Summer Options

on 22 July 2011

Are you like me?  You love all the fresh fruit and veg of summer?  I love it, I do.  But sometimes, I get a little tired of salad.

Solution?  Soup!

But, M, you say, it's far too hot for soup!  And right you are!  It's FAR too hot for soup, we are melting melting over here, in fact, if you walk outside, it is much like breathing soup!

But this is not a hot soup.  It is a cold soup.  And it is delicious.

I had never actually had Gazpacho before, but it's lovely.  I found a super easy recipe in Real Simple and made only a few modifications, and we all loved it so much I thought I'd share.  This one goes out to all my friends with green thumbs who have an abundance of tomatoes and cukes this time of year!

Gazpacho  (adapted from Real Simple)

2 pounds ripe tomatoes--chunked up and tossed into a blender
1 red bell pepper chunked up, deseeded and tossed into the blender
1 small onion chunked up and tossed into the blender

(are you sensing a theme here?)

1 clove of garlic tossed into the blender
1/2 English cucumber chunked up and tossed into a blender
1/4 cup olive oil  poured into the blender
2 tsp. vinegar poured into the blender
2 Tbsp. parsley tossed into the blender

Whiz the whole mess in the blender until smooth.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Voila.

Here's what we did differently:  we cooked the pepper and onion because raw pepper and onion does not agree well with my husband.  We added 2 Tbsp instead of 2 tsp of vinegar and the recipe called for red wine vinegar and we used apple cider and it was just fine.  It blends up thick and lovely so we bought some crusty bread and scooped it up with that.  It was light, it was refreshing and a great way to get your veggies without having the same salad.

Next time I think I'll try adding some fresh basil or rosemary...I like parsley fine, but with the pepper, onion and garlic, I think the soup can hold its own against a stronger herb.  Also, I think it would be lovely topped with a small amount of pesto.  I'd also like to experiment with tossing it with some cold pasta...since it's so thick it might work.

Now go forth and enjoy the summer's tomatoes and cukes.

Let the Insanity Begin!

on 20 July 2011

Well.  We knew it was coming.  We just didn't think it would be quite this soon.

Chris and I are house hunting, people.  Because being pregnant is never craziness enough.

When we moved back to Durham, we decided to rent in our old complex again.  It seemed like a no-brainer.  We knew where everything was, it was centrally located for Chris (who didn't yet have a job), and it was relatively affordable.

Those things have changed.

For starters the management company is 9 kinds of terrible.  They're essentially flipping the entire complex.  Which is great because it means that we get new roofs, and renovated interiors, but it sucks because they're jacking up the rent (which was already high) and they don't really care about the tenants.  In the year since we moved in, the management in the office has changed completely (and I mean completely, not one person left) 3 times!  Three times!  In the three years we lived here before, we had the same management staff for THREE years!

Anyway, we just found out about the rate hikes and realized that if we continued to live here and pay this much in rent, there's no way we'd be able to continue saving anything towards a future house!  Plus, we can get a mortgage for what we're paying in rent.  It's been something that's been growing on our minds for a while now, but it wasn't until they decided to hijack our rent that we finally decided to act.

And so, with only 3 months until our lease is up, we are searching searching searching for a house.  We're not delusional enough to think that we're going to get the perfect house, we'll be happy with a suitable house for right now.

So please to pray for us sinners and if you don't hear from us much, just trust that we're working hard and we'll keep you posted if anything exciting happens!

Mixed Music

on 18 July 2011

My Boy loves music. 

Small wonder since his mama loves music too. 

We go through phases where he becomes absolutely obsessed with certain CDs or even just certain songs and we listen to them over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  Lather rinse repeat.

He's been listening to a lot of Fiddler on the Roof lately...per his request.  He likes L'Chaim and the Wedding March which he calls his Happy Song.

But as I sit here writing this for your Monday morning edification, he's singing his own little mash up of Soul Cake by Sting and Once there was a Snowman from the Children's Songbook.

I'm wishing you could all be here to here it because there's no way it translates to blog form.

Birthday Hangover...I mean, recap.

on 15 July 2011

We've all been a little sluggish this week.  I blame the birthday hangover.  Too much sugar and celebration and not enough leafy greens and rest. 

But boy did we have fun!

The day started with Birthday Donuts!  Chocolate and Maple and Lemon, oh my!  I laughed while watching the Boy run in laps around the living room on a sugar buzz to end all sugar buzzes.  After a failed attempt at a nap (I know, what with the donuts, I was a little delusional with that one), the family started to gather at our little apartment.

There were presents and cards and lots of laughter.  He got lots of animals and books and two trains.  We moved the party to Red Robin for chicken fingers and fries and more conversation and laughter.  At one point I was trying to keep my dad from getting restless and voluble with the slacker wait staff and said, "Dad, your blood pressure doesn't need this fight."  To which he responded, "What blood pressure?  That's what I take PILLS for!"  I had to laugh at that logic.  We take medication so that we can lose our tempers in good conscious!

My mom made my favorite cake (what?  it's fair!  They had to CUT him out of my body!  I get my favorite cake on his birthday.  It's cake!  He doesn't know the difference) and we had candles and singing and cake and ice cream and MORE presents (books and a big red Clifford dog that the Boy has refused to be parted from since his birthday).

