Saturday, March 29, 2008

Reasons For Sainthood Nomination Are As Follows:

This week I planned out five meals (recipes courtesy of Meals Matter,) shopped accordingly, and so far all have been successful and fairly nutritious. Feel loving and homemaker-y and also clever and organized, like a cross between the Barefoot Contessa and Sandra Lee.

Thursday night, Jim and I drove forty-five minutes in the pouring down rain to go work out with the trainer. We are both so unbelievably sore now that Jim took a hot bath with baking soda this morning to try to soothe his muscles (usually he equates baths with estrogen,) and my thighs are screaming in protest every time I do strenuous things like bend down to pick up a toy or try to sit on the toilet. Keep in mind that we are PAYING DEARLY to be in this much pain.

Yesterday I cleaned like a mad woman for another showing- again, with less than twenty-four hours notice. I ended up cramming about three loads of dirty laundry into the washer just to hide it, two loads of clean, unfolded clothes into the dryer, and another two laundry baskets of dirty clothes were driven away in my front seat, while the dog sat in the back, wedged between two car seats, panting nervously (and wetly) into my right ear. I am getting sick of this crap.

Last night, at about one thirty, Eli bit me for the first time. Like, BIT me. With his two pearly new TEETH. I think I see weaning on the horizon.

The (insert very bad word of your choice) dog crawled under the deck AGAIN this morning, and got so filthy this time that just wiping him off with wet towels wasn't cutting it. It was time for A Bath. The dog is seventy-five pounds, has hair like a sheep, and is as skittish and leggy as a newborn colt. Giving him a bath is the equivalent of bathing one of the kids like, a HUNDRED times in a row. Then you have to blow dry him, otherwise he runs around the house shaking wet fur all over everything for the next half hour. Upon releasing the clean dry dog at last from the bathroom, your own clothing is wet and filthy, as well as about six towels, the tub, the bathroom rugs, and everything else in the bathroom, including the walls. Keep in mind that this is the bathroom you just scrubbed down YESTERDAY for strangers to walk through and admire. Try, if you can, to summon up the will to clean it. Also the will to live.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I woke up this morning blinking in disbelief. It was a quarter to eight, and I felt... rested! I had gone to bed at eleven, gotten up with Eli at five, and not gotten up before then! Which meant the kid and I both got six CONSECUTIVE hours of sleep! I seriously can't remember the last time that I went to bed and wasn't called upon to nurse someone at least twice before morning.
Getting enough sleep when you haven't for a long time is kind of the same sensation as finally feeling healthy when you've been ill for a long time. You wake up and think wonderingly, "Oh yeah- THIS is what normal feels like! It's so amazing! I never realized!"
Even more wonderful was the fact that Addy slept in LATE this morning. Usually I would wake her by at least nine, but she had been feverish and sick last night, had stayed up really late, and I thought she probably needed the rest. So when Eli went down EARLY for his morning nap while Addy was still ASLEEP- it was like Mother's Day had come early. I rushed to the bathroom, ran a bath, and brought coffee, Easter candy, and the portable DVD player in with me. Afterwards, I lotioned up with my new Victoria's Secret Sweet Daydreams lotion, and I tell you, it smells just like Ralph Lauren Romance perfume. So heavenly.
I don't even know what to do with myself after such a lucky morning. Maybe I should go shopping and try on some size 6 jeans- I bet they'll be LOOSE!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Big Girl


