Thursday, June 25, 2015


The other weekend, I was feeling very tired of my children. I had spent 4 of the previous 10 days babysitting three different friends' kids and three of the four occasions were quite trying, with kids crying incessantly for missing mommy and a combined 5 potty accidents from kids we were watching that required clothing changes and carpet cleanup. I started thinking- maybe the reason that Natalie isn't potty trained yet is because this house has some kind of curse on it! It is so powerful, it even undoes potty training in kids who have been out of diapers for almost a year! (Side note- we took away diapers from Natalie last Saturday. So far, she hasn't gone a day without an accident. We'll see what comes first- her deciding to get with the program or me deciding I've cleaned up enough urine.)

Anyhow, when Saturday finally came, Micah was called away for about six hours in the morning while I was left with the kids and I was really at the end of my rope. So, I tried to think of a way to refresh and renew my interest and affection for my children. 

Naturally, I took eyeliner to their faces.

It was surprisingly effective. It made me laugh. And consequently, it made them laugh. 

Another battle we're fighting-teaching Natalie some body discretion. She's always liked to be undressed, but it's reaching troubling levels! Today during nap time, I put on a movie for her, left the room with a fully dressed child, and returned a few minutes later to her sitting on the couch completely naked. I asked her what was going on, and she just responded, "I wanted to see my nipples". Ugh. She's very into private parts. Last Saturday, I had to stop her running around at the YMCA pool repeatedly screaming, "Hello, penis!!!!" to nobody in particular. She asked me to help her spell "vagina and bum" on one of her pictures this afternoon. Hopefully she gets over it before we're sending her to kindergarten.

Too cool for a shirt or pants, but these sunglasses will do!

Natalie and Angela are very sweet sisters, wen they're not snatching away toys, jumping on one another's heads or making the other cry.
Natalie is coming to understand some of the perks of having a baby sister who is happy to share. Thus, Natalie gets to enjoy her own popsicle and then turn around and down half of Angela's.

We got a little $2 popsicle mold at ikea and Natalie loves making them. I love tossing in some spinach and Kale and believing that I'm helping them eat more vegetables to justify all the sugar in the juices that we add.

I've been trying to eat more salads. I'm normally not a huge fan, but I'm figuring out a few that I like. Anything southwest-ish- like corn, red bell peppers, avocado, black beans- will make greens tolerable for me to consume. And the other night, I really enjoyed cobb salads as our main entree. Here is Natalie's cobb salad "deconstructed".

I recently have been feeling very uninspired when it comes to cooking dinner- so much effort, especially with the kids haniging off of me and crying- over a meal that will barely be appreciated any more than frozen chicken nuggets. One meal that I am loving and wish that I could prepare every other night is Indian pizza:

It's naan flatbread with curry sauce and cheese topped with meats/seafood/veggies and it's amazing. I could make the naan, but it's too much effort with my kids right now, and plus I can never quite get that chewy consistency with the big, fat bubbles just right. Maybe it's the whole lack of a clay tandoori oven thing. I recently found naan pretty reasonably priced at costco anyhow. For the sauce, I like tikka masala- I've tried a couple brands but trader joe's masala sauce seems the best price with a good flavor. It wouldn't be too hard to make myself once I have time. Another beautiful thing about this is that I can just pop it in the toaster oven to melt the cheese, so I don't need to heat up the whole house using the full oven. My favorite topping are shrimp and red onions with cilantro, but this weekend I'm going to try korma sauce instead of tikka masala, and peas. I also got some really good provolone to try instead of mozzarella. So, there you have it- quick, easy, low-prep meal idea that breaks away from the boring cream-of-mushroom-soup stand-bys and and is super flavorful and delicious.

We went to the zoo yesterday and though we arrived by 9:30 am, we only saw the flamingos, parakeets and elephants before it was so hot, we had to go play in the splash pad. I expected to see more animals after, but Natalie got stung by something and we had to go home because she was in such exquisite misery.

I recently learned that Angela loves popcorn. Here she is stuffing her face with the newly-discovered favorite.

And this accidentally captured expression just cracks me up.

Natalie spread out a blanket today and asked for a picnic. I gave her a bowl of blueberries. It was very sweet- Angela went over and sat down right next to Natalie and they shared. They are finally figuring out how to enjoy one another.

 Angela is obsessed with markers. I have tried to keep art supplies away from her, but she recently realized that the box that we keep under the table is full of markers, crayons and colored pencils and she is determined to get into it. The box has closing tabs that she can't open, but she will get it down and walk around, carrying it and crying until I open it for her. I finally let her have a little freedom and set her up at the table, thinking that she couldn't reach any walls, so she couldn't do much harm. It never occurred to me that she might EAT THE TIP OFF THE MARKER!!! Angela may have some bright blue dirty diapers in the coming days.
Upset that I took away her yummy treat

Natalie is learning to do some basic commands with Sammy. His deep respect for her authority is absolutely palpable.

