Sunday, April 30, 2006

Match the masterpiece

One of these pictures illustrates a perfectly cooked roast chicken. Its golden skin is fit for one of those fancy cooking magazines, with a goal of replication so laughable it's beyond infuriating.

The other picture depicts our cell phone after it was run over by the family car.

Steve did one of these things. I did the other. I think you'd be surprised by who did what.

Maybe not.

How to piss off Bill O'Reilly

Here's my dilemma. I can't figure out if I want to attend Catholic Church on Sunday morning, or subscribe to the New York Times and take nature walks.

I find both to be spiritually satisfying endeavors.

Oh Bill O'Reilly, I just blew your mind.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

From the cheap and easy file

Making your own baby food is super easy and super cheap.

Take my weekend project. I went to Meijer, where avocados were a mere dime each, and bought plentiful supplies of freezable (please comment if you know how to freeze an avocado product) veggies.

For 60 cents, I purchased enough green beans to feed Penny for a week. After steaming and blending them, I filled ice cube trays with tiny single serving size portions.

Presto. Finished for the week.

And bonus — these little servings cost about 60 cents each when you buy the jarred variety. That's what I did for Carolyn and I don't think they're any less nutritious, just more expensive. When you work, you can afford life's little luxuries.

Now all I need to do is jar my food, put little snapshots of Penny on the front, and I'll make a killing. Gerber's got nothing, nothing, on my baby.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Back to the babysitter drawing board

The thought of breaking in a new babysitter causes me so much anxiety I just broke out into a cold sweat writing this sentence.

So when I find a person I think might work, interview them, call their references, talk about a pay scale, set a date and clean the house because I don't want this 20-year-old babysitter to think I'm a slob, the very least I expect from this person is that she'll show up.

When she doesn't, and I'm left wondering every half hour if maybe I got the time wrong, and half hour after half hour goes by with me pacing the living room, checking to see if a car I don't recognize is coming down the street, and yet no car ever arrives... well, this is when I think about giving up the idea of childcare and give in to the idea of staying glued to my children's sides for the next decade. I've been out in the world, and frankly, inside with a couple of fun kids is sometimes better.

Ugggg... I feel like I got stood up, except worse.

Please send this blog to everyone you know and ask them to help me figure out how this whole babysitting thing works. Why, oh why, do some women have a stable of babysitters and I can't find even one after a whole interview process? One word. Loser...

Seriously. What is wrong with me?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Penny's choppers

You probably can't tell from this picture, but Penny's two bottom teeth are coming in. I tell her every day to stop growing, but does she listen?

Out of the house

It finally happened!

I was able to leave the house and do something productive outside of my child-rearing duties.Feeling comfy and at home in my suit jacket and high heels, I made my way to the Chamber of Commerce. Pretty dry stuff, but I loved it.

In my life before children, I was at home making small talk in the waiting room of a governmental/organizational/business office. Recently, making small talk has been about as easy as rocket science.

For example, today I met a woman at the playground with three children and one on the way. What the hell do we have to talk about.

Example… How old are your children? Do you live near here? Where does your husband work?

Example of what I want to say… How can we start a campaign to ban the minivan? Isn’t there a way to get a grocery downtown so we don’t have to drive five miles for a loaf of bread? Let’s start a babysitting co-op. Can you believe Britney is pregant again!!

But alas, I am a worker bee. I’d gladly take an idea from another, more dynamic housewife and run with it, but I lack the vision, or at the very least the confidence, to start these things on my own.

Which brings me back to the waiting room the Chamber’s downtown office.

I’m chatting with some other women there who are organizing a forum for the League of Women Voters. There project about educating the public on judicial elections is ambitious and interesting.

Later, as fate would have it, I run into them downtown as I grab a coffee made at Coffee Hound, which employs an award-winning barista by the way. They get my address and tell me I’ll get on their mailing list for the next membership drive this fall.

Yes. This is what I call networking.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A churchin' we will go

I went to church Sunday.

Really, I thought I'd have something more profound to write about the experience, but my first statement pretty much sums it all up. It's a Catholic Church — Epiphany — and it was very nice. The priest seemed no-nonsense and a little funny. It's about a mile from our house. It's not old and beautiful, but it's very nice and just like I remember from my 12 years of Catholic schoolin’.

