December 31, 2007

Hasta La Vista '07!

These past few days haven't worked out QUITE as I'd planned, but at least my car didn't attack me. It can always be worse.

We've all survived our little adventure in food poisoning and I may have even lost a little extra baby weight, so I'm not going to complain. It's not as good as the weight I lost when we all had Rotavirus 2 years ago, but it'll do. I wouldn't recommend it, but I'll take it.

This whole sickness has SEVERELY limited my time spent pondering my resolution for the upcoming year. I'll have to get back to you all on that. I have, however, thrown myself wholeheartedly into my new passion for jewelry making. All my birthday money has been spent on EBay purchasing Swarovski crystal beads, which I plan to string into the most beautiful of bracelets, necklaces & earrings. Look for my new M2B Designs store opening up in the near future. I'll even give you, my loyal readers, a 10% discount on your first purchase. Of course, I'll have to jack up my prices to accomodate the lost earnings of the 10% discount, but it's the PERCEIVED savings that counts, right? Okay, good. I'll be accepting PayPal. You think I kid, but I do not.

Here's what I'm looking forward to in 2008 (in order of when I think they will happen):

1) Becoming a step-Aunt to 3 beautiful little boys-and if you want to feel really bad about yourself, check out her next post where she shows a picure of herself. I didn't even look that good with 1 baby. She's practically got her own personal basketball team in there and she looks great. Bitch
2) Welcoming 2 little girls into our circle of friends. That's right I said girls. And they're coming to two different people, no more sets of multiples, please. I can't handle the stress.
3) Dylan's 3rd Birthday. I'm getting a Bounce House.
4) Becoming an Aunt to an as yet unidentified young'un. Maybe I should re-order & add Jan. 22 to #2. That's when we find out what "unidentified young'un" is. CAN'T. WAIT.
5) Traveling to the DC Metro area to visit newly born as yet unidentified young'un, Cousin Will & my sister & her husband. At least right now I'm looking forward to it, that might change as the reality of taking a 3 year old & almost 1 year old an a voyage across the country hits me.
6) Zach's 1st Birthday. They're so cute at that age, although it's hard for me to believe he could actually be cuter than he is now.
7) Traveling to the Smokies to visit with 3 new little boys, who will not be so little at that point, but will still be little enough to be classified as new. Oh, and to see all the other crazies family who will be there as well.
8) My 30th Birthday. Hopefully it will be MUCH better than my 29th was. Although there's not much to compete with, so as long as I don't have food poisoning, I'll be good.

*I purposefully did not add a vaction to that list. Don't know when that will happen, so I don't want to jinx it. I just REALLY hope that it happens.

I'm off to EBay to make sure some schmuck doesn't outbid me at the last minute. Suckers think they're bidding against someone who hasn't been in their pajamas on the couch all day just watching the computer. Buuuuaaaahahahahahaha!


Oh Yeah--Happy New Year!

December 30, 2007

Help Wanted

Family of Four seeking a home health aid/nanny. Three of the four members are suffering from some sort of severe gastrointestinal illness, and the youngest has a hacking cough. Food poisoning is the suspected culprit of the gastrointestinal ills, as the mother's birthday was yesterday and they went out to lunch and dinner. If you wish to apply you must be one crazy SOB please call 1-800-Sickies

December 29, 2007

29 Years

Then


Now

My Birthday, Part Deux

Okay, I'm back. Dylan's watching Baby Einstein in his room, with a cup of chocolate milk. Don't worry, the cup is of the Sippy variety (actually Sponge Bob straw variety) so there is no danger to his Pottery Barn Kids bed coverings.

Zach is awake -FINALLY!- with a belly full of the good stuff. At least he thinks so. You'd have thought he hadn't eaten in 12 hours or something. Oh wait...he hadn't.

DJ is still in bed. Unheard from. He hasn't even sent Dylan out saying "Daddy wants Foffee". He still must not be feeling well. Maybe I'll go have another cup of coffee (with Bailey's!). There's time to make a few more cups for him. It is my birthday after all.

So, where was I? Oh yes, the things I want to do before I turn 30 in 365 days.

Let's recap: Travel

Okay, that about sums it up. Remember now, this is NOT my New Years Resolution list. I'm still working on those. Those take time and careful planning. Those take actual COMMITMENT. This is fun stuff I want to do. I'm going to finally (3 1/2) years later, have my name changed on my passport. Not that I think I'll need my passport, but I want to at least have it updated. JUST. IN. CASE. Mexico beckons. It calls to me. "Remember that week in Mazatlan?" it says? Or that "you've always wanted to go to Cancun and the Mayan Riviera"? Oh, and I'm going to enter as many times as possible to win this year's HGTV Dream House. It's in the Florida Keys which is another "Must Visit Someday" list member of mine. I've been to the very tip top of the Keys, but not all the way down to the bottom. Key West beckons me as well. "Still the U.S. Water you can DRINK without fear of major repercussions. Architecture, beaches, sunsets to die for." That's what the Keys say to me. Ahhh...I can hear it now. Oh, wait, that's my mom's new Ocean/Rainstorm/Babbling Brook noise machine ringing in my ears. That'll have to do for now, I suppose.

SO, now that I've totally gone off on a tanget. More coffee (with Bailey's!) and Zach hacking up a lung (but still smiling!), I'm back. No more talk of travel. I must focus on putting my plan into action. Small seeds planted in my NOT travel loving husband's head. There. Done. Seed Planted. DJ- did you read that? Did you pick up on it? New roof & house paint BE DAMNED, I want to GO SOMEWHERE! And not to Palm Springs for a Dealer Meeting, although that will be nice, but somewhere new, somewhere exciting, somewhere (oh, look. Steve Perillo is on TV mocking me right now) that takes more than a car ride to get to. Somewhere where we can fulfill Dylan's dream of "riding in a plane." Did I say I'd stop talking about travel? I CAN'T. STOP. TYPING.

I didn't mean to make it sound earlier like I hadn't gotten any presents for my birthday. My mom bought me an AWESOME Dutch Oven a few weeks ago when I saw it at TJ Maxx and HAD to have it. Thanks Mom! My sister gave me an ITunes gift card and an "I Heart Jim" T-shirt from the NBC "The Office" store. I do heart Jim. I really do! I got cold hard cash from my in-laws...and I haven't even been to the mailbox yet, so who knows what is waiting there for me.
Look at that, DJ's up. In his own words, he feels like "someone stuffed a shoe up" his nose. That's pleasant, eh? No mention of my birthday, though. Either the cold medicine, or he's being his pain in the ass usual self and trying to make me think he forgot. He spent ALL night last night switching back and forth between the Golf Channel and the Hunting Outdoor Network in an attempt to drive me crazy. Nothing says birthday like watching animals get blown to smithereens (is that an actual word?).

This might win the award for longest, most non-sensical post ever. But it's my birthday, so I'm allowed. Johnny Depp & Tyler Florence are no longer on T.V. (Robin Miller of Quick Fix Meals just doesn't have the same effect), so I'm going to do find something else to do now. Like shower. I might even take the time to shave my legs! CRAZY! That's me! I'm 29 now! One year til 30. It's time to start writing that post NOW!

It's My Party

The day has finally arrived...it's my birthday! Yay for me!

Birthdays are SO different than they used