As parents, we all do these little things "just this once" when we are tired and done and whatever.
But at the risk of sounding elitist, I hate this idea that a lot of parents have that they can treat their kids like they are mini adults. If you like Kool-Aid, it is ok to give it to your kid. If you like boots, sure, slap em on your 1 year old. Don't cuddle that baby! You wouldn't do that to a 25 year old! I don't know. It seems like so many parents don't want babies--they want pliant adults in small clothing. Small clothing that looks just like theirs. And they want these small adults to do their own thing--get themselves to sleep, drink their own bottles, walk to their own tune. And it bothers me.
When we got in the car after pictures, Gabby says, "You know, Alice is bigger than [the other baby], but she's kind of like the "baby" baby. You know?" Yes, Gabby, I know. And I like it that way.
It is also no lie that I find a lot of clothes at Target. In fact, I am semi obsessed with trying stuff on there and unearthing that next find. More than that, it is the store that I run to when I have to have something for an event--something that I might not wear that much in the long run, but that I need and for a cheap price. That is why I went there on Friday. I needed something to wear to my second interview, something that I could wear with trousers or a pencil skirt. I tried on a few things, but ended up going with this simple shirt. This, my friends, is a revelation. I haven't owned a button up shirt probably since I was in high school. They just don't flatter me that much with my big boobs and short waist. Heck, most of them won't even button over the ta-ta's. But this shirt...it worked. It buttoned and still fit and flattered. It was long enough to be tucked into a pencil skirt, but short enough to be left out with trousers. The fabric was comfortable and not cheap looking--no tell-tell shininess, no embellishments that would have cheapened it. Plus the neckline is open a bit, so pairing it with a necklace is easy and fun. I would have bought a white one, but they didn't have it in my size.
I ended up pairing the shirt with Gap black modern boot trousers (yes, all black), a skinny leopard print belt, a short necklace made of lots of green seed beads, and black patent high heeled Mary Janes. I wore my H&M trench on the top and Clinique Black Honey lipgloss. I thought it looked very nice, and in fact, the interviewer complimented me on the outfit. So it served that need. But now that I have it in my wardrobe, I keep thinking of other outfits that I could pair this shirt with. Plus, for $18 (I paid $15 because it was on sale last week), I can get another one if all those outfits do come to fruition. Overall, this is a great buy, and I would encourage you to go try one of these shirts.
Another thing to go look for are these lovely boots:
I actually bought these boots a while ago, but I have just now gotten to wear them because the weather has just now gotten cold enough. I bought these boots because I spend at least 75% of the winter wearing boots, and all of my extended calf boots are now too big and were sold at my daughter's yard sale last weekend. I want to get some super nice ones (real leather, timeless style), but I haven't found the perfect pair yet, and when I do, I think I want those to be brown leather. So I decided to get these to wear until I find the perfect boots and to serve as my black pair once I do finally find the others. These fill that need perfectly. For one thing, because they are relatively simple, with no heinous embellishments, they look expensive. For the other thing, they are truly superbly comfortable. The whole back of the boot is a stretchy elastic stuff that makes them very wearable, no matter what you are pairing them with. I wore them with two different kinds of skinny jeans, some that are not as super skinny (the Loft Modern Skinnies) and a another pair that is thicker denim and is super skinny (Gap Forevers) as well as just with socks and a skirt. They are fine--not too loose when worn alone but not too tight with the jeans. Plus, they are warm. And they don't dig into your leg--I wore them all day on Saturday (to the yard sale and then to the football game) and I went home with toasty, happy feet. I would encourage everyone to go try them on--even if you have wide calves. Because of the elastic, I think you could get away with a lot.
Just typing all this makes me want to go back to Target today and see what else I can find! I do need some shampoo....and some dishwashing liquid...hmmmm......
Monday, October 4, 2010
On Friday night, I took Gabby to a high school football game. I had promised that I would take her and a friend to one a long time ago, and this one was especially big since it was against the school's biggest rival. I should note that this is my high school alma mater that we were seeing, so, by extension, the biggest rival when I was in school. So I may have had some vested interest in wanting to see this game and to see the other team go down in a big flaming ball of fury. I called a friend who regularly attends the games, and she saved me a seat. We got to sit and talk and catch up and laugh, which was awesome as well. The game was definitely a good one, with our team losing in the second overtime by 1 point. Heartbreaking, ya'll. I found Gabby after the game and she didn't know who had won or what the score was. Turns out there had been all this drama between two of her friends so now there are two distinct sects of sixth grade girls who are at war. North vs. South, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Democrats vs. Republicans...all of these pale in comparison to this particular pre-teen spat. At least, that's the impression one would get after talking to Gabby for 5 minutes. We made it back to the car and then I came home and watched a bit of TV before going to bed.