There's a lot of reasons I should go to church or be religious or seek God. Frankly, I'm not sure any of those reasons explains why I went. I think I'm more interested in being a part of a community, one that I feel comfortable in and one I respect.

And I just thought Steve would be more likely to follow me to church than Sierra Club meetings.

Whatever the reasons, I'm thinking about becoming a full Catholic and joining the church. Since the Catholic school I attended in eighth grade dropped the confirmation ball, I'll probably have to go through the whole rigmaroll to become card carrying. But, frankly, I'm looking forward to that process. It'll give me a chance to decide if this is the right road for me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Seriously. Who does this?

I recieved my Illinois driver's license earlier this week. It's real spiffy.

Anyhow, unlike the great Great Lake state, Lincoln land makes you put a height and Weight on your ID. Great. So when the lady asked me my weight, I guessed.

You're wondering what it is aren't you? Well, that's between me, the cop that pulls me over, his buddies, their wives, the bank tellers, liquor salesmen and the pencil pushers at the Secretary of State office.

Today at the gym, I see a scale in the lady's room. I weigh 3 pounds less than the number on my license. And take into account I'm still losing baby weight, it's really like 15 pounds too heavy.

Who gives an OVERestimate on their weight? I'm a real doofus, which, by the way, is a great word.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Funny story

Steve takes the girls to the gym a few days ago. Carolyn loves, loves, loves to go. She's always asking "Playroom? Play Room?"

I'm still not able to go so Steve takes them, and while he's setting up Penelope, Carolyn spies this woman who, Steve says, is in her early 40s, maybe younger.

Carolyn, as a 2-year-old hasn't quite grasped the concept of family. Every woman 30 or younger she sees, she points and says "Mommy." Same goes for men and "Daddy."

Well Carolyn starts pointing at this younger-ish looking woman and saying "Grandma. Grandma." over and over again.

Steve decides to just ignore this, as does the woman, and they go about their days.

I should be mad that he didn't correct her, but frankly, I'm just glad it wasn't me.

A new edition of "Isn't that Weird?"

Yesterday, Steve and I interviewed a woman about babysitting for the girls. I thought she was perfecto. Steve told me if the next interviewee came with a flying umbrella, I'd at least have to consider her. Even though I agreed with him vocally, the decision has pretty much been made.

That umbrella would have to do some really cool stuff, like carry the girls and the dog.

So I was on my way to Target today, which by the way is having totally awesome sales, and I see my new hire going into the ISU gym. Weird, kind of, but I don't think too much about it.

But then, on my way home, she's coming out of the gym.

OK. Isn't that weird?

For anybody who's keeping tabs, I woke up this morning NOT feeling like death. You know when you still don't feel great, but you feel sooooo much better than the day before that life just seems better?

That's exactly how I feel today.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A pound of butter was just $1

If you’re a Michigan native and a little homesick for the state of sandy beaches and bad roads, all you need for some comfort and familiarity is attend the grand opening of your town’s new Meijer store.

As I walked through the extra-wide aisles, nodding my head to items like Bell’s Oberon and those tortilla chips I like, in that universal, “Hey, I know you” gesture, like when you see that girl from the gym who always gets there the same time you do and you don't know her enough to say hi so you kind of just smile and nod. Anyway, the whole experience was kind of like that, with Mac and Cheese on sale for a quarter a box.

I was nearly giggling. The store, at 9 p.m. mind you, was packed, packed, packed. People in Bloomington know how to make a newcomer feel at home. The number of people crowding the meat counter, hollering out the number of steaks they wanted, was laughable and a tiny bit frightening. I wanted to join them, but I didn’t even know how much the steaks cost. Frankly, I didn’t care. I just wanted to be a part of this dizzying shopfest.

I did save $15 on a pork loin and $10 on a bottle of chardonnay. But I feel regret I didn’t buy a case, like that couple stacking them into their blue squeak-free, shopping carts.

Mob mentality. It’s infectious.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Who doesn't love rice cereal?

It has everything.

It's mushy and tasteless, yet grainy with a touch of iron to create a memorable aftertaste.

Gosh mom. Strained peas would be heaven after this first meal of mine.