Beauty Queen

Budding Rembrandt

Monday, March 24, 2008

Home Ec Dropout

I am in a big rut, food-wise. Lately I've been eating turkey sandwiches at least four times a week, and Addy eats a rotation of pb and j, cheese and crackers, or macaroni and cheese (homemade, usually) with a side of applesauce for lunch every day, with occasional culinary delights like Campbell's Noodle O's thrown in there for variety. I was doing pretty well there for awhile making interesting dinners, at least, but my enthusiasm for cooking has waned again, and I feel despondent and confused come dinner time. I poke around lethargically, opening the same cupboard four times hoping to see something new pop out at me as a Delicious Dinner Solution, and instead keep seeing the same can of pizza sauce (but no pizza crust mix or other toppings) and inexplicable box of unflavored gelatin.
The ridiculous amounts of chocolate and leftover lemon coconut Easter cake floating around in the kitchen today are not bolstering my resolve to cook. It is noon and I must produce lunch soon, but there are no tortillas for me to wrap up my turkey and cheese, and if I feed Adelay peanut butter for one more meal in a row I fear she'll be taken away from me on suspicion of neglect.
I have a bin overflowing with bags of organic lentils and split peas and black beans, purchased in a fit of nutritious overachieving. I was planning on making simple and hearty soups a la Catherine Newman, but those soups have yet to be enjoyed. Instead, I discovered that black beans take approximately two months to soften, and that when cooked in the microwave to speed the process up, they splatter black bean juice all over which will depress you so much that you will refuse to clean the microwave out of spite at the universe until, two weeks later, you get really sick of that charred bean smell every time you reheat your coffee.
Does someone have some sort of Official Pantry Checklist, with ingredients that, if you always keep them on hand, will provide an endless cycle of tasty yet simple meals? Meals which are hopefully not based around a can of cream of mushroom and a block of Velveeta? Although at this point, even processed cheese product would be an improvement.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sex and the City- Banished Boyfriends Edition

Because of some people in my life who are still in the, shall we say, choosing period of their lives (making decisions about school, work, dating, moving, dating, changing schools, DATING, and so on) I've been thinking a lot lately about when it's time to say goodbye to your guy. When do you pull the plug on a relationship that you've had concerns about for quite awhile? What is the straw that breaks the camel's back?
(Side note: Don't anyone go taking anything personally here, or think that I'm talking about YOU and how YOU should or shouldn't have broken up with someone. This post is a CULMINATION of lots of events and conversations. This is about curiosity, not passing judgement.)
My question for you, oh internets, is this: Historically speaking, what is the longest amount of time you've spent with a guy that you knew (or at least suspected) wasn't the One? What's the most time you've wasted with a guy who treated you badly, or at least not well enough? About whom you cried a lot more than you smiled? And what was it that let you know you weren't working as a couple?
For me, I think it was about six months wasted. And what finally got through to me was the fact that he just didn't love me enough. I went through all kinds of crap with his family thinking eventually, eventually he was going to be on MY side and grow up and decide that I mattered more to him than they did. And one day I realized, pretty suddenly, that it just wasn't going to happen. Not then, and not if I gave it another six months of arguments and crying and sneaking around. I was giving and not getting back, and I felt like I was scraping the bottom of the barrel, emotionally. I just had nothing left to give to him in terms of patience and understanding and support, unless I got something BACK to replenish my own reserve.
What's your story?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Another Step In My Descent To Crotchety Old Ladyhood

Dear Sister,

Apparently my complaints about Eli's nighttime feedings and my own sleep deprivation have not been vocal enough. Otherwise why would you have called me AT TWELVE THIRTY PM last night? When I grabbed for my phone in a half-awake panic, thinking, "Oh no, who's died?" you said nonchalantly, "Hi. Homework question: what is the opposite of Western religion?"
"What?" I demanded, barely coherent. "Is this some kind of trick question?"
Sister: "No, it's an essay thing. I'm just not sure what they're looking for here."
Me: (blinking in disbelief)(also, speaking slowly) "The opposite of west is east- you are familiar with the concept of DIRECTION, right?"
Sister: "I know, but do they mean Eastern religion, or a specific religion? What's a SPECIFIC Eastern religion?"
Me:(stares at phone, hand shaking with rage) Long pause. Sigh. "BUDDHISM? And also, GAAAA! Do not call me at this hour of night unless you are DYING!"
SISTER: (in injured tone) "Sorry. Geez."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spoiler Alert: Devastatingly Cute Baby Pictures

