Monday, August 31, 2009

My Mama

Here are some things my Mama has been known to do.

Go to the grocery store for you and won't let you pay her back.

Watch your kids anytime you ask. No matter what she's got going on.

Drive 2 hours to your house so you won't have to drive by yourself somewhere with the kids.

Host your wedding at her house.

Babysit for anyone, anytime. Seriously.

Host your friends and their friends and all their kids at her house and cook and feed all of them.

Throw an awesome freaking Christmas/Birthday party at her house for 100 people every year, even if she's spent the day in surgery for skin cancer or if there is no power.

Plant your neighbor's flower box just because she wants to.

Buy you stuff at Target even though you are almost 35 because "It was her idea and you have to have it."

Stay up with you when you are breastfeeding just so you won't have to get up to put the baby back down. She'll do it for you.

Make anybody a pound cake or fruit salad if somebody you know dies.

Bury somebody else's cat.

Buy toys for almost any kid she knows.

Rake your yard and plant your bushes. I'm pretty sure she's even mowed mine once.

Drive to CVS for bandades in the middle of the night when your kid falls out of the bed.

Cook everybody in the house something different because its your favorite thing she makes.

The list could go and on and I know there are things that YOU would like to add but these are just some of my favorites. I'm so glad you were born Mama and I'm so glad that you are My Mama. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Vegans and Veggies In My Life

Please try this recipe. It is so de-lish. Trust me. It's another one from my friend who doesn't know she's my friend.

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
3 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
Flat leaf parsley, finely minced
Fresh Parmesan, shaved or grated
1/2 to 1 pound pasta: orecchiette, penne, fusilli, etc.

Roast red peppers, then place in a Ziploc bag to allow to sweat. Peel the charred skins from the peppers, then removed seeds. Set aside.

Lightly toast pine nuts in a skillet. Set aside.

Puree peppers with pine nuts. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a skillet or pot over medium heat, drizzle in olive oil. Add diced onions and garlic and cook until soft. Pour in pepper puree and stir together. Add plenty of salt.

Pour in cream and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Add cooked
pasta, then stir together.

Place pasta into a bowl, top with chopped parsley and plenty of shaved Parmesan.

For the Vegans and Veggies in my life.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sweet, Sweet, Sweet

Home will never leave me. It is what I lived. It is what I know. It became a part of what I dream for myself. I ran as fast as I could to get away and there are some days when I want to run as fast as I can to get back. The peace that is there isn't anywhere else. Not as far as I know anyway. It's like a good medicine or a deep, deep breath. There is something in the air there and it is sweet, sweet, sweet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Such A Classic

I have to post this because I've been looking through all my files for it. It's my Papa Clyde telling Lil' a limerick, which he is famous for, when she was about 5 months old. I can't figure out how to rotate the video so you'll have to twist your head and you might want to make sure you don't have any little kids around.

Such a classic.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy, Happy Birthday!

6 years ago today, I woke up at 5:30am. It's strange to wake up with your heart beating out of your chest. I took a shower. I climbed in the car with Daddy. We were quiet. We were excited. I was scared. The air was thick and warm. I vividly remember exactly what the water looked like in the early morning fog with the tired lights shining on it. I remember seeing the crest of the sun and thinking about the promise of the day. We were on our way to meet Big for the first time.

He was born at 7:51 in the morning. I can hear him crying now. It's weird because every now and again, he still makes the same face he made when we first met. It's a rare glimpse but every so often, I'll see it. I shook when he left me. I was so cold. But holding him for the first time was the closest that I've ever been to heaven.

I love his birthday for so many reasons. It was a day of beginnings. So many beginnings. So many beginnings that I still haven't experienced yet. When he took his first breath, he breathed something new into me. He gave me a new life, a new role, a new name and one that I'm so thankful for.

I love you so much my beautiful Big. Happy, Happy Birthday!

