Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In the Meantime

I've blogged exactly 3 times since summer began.  I've been busy, and for the first time in a looooooooooooong time, I've been busy doing exactly what I planned on doing.  I have planted and cultivated what began as a garden and can now only be described as crops.  And because of my fertile crops, I've also mastered pickle making.  Tomorrow?  I'm making homemade pasta sauce with 30+ pounds of tomatoes.  Yes, I said pounds.

I have been to the pool.  I have cleaned out closets.  I have seen movies.  AND- I have read.  I have read and read and read.  Nothing really earth-shattering; mostly fun books, but oh how I love to read.  I've been working on an annotated list; I'll finish it up and post it tomorrow.

But, in the meantime I thought I would update you on the goings on around here.

1.  Coach has a new job as defensive coordinator at a really big high school.  He has put a serious hurt on the Dustbuster this summer.  The floors are begging for mercy.

2.  Coach and I were having a discussion the other day about college football coaches.  He called Monty Kiffin the Hemingway of football.  He went on to call him a composer of defensive orchestras and I do believe he mentioned Les Miserables at some point in the conversation.  In summary, I think it's safe to say that Coach does love Monty Kiffin.  I don't really know much about him, and from what Coach said the other night, I don't think he knows Hemingway very well, so I figure we break even. 

3.  G thought it would be funny to eat a raw jalapeno.  He chewed and chewed and chewed and then said, "I'm just going to let it sit and ruminate in my mouth."  Y'all.  Y'ALL.  He used ruminate in a sentence.  In the summer.  It's enough to put Sarah Palin to shame.

4.  And in an effort to keep it real around here, AC gave me her birthday list revisions for this week.  She still has a month, but she revises the list at least weekly.  This week she has asked for a Nook, Tom's shoes, iTunes gift cards, and Lay's Potato Chips- BBQ. 

Lay's Potato Chips.  Not. Even. Kidding.

I think I'll go read on that note.

See y'all!

Let's make Sushi!

How can I claim to be an otaku and a cook yet have never made my own sushi?  I guess I didn't like it that much before, but after ordering it several times and having a hot summer, cold sushi has sounded very refreshing.  So I decided to give it a try!  There's a lot of good websites about making sushi, so I read them thoroughly before giving it a try.  I made sure to get as authentic ingredients as possible (thanks, Talin Market!), but decided to try some original recipes (because I never pass up a chance to make life more exciting). 

So, pictured here is most of our sushi feast (regular california rolls not pictured).  Luckily I had some help from my friend Lisa; it wasn't too hard, but kind of tricky to get them to stay closed and time-consuming to cut all the ingredients.  In the upper left we have Baja Sushi (imitation crab, green onion, cilantro, avocado, green chile), which elicited an "Oh, wow!" from Wes upon tasting it (the highlight of my day).  On the upper right is plain kid sushi, in the middle some onigiri-shaped sushi (apparently, if it's made with sushi rice, it's sushi, even if it's shaped like onigiri?), and on the bottom is TonTon sushi.  Yes, it's a Japanese/Star Wars pun.  "Ton" as in "tonkatsu" refers to pork.  These sushi have bacon, cilantro, avocado, green onion, carrot, green onion, and green chile.  We were all skeptical, but everyone that liked sushi liked all of them (Wes, me, Lisa, and Quartz.  Sapphire and Onyx just ate the rice balls).

Today I Meet Bradley Cooper!!

Ok, no. I am not meeting Bradley Cooper today. But, I totally made you look, didn't I? I mean, who better to get you girls here than him?

WAIT! Don't go!!!

I have a point...just keep reading...

Moms. How many times have you gone grocery shopping in your pajamas? Don't lie! I know there are some of you that have. Hell, I've seen some in my grocery store.

Now, how many of you have run into someone while you were out running a quick, no-one-will-see-me errand while looking like you've just been the drop cloth for your child's Thanksgiving feast? Go ahead...I'm raising my hand, too.

Well, I'm drawing the line. I want you to do it, too.

Being a mom is hard. I get it. We can't always primp and fuss like we're going to the Oscars. We don't have the time between feeding and cleaning and working and everything else. Or do we? I think we just aren't allowing ourselves the time. Admit it.

