Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Shoes Delight

Tonight, while Robert was at a dinner meeting with important people, I worked with Nolan on his homework, helped Abby use the potty about 19 times, fed my kids ham sandwiches from Subway (because I'm lazy), looked at Pinterest for about 32 minutes longer than I should have, used every bit of willpower I have to force myself to walk away from Pinterest (at least until I put my kids to bed), pj'ed myself, N, and A, cleaned up toys for about five minutes, collected all of the pillows in the house onto the freshly cleared living room floor, turned on Beyonce (Abby loves her), and rocked out a pillow fight that I allowed to last about five minutes longer than usual (yes, pillow fights on the living room floor are a common event in our house).  After all of that we ended the night with the usual ritual of teeth brushing and threatening Abby that all of her teeth are going to fall out if she doesn't open her mouth and let me brush (because I'm just that kind of mom), doling out allowances ($1 for Mr. N, a quarter for Miss A) reading books, and hittin the sack.

As I was skipping to my bedroom to retrieve money out of the hidden allowance pot (yes, I was skipping), I realized that I was in a great mood.  I'm still in California without my friends and fam, Robert had missed the entire night with us because of a meeting, I had a lackluster Subway sandwich for dinner that I didn't even finish because of it's lacklusterness, my house is slightly messy, I realized just before putting my pj's on that the shirt I had been wearing all day was poofy in the 'is she pregnant?' kind of way (I should really invest in a full length mirror),  and yet, I was in a good mood.  Is it possible that I'm shedding all of my ridiculously absurd self-pity?  Is it possible that I CAN survive and adjust to change?

Maybe it's only because I bought a pair of shoes today to wear to Robert's premiere on Monday night.  Shoes usually do put me in a good mood.

Happy Birthday Mom and Dad!  I wish we were there to celebrate with you both this year, like we were last year.

This is what school does to Nolan.  He always konks out in car on the way home (in his defense, it is a 45 minute drive).  I carried him in yesterday and he continued his nap on the couch for longer than I should have allowed.  At bedtime he got out of bed three times to use the bathroom, once because he was thirsty, once because he needed chapstick, and once because his legs were burning.  That's what naps do to a five year old's parents - they cause bedtime chaos, which is never a good thing.  I have only myself to blame though.  I was enjoying a bit of free time while he was napping and Abby was ipad'ing on the potty. 

After I took the picture of Nolan napping on the couch Abby said 'take picsur me Mommy!', so I turned the camera in her direction and she promptly covered her face with her hat.  That dollar hat from Target is one of her favorite things in the world.  

Nolan wrote another book.  This time it was about Beast Wars.  The last one that he wrote was about Transformers and we left it in Kentucky (I believe it's in the 'special-things-to-keep-forever' box).  It's the cutest thing in the world (really, the world).  He drew all of the pictures, threw a bunch of letters together that don't actually form real words, had me staple it, and then read it to me.  A-dorable I tell ya. 

Butterflies have to use the potty too.  And they really like snacking on Cheerios.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Back To School Fun

On Sunday we went to the Back To School Picnic at Nolan's school.  Both kids had way too much fun. So much fun that by the end of the visit Robert ended up carrying both of them (at the same time) with their snoozing heads on his shoulders.  I told him not to carry both of them, but he insisted.  The bouncy house was, by far, the biggest hit.  Abby could have bounced all day.  Once Nolan found his friends, he moved on to the inflatable slide, which was also a big hit until he burned his elbow on the 63rd time down.  After that he decided he was done with the slide.  

Last night, Robert and I went to back to school night, which was only for the parents.  We saw his classroom, talked to both of his teachers, looked at the work that he has done, and had food and wine.  Yes, that's right.  Wine.  At a school function.  133rd reason that I love his school.  

Robert and I went to an after-Emmy party on Sunday.  It was not nearly as fun as the pre-Emmy party on Saturday.  This isn't a good picture, but how often do we get this dressed up for something?  Never.  So, I thought I'd post the picture anyways. 

How do I bribe Abby to sit on the potty?  I give her the ipad.  She loves the ipad, so the new rule is that she can only look at it when she is sitting on the potty.  She doesn't like the rule, but it works.  She finally peed in the potty today!

This is the view from our dining area window (right behind where I sit on my computer).  The lavender is nearly as tall as I am!  It's beautiful and it attracts hummingbirds, which is great entertainment!

. . . and from the back patio.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life Is Good

So last night was a pretty cool night for this little 'ole girl from Kentucky.  Robert and I got all dolled up and went to the Motion Picture and Television Fund pre-Emmy party.  It was a night of, 'oh, I know that guy he's on 30 Rock', 'Holy heck, I'm standing two feet away from Mr. Big!', and 'look over there - it's Marcia Gay Harden!'.  It was seriously a bucket full of fun.

