Tuesday, January 20, 2009


As I was getting J ready for bed last night, I asked him if he could say inauguration. With much determination he replied, "in-aug-u-wation". I told him we were going to watch an inauguration tomorrow because we are going to have a new president. I asked him if he knew who the new president would be and he yelled out, "Barack, Barack, Barack Obama!" Awesome.

When he woke up this morning, I heard him tell B that "he couldn't watch The Biscuit Brothers today because he was going to watch the inauguration with Barack Obama and that would take a long time." Now he keeps asking where Barack Obama is. Maybe he thinks he's coming over to watch some tv and share a snack? I have a feeling he's going to be a little disappointed.

Blue or red, have a great day everyone!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Excitement Gods Can Feel Free to Leave Us Alone

Had a lovely weekend visit from Auntie B from San Francisco. She just returned from a fabulous honeymoon in Argentina. Her request of things to do while in Texas with us? Roast a chicken. I never felt so able to accommodate in my life. You see, B's husband supposedly got overloaded on chicken as a child, so he refuses to eat it as an adult. B is a big roasted chicken fan, but doesn't want to sit down to a 5lb bird all by herself. We made her dreams come true on Friday night with a side dish of lemon thyme orzo and some broccoli. Deliciousness.

Perfect Roast Chicken (Marcella Hazan)
1 chicken of any size
1-2 lemons, small

Salt and pepper chicken inside. Roll lemons around on counter to massage them. Pierce each with toothpick many times. Put 1-2 inside chicken. Truss chicken very tightly at both neck and abdomen. Salt and pepper outside. Cook at 375° until done (160 in breast).

If you leave the oven closed and put the thermometer in the right place, it is impossible not to have a juicy, perfectly cooked chicken.

Lemon-Thyme Orzo (or Rice)

Orzo, 1 C
Chicken stock, 1/2 C
Lemon zest, 1.5 t
Thyme, 1 t
Salt and pepper
Butter, 1 T
Parmesan, 1/3 C

Cook orzo in water until done. Drain. Return to saucepan. Add stock, zest, thyme, 1/2 t salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until most of liquid absorbed. Stir in butter and Parmesan just before serving.

I always add less parmesan and more lemon to this. Double the recipe because you won't have leftovers unless you do.

We had a relaxing weekend that included a trip to the farmer's market, some outlet shopping, New York Times reading, and Sweet Tart Hearts munching (it's that time again). J's newest fun phase is telling people, "Don't say that! Don't do that!" It's really annoying. I haven't decided if it's best to ignore him altogether since he's looking for a reaction, or to reprimand him for not being nice. The latter gives him a reaction and he already knows he's not being nice. It's one of the ways almost three year olds test limits and set boundaries. Better than terrible twos? I'll let you know. But B should feel better knowing that once she left, he did the same thing us.

Yesterday had some unplanned and unwelcomed excitement. I had an early dentist appointment and B had his right after mine. He brought J with him, I took J to school, and then headed down to my friend K's house to babysit while she had an ultrasound. I was running on time. Until I got rear ended at a red light by a truck. Everything is fine, but because I am pregnant I wasn't just willing to share insurance info and be on my way, so I called 911. Well, apparently when you do that, the entire world comes to your rescue-- police, ambulance, and a rescue fire truck. I felt pretty stupid, but I had to do it since I wanted to make sure everything was okay and I experienced quite a jolt since the truck was double the size of my car. My doctor directed me to go to the ER because she wasn't in the office yet and they hooked me up to a fetal monitor for awhile. The heartbeat was strong and steady, but they had a heck of a time finding it. Apparently she is lodged near my hip bone. She was kicking plenty yesterday afternoon, but I was still pretty achy.

This morning I woke up feeling a little nauseous and was nervous that something was wrong, but that also could have been because J decided he wanted to sleep with me at 4:30 and I was too cold and tired to say no. He didn't go back to sleep right away and I was up for probably about 2 hours before getting another hour of sleep. I felt some kicks later this afternoon after forcing myself to eat some mint chocolate chip ice cream to help the process along.

Upon further inspection of my car when we got home we saw that there were actually more than scratches on it and an estimate at a dealer nearby put the damage at $1800, which I know is way too high, but still. The other driver was driving a company vehicle, so I hope we don't have any trouble collecting on a claim against them. I wouldn't care about the car since you really can't see anything, but I do care about the fact that I had to pay for a hospital visit and we aren't lucky to have a $25 copay or anything like that.

The most important thing is that everything is fine. I was really glad J wasn't in the car, but he probably would have loved all of the action with the fire trucks.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Christmas Past

It's been a crazy few weeks in the S household and the visitors actually aren't finished just yet! We began our holiday adventures two weeks ago when the Feathernesters joined us for a week of toddler chasing, hole in the wall making, garden border building, cream corn eating fun. Sounds like your typical family visit right? Perhaps I should explain a bit.