The truth is, when you look better, you feel better and when you feel better, you are happier. When you are happier, guess what? The people around you will be happier, too. FACT.

So, here's what I want you to do. I want you to think before you leave the house. What if I run into (insert celebrity of your choosing here)? Is it possible? Yes. Probable? Who knows?! I live very near to Bradley Cooper's hometown. What if he's visiting the area? What if he happens to be at Starbucks when I stumble in with my torn concert tee and paint splattered jeans? And...*GASP*...no makeup.


Solution? If you don't like it, fix it. I'm not suggesting to go spend all your dough prettying up for something that may never happen. I'm unemployed right now. Not the best time to redo my wardrobe. But, don't be shy about spending a little cash on yourself. You DESERVE it. Did you hear that?

Moving on.

Get your hair done. Cut it. Color it. Do whatever makes you keep from yanking it back into that godawful ponytail you put it in every day.

Raid your closet. Get rid of what doesn't look right and build on what does. If it doesn't fit, get rid of it. If you have no clue what looks good, spend some time watching What Not To Wear on TLC. These people know their stuff. You don't have to be an expert. All you have to do is put a little effort in. Be smart...I can still shop the clearance racks and find good stuff. I just spend a few extra minutes. And I do NOT take the kids with me when I shop.

I'm not talking drastic changes here. One of my items to check off my list is improving my posture. I'm much more conscious of how I'm sitting and standing. No more slouching. No more rounded shoulders and looking defeated all the time. Small steps will lead to giant leaps. Tackle what you can, when you can.

So, maybe you don't have to always pretend you are going to run into a celebrity. But, it's very possible that you could run into SOMEONE. Someone you once knew. Someone you once dated. Someone that may have an impact on your life in the future..personally or professionally.

You aren't just a mom. Take care of yourself. Every day.

And for being a good sport and reading all this after I teased you with Bradley Cooper, I can at least offer you this...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Victorian Thank You Cards

Since Victorian=steampunk=cool, I thought I'd make some old-fashioned thank you cards out of Victorian art online.  Here they are for your enjoyment.  They are sized to print out properly on regular letter-sized paper, which you then fold into card shape (who else remembers making and printing cards with dot matrix printers? so fun!).  There is a color version, and a black & white version, in case you want to color your own (it's kind of fun).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quotes and Swim Lessons

Onyx: "Wouldn't it be funny if a chain restaurant was where they gave you chains on a plate and you ate them?"

Sapphire: "Ai-ya.  Are you serious?"

Quartz: "I really do have super powers.  I'm not pretending.  I have a switch in my brain where I can turn them on and off.  If I don't turn them on, I can't jump as high."

Everyone is learning a lot in swim lessons!  It's so cool to see them actually swimming, after years of getting used to the water and dog paddling around.  :-)  Sapphire loves her little class where they find treasure under the water and do alligator walking (walking on hands in shallow water).  All the same, I'll be glad when swim lessons are over; four weeks, every week day, is a bit much.  Maybe next year I'll shoot for an earlier or later time that won't take up the whole morning quite so much.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Foundational Truths Regarding Football and Hair

Last night may have ended with this terse goodnight sentiment:  "Why don't you go read I Corinthians 13 and thank the Good Lord Above that you have a wife that has promised to put up with your crap for all earthly eternity?"

We're just keeping it real around here.

I think it's safe to say that I might be running a little hot this week; the CRAZY is in full force.  But, in all fairness, it was provoked.  I may have come back a bit strongly, but still- PROVOKED.

You see-  football is kicking up, so Coach is tense. 

He's going to be at a new school with a new head coach, and he's kind of a big deal now.  We're so excited.  And by "we're" I mean me, Coach doesn't really do "excited." 

Anyway, he's spending all his free time studying x's and o's, watching films, drawing plays, and doing whatever coaches do.  And I have been, for the most part, quiet and long-suffering.

Generally, I don't do quiet or long-suffering, so it's been a challenging summer.  A journey of self-exploration and personal growth, if you will.

It started simply enough.  I asked him if he would be home by noon today.    I have a hair appointment, and I generally like to arrive at the salon without my two underaged minions.  So, I just needed to be sure he'd be home.  Coach was snippy and sarcastic in his reply.  See?  PROVOKED.