Sorry the posting's been so random and infrequent the last few days. Eli's been VERY fussy the last week or so, and has also been getting up three and four times a night. I'm exhausted. I'm grumpy, too, because you have a certain level of TOLERANCE for this sort of nighttime behavior at six weeks old that you are sort of lacking at SIX MONTHS old. I'm trying, on the pediatrician's advice, to night wean him, but it's not so easy when he goes from "groggily awake and thinking about maybe eating" to "ravenously hungry and screaming for the walking milk machine to come get him NOW" in about five seconds. He shares a wall with Addy's bedroom, so it's not as though I can just let him "cry it out." And standing by his bed patting his back, as the doctor suggested when I told her of my dilemma, doesn't seem to do more than further enrage him. "You're RIGHT THERE!" he seems to be trying to convey to me. "Why not just whip the ole' boob out if you're going to be awake anyways?" I have to say, the logic of his argument is pretty convincing. I have managed to soothe him back to sleep without nursing exactly once so far. Ask me about night weaning in another month or so.

We had a showing of our house today, with less than twenty-four hours notice, so as soon as everyone was up and about I sent Jim and the kids to his parents' house and then cleaned like a Merry Maid on speed for about three hours. Due to Eli's frequent waking and my consequential tiredness, plus his fussiness during the day, I haven't done any kind of deep cleaning for over a week other than dishes, laundry, and picking up toys after the kids were in bed. It wouldn't have been that bad except that it has been in the thirties here all week, meaning piles of snow are melting into muddy slush everywhere you walk, plus it's rained the last few days, so there are also dirty puddles all over. So... add the dirty shoes plus the giant muddy dog and you have some very dirty floors. There was some frantic mopping going on here.
The house is getting shown again on Monday, which is good because I feel like I'm getting more bang for my buck, if you will, out of the thorough cleaning I did today. All I'll have to do is vacuum and tidy up for this next showing, hopefully, since everything got dusted and scrubbed already today.
All right, wake up there, you. I see you skimming through, wondering where those baby pictures are to redeem this ridiculously dull post. HERE:

Eli with his birthday buddy, Gabriel. Note the holding of hands taking place, completely of their own volition. Dab a sentimental tear away. Oh wait, that's MY tear. Sorry.

Cutey patooty.

The airplane game fails to amuse.

Straighten my posture and imagine away that giant zit on my chin and it's the perfect picture!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The thing that surprised me the most about parenting, that continues to surprise me on an almost daily basis, is the wild arc of emotions which kids can unleash within an otherwise patient, rational person.
In the car or on a playground, I feel an intense, borderline-paranoid fear that my children will somehow meet danger. I check on them in their sleep, laying my hand on their chests to feel that they are indeed still rising and falling reliably. Yet other times, laying around the house in the evening, wanting to read my book and eat my cookie, or watch The Office and eat my cookie, or even to sit zombie-like and EAT MY COOKIE, I feel frustration that my children's safety requires my constant vigilance. There's Eli, pulling a blanket over his head. There's Addy, careening around the house, narrowly missing sharp edges of furniture at every turn. Can't they just lie still and not need protection from themselves EVERY second? I think.
There is the wonder I feel at my luckiness in having them at all, after reading countless stories of people losing babies and trying so hard to have babies, of having had some small experience with miscarriage and fertility drugs myself, even. I lean down to kiss one of their little blond heads and am overwhelmed by the animal love that the smell of them brings. But then, sometimes within moments of that love-rush, there will follow a feeling of restlessness and resentment at the caged-in monotony that life will small children inevitably brings. And we even get out quite a bit, I would say, compared to lots of parents. We are lucky enough to live around family, and to have a reliable and trustworthy babysitter. It is hardly dire, our situation. But I stiff chafe at its confines, sometimes. Times when the reclusive winter sun is shining and I want to just go, but one baby is sleeping and another has just pooped and I myself still haven't even brushed my hair, and the whole process of going just seems overwhelming and not worth it.
Most of all, there is the surprise of realizing how much anger you can feel at a child, even while awash in the baby-love. Flashes of anger, which are immediately followed by guilt and self-chastisement, of course, but anger nonetheless. When you have done literally everything you can think of, yet for days on end, your baby is fussing and yelling the majority of his waking hours. Those waking hours run through the night, as he gets up sometimes three times to nurse, while still refusing more than a taste of solid food during the day. You begin to take it personally, to think defensively, "Wait, I've DONE my job here, kid. Yours is to sleep and eat and play, not to scream at me furiously all day as though there is something I am not providing."
The guilt about the anger is of course followed by self-doubt about your fitness to be a parent in general, about the wiseness of embarking on this whole scary, IRREVERSIBLE journey of parenting, and feelings of profound pity for your poor, poor children, suffering your incompetence and your frayed nerves.
Then you delve into the Easter basket stash for that lovely legal drug, refined sugar, and the kids do, finally, fall asleep, and everything seems fine and manageable again. But you wonder, how can your baby be six months old already and you are still finding yourself sometimes feeling like you did when you first brought him home from the hospital? How can you still be floundering?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Gimme Five