I should note that I was ridiculously overdressed for such an event in Loft Modern Skinnies, and a Loft cami and v-neck cardigan (I did wear a berry cardigan since our school color is purple), and my Merona riding boots. I topped all this with a trench coat from H&M. It was a sea of purple hoodies, ya'll, and I sort of stuck out like a sore thumb. Sigh. I did see a guy who had graduated a year ahead of me and he commented that I looked better now than I did in high school. This comment would make my life, BUT he had the tell-tale facial scabs and tooth decay of a meth addict. So, yeah, not sure how much stock I want to put in his excellent analysis. Sigh.
The next morning I got up early and took Gabby (and a trunk load full of old clothes) to an indoor yard sale fundraiser for her cheerleading squad. This was actually a lot of work. Because I had not priced my items beforehand (naughty, naughty), I stopped at the dollar store and bought some sharpies and some labels to price them when I got there. After I got all of my items priced, I ended up pricing a lot of other people's because I had the supplies. That will teach me to do everything well ahead of time. I stayed all day with Gabby, only going home in the middle of the day to get Alice who enjoyed breaking out her new walking skillz on the school stage. We came home at 3:00, and Alice and I took a quick nap. Then I straightened up the house a little, ordered a pizza and then got into the car again (!) and drove Gabby to cheer at a football game in another town. The whole family was going to go, but it was a cold night, so Matt stayed home with Alice and Sam. My grandmother came to the game and thankfully brought some nice thick blankets and some vanilla wafers which we had with concession stand hot cocoa. Gabby's team ended up losing 55-0. They got one first down the entire game, and the other team scored on 4 straight punt returns. If you are not a football fan yourself, here's a hint: that sucks. Bad. It was a pretty miserable experience, actually. However, the cheerleaders did a nice job and broke out a new pyramid. Yea!
After the game, I drove us home and serenaded Gabby with the 90's on 9 channel. I still remember every word of Salt n Pepa's Shoop which pleased me beyond belief. It also disturbed me beyond belief that the song came out when I was 10 years old and that I knew the words then too. If my daughter was singing a song like that....no thank you. We also heard Name by the Goo Goo Dolls, which at one time was my favorite song. I told this to Gabby and she goes, "This sounds like The Fray for old people. And it is even worse than The Fray, which I really didn't think was possible." Thanks, Gab. I started laughing though, because, really I think she's right. Except about them being worse than The Fray. Let's not get crazy here.
On Sunday I woke up kind of sick. I had tummy issues and my allergies were acting up. Alice also had tummy issues, which is not great, considering I had to get up and wash more diapers, ifyouknowwhatImean. I was planning on not doing anything all day, but this just reinforced that idea. I did bake Sam a pumpkin pie because I had promised him one for his birthday (the kid is obsessed with pumpkin pie). Then, since it was the last day of the regular season, I watched baseball. Lots and lots of baseball. I was thrilled to see the Braves win (I was a Braves fan growing up and kind of love Bobby Cox like he's my grandpa), and of course happy to see my A's end up at .500 and in second place in the division. 2011 looks bright, ya'll. I was not so thrilled to see the no-good, very-bad San Francisco Giants come up with a win. Grumble. Oh well. Here's hoping they get pwned in the postseason. After all that, I made chili and biscuits for dinner. I lightened it up a little with extra lean ground beef (I used a little over two pounds instead of three and added an extra can of beans), light butter and sour cream, and awesome Cabot 50% reduced fat extra sharp cheese. I had been a good girl all day so I didn't worry with the points so much, but at some point I'll figure it up and see exactly how much it was. I topped my chili with lots of jalapenos for some extra spice and no points. Then we all had pumpkin pie (which was easy for me not to overindulge in, since I don't like it that much), and got the kids to bed. I ended up going to bed early.
This morning, I stayed home since I'm still feeling a bit icky and have a killer sore throat AND I have that interview this afternoon. I have been looking at my daughter's friends Facebook pages and trying to put together who "likes" who and that kind of thing. Yup, totally stalking a bunch of 11 year olds. I should point out that I haven't turned up any real relevations except that all of them should be stoned for crimes against the English language. Good lord, children. My eyes bleed.