Monday, August 24, 2009

They're Gonna Love Her

Another one leaves the nest. Lil' started school today. She didn't cry. She didn't get sad. She just walked on in. I am ok about it. I know she is ready. She's been ready. And to celebrate, I've had 2 Diet Cokes and a cup of coffee. Zingaaa.

She wants to big like Big she says. And she will be.

They don't even know how much they're gonna love her.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

We're So, So, Proud Of Him

So despite the threat of dangerous rip currents and sporadic rain showers from Hurricane Bill, we went ahead with Big's birthday party this weekend. It was so much fun and I think that maybe, just maybe, I matched, but not topped, our food fight party from last year. But as I mentioned to my sister yesterday, a victory is still a victory and I'm gonna take it.

We started the day by giving him something that his Daddy and I have wanted to give him since way before he was born. Even before we knew we were having him, I can remember us being so excited about getting our little boy a surfboard one day.

There was something very special about this birthday and that was that all 4 of Big's grandparents made it to the party and this made me truly jealous because I'm pretty sure that's never happened to me. We also had plenty of good friends and Aunt Emy. It's impossible to find words to describe how thankful you are when people will put aside their day to come or drive or fly to your kid's birthday party and for that reason I always like to have plenty of adult beverages on hand to say "thank you".

Daddy made Big's invitation. It still makes me laugh. This is the picture we used.

And then we had to have a surfboard cake.

And we had to take his new board out.

And he actually got up a couple of times. I'll have to put some more of those up.

So our boy is turning 6. He's in first grade. He's growing up and we're so, so proud of him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm Dealing With It

Well he did it and he did it perfectly. I managed to grab a couple of pictures before he made me stop because I was embarrasing him. At least he let me kiss him a couple of times (in the parking lot where no one else could see) before we went in. If he wasn't my kid and I wasn't an old woman, it would have reminded me of my days in high school.

Anyways, I cried but I managed to hide it from him. He didn't cry and managed to keep his excitement from leaving me hidden. Lil' slept late but wondered where he was all morning. Daddy was the rock for all of us and hugged me when I was sad.

So I guess its all gonna be okay. He's growing up and I'm dealing with it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lil':4, Mama: 319

Oh and by the way.....

So the score for issues won by shear stubborness is Lil': 4, Mama: 319.

These Beautiful People

Dear God,
Thank you for giving me such an amazing summer with my children. Thank you for keeping us safe when we traveled. Thank you for feeding us when we were hungry. Thank you for our beds when we were tired. I'm pretty sure that this will always go down as the happiest summer I have ever known.

Please give me the strength to let Big go to school tomorrow. Please let me be strong and dear Lord please don't let him see me cry when we walk in there. Let him have manners, sweet friends and please let his teacher see how crazy smart he is.

Be with Lil' as he leaves us for the first time all day. Fill her mind with fun things to do so she won't drive me crazy.

Also be with Daddy and give him the patience to deal with all of us cause I'm pretty sure he's going to need it.

Thank you for watching over all of us Lord and for letting me live with these beautiful people.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sweet Baby Girl Foot

It's so weird having a little girl. I'm used to boys and their wrestling and their imaginary swords and their sweaty heads and dirt. I was always sort of tom-boyish so to have a little girl who is SUCH a little girl is really strange for me.

With Big, I can pretty much guess his next step or know what he's thinking or come up with things that he thinks are cool to do. Lil' is different. I never know what she's thinking or what she's gonna do but when I figure it out, it usually surprises me. And she thinks her own things up that she thinks are cool. She has one big, sweet imagination.

Tonight on our way home, I looked in my favorite window (the rear-view mirror) and Lil' had taken off her flip-flops and she was playing with her feet. What is hilarious about this was that she turned her feet into little people. One foot was seriously upset with the other foot. I think the mad one was Mama and the other one was her baby but it was kind of hard to tell. All I know is there was a heated discussion going on in that carseat between 10 toes and I'm glad I wasn't her pinky toe cause that one was in the worst trouble. After the Mama foot got upset, she kissed the baby foot and all was well in the world of Lil's feet.