And the Easter-celebrating crowd thought this holiday was about honey ham. Hmmmff.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter plague

If this isn't insult to injury, not only is back seemingly just as bad as last week (although large doses of medicine have made this ailment bearable), I seem to have come down with a case of laryngitis.

But thanks to my blog, I will not be silenced.

Thing is, when your sick, there's little else going through your head then a constant replay of the phrase "This sucks."

I do miss Battle Creek a little today. I was thinking about the sweet smell of cereal that made the small town famous. As factory towns go, scent wise, you can't get much better than cereal.

I wonder if any other small towns have their own lovely scent. Franklin, Wisconsin, is home to Carmex, the best lip balm in the world. Does their Main Street smell of cocoa butter? I wonder.

Friday, April 14, 2006


So, in the span of just a few months, I have a baby, spend a month alone with an infant and a toddler, move and set up in a brand new city.

Everything is dandy when WHAM... I'm laid up in bed with back spasms. Oh My God. They are so painful. Today, I have been unable to put on shoes, pick up Penny or stand up without saying, "Ewweww, ohhhh, ewweww."

Worse, maybe, than labor pains.

These started about a week ago. I decide chiropractic care might be the way to go. No medicines (still nursing) and a pseudo-doctor-like setting.

Three visits and $60 later, I can't pick a sock up off the floor.

So I did what any red-blooded American does. I picked up my insurance card and headed to the clinic. The doctor, nice fellow, seems to have seen a lot of this. He prescribes muscle relaxers, tells me my baby might be a little sleepy but nothing to worry about and I come on home $23 out.

Makes me wonder about all this fuss over breastfeeding and such. If I can take hard-core drugs (he also told me to use up the Vicodin I have in my medicine cabinet) then why not a drink or two? How important IS diet?

So tonight, after a greasy pizza with hot peppers, two beers, a muscle relaxer and a Vicodin, Penny and I should both be doing A-OK.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

We're here

The wireless age.

Thanks to my mom and aunt sandy, who were determined that I reap the benefits of discounts and modern technology, our family is wireless. I can't say I hate it. In fact, I'm in the kitchen feeding Penny, looking for a financial advisor and listening to Carolyn not take her nap (because technology will only take you so far), all because of this awesome new setup.

Steve, in particular, is smitten. He used to read all the news sites at work, but now with his new workaholic position, he has been left to rely on the morning news shows. But now, he can surf at breakfast, on the couch, getting some rays... basically, anywhere.

We were joking last night that we need two computers. I can shop and blog while he watches stupid things people post online. When we need to talk, we can just IM each other. E-mail, we decided, is just too slow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


You're eating dinner and the dog drinks some bad toilet water or something and throws up a clear, gel-like vomit under the dining room table just as you're about three-quarters of the way finished eating dinner.

Do you keep eating or do you clean it up immediately?

I'm just not sure I chose correctly.


Click here to see Carolyn in her soon-to-be famous "Frog Off" video.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Other moms

So I finally went to a playgroup from the area's Newcomers Club, a group of people in need of friends. A lot of them move around, so it gives people, especially those with kids, a chance to meet other people.

It was neither scary or exciting, which is good. Carolyn played and I got a chance to talk to other adults for awhile. They were all super nice, even complementing each other behind their backs.

There were no margaritas, but it's probably hard to sip tequila all afternoon and drive a minivan full of kids home in time for their naps.

There's really not too much more to say about it, other than I'll probably do it again.

Kids. They're really forcing me to put myself out there way more than I like. But that's probably a good thing.

Already a writer

Carolyn loves the Little Critter books. They're about this boy, a nondescript little critter, who hangs out with his parents, goes to bed, takes a bath. You know. Kid stuff.

Well, Carolyn's recent favorite, which we got from the library, is about little critter going on a shopping trip with his mom, little sister and a baby. The little sister, clearly 2 years old and Carolyn's Holden Caulfield, is being a tiny bit difficult. She runs away. She knocks down paper towel towers. She's demanding and naughty.

Anyhow, in the book, the little sister asks for all kinds of stuff. Cake. A kitty. Dolls. Mom, the bastard that she is, always says no.

Well, Steve caught Carolyn reading the book to herself. Her version went something like this:

Kitty? Yes.