I had a short conversation with Kathy Griffin, who I love.  Seal (singer, Heidi Klum's husband, which is he more famous for?  I just don't know) bumped into me while putting his cigarette out in a flowerpot I was standing next to,  and I met Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), and Idris Elba ('Stringer Bell' on The Wire).

Hp had a crowded photo booth where everyone was taking pictures, printing them out, and then going to mingle with the rest of the famous people.  We were standing in line and Robert said 'I'm going to go get Jon Hamm (aka Don Draper from Mad Men) and make him take a picture with us because that would be hilarious!'.  Robert knows Jon Hamm because they both have shows with AMC and therefore have been at many of the same events, but I thought it was kind of tacky.  If you start an acquaintance-ship (really, can it be called a friendship yet?  He's not exactly calling us up to borrow an egg for his pancakes, or anything) with a famous person, you don't abuse it by treating them like they're famous, right?  I'm probably just a stick in the mud, but I told him not to do it.  So, we continue to stand in line at this crowded booth waiting for our turn, Robert is repeating his argument that we should totally do it because anything is worth a laugh, and we see Niel Patrick Harris in the booth waiting for a picture that he had taken with four other people (that he presumably knew) to print.  Robert walks behind him and asks, 'hey, will you take a picture with my wife and I' and NPH is all like, 'yeah'.  So, we did it.  My regret is that we didn't do something goofy in the picture.  It all happened so fast, and the booth was so crowded, and I'm not very fast on my feet when I'm in the presence of Doogie Howser, so we ended up with the picture above (it just wouldn't be right to have a paragraph about Neil Patrick Harris without mentioning Doogie Howser).  I'm still happy with it and it was still hilarious.  I love my husband.

The highlight of the night came just before we made our exit.  We were doing a last lap around to find some friends and say goodbye when I saw a person standing in a corner who I was pretty darn sure I recognized.  But my brain was saying 'No.  It isn't possible you idiot.  How stupid are you?'. So I turned my back to this non-mystery person and told Robert to look behind me and tell me who the guy was that was wearing the black sweater and white-collared shirt.  He replied with 'holy shit!  Is that Tom Cruise?!  It can't be.', but it totally was.  So, we stood about ten feet away hovering, stalking, there are so many awful words to describe what we were doing.  Robert said that he couldn't leave without saying something to him, but I said no way.  Because you know, I'm chicken, and I have this aversion to treating famous people like famous people.  Robert was insistant.  While we were standing there pretending that we weren't in the presence of awesomeness, someone walked up to us and introduced themselves to Robert and talked to him for a few minutes while I kept my eye on the big T.  When that guy and his wife walked off we moved a little bit closer.  We must have looked pathetic.  I bet Tom saw the whole act.  Finally Robert said 'I'm going for it', and I whined a little like I was getting ready to jump into a big pool of ice cold water, and followed him.  Katie Holmes was having a conversation with a woman standing across from her and Robert totally cut in front of them and made it impossible for them to hear each other, although Katie was nodding her head and acting like she understood what the woman was saying.  I guess she's a good actor.  Robert said something about not being able to wait to see the new 'Mission Impossible' movie, and something about sawing off his own leg to see it tonight, and Tom said we could call him Tommy and come hang out at his house after the party and in the morning he'd give a us a lift on his private jet to NYC to see a show with him, Katie, Suri, and the rest of his bunch.  Okay... Robert telling Tom Cruise that he would saw off his own leg was the last bit of truth in that sentence, but it would have been really cool if everything else had happened too.  Anyhoo, he shook Robert's hand, said that Robert had 'made his night' (that guy is just so nice!) and shook my hand and said it was nice to meet me.  We walked away with a heavy case of starstruck-idiot-syndrome and I couldn't stop smiling.  It was amazing.

We got home after midnight and I couldn't get to sleep because I kept thinking about everything that had happened.  The kids woke me up dark-and-early (who wants to wait for the sun to rise to start the day?  That's just so old-fashioned) and my feet were definitely dragging.  But then I thought about the night before, ate a couple of my mom's yummy biscuits, and started to feel a little better.

Life is good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Today We . . .

. . . made Mammaw's biscuits!  They were eggs, bacon, and Daddy's fried potatoes.  They were molasses and butter.  They were a little piece of home.  Delicious.  I'm thinking about making them every. single. day.  I cannot believe that companies like Pilsbury have the audacity to call the greasy dough they stick in a tube biscuits.  They don't know what a biscuit is, obviously.

A great mess was had by all!  And I didn't mind one little bit.  Abby sneezed on the dough.  Nolan dropped one of the biscuit cut-outs on the floor, picked it up, and put it on the pan.  It was just like homemade biscuits should be.  