She caught me smiling at her and she smiled a big toothy grin right back. She knows that this Mama foot will always, always love her sweet baby girl foot.

Friday, August 14, 2009

If I Was A Time-Traveler

Last night, Daddy and I watched part of an awesome movie, Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music - The Director's Cut. When Big and Lil' get older, much, much older, I hope they take the time to watch this. It documents how the concert came to fruition and what the people and the performers experienced over those 3 days; August 15th through August 18th 1969.

Ok, yes, there was apparently alot, alot, alot of drug use. But I don't think that the drugs made the crowd experience something that wasn't actually there. It was a perfect union between the crowd and the performers. Richie Havens was unbelievable really. He went way down deep and dealt out some unreal guitar playing. Joe Crocker positively slayed it. He got crazy and it payed off big. When he sang, "With A Little Help From My Friends", it was a sweaty, delirious, magical,messy, miracle. It was only the second performance for Crosby, Stills & Nash and they were so, so, good. What is also interesting to see is how young all these people were. I mean, Woodstock happened when most of them still had their wits about them.

Woodstock had to happen. It needed to happen as much for the people who went as for the performers it showcased. The legends who played there were really creating a concert that would be an ageless, timeless tribute to themselves. Not in my lifetime, has there ever been so much musical talent all alive, all together, playing for one reason. I'm not sure it will ever happen for Big and Lil' either but I hope they look back and see what happened back then because it was really very beautiful.

Thirty-two acts performed over the course of the four days:

Friday, August 15
Richie Havens
Swami Satchidananda - gave the invocation for the festival
The Incredible String Band
Bert Sommer
Tim Hardin
Ravi Shankar
Arlo Guthrie
Joan Baez

Saturday, August 16
Quill, forty minute set of four songs
Keef Hartley Band
Country Joe McDonald
John Sebastian
Canned Heat
Grateful Dead
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band [19]
Sly & the Family Stone
The Who began at 4 AM, kicking off a 25-song set including Tommy
Jefferson Airplane

Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18
The Grease Band
Joe Cocker
Country Joe and the Fish
Ten Years After
The Band
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Johnny Winter featuring his brother, Edgar Winter
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Neil Young
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Jimi Hendrix

Oh if I was a time-traveler...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Two Year Old's Dictionary

Since I am basically still the only person who can understand Lil's vocabulary, I am dedicating a post to her language.

Atl Ju - Apple Juice
Bankie - Blanket
Bubba - Brother
Buggie - Bug is gettin me
Cuyal Wid Mi - Cuddle with me
Dinky - Stinky
Fend - Friend
Fip Fop - Flip Flop
I hungi - I'm hungry
I no no - I don't know
I not wike dat - I don't like that
It not tooo wate - Its not too late
I won u - I want you
Nana - Banana
Pay Woom - Playroom
Stool - School
Sto Wa - Stroller
Supa - Supper
Tu - ti - Cookie
U de bes - You're the best
Wa U Wading Fo - What are you waiting for
Waisitthen - What is it then
Wawen - Another name for herself
Wooookie - Another name for her brother
Wuk - Look

So I hope this helps. Pretty much everything else is understandable. These are the ones that trip most people up. It's Lil's 2 year old dictionary.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thanks For The Challenge

Here's something fun. Put some play-doh in your pocket. Don't tell Mama its there. She'll wash your clothes and she won't check your pockets. At this point you'll be home free. She'll throw them in the washer with fabric softener so they are extra smelly and soft. Then she'll put them in the dryer with one of those sheets that make them squishy like the teddy bear on tv.

Because she hates to fold clothes, she'll keep letting them flop in the dryer and therefore your play-doh will get the chance to come out of your pocket and paint the whole inside of her brand new dryer green! It's crazy how sticky and hard play-doh becomes after a wash and a dry. So when she opens the dryer she'll be so surprised to see the glorious, wonderful mess you created.

