Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Kate Series

Lola Love

It's a good thing we got the kind of dog that will never die, because I don't know how Sarah would fall asleep without Lola.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tiny Echo

Sarah is talking like crazy these days. In just the past couple weeks I've noticed she's gone from a lot of unintelligible gibberish mixed with words to more words and only a little gibberish (like her constant insistence that e = mc squared...crazy, right?) Today her words were my words. I am an OCD and kind of annoying.

This morning, when I spilled nearly the entire cup of Kate's Kids' Emergen-C down my front as I was attempting to fit it with its lid while a solid 10 minutes late for work I impressed myself by not dropping an F-bomb in front of the kids. Instead I went with "Pus!" to which Sarah replied "what happened?" I told her I'd spilled as I frenetically searched for a rag. She said "You spilled Kate's drink?" I said yes, it was Kate's. "Not my drink." she followed-up. "No, Sarah, not yours." She sighed. "Well good. You have to be careful, Mommy." she said.

This afternoon, after stripping off her shirt because "It got water on it" (code for - I am tired of wearing clothes now), Sarah stood, arms akimbo, staring at the kitchen floor. She found one of the ripped up old baby washcloths I now place in the dryer, doused with a few drops of lavender essential oil to make things smell all nice and crap. "This kitchen floor is disgusting!" she emoted. "I need to wash it. Now, don't come in here until it's dry, OK?" She proceeded to "mop" the floor.

And so it goes. I tell myself that while hearing my words parroted back at me with slightly irritating accuracy may be tough, at least the kitchen floor isn't so disgusting any more...

Where Does Swiss Miss Get Off?

I've had to take an extended break from coffee. It's because I'm treating some surprise hand eczema homeopathically and coffee kills those remedies*. I'm sad about the lack of coffee but sometimes I fill the void with instant hot cocoa. Well, it doesn't really fill the void, but it does put a warm beverage in my hands, which is part of the whole thing but that's not really what this is all about.

For the second day in a row I hit the breakroom in search of my coffee-lover's methadone, a packet of the Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix with mini marshmallows. The packaging changed recently. It used to just have the Swiss Miss logo all over it in light blue, but now it looks like this:

Actually, it looked like that after I opened it, but you get the idea. See that tag line there in the middle? "As Much Calcium as a Glass of Milk". Right away I had to call shenanigans on that statement. The product contains, in this order, sugar, corn syrup, modified whey (what?), cocoa, hydrogenated coconut oil, marshmallows, modified corn starch (what's with all the modifying?), gelatin, artificial flavor, nonfat milk and calcium carbonate. Notice the calcium-containing items are dead last.

So I look at the nutritional information and right there on the packet it states that if you mix it with water you get 30% of your RDA of calcium and if you mix it with milk you get 50% of your RDA of calcium. If the hot cocoa mix contains as much calcium as a glass of milk wouldn't you get twice the calcium when you mix it with milk than you would when mixing it with water?

What are the Swiss trying to pull here? I thought they were neutral! I am going to write to the corporate lawyers and request they change the statement to:

As Much Calcium as a Glass of Milk When Mixed With a Glass of Milk

* I think my homeopath just wants me to quit drinking coffee. She is sorely mistaken if she thinks I won't be back on the juice as soon as this little issue is cleared up.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Finally Giving Up and Admitting the Maid Just Isn't Going to Show

On Monday, I took the day clean the house. Worse, I looked forward to that day with excitement. It had gotten so out of control that I couldn't relax at home. Everywhere I looked there was some chore staring back at me, judging me for not completing it. It's very difficult to clean with kids around. While I'm picking up one mess, there is always at least one of them right on my heels, creating another. It's like some Vaudevillian nightmare.

So, Monday morning, I began at 6AM. I knew it was going to be a beautiful day and I was thrilled at the prospect of throwing every window in the house open wide. I began by stripping all the beds and the disgusting slipcover from the couch in the TV room and gathering up all the bath mats for some serious laundering. I never stopped doing laundry. Then, the cleaning of the rooms commenced. I hit the playroom first. I know, it seems odd maybe, but you wouldn't believe what was lurking in there. So much doll and Barbie hair we could have supplied a Barbie Locks of Love for an entire year. Various bits of playdough and other scented modeling clay. Paint. Dead dandelions. Apple cores. That room alone took me nearly 3 hours to complete, though, admittedly, I interrupted that work to do the grocery shopping. Check this out.



Suck it, Mary Poppins. My reward for my hard work in the playroom was Kate's unsolicited awe at the sight of it. "Wooooow!" she said that afternoon when she wandered in "I've never seen it this clean before!" That, I felt, was a good time for the "We're darn well going to keep it like this too, sister" speech. Neither kid has noticed yet that I gathered up 2 giant leaf bags full of toys and gave them away to Goodwill.