 I'm a football fan.  I LOVE football.  I do.  Seriously.  There is nothing better than the sound of marching bands and whistles and helmets colliding.  There is no place I would rather be on any given Friday or Saturday in the fall.  Coach will be the first to affirm that for me.  I love it.

However, I can think of many places I would rather be on a hot Monday in July.  One of those places is the hair salon where I will get a scalp massage, a kicky cut, and my natural color will be restored.  In July I do not fret over football.  I tried to explain to Coach that if only he would take the time to understand the foundational truths of high school football, he too could enjoy the remainder of a hotter-than-normal summer,  girlfriend could get her highlights at the hair salon without an act of congress, and all would be well at the Momsense home.

He claimed ignorance regarding the foundational truths.  Allow me to share...

Foundational Truths of High School Football

1.  While there are 60 minutes of regulation playing time in a high school football game, there are only 12-15 minutes of time when there are bodies in motion and a ball in play.  (Don't believe me?  Record one and time it- I've done this math Homeslice.)

2.  12-15 minutes is not a lot of time.  You can't even get a good eyebrow wax in 15 minutes, much less a scalp massage and a haircut.

3.  12-15 minutes of motion multiplied by 10 games is roughly 150 minutes. 

4.  For those 150 minutes, grown men who generally answer to "Coach" put their careers and expertise on the shoulders of a team of boys whose average age is 16.78 years old.

5.  Experience and common sense tells us that counting on a team of teenage boys is not necessarily prudent and usually ends up featuring some impressive hormone-induced incompetence.

6.  However, history will show that coaches will repeatedly play fast and loose with the hormonal incompetence of teenage boys in hopes of the cheap thrill of  victory.

7.  High school football coaches spend hundreds of hours making plans for 12 teenage boys to play with a ball for 150 minutes each SEASON. 

Listen, I have spent the better part of the last 8 years observing Coach willingly put his professional life in the hands of teenage boys, which often leads me to question the existence of common sense, wisdom, and most certainly Social Darwinism. 

But today?  I just need 150 minutes to get my hair done- no Sunday coaching meetings, no two-a-days, no weight-lifting workouts, no preparation at all.  Just 150 minutes of time to drive myself to a salon, get a scalp massage, a haircut, and a highlight.

And he calls me high maintenance.

Told you I was provoked.

See y'all!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lego Books and Family Vacations

Now that the boys are older, I've been trying to find different ways to spend time with them that we both like (blowing bubbles and playing peek-a-boo just don't cut it anymore).  One thing we've both enjoyed is making Lego books.  The boys make up a story, and build legos to tell the story.  Wes or I take pictures, and then print them out with the boys' words to make a book.  This also has added benefits of helping with reading, etc.  Here's one of the books we made:
Treasure Quest!
For the first part of our vacation, we stayed with my wonderful Uncle Dave and his wife Melissa.  Their kids are about the same age as ours, so they had a great time playing together and building Legos, as you can see:

 We went to their neighborhood Independence Day parade, which was pretty fun.  Quartz pulled the wagon the whole way!  It was nice and cloudy, too, which we thought was quite refreshing.

The reunion was at Bear Lake at a giant hotel/house that was very nice.  The kids loved swimming every day, and we got to play volleyball, search for a geocache (unsuccessfully), and ride "personal watercraft" (also known as Waverunners, or inaccurately labelled "jet skis") at the lake.  It even rained for us.  The kids love the pillowcases they got to decorate, and it was so good to see everyone.  It just felt like home, even though we were only there for four days.  :-)  Unfortunately, I had so much fun I didn't really take any good pictures . . . so here's a mediocre one:
Zoned-out kids trying to play Super Smash Bros.

Monday, July 11, 2011

We're in the Dog Days

Howdy.  Mack here.  Sorry you're having to listen to the likes of me, but my lady-master has had a relapse of her outdoor euphoria.  She's been out in my yard all dang summer- which is all well and good except that when she's outside- I'm outside.  And frankly I prefer the indoors.

I'm a black dog.  It was 103 degrees here today.  Try being a black dog in that kind of heat. 