To my children:

I'm not sure which one of you did this to me today. But hear this: I will not make the same mistake twice. From now on, your pockets WILL be checked. You little rats! And by the way, it doesn't matter how hard you try, I will always be able to clean up almost any mess with Goo Gone. This was a good effort on both your parts though. Thanks for the challenge.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It Speaks To Me

I wanted to share this post from another blog I read because it speaks to me. This lady cracks me up especially because she's pursuing a degree in religion. Anywho, I think these 14 things are smart and can apply to any of us from a southern state or any of us with friends or a family we desperately love. These are 14 things she's learned in 14 years of living in Tennessee.

From Stretch Marks:

1. The SEC is the best college football division. Handsdown.

2. In Texas there are rednecks. In Tennessee there are hillbillies. There is a difference. Just look at their front yard: In Texas they have washers and dryers and cars up on blocks, in Tennessee they have confederate flags and shotguns. Personally, both scare me.

3. Find out who you are. Search. Explore. Journal. Pray. Read. Study. Listen. But become sure of who you are. And then become confident in it. Be confident in the woman/man God made you to be. And as Dolly Parton said in her biography that I read three times, "Be an alligator girl, be whatever you want to be. Wear your cornflakes with pride. Just be sure that you give them a quarters worth of wonder." (It would make sense if you read the book, okay?) I know who I am, and it may not jell with who you are - that's okay, neither I nor the Lord apologize for it.

4. Walk into your favorite Tennessee bookstore, spend $10.99 on a book about day trips in Tennessee, and then go explore. You will find out three things: 1) There is beauty everywhere in this state. 2) There are really great cheeseburgers at some really dumpy places. 3) Your spouse will open up their heart to you on just about any subject while on a simple ride on a sunny day with a milkshake.

5. Not any thing, not any one, beats family.

6. The friends that you never ever wanted to stick around - usually do. And you are so much the better for them.

7. The friends that you really really wanted to stick around - usually don't. And you are so much the better for it.

8. Boundaries! Boundaries! Boundaries!

9. Four is so much sweeter than two.

10. Chances are the state flower of Tennessee is spelled "F-L-O-U-R." God bless 'em.

11. Sometimes the sweetest friends 14 years can give you are the kind that never need anything from you but your heart. They don't steal your time and they don't suck your energy. They just want to be friends. Those are the keepers!

12. I met an angel once, in Tennessee. I kid you not. She had red hair and spoke with a soft southern accent. She was a nurse in the Labor and Delivery Unit who was not scheduled to work that night and yet, strangely enough, she came in just for me. ("I heard about you Melissa, and I left my Christmas party just to be here with you. I was so happy to be here with you.") And that night, Christmas eve, 2005, she held my hand, wiped my brow and loved on me, The AG and our sweet Elisha. To this day I do not remember her name and though I've called the hospital to find her no one seems to know who I'm talking about or who I'm describing. Hebrews 13:1 says, "Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." However, sometimes, I believe, they entertain us.

13. If you burn a bridge, take your tools and get to work re-building it. However, if someone else burns the bridge then let them do the work. You can work all day and all night, you can sweat and you can cry. But you cannot repair what someone else has damaged. It's not up to you, sister. Leave it alone.

14. God. Is. Faithful.

I don't know. It speaks to me.

The Fat Lady Has Sung

I have to post something dedicated to the food we had on our trip because we ate alot but also because Daddy and I were vegans for 2.5 days and that's big for us. We eat meat. We eat alot of meat. But we have been shown a different way. A way to cut back on that. Probably a good thing cause Daddy just got back a bad cholesterol report. So first here are some recipes that my cousin made for us that I promise you were oh so good. Here she is:

Zucchini Bread

2 cups grated zucchini, about 6 zucchini
Egg replacer for 3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 bread pans.
Stir together the zucchini, egg replacer, oil, sugar and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.