I spent the remainder of the day scouring, vacuuming, dusting and mopping. I am proud to report, in keeping with my New Year's Resolution (Item 2), that every cleaning agent I employed during this time was homemade and non-toxic, even my laundry detergent. The house smells so delightfully clean now. It took me 11.5 hours to get as much done as I did and I could use a second day. The windows are still horrific and none of that laundry I did has been folded. I had to fetch the wee ones, though, which brought an end to all cleaning efforts.

They enjoyed blowing bubbles outside (sorry, no photos of that) as well inside that afternoon.

Sunday in the Park

Having frittered away a great deal of our errand-running time touching trucks on Saturday, Sunday found us with a great deal to do. But it was a beautiful day so we didn't do it then, either. Instead we took a walk to the park in Kirkwood and I basked in the sun on a rock like a happy snake, making our menu for the week, while the kids enjoyed the slides, ladders, swings and mud puddles.

Shortly after this photo was taken Sarah fell off the swing. She landed right on her face. She whimpered a little and Kate got off the swing to check on her. But then, with no urging from Jeremiah or me or even her sister, Sarah got up, dusted herself off and got back on the swing. We were so proud. When I uploaded this photo to the computer Kate and Sarah were watching. "Where's the one of me falling?" Sarah asked as Kate was asking nearly the exact same thing. "I didn't catch that on film." I stated, and then wondered if they would ask 'what's film?' They didn't, but Sarah did her new alternative to fit-pitching, which I love, and said "Awwwwh MAN!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Touch a Truck - In These Economic Times, Festivals Are Low Budget Affairs

Saturday was Touch-A-Truck Day in Decatur. After Kate's swimming and Sarah's gymnastics class, we grabbed the stroller and headed over to check out the big trucks. We thought Sarah, who is a fan of trucks in general, would love this event most of all. We weren't as sure about Kate, who donned a princess dress and gloves to go out. However, when we arrived, we realized we had not considered Sarah's fear and hatred of loud noises. And it's very loud. The kids are allowed to honk the horns and turn on the police cruiser sirens. All. Day. Long.

Sarah warmed up to it by the time we got to the recycling cart, but she was full-on terrified of the fire trucks. Not Kate. Kate loved it. She crawled all over the trucks in her formal wear. We forgot our camera. Tragic. We were stuck with just our phones. So, here's a few shots I took with my BlackBerry. That sideways one is of Kate standing in the back of the recycling truck. The kids loved it. They'd pull themselves up to the top and slide down to the bottom. As it has been since my childhood, the cement truck was my favorite.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Presidential Succession

On the way home from her swimming class, Kate shared this bit of information with us:

"Barack Obama is the President of the United States. If he can't do the job, then Tiger Woods will."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Rainy Sunday with Thing One and Thing Two

It rained all weekend without respite. We decided the weather was perfect for building an excellent fort. And baking bread.

If you look closely you can see the evidence of Aunt Jo Jo and Uncle Steve's visit yesterday to deliver tattoos, hair glitter (it's rubbed out...presumably all over the girls' bedsheets) and to paint Kate and Sarah's nails.

Ah, bread, fresh from the oven. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The High Price of Blueberries

Evenings at our house are very, very busy. I get the girls home around 5:30 or 5:45. I immediately begin making dinner for them because they head up to bed at 7:30 (yes, we're Sleep Nazis). On Monday it was our turn to make Monday Night Dinner With Siblings (it used to be Tuesdays but now we're watching the increasingly ridiculous 24 together). So, I began making the girls' dinner, while also making our salad and simultaneously collecting my lunch for the next day. Sarah sat at the kitchen table watching. "What's that?" she indicated the white gloppy stuff I was dumping into a small container. "It's cottage cheese, I'm taking it for my snack tomorrow." She wanted to taste it. I gave her the spoon. "What's that?" she asked, spoon still in mouth, watching me put blueberries in another container. "You know what these are, they're blueberries. I like them with the cottage cheese." "Want some!" she said, forgetting her manners as usual. I took what I wanted and gave her the rest. She began to munch on them while I fetched still another container for my salad.

I noticed, once Sarah, and later Kate, had finished off the blueberries and some cottage cheese they decided they had to have, that Sarah had put a single blueberry in my salad bowl. They got bored with my food prep and went outside to play. I finished everything, fed them and took them upstairs to bathe them.