Doll? Yes.

Clearly, I had been reading it wrong.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dangerous, seriously

We don't have cable.

What? Is this a crazy person? No cable in today's world of 5 billion channels.

Yeah. I don't think I should pay $50 a month to watch crap on TV when I can do that for free. Maybe it's not the crap I prefer to watch, but hey, free crap is better than expensive crap.

But now, Mac, as in Macintosh, has done something genius. For $1.99, I can watch whatever show I want.

Seriously?? Dangerous.

Whatever I want. And so cheap. Although... turns out $1.99 50 times a month is decidedly NOT cheap. I did mention the dangerous part, right? But it's so genius that, right now, I just don't care.


I am not one to make believe. Don't get me wrong, I try to name Carolyn's dolls, but I can never remember what it is I called them. Here's the names we do have:

Baby, for her baby doll.

Brownie, for her brown horse.

Sophie, Anna, Natalia and Vanessa, for the dolls that came with names.

So I was super happy the other day when Carolyn took a piece of broccoli and said "tree." Then, she took a piece of lettuce and said "bird."

She was playing with her food, but who cares... She was pretending. Good for her.

We're still all in pretty lousy shape here at Ye House O' Sick. My back sprung a gasket this morning when I was trying to stand up to take Penny back to bed. It was several hours before I could walk. Carolyn has an all-over rash and is very, very grumpy. Steve is working 16 hours today.

Thank God for Penny. She's totally happy.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Another cute picture of Carolyn

Because if you're anything like me, you just can't get enough

How my kids killed me

That'll be the title of my first book. Being pregnant and carrying around these two giant children has taken it's toll.

Oh yeah. And I'm old.

Yesterday, it was so bad I had trouble walking and I couldn't even pick Penny up from her crib. It was, like, super nice outside and we couldn't even go for a walk. AND... it was Steve's day off because he's working Saturday.

Total yuck.

AND, the girls, have runny noses and Carolyn has an all-over body rash.

I know. Complain. complain.

So, I'm reading this book, The United States of Wal-Mart as a reminder of why I don't shop at Wal-Mart. You know, the way they bully suppliers into doing business the Wal-Mart way, provide inadequate wages and hurt regional identity. I don't want to be a nation with the identity of smalltown Arkansas. Seriously, does anybody want that?

But it's so hard. They have everything. And it's really, really cheap. And if the girls are screaming, that's OK.

Oh Sam Walton. How can quit you?

What would you do if you had just one chance..

... to get out of the house. Me? I went to the chiropractor and to get a haircut.

A mom haircut no less.

Monday, April 03, 2006


We went to the doctor today. Both girls are healthy and huge. They each are above the 100th percentile in height and over 80 in weight.

For Carolyn, that's taller than 3 feet and 30 pounds. For Penny it's 27 inches and nearly 18 pounds.

My kids are HUGE.

No wonder my freakin' back hurts to bad. I was starting to think researching the cost of a heating pad was all about getting old.

Weekend Fun

Leave it to an experienced bridesmaid to throw a lovely wedding.

My friend Heather, whose friendship falls into the category of this blog, married Mark over the weekend. I'm sorry to say I don't know Mark. And frankly, I'm not all that tight with Heather anymore. Oh how friends fall out of focus. And even so, it means so much to see how happy her life has been. Seeing her get hitched and having her meet the girls, if only for a minute because everyone knows how crazy a wedding day can be, was a great experience.

Heather, after all, introduced me to alternative rock, microbrew beer and Eddie Bauer. At 19, I needed that.

Our camera and our picture taking abilities seem to be a little on the fritz, but here's a shot of Carolyn dancing the night away.

It really was awesome to have Carolyn at the wedding. Most weddings are "no kid" affairs, which I totally understand because of money and such. But little kids really do know how to make the most of a party. Carolyn was the first on the floor and the first to be carried home, too tired from all her partying.

But I digress.

The family and I had a great time both at the wedding, and getting to see two cities I've never been to before, Indianapolis and Cinncinati. We walked around Cincinnati Sunday morning and got coffee and felt really big city for about an hour. Boy, does that city have a homeless problem. Yikes.

Here's the girls enjoying the kind-of warm morning stroll.