The toddler chasing is self explanatory, but it was so great to have L and J together for Christmas. They did their best to share toys and keep their screeching to a minimum (okay, that might be a stretch). Perhaps the best thing was that they stimulated each other so much during the day that they slept like logs at night and even graced us all with an extra hour of sleep on Christmas morning. Of course children don't give gifts easily and they decided that extra hour of sleep entitled them to not take naps on Christmas afternoon. We were all grateful for little presents.

The week began with some unplanned excitement as D decided he would make things more entertaining if he fell off an imaginary chair that he thought was at his spot at the table which was really taken away from him by his wife. As he crashed on the hard, cold tile, I thought he broke the chair, but upon further investigation, we saw that there was actually no chair behind him at all. He was okay, but the wall was not. Enter the beginning of the marathon trips to Lowe's for drywall, spackle, texture, and more texture.

In between toddler wrangling and drywall patching, we actually had a chance to be grown ups for a little while. We went to two movies during the week, which I believe is my quota for the entire year. We saw Quantum of Solace and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Both were really good. The sad part? The fact that we had to make arrangements to eat dinner at 5:30 because we would be too tired to go to a 9:00 movie. Ahh, how times have changed.

There were nonstop comings and goings from other family members throughout the week. My aunt and uncle popped in for a few days on their way to Brownsville, Tx. B's best friend J came and stayed with us from icy Seattle. Grandparents from Florida and California also joined us. And we had some last minute surprise guests who stopped in from Lubbock on Christmas night as they were leaving from Austin to go to Mexico in the morning. We fed 17 people on Christmas night, which was chaotic, but we had plenty to go around, including a fully cooked turkey and plenty of pie, so it was lots of fun.

Santa was very good to J this year. The biggest hits from Santa were a tom tom drum, (everyone says I am crazy, but I can't not encourage this kid to be musical since he loves it so much) and a guitar (Santa shops at garage sales and found a kid-sized one for $1.00!). It's completely out of tune, but I know nothing about guitars and J doesn't know the difference, so it's a perfect match in our house. Both instruments are used to jam to the new Biscuit Brothers cd he got. Uncle D was a little tired of them by the end of the week (sorry!) because the jam sessions started early in the morning and repeated themselves throughout the day. He also got some great books, which I will probably add to the side of the blog. J became a complete present opening zombie and wanted present after present. We actually put a halt to his present opening at one point because he wasn't even noticing what he was opening anymore.

Matching pjs to please the mamas

1st trip downstairs

Hard at Work

In addition to fixing a hole in the kitchen wall, the boys decided to make an all out effort to build a new border for our garden. This almost turned out badly when D told me the plan and it was nothing like I had envisioned it and they were planning on carrying out said plan without my okay. Thankfully some other mothers in the room insisted this was a bad idea and we all got on the same page first. I think this building project included about 4 trips to Lowe's and a very heated discussion about what to do about the fact that the previous owners built this garden on top of a zone of the sprinkler system (which means the entire garden may need to be ripped up if a pipe ever breaks and needs fixing). The finished product looks really good and will hopefully keep the annoying St. Augustine grass from invading my planting territory.

The New Year's Eve guests arrived a day after all of the Christmas ones left. Round two included B's dad, stepmother, stepbrother and his wife (visiting from Poland after spending their honeymoon on a cruise). We cooked prime rib for dinner because B's stepbrother never had it before. He ate four pieces. We also went to a ballroom dancing party to ring in the new year. I'll spare you the long story, but just say that it was BYOB, which saved us money, but they didn't provide any mixers, and even though I called to make sure they would have mixers for whatever drinks we brought(this is important stuff to do when some people in your party consider tonic a fifth food group), the only mixers they provided were "dance mixers". As in everybody gets on the dance floor and mixes up their partners type of mixers. Disaster was averted with a last minute trip to the grocery store. Upon further inquiry, I found out from the stepbrother and wife that their preference for New Year's Eve is to usually stay home. I wish I would have known that. I felt like the chaperone at a high school dance as I looked at the clock wanting it to be midnight every ten minutes. It was so hard to stay up until midnight without alcohol. We had a good time, but it felt like everyone was forcing themselves to stay up late.

I forgot to mention that Jonah caught pink eye and a nasty cough in between all of this as well. We had to give him eyedrops and cough medicine. Imagine a screaming child. Now raise the noise level by 100 and that's what we had three times a day. We gave up on the cough medicine after two days of him literally spitting it all out on B's arm. I finally became a pro at doing the eyedrops. It's amazing what mini tootsie pops can do.

B's dad and stepmom left and returned two days later for doctor's appointments before she heads back to Poland later in the week. Yesterday was the first day we had nobody in our house. We're a bit tired, but fine. I'm getting fat and kicked. She's already a night owl. Happy New Year everyone!

B's boss gave J a Texas jersey. He loves it. Hook 'em!