Friday, October 1, 2010
ANYWAY, here is a link to a post on Gigi's Gone Shopping that really, really struck home with me. As we all know, I love clothes. Love them. I've loved them as long as I can remember--I remember events by what I was wearing, and my closet is probably one of my favorite places in my house. More importantly, I love dressing up and looking my best. I feel that I'm two completely different people--one when I'm dressed in a way that I like, and one when I'm not. You can imagine the one that you want to be friends with. Gigi hits the nail on the head talking about the pressure not to be "fancy" and how we all need to just rise up away from that and dress however we damn well please. It is ok to geek out over fashion.
I really have to struggle to remember this. I know I complain about the area where I live a lot, but really, unless you have been here, it is really hard to explain. It is rural. And backwards. "Dressing up" here means putting on the jeans with the fewest holes in them and a sweatshirt from American Eagle. I am not kidding. Dresses are reserved for Sunday church, and then we are not talking sheaths or shirtdresses. We are talking calf-length florals made of polyester. Yup. Yes, there are a few people who go a bit differently, but it is definitely not the norm. The biggest retailer (and only in a lot of people's minds) is Wal-Mart. If you can't buy it at Wal-Mart, these people don't have it. You can imagine the funny looks I get sometimes, just wearing what I would consider to be rather casual. I get compliments from teenagers and younger kids, but never other parents or adults. Well, I take that back. Once a co-worker complimented a ruffled t-shirt I was wearing from Loft. I told her that I had ordered it from there, and she goes, "Ordered it online? I could never do that." Dude, we're not talking about meth, we're talking about purchasing goods on the computer. Yeah. Told you it was a little different.
I have a dress that I ordered from Shabby Apple ages ago. I was cleaning out my closet yesterday and found that it still had the tags on it. I have pulled it out a bunch of times and then thought, "No, I should wear jeans today," or "Trousers would be more appropriate." A couple of times, I have come close to wearing it and then used the fact that I don't have the kind of shoes that I desire to wear with it as some sort of out. I mean, I have some shoes, just not THE shoes. But I don't ever go out to find THE shoes. I like the dress, it fits me nicely, my husband says it looks like something Emily Deschanel would wear (and that is the highest compliment coming from him--he is a huge fan of her and of Drew Barrymore). But it hangs in the closet. That makes me mad at myself. Reading Gigi's post reminds me to go get that dress and just put it on one day. Yes, I will come home and wonder if people think I am having an affair. But oh well. Let them think that.
Interestingly enough, I am in the final stages of the interview process for a new job. I kind of came into it accidentally--someone put my name in the running and then they called me and asked me to apply, so I thought about it and hemmed and hawed and then sent in my resume. Then I got a call back and went to the interview and it turned out really well. You know how you have an interview or something and you can see almost immediately that you are among friends? Yeah, it was like that. For those curious, I wore Gap Modern Boot trousers, a Martin + Osa gray wool blazer (from TJ Maxx), the J. Crew Alice tank in pearl (which Matt said make me look like a pirate--ARRR!! Give me a job or ye walk the plank!) and BR black pointy toe slingbacks. Then they call me and say that I have "blown them away" (pats self on back) and they're having me back on Monday. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about all this. I wasn't really looking for a new job, and I do some good work at my current one (although I get paid poverty-style wages). But this one is good and it is in a new town that is toward civilization. A bit more foreward looking, let's say. Plus, I could and in fact, would be encouraged, to dress up everyday. Is it such a problem that I like that aspect possibly the most? Matt says it is insane that anyone would want that in a job. To him, the best job you could do in a t-shirt (something pop-culture related) and jeans. We had a gentle argument about this in the car the other day and Gabby was like, "I think you're both wrong. And stupid to even talk about it." Yeah, thanks Gab. A reminder to all with children: bury yours at age 10 and then dig them up when it is time for college. But here I am, all geeked out over clothes. And feeling slightly guilty and superficial about it all.
But you know what? I've made a lot of decisions in my life that don't jive with what everyone else is doing. I have a cloth diapered, breastfeeding til 2, co-sleeping, AP style baby, for chrissakes. Who cares what kind of clothes I wear...judge me for that! I need to get over the clothes guilt. It is not going to change anything. I need to be happy with the ones I have and wear the hell out of them. Even the dresses.
So, long story short, let's all get over trying to fit in in this slobberific world. Yes, there will be people at the grocery store wearing their Snoopy pajamas. Yes, it will make you want to throw up in your mouth. But stride by them in your heels and pencil skirt. Let's all get dressed.