Pour the batter in to the pans and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Pinto Bean Burgers With Chipolte Mayonnaise

1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeƱo pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon canned minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (1 1/2-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns toasted
4 romaine lettuce leaves

To prepare burgers, combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Add pinto beans and corn; partially mash with a fork. Divide bean mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 3 1/2-inch patty, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

To prepare chipotle mayonnaise, combine mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon chipotle in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top each patty with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 lettuce leaf, and top half of bun.

She also made us falafels, tabuleh salad (shhh it came from a box) and she served that with this little dilly of a sauce. Mmmmmmm.

Cucumber Sauce

1 cup soy yogurt, unsweetened
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (to taste)

Ok. So in NYC, we got back to eating a little meat. We ate a burger at the The Frying Pan. Oh Sweet Jesus, the seasoned fries. We had tacos and burritos at Harry's Burritos on the Upper West Side. Please get the chicken tacos (hard) when you go. Oh my yum yum. Then, we got another falafel from Mamouns on Macdougal and 3rd. You gotta go there. Finally we finished it all off with a "Grandma Pizza" from Bleeker Street Pizza. I'm teary-eyed just thinking about it. Tissue please. Alright. All of this was of course sprinkled with random "Dirty Water Dogs" from the street vendors. I know its gross but I - Have - To - Eat - Them.

I got home and realized that I gained 5 pounds folks and I don't even care. So the fat lady has officially sung.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

We Drove. We Saw. We Learned.

Well, we did it. We left last Sunday for our first official family vacation week. We drove all day to Pennsylvania. Beautiful Pennsylvania. Who knew? We took the scenic route through the Shenandoah Valley and drove 14 hours to my cousins' house deep in the green heart of the state.

We prepared ourselves for disaster in the car. An iconic meltdown from Big and Lil'. There was none from either one. They behaved like they should in Church the whole way there. Sure there plenty of pee stops and Big started asking 30 minutes in if we were there yet but me and Daddy were in awe of what we witnessed. It was a beautiful thing.

In Penn we rode horses, floated down rivers, ate ice cream, Big fell in love with a
4-wheeler, we swang on tires, we sat under trees, we got eggs from the chickens, we laughed and we rested. It was all so simple and it was amazing. There is a name for this farm of still water and simple grace but it is still a mystery. All I know is this, the wind is gentle, the sun is warm and the livin' is easy.

We stayed on the farm for 3 days and then jumpstarted our brains by spending the second half of the week in NYC. We fed our kids something new - a stew of purple hair, yellow taxis, red tomato sauce and black pavement and they ate every drop. American Girls, FAO, The World Trade Center, Battery Park, Times Square, The Empire States Building, Chelsea Piers, The Musuem of Natural History, Central Park, John Lennon's apartment building, Falafel, mmmmm Falafel, Pizza, Fried Rice, Dirty Water Dogs, Tacos, Burritos, water, water, water. Lots of water, S'Mac (you must go), Taxis, Buses, Subways, Escalators, Elevators, in, out, up, down.

Big and I had long discussions about 9/11 and the bad men who shouldn't have done what they did. We also made him give some change to a homeless man and we blew his mind when we told him the man lived there on that very spot on the sidewalk.

We got home last night at midnight. Tired, still moving forward and delirious. It was a great trip and here are a couple of my favorite things we got:

a purple flower from Central Park

a nail from where they are building the new Freedom Tower at Ground Zero

We drove. We saw. We learned.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Nothin' Wrong With That

When I went to see Mabel and Clyde (my beach Grandparents), Mabel and I went through some pictures. One of them was this one and I think its awesome. This is my Great-Great Uncle Robe.

There was this one too of my Great Uncle Glenn which is equally cool.

I wonder if either one of these guys thought they would end up on my blog one day. I'm going with probably not.

Big thinks these 2 are cowboys though and he thinks its crazy cool that he's related to them. I'm letting him go with it.

Big:"Did they fight Indians?"
Big:"Did they have guns?"
Big:"Did they die from the Indians?"
Big:"They are awesome."
Mama:"I know."

Now he's a Cowboy's Great-Great-Great Nephew and there's nothin' wrong with that.