Micah is busy, busy, busy. I am preparing to sell out house-trying to do one cleaning job every day. We'll be listing in the first week of August and in addition to all the cleaning, we will be moving much of our clutter to a storage unit to show the place, so I've already started packing and organizing for that. I'm looking forward to August and September when Micah will be less busy and I can work on some projects, like catching up on our scrapbook, making new cushions for our dining room chairs, learning about zone 9 gardening and mastering carpentry, to name a few.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Elevator and Escalator

Natalie was describing for me our game plan for when we hit the mall later this afternoon.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

What's Going On

Well, thanks LeAnn/Gabby for scoring Angela her FAVORITE gift this last birthday.

My one-year-old monkey is now dead set on cracking her head open. I keep turning my back and then returning to this:
 Or this:

 Or this....

Or This....

Or, on occasion, this....

Just this morning, she fell off the table and got a big bruise across her face from where a chair intercepted her on the way down.
Fun story: the other morning, I heard sudden, frantic crying and ran out to the dining room and didn't see Angela. I dashed to the kitchen and didn't see her. I flung open doors to the bathroom, the laundry closet, and was confounded. I could hear that she was close by, but didn't see her anywhere. Did she close herself in a kitchen cupboard? Was she wedged underneath a piece of furniture? Oh, yes, that would be it. Finally found her- trying to climb onto a chair that was pushed in and she got herself stuck. 

Angela is getting a real nasty temper and when she can't have her way, she stomps back and forth screaming and flinging her arms around.

All of the sudden, Natalie does not seem like a difficult child! I guess it's all really a question of perspective...

Enjoying her new "my-size" wisk, another gift from aunt Gabby (geez, no fair- how did she end up with the gift giving talent?)

This is a funny scene that Natalie left behind after eating lunch one afternoon,
and this is a super delicious peach divinity icebox pie that I made from a southern living magazine. And it was amazing.

 While I was at Darlene's, I felt jealous that Darlene had a binder filled with her favorite recipes. I've been meaning to put together some of my favorites, but I never have a convenient moment to print them out (the computer I most use is not compatible with the printer), so I decided to just stop worrying about printing nice recipes and start neatly copying them by hand as I use them. You can see where in my transcription a child came up and began to require my attention...

And last but most significant, today is my sister Gabby's 18th birthday. On this momentous occasion, I shall share five things that I have learned in my 8 years of legal adulthood. Maybe you could find one or two of them helpful?
1.) There is no substitute for hard work. That doesn't mean that you have to like it or even value it, but some things just need to get done and it's nobody else's responsibility to take care of those things for you.
 2.) Pay attention. I have made so many stupid mistakes and wasted so many resources over problems that could have easily been avoided if I had just looked into details and been more aware. The adult world is full of so many details. And when you are an independent adult, it takes a while to recognize which ones are important. So, to start with, just pay attention to EVERYTHING.
3.) It's okay to find George Cloony attractive even though he is more than 35 years your senior. The rule about age limits and romance (the older one should half his or her age and add seven, this is the youngest appropriate age of a romantic partner) does not apply to celebrity crushes.
4.) If you really want something, make it happen. The way may be long and fraught with complication, but you can find a way.
5.) Learn to cook. I thought as a teenager that the personal progress goal about learning to cook was stupid and I am so, so glad that I completed it because knowing how to follow a recipe has taken me SO far.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Angela Uses a Spoon

Angela is FINALLY starting to feed herself... somewhat. She's not that into finger foods; her main interest is utensil usage!
Forgive the distracting back-and-forth with Natalie in the video.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wow! What Happened To May?

The past few weeks have been a whir or excitement, but unfortunately, I have very little to show for it. I went to visit my sister's family in Raleigh and then swung down to stop at my Dad's in Wilmington before returning home. I forgot my camera :( But Natalie had a fun time with her cousins and then hitting the beach. Micah got some writing done while we were gone. He also fixed the washer and took care of the dog and watered my plants. 

I was gone longer than I had planned and I didn't expect my tomatoes to grow so much. I didn't leave any instructions for helping train the tomato plants through the support, so the leaves of the grape tomatoes grew up against the bars and are kinda wilting and dying on top. Hopefully the whole plant will still pull through if I trim off the tops. Otherwise, project cheap urban garden is going stupendously. 

Here is what it looked like over mothers day weekend, about 3 1/2 weeks ago. 

And here we are now:

I've got my first tiny green tomatoes on the beefsteak tomato plant and I've harvested tons of the herbs- especially the basil, cilantro and mint. I've just put in some yellow squash (yes, in a dresser drawer I found at the dumpster) and have a tiny bush bean going where my upside down tomato plant failed. For herbs, I've got basil, cilantro, lavender, chives, sage, mint, thyme, parsley, lemon balm and rosemary with some marigolds and petunias for decoration. I kept adding things here and there and now I really need to stop before I get in trouble with the HOA for encroaching on common area too much!

Natalie and Angela are little buddies. Natalie is very helpful with Angela and Angela wants to be involved in whatever Natalie is doing. In theory, it's wonderful and I should be grateful to have such sweet girls. In reality, Natalie spends all day trying to force Angela to obey me when I tell her to "come" or "stop"or whatever, she always wants to feed Angela, and Angela is always taking toys away from Natalie. There is just a lot of screaming and messiness and falling over and tears and stress.

Angela is a little monkey and climbs all over everything. I need to take more pictures!