Anyway, everyone hugged the Boy and headed home and we set about trying to settle him down for the night.  I was rocking him in the rocking chair and wondering how many times I've rocked him to settle him for sleep in the past three years.  And then the more I thought about it the more I realized that I could probably come up with a reasonable round number.  Are you curious?  Here it is:  2, 711 times.  Not counting extra cuddles for sick days (or nights) or teething cuddles. 

And you know, there are probably some women out there who would say, "What a waste of TIME!"  But I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything.  It was important to me from the beginning and it's still important to me.  I know my days are numbered.  I know one day he's going to look at me and say, "No, Mama.  Don't need a cuddle."  And I'll smile and say, "What a big boy."  And then tuck him in and go and have a good cry.  But for now...for now I'm enjoying my Boy.

Here.  You enjoy him too!

The Boy and his Nana.

The Boy and his Daddy.

The Boy and his Cake.

The Boy and his Wish.

Photographic evidence for his Aunt Susie--CAKE!  And ICE CREAM!

The Boy and his Happy Birthday.

Losing my MIND

on 13 July 2011

People...I have been doing BATTLE with Vimeo for the past 3 DAYS trying to get the Boy's 3rd year slide show uploaded and let me just say, "I AM LOSING MY MIND!"

I HATE technology!  For the past 2 years this has worked perfectly FINE!  Last year it was uploaded and ready to go WEEKS before his birthday!  I've lost count of the number of times I have attempted to upload this video and it's making me CRAZY.

Just know that the birthday was wonderful, there's a great slideshow for you to watch and smile and feel smooshy about, if I can EVER GET IT TO WORK!

In the meantime, you know, I sort of have a life...so I'm off to the bank and the grocery store and to read to my Boy.

We've eaten birthday cake all day and it's been delightful.

If I can ever beat vimeo into submission the slideshow will be posted for the 12th which was the Boy's birthday.

If I can't beat vimeo into frustration, well then, look for me in the corner in a heap of weepy tears.

Three Years Bright

on 12 July 2011

Today is the Boy's birthday.

I always feel a little melancholy on his birthday.  That part has nothing to do with him, though.  He's grand.  But watching him grow so fast feels like watching myself age at an accelerated pace.  I just want to be around long enough to see him grow up, grow funnier, grow smarter, and grow a family of his own.

For now, I'm trying to enjoy the whirlwind that is life with him.  Him and his smile have illuminated this entire year.  He takes our hands and shines that smile of his into all the shadows that he knows nothing about.  And I for one thank Heavenly Father every day that he's a part of our family.


The Boy's 3rd Year from M on Vimeo.

Music: When I look at the World by U2



And just for fun, here's a look back at Year 1 and Year 2...that should explain why I get to feelin' maudlin on his birthday.


The Boy's First Year from M on Vimeo.


The boy's second year from M on Vimeo.

What to do with Boredom

on 08 July 2011

When I was a kid, if we admitted that we were bored, we were usually given extra chores to do.  I'm not sure it was an effective way to clean the house (we figured it out pretty quickly and stopped complaining of boredom), but it was an effective way to keep children out from underfoot.

The Boy doesn't understand what "bored" means...but when he starts to act fidgety, I get to work.

And so does he.


Also, Lightening McQueen.


Don't think me too harsh, he loved it.

How to Eat Spaghetti

on 06 July 2011


Start with a forkful, just to get the flavor.


Decide that you quite like it.


Then proceed to eat it one. noodle. at. a. time.  Until you make your Mama crazy.




Smile periodically as a reminder that you're too cute.

A New First

on 03 July 2011

Sunday afternoon we were piled up in the bed, me, Chris, the Boy, the cats...and we achieved a new first.

It's not a milestone we've been watching for, in fact, it was one I was rather hoping NOT to reach.

The Boy is all about Daddy apparently, so at one point he looked at me and said, "Do not like Mama.  Mama go away."

I would be lying if I didn't admit it broke my heart a little.  I did leave.  I went to make dinner and soak my sore and banged up heart in a big glass of ice water.

He's still in there playing with his Daddy. 

And you know, I understand.  Daddy is awesome.  Daddy plays and rough houses and tickles and chases.  Daddy is gone for a good chunk of the day, and so Daddy doesn't say No half as much as Mama does.  Daddy doesn't require him to pick up his toys, eat fiber, clean his plate, or go to bed by a set time.  Mama requires those things.  If I were him, I'd love Daddy more too.

And I know...he's just a kid.  It doesn't really matter.  And it doesn't.  But it SO does.  I'm the one who takes care of him when he's sick.  I'm the one who makes him breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I'm the one who makes sure his clothes are clean and his bum is wiped.  ME.  I do the dirty work.  The least he could do is not send me away with his petite royal decree.

***

On to happier news.  Samwise can go home!  She's hopeful that there's only smoke damage to her house, which is a relief considering that she thought she would lose it.  I for one am happy she can go home.

***

We're gathering at my Sister's house to celebrate our nation's independence by doing what all good American's do: eat red meat and blow things up.  But there will be a new batch of pictures of the Boy for the blog.  In the wind up for his birthday slideshow...coming soon to a theater near you.