But lady-master is good to me; she puts out a shoddy plastic pool she bought at the Wal-Mart a few years ago.  Oh, it has two holes in it now, but it's all good because the big man fixed it right up with some duct tape which doesn't really do the trick, so they  put it on the slope in the yard to keep it from leaking.

Honestly, I don't know why she doesn't splurge and spend the $6.99 for a new pool.  The Maltese and the Golden Retriever behind us have an in-ground pool with a diving board and big wide steps perfect for napping.

Not us, nope the two black dogs have the 2009 Wal-Mart Special. 

I tried to tell her we were a washed-up high school quarterback and a Trans-Am away from being THE southern stereotype, but she just keeps filling that sorry little thing up for me.

Until today.  Like I said, today it was 103 degrees- heat index of 112. 

You need gills to breathe outdoors because the humidity is so high.  So it got her. 

Today she stayed in.

Oh she made a go of it; trying to be all outdoorsy and such.  She busted out at 6:00 in her gardening clothes like she was going to do something, but sweating isn't really something she enjoys, so she watered and called it a day.

But she filled up our pool and put on some Lynyrd Skynyrd for us. 

So, if I had to guess, she'll be back to her bloggy indoor self tomorrow.

See y'all!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How NOT to Start Your Vacation

Today was Day 1 of our annual vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Today is also the first day that I was wishing I was Kendall from "this is not that blog" so that I could illustrate our debacle of a trip with the utter hilarity I know I should see in it.
Let me preface this by noting my anxiety issues. I often joke that I have loads of OCD issues, but the past few years have pushed them to the forefront of my being. These issues go straight to my stomach.

Duly noted.

We embark on our trip at 3:30am and I remark on how awesome it is that I am so comfortable with the way we (Read: me, myself and I) packed everything this year. I have no worries in the fact that I did my best and anything that we may have forgotten can be easily bought.

YAY ME! I am making progress! Life is a highway and I want to ride it all night long!

And so, this is where I have jinxed the rest of the ride for my sanity.
If you ever want to know how long a 4 year old will talk, go on a long drive. How about 8 hours? Does that sound good to you?

Mommy, I had a dream do you want to hear my dream or should I just tell you at the beach when are we going to get there this is so fun I can't wait to see the beach remember last year when Daddy bought me cheese and crackers and I didn't eat them because I won't need them this year because you have snacks.
Cut to me doing my deep breathing only 10 minutes into the trip.

She started asking "Are we there, yet" at 5am. One and a half hours into our eight hour trip.

Cut to me with my head in my hands. (Read: MAKE IT STOP)
Let's skip ahead…to about 7am when I give the kids the wholesome snack of ripe green grapes. Good job, Mom, I say, to pack such a good snack that they love.

Cut to half an hour later when the 4 year old throws up her grapes. Somehow, she even managed to catch half of it in her hands.

Kudos to you, Emma.

My husband reacts quickly by pulling off to the side of the road and hands me an empty coffee cup for the…ahem…remains. I pull her out of the car to change her shirt and clean her up. Smart of me to pack an extra outfit and wipes close at hand, right?
Cut to Emma screaming cleanup demands. "Get this shirt OFF OF ME!!" and "It's on my hands! Get it OFF MY HANDS!!" and my favorite, "Mommy, get this stuff OUT OF MY HAIR!!"
By now I realize that we are standing directly on top of what must be the biggest ant family reunion in history as I am shaking them off the puke cup, swiping them off my shoes and swatting them from our skin.

As I am the final stages of cleanup, a near ten minutes on the side of the road, I see a man with a lovely pink shirt (read: blouse) and a homeless beard yelling something at me. Something about a "tah-er".
"I'm sorry. I can't hear you over the high-speed traffic, sir, but my, that string of pearls you are wearing is lovely." And while I am realizing that he is asking me if we have a flat "tah-er", I am also realizing that he must have forgotten to put his teeth in today.

Kudos, to you, sir, for caring enough to run across the highway to find out if we were okay.

After getting back on the road, Emma finally passes out for about ten whole heavenly minutes until she wakes up again. And makes us stop three times to go potty. Three times that she didn't even go.


So, here I am, breathing my way to a zen-like existence, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I can get some eggs and toast and some tea to calm my nerves. Which are now shot to hell.

And then. My husband. Stopped at....wait for it.......Subway.