I totally staged this picture.  He had already set the biscuit on the pan, but I wanted to take a picture of him putting it on.  Finding the right moment to get a good picture when your hands are covered in biscuit dough, is difficult.  My poor camera now has a fine coat of white dusting it.  Flour is like sand, it gets everywhere!

I didn't stage this picture.  I think she had just put one down when the camera snapped.  They had SO much fun cutting out the biscuits!

I have tried many potato soup recipes, and I've never been exceptionally happy with any of them.  Until now.  This is by far, the best potato soup I have ever had.  Yum!  Unfortunately, I made this for the kids tonight, not for me.  There will be leftovers though, so now I have something to look forward to tomorrow.  At least there is something...

For those of you who actually look at my blog, if you have not read 'The Help' yet, run to your library, bookstore, itunes store, the place where you get the books for your Kindle, and GET THIS BOOK!  It is the best book that I have read in a very long time.  I read it in one week, which is saying a lot for me because I usually have a hard time finding time to read, what with the kids, and my life of liesure and all....Seriously, though.  Get it.  Read it.  
Love it.

***Thank you Joy Liefeld for recommending 'The Help'!  I'm so happy you did!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Things...

Gifts from Mammaw and Pappaw when it's Mommy's birthday!

Kid's Converse.  Too cute!

Camera Hogs!

Birthday Cakes!

Pajama Head!

Little Mice Families!  (I am in love with Calico Critters!  I think I know what Santa will be bringing this Christmas - whether Abby wants them or not!)

An organized kitchen!  It looked like this for about 30 seconds.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tips For a Successful Pizza Night:

Robert was absent from dinner tonight.  Usually, this means that I throw some chicken strips in the oven and pair them with a vegetable and some yogurt.  Getting creative with dinner when the only people around to appreciate it are single-digits, is usually unfulfilling.  I have one little boy who is a picky eater, and a little girl who does whatever her brother does.  Trying out a new recipe on them often results in me adding peanut butter crackers to the menu in the middle of the meal just to fill their little bellies.  

Tonight, though, I was feeling a little depressed that Robert was having to leave us in the middle of a Saturday (you have no idea how much I look forward to our family weekends) and decided that I needed to do something different to cheer myself up.  So, I decided that the kids and I would make pizza together.  The whole adventure went very well, even though Nolan lost interest after the dough was spread out on the pan.  He was feeling torn between making pizza and playing 'policeman'.  In the end, 'policeman' won.  

1. Provide stools for the cooks with short legs.  I got these at Ikea and I LOVE them!  I really just wanted an excuse to post a picture of them.  I love how simple they look and they are the best stools for the kids!  Both Abby and Nolan use them numerous times a day, usually to reach the sink, but occasionally to get into things that they aren't supposed to touch or put in their mouths (like two whole pieces of gum that someone irresponsibly left sitting on the counter).

 2. Prepare all of the ingredients beforehand.  Kids have short attention spans and won't want to wait for you to dig for the salt in your unorganized spice cabinet or search the toy box for your 1/2 cup measuring cup.  

3. Provide miniature aprons.  In the end, you do this only because it's so darn cute.  Their clothes are going to be covered in flour and tomato sauce when it's time to put the food in the oven, with or without aprons.  

4. Forget the rules and let them do things like sit on the counter.  It will be more fun for them if they feel like they're getting to do something that they aren't usually allowed to do.

5. Sing songs while waiting for the yeast to do it's magic.  Five minutes is a long time to people 32 and under. 

6. Identify the best part of the recipe process and let go of your control issues.  If the cooks are the only ones eating the finished product, who cares if six hands are handling the dough?

7. Regain your control issues when your son asks if he can throw the dough because it looks like a ball.

8. Take many moments to practice being present.  It's so easy to get caught up in the 'how it's supposed to go' aspects of these kind of projects that we sometimes forget to have any fun!

9. Laugh at the mess, because there will be one, and it will likely be big.  Everything can be cleaned up.

10. If you're making pizza, like we did, make sure your kid doesn't clump all of the cheese and ham in the middle of the pizza.  When they tell you to stop moving the cheese and ham that they so meticulously placed on their little piece of art, just ignore them and do it anyway.  

11. Force the kid that lost interest to come back for a picture before you put the food in the oven.  Ignore the fact that he's wearing a different shirt because the other one was covered in flour.

12. Take a picture of the enormous mess.  Kick yourself for not getting the floor, or the flour covered stools in the picture.

13. Enjoy the finished product together!

14. Tell your kids to close their eyes when they take a bite.  Who eats pizza with their eyes open?!  

Thank you to Carl and Maureen for the kiwi seen on the table!  Nolan especially loved it!  It's one of his favorite fruits!