Okay, this is an unapologetically lazy post, because I am rushed due to having had to read all of YOUR blogs with a baby in my lap and therefore having to comment one handed. Which is tedious and slow and leaves me with approx. zero minutes to write my own post. Darn babies, always interfering with the important stuff.
So I'm pretty sure somebody tagged me for a Five Things meme, yes? Shelly? (No, I will not link. Refer to above paragraph.) She used a theme, so I'm attempting to follow suit.

Five Things About Me, The Last Time I... Edition

1. The last time I cooked an actual dinner was probably over a week ago. I'm really not sure what happened in the time between then and now. A lot of pizza, is what I'm thinking.

2. The last time I shaved my legs was two days ago. That's respectable, right?

3. The last time I cleaned out my car (beyond dumping the accumulated trash) was right before Eli was born. There is also a ginormous spray of mud up one of the sides because I drove into my in-laws' yard accidentally. Suffice it to say I mentally cringe every single time I get in the car. I was raised by a dad who FREAKED if you so much as fingerprinted the GLASS, you guys. I actually take car cleanliness pretty seriously, though you would never know it from the STATE of my vehicle. Its filthiness weighs on my conscience.

4. The last time I ironed anything was at LEAST three months ago. Probably a lot more. Our ironing board is basically a decorative prop strategically placed in the laundry room to make it APPEAR like normal, shirt-ironing type people live here.

5. The last time I flossed was... Never. I mean, I seriously could count on one hand the number of times I've done this. I've only had one cavity and always get congratulated by the dentist on the state of my teeth, btw, so don't give me that "you disgusting, rotten-toothed person" look. My teeth are SERIOUSLY close together, though. Before I got braces I had to have four teeth pulled just to make room in my mouth for the others to be straightened. It's CROWDED in there, is what I'm saying. Flossing, beyond being a general pain, is a LITERAL pain for me. I have to forcefully saw through my teeth, inevitably stabbing my gums with the wire, to achieve anything like flossing, and it ends with a mouth full of blood. Not worth it, my friends, not worth it.