On Tuesday I was mindlessly munching on my salad while working. I got half way through it and noticed, among the spinach, arugula, red bell pepper, feta (the girls ate some of that, too), etc that there was a lone blueberry. It made me think of Sarah's sweet, little, cottage cheese-covered chin and how I thought the blueberries she was stuffing in her piehole matched her big blue eyes and I smiled and missed her.

Then I had to run to Target to replace their toothbrushes (they were both sick last week). Still aglow with the happy memory of my kid I ended up buying them both new spring outfits. And instead of getting the cheap plain toothbrushes I got Elmo for Sarah and Cinderella for Kate. I love it when they're fun, but their delightfulness is killing my budget.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Yesterday, when we were preparing to walk to the square to enjoy the gorgeous weather and some breakfast, Kate announced that she "wanted to get fancy". As long as the kids don't want to wear something that could cause them to develop frost bite or, conversely, a nasty sunburn, we let them select their own attire. So I said "fine, just get fancy in a hurry, mama's hungry." She did, but she was wearing her ballet slippers. I pointed out that if she wore those out she would not be permitted to get out of the stroller to walk or play at any point. "But I waaaaaant to wear these!" she whined "These are the perfect shoes for me!" she said, feeling that since she was in her Fancy Nancy attire she should talk like Fancy Nancy. "Well," I considered "if you want to wear those we'll need to bring alternate shoes with us, should there be an opportunity for frolicking." I felt this was a fine compromise (the bottoms are already falling off her ballet slippers) but Kate's freakin' crazy. She wept. "Nooooooo! I don't want to bring other shoes! No!" I shoved other shoes in Sarah's diaper bag while saying "we're bringing them. You'll thank me later". She turned in a huff, walking down the hall to avoid me. She was a good distance away but I could still hear her mutter "these are not the perfect parents..."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Piece o' Cake

I'm taking a class at the Cook's Warehouse on cake decorating. Last night was the first of 3 3-hour sessions. It's being taught by Barbara Pires who has quite the impressive resume. She contributed to Shirley Corriher's Bakewise (I love Shirley Corriher and was the only ultra-geeky student who gushed enthusiastically when asked "has anyone here heard of Shriley Corriher?". I immediately felt like a brown-noser when I realized no one else had raised a hand.), but she's done a ton of other stuff too, like starting the Metrotainment Bakery which began as just her in the basement of Einstein's and now sells baked goods to over 100 restaurants, etc. She's a self-taught baker, which I find somewhat inspiring. So anyway, that's Barbara Pires' cake on the cover of Bakewise. Today we'll be learning how to make those chocolate curls with something she calls chocolate clay (it's nothing but chocolate chips and light corn syrup and, after a night in the fridge, you make the curls by putting it through the pasta roller. I'm psyched.)

Here is my first decorating attempt using ganache and white chocolate. Very basic, very fun. The icing is dark chocolate mousse. It's a dark chocolate cake. Because last night's class began at 6:30 and I had to get to midtown from Sandy Springs (a stone's throw, but oh such odious traffic) this cake and some carrot cake on which Chef exhibited how to make and spread cream cheese icing followed by crushed nuts on the sides, were my dinner. Mmmmm. Healthy. Where was I? Oh yeah, my lab experiment. It's a bit messy but my classmates were impressed with my zany, if somewhat frenetic, use of the white chocolate on top. I'll be bringing it to Steve & Joy's tonight. Voila! I've made dessert! Er...hopefully my work will get prettier. We'll see if these classes pay off!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Smoothie for Lola

Yes, the only ingredient in this smoothie is dog food pellets.

Oops, spillage. Lola deems it the best smoothie ever.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

In Like a.... Grizzly Bear?

First, when Sarah and I were going to the grocery store, there was driving rain with sleet. Ewh. Then, there was a wintry mix. Then, it was just full on snow. Snow! It's probably over an inch thick on the ground right now. We've lived here nearly a decade and have never seen this much snow at a time in Atlanta. It was 60 degrees out yesterday.

Rex has never seen snow before in his life. Lola needs a bath, a thing the bright white snow just accentuates. Kate's been running a fever all day, but I let her go outside and play in it for a bit anyway because I couldn't figure out how to stop her. At first, she sneaked out wearing nothing but her gymnastics leotard, slippers and, because she's very responsible, her winter coat. I dragged her back in but quickly realized that just ushering her up to bed with all the excitement going on was out of the question.

Then, because we have no gloves or mittens for the girls (it's as if we don't know anyone who knits, right?) Kate cried because her frozen hands burned from the cold. Then I forced both girls to take a nap, even though I felt the proper thing to do would be to make hot cocoa and huddle around the candle-lit fireplace under big blankets together. We can do that later, I suppose. We'd better hurry, though, because it's going to be in the 60s again by Tuesday.