Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Something about the best laid plans.

We were inspired to start having a semi-formal sit down family dinner once a week. The plan is to have at least two courses and a dessert. No tv, no background music. The first week went smoothly. Dinner was delicious. Dessert was delicious. There was practically an ethereal glow surrounding the whole affair. The next week Sweet Husband was called away. Alex, Spain and I carried on, but the empty place at the table yelled at us the entire time, reminding us that we weren't complete. Then there was last night.

To make up for last week’s sad attempt at Family Dinner night, I planned on dinner AND a game. While I rushed around getting things ready for dinner, Alex sat in the couch and fell asleep. Napping is a highly unusual activity for Alex, but considering the busyness of our weekend I wasn’t too surprised to see him sleeping. What surprised me was burning my lips an hour later when I kissed his forehead.
Sweet husband came home, and moved Alex to our bed, where he slept for an hour before waking up. He stumbled into the living room and snuggled up next to Sweet Husband. The next hour was spent trying to cajole Alex into drinking or eating a little something.

Fast-forward another hour. Sweet husband had made a bed for Alex on the floor in our bedroom. Alex was sleeping, Sweet husband was sleeping. Spain was marathon nursing. By the time my head hit the pillow, I was already half asleep.
Then Alex woke me up at midnight… And again at 12:30. Our dog started whining because Alex was in his spot. Spain woke up and loudly announced that he was starving. Our cat started racing from one side of our bed to the other. Sweet husband, was somehow completely undisturbed by the midnight circus.
I got Spain back to sleep, then snuggled next to Alex until he went to sleep. The next step was evicting the cat and dog. The cat was unperturbed by being shut out of the room, but the dog was deeply wounded. The emotional wounds cut deep. If he had opposable thumbs he would have put on sackcloth and ashes. Instead he had to settle for verbalizing his despair. I went back to bed, trying to ignore the wailing from the dog. At this point Spain realized listening to other creatures lamenting made him hungry, while we nursed, Sweet husband got up let the dog in, who in turn woke Alex up, who wanted to discuss life’s mysteries with me.

Sweet husband did re-exile the dog, and I got to switch from the floor to my bed a few more times, before the night ended. Yes, there was more serenading from the dog.

Tonight I have dibs on the couch.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Metamorphosis in Seven Pictures

Six Years ago my world completely changed. My precious blessing Alex suprised us with his grand entrance. Six years ago I was scarred spitless at the realization that I had to grow up fast.

His first birthday was truly a time of celebration. A celebration of life and love. From a terrifying hospital stay to a roly-poly happy baby. We've gotten to watch his bloom into the young man he is today, and I know he's not finished yet.
Each year his personality has become more intricate and fascinating. We've seen him discover a favorite color. Taste delicious food. Find excitement in places that we've ignored.
Alex is ready to test out his independence. He knows where he is going and how he is going to get there. As far as he's concerned Sweet Husband and I are only along for the ride.









Sunday, August 7, 2011

We're going to the garden and we're goin' get dirty!

Lately we’ve been on a food hunt. We’ve really enjoyed visiting pick-your-own farms in our area, and picking our own fresh fruits. We decided to venture a little further out and we found a peach orchard with the most amazing peaches. We came home with a bushel and a half, and probably ate half a bushel while picking.

Not having internet has spurned me into new depths of pioneer-dom. I’ve gone back to my roots and started canning. I won’t lie, I slightly puffed with pride at the idea that I have stocked our pantry with enough jam to give us plenty of PB&J choices for the next year… Or at least 6 months.
Bonus points to me, as most of them are sugar-free jams. We have:

Agave peach Jam
Agave Cherry Jam
Strawberry Rhubarb jam
Strawberry jam
Agave Cherry-peach jam
Peach jam

When I got bored with jam I ventured into pickles chutneys and syrups. Oh, and an enormous amount of pasta sauce. I can almost smell a self-challenge coming on.

I have to admit. I really surprised myself.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Today I became fully qualified to start a new blog; Things I’ve melted in the oven.

The latest victim: A bottle of vitamin C tablets

Sadly, I did check the oven before I turned it on. Somehow I missed the plastic bottle tucked in the corner, until the smell of lid liquefying over the oven racks alerted me.