And thus ends yet another eye-opening look into my life! Happy weekend, everyone. Everyone who doesn't live around here and isn't facing another ten inches of snow, that is.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Movie Reviews

Firstly. The Other Boleyn Girl. Soap opera-ish? Check. A wee bit campy? Check. A one-dimensional character for Scarlett Johansson and an overly hysterical one for Natalie Portman? Check and check. Not nearly as engrossing as the book itself? Check. A very rushed timeline which squeezes the events of ten-plus years into a little under two hours? Check. A director who seemed PHYSICALLY UNABLE to segue from one scene to the next without placing a camera behind lattice work or a pillar or a tapestry, as though there were an Unseen Presence watching the movie with us the entire time? BIG CHECK.
And yet I loved it. And yet I will undoubtedly buy it and watch it and stroke its glossy case like one of the doomed puppies in Of Mice And Men. Because despite its drawbacks, which I was warned of ahead of time by reading other reviews, it still had all that I require for a satisfying movie experience. Exciting yet not quite porn-like sex scenes? Check. Lots of shots of various European castle-y structures with elaborately costumed actors frolicking about in them? Check. Much intrigue and romance and frantic horseback riding to and fro? Check. Lots of pregnancies and having of babies? Big fat CHECK. And we have a winner, folks!

Now, on to another recently viewed film, Silk. This movie, to quote Linda's husband, was a hell of a way to spend a Saturday night. It has Keira Knightley, who usually chooses decent films. It has elaborate costumes and is set in France in the vague "olden times" period of which I am so fond. It seemed set up to win with me. Yet how it disappointed. Minutes and minutes of drawn out travel scenes in which NOTHING happens and NO ONE speaks. A romance for which a man risks his nearly perfect marriage, a romance which is based only on EYE CONTACT and in which the two star-crossed lovers have never even SPOKEN. Love letters full of cringingly awful "erotic" prose. A forlorn Keira Knightley wasting away tragically, fainting in gardens, and being "aged" by apparently having someone liberally streak her hair with baby powder.

Check back next time for another exciting installation of "At The Movies With Semi-Desperate!"

Monday, March 03, 2008

Because I Know You Love The Randomosity Of My Posts

-Grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon is enough to make you hate humanity and want to move to a commune and grow your own food so you're never again at the mercy of The Man (aka Meijer.)

-Cleaning like crazy for two days to have an open house to which NO ONE shows up is enough to make you hate the whole process so much you want to stay in your current home until you die.

-Getting your hair trimmed by the only person in town who knows how to cut it so you actually feel hot is FLIPPIN' SWEET. Sweetness is only slightly tempered by the tiny hairs stuck all over your face and neck for the rest of the day.

-Having to drive an hour away to see The Other Boleyn Girl really burns my biscuits.

-But being able to finally go see The Other Boleyn Girl (and with cute hair no less!!!) is making me irrationally excited. I'm doing little countdowns in my head (less than ONE HOUR until we leave!) as though it were some sort of vacation to the Bahamas instead of a trip to the Cineplex. Clearly I need to get out more.

-BUT. Getting my hair cut and going to a movie all in one day is getting out QUITE a LOT for a stay at home mom of two little kids, no? Look at me, all Angelina Jolie! I can be a doting mom AND a jet-setting humanitarian/actress! (Guess which celeb I was reading about while my hair was drying?)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Soy Free

I have a little mission for you, should you happen to know anything about soy-free cooking. My friend Jess (the one who gave birth to her son a day before I had Eli) has recently found out she is allergic to soy. She has been having health problems for quite a while, and while she is happy to have hopefully discovered the root of them, giving up soy is apparently a very big deal. I hadn't realized it until I started checking labels, but soy- or more specifically, soy lecithin- is in EVERYTHING. Jess can basically only eat rice and vegetables right now, because she is a vegetarian, and dairy sometimes causes her problems as well.
So here's what I'm wondering: any of you know any great soy-free products she could order online? We have very limited resources around here. Not even a Whole Foods, if you can believe. Or maybe you know some yummy recipes for cakes, cookies, or breads without soy? She has a sweet tooth almost as bad as mine, which means we both echo Swistle's sentiment: I almost feel like I cannot be happy if I don't have sweet things to nibble on. You can imagine how bleak this would be, to be facing a LIFE without normal candy or ice cream or birthday cake.
Recipes, please!