Note to self: Stop storing things in the oven.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our area was blessed with a "freak snowstorm" in February. The light dusting of snow that graced our vehicles was enough to send some people into a frantic panicked state. Alex had been praying for snow for over a year, so my sweet husband bundled the boy up and took him outside to try and collect enough snow to make a snowball. I snuggled into the papasan chair with a still very new baby.

It wasn't until a few weeks later that we realized the true implications of our "freak snowstorm". For the first time ever, I had planted my garden according to the timeframe printed on the back of the seed envelopes. I had spent several hours on my hands and knees digging and planting and all that other crazy stuff, while heavily pregnant. I felt a little closer to June Cleaver. During our cold snap, my little garden, which had begun to sprout, held on for dear life. Three weeks after the snow dusting came, we knew it was over. One small radish plant was the sole survivor.
Unfortunately, our radish suffered from PTSD, and was prone to horrific flashbacks of that fateful day. No amount of therapy seemed help. The final straw was when rogue sweet potatoes from last year's garden, pushed their leafy green sprouts through the soil. The lone radish, overcome with the unfairness of these events gave up the ghost.

Our garden this year, now consists of a bell pepper plant, mint and a lot of sweet potato foliage. Of course this is the year Alex has delevoped a burning curiosity about where our food comes from and how it is grown. We took him strawberry picking at a small hydroponic farm in a neighboring town.

It was love at first bite.

For all of us. We ended up leaving the farm with strawberries, tomatoes and basil. Oh, and plans to go back again!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day three (written last week)

Today has revolved around teeth. The boys and I started the morning by packing up, diapers, books, bouncy seat and borrowed GPS and setting out on a epic journey to find a specific dental clinic. The military likes to keep people on their toes, instead of addresses, they prefer building numbers, and no, the numbers are not sequential. Since I was venturing into a completely foreign area, I halfway expected to get lost. I was armed with a GPS, and directions to the clinic from one of the staff members, so I hoped my paranoia would be just that.

I made it within two blocks of the clinic before getting lost.
I drove up and down the stretch of road, searching for some clue as to where I was. before I broke down and called the clinic for a little help.

“I’m pretty sure I’m completely lost.”

“Are you on the bowling alley side?”

“I passed a bowling alley when I came in.”

“And you see a McDonalds?”

“Well, it’s behind me. It’s off base on the other side of the gate.”

“Where are you now? Do you see any landmarks?”

“I’m at the corner Dentalclinic Ave and Thatplace RD. There’s a big water tower.”

“A Water tower? Where’s the water tower?”

“It’s to my right, and there are planes to my left.”

“You see airplanes?!

“Yes… Err… or probably jets. They fly in the sky. They’re all over the place! ”

“…. *talking in background* Is there anything else? Signs? Flags?”

“Okay, there’s a sign for the Airman museum.”

“Does it say “Special forces”?”

“It says “airman”. Okay I’m at the fire station on Imsolost blvd and Whathaveigotteninto Dr.”

“...We have a fire station?”

At this point I had a minor meltdown and started describing everything around in vivid detail. Thankfully something finally clicked.

“Okay, go left on Dentalclinic Ave”

”Going left… Okay I’m coming up to the museum sign again.”

“Does it say special forces?”

“… It still says “airman”.”

“What the-”

At this point I was driving past the building with the museum sign in front of it, and beheld the most wonderful sight. “J.D Dental Clinic” written in a small nook over the front door.

“DENTAL CLINC!!!!!” I screeched into my helper’s ear. “I found it!”

“Oh good.” Came the reply “I still have no idea where you were.”

Later that night, I was feeding Spain on the couch, when Alex emerged from the bathroom where he had been brushing his teeth in preparation for bed.


“Yes, bug?”

“I lost my tooth. It just came out.”

Alex’s first tooth (again).
I’d been preparing myself for this, since last month when our family dentist mentioned that Alex had a loose tooth. I just thought I had a little more time to prepare. But here we are. Alex is losing teeth, Spain is getting teeth. I have two sons teething at the same time.

“Mama, I’m just so proud of myself!” Alex confided to me, as I hugged him close.

“Sweetie, I’m so proud of you too!”

July 26, 2011

I’ll be honest, I don’t want to write about what has been happening this week. Sweet husband is on a mandatory “camping trip” for the entire work week, leaving me to be sole dictator of our home *insert evil laugh* and children. Monday we piled the boys into the car at 4 am to drop sweet husband off at work. Thankfully they slept through it. Kind of.
Usually Alex will wake up, talk through the entire drive, both to and fro, and insist as soon as we pull into the driveway that he is “done sleeping”. This time there was minimal talking and he fell back to sleep almost as soon as I laid him on the bed.

Four hours later, I awoke to a *thump* “AAAAAHHHHHHHH”. With lightening speed I bolted out of bed and raced down the hallway toward the sound. Alex stood in the middle of our kitchen, balancing on one foot, covered in orange soda, wailing “MY TOE! IT HIT MY TOE!”.
I mopped the soda off of his face and extremities, pulled his saturated shirt off, and sent him to change while I finished cleaning up the mess. We had had a game day the day before, playing board games and drinking a rare treat of natural sodas. In our haste to get back to the game, we put the cans on the counter to deal with later and then forgot.

Today seemed so much smoother. Spain was cooing happily while I prepared breakfast for Alex and Myself. On cue, as soon as I set my plate on the table, Spain realized he was also hungry starving to death. I decided to multi-task. I brought Spain to the table with me thinking he could nurse, I could eat. Win-win. I grabbed a bottle of hot sauce and started to shake it. The cap flew off. Green sauce splattered everywhere, and Spain began to scream. Panic does not begin to describe the icy fingers that frantically stopped my heart. I hauled Spain into the bathroom as fast I could. A blob of green hot sauce sat on the bridge of his nose, right in between his eyes. Please, God” I prayed “not in his eyes. Please let it have missed his eyes.” I rinsed his face off, then began to wash his face with calendula soap, while searching my brain for some idea of what would help the burning. “Vinegar” a soft voice whispered to me.

EUREKA! I grabbed a cotton ball, and poured vinegar onto it, Spain squirmed while I wiped the wet cotton across his face. He closed his eyes and I could see the angry red splotches from where the hot sauce hit him. His eyes had been closed. All during this Spain kept trying to spit. I knew some had gotten into his mouth, and judging from the reaction he wasn’t a fan. Go figure. I had to get him to nurse, but he kept resisting. Finally I tucked him into my bed, I laid down next to him and offered him a breast. He latched on, and in moments stopped writhing. Slowly, he fell asleep. While he slept, I gently wiped another cotton ball saturated with vinegar across his face.

Ten minutes later he woke up. There were no angry red marks anywhere on his face. His face broke into a gigantic grin the moment he saw me. My heart finally started beating again.

Thank you Lord!

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 uses for oil

When my sweet husband came home on R&R during his last deployment, I was so overcome with excitement, endorphins and hormones, that when he bought a deep fryer I didn’t protest. In fact, it wasn’t until several months after he returned for good that I started questioning my sanity regarding the deep fryer.

The novelty of being able to eat French fries again wore off the first time I tried to deep clean this monster. Let’s face it, old cooked on oil is one of the most miserable substances to clean off of things. When faced with an appliance covered in this goo, my first thought was to throw it out and start anew. Unfortunately, the pesky thrifty do-gooder in me came out, so I scrubbed.

And soaked

And scrubbed.

And soaked.

And scrubbed.

After hours of scrubbing and soaking and asking everyone else I knew with a deep fryer what their cleaning tips were. I declared the fryer “clean enough” and hid it in the back of a rarely used cabinet.

A year later, we pulled it out of it’s dark corner, filled it up with oil and proceeded to feast on deep fried ethnic food. Deliciousness. Once again the novelty of the fryer blinded me to the hidden evils. I realized the error of my ways, as I stood in front of the fryer, nervously eyeing my fingernails. It can smell fear I reminded myself. Stay calm. I glanced around the kitchen nervously, and a chorus of angels sang loudly as my eyes fell on a bottle of oil surrounded by a halo of light.

OIL DESOLVES OIL echoed through my head. Of course! The OCM method*! It was worth a shot. The worst that could happen was it didn’t work and I would be back where I started. I uncapped the oil and pulled some paper towels out of my secret stash. Methodically I rubbed new oil on to the oil, rinsed with hot water and repeated as necessary. 10 minutes later the oil holding canister for the fryer was squeaky clean. Amazing!

Oil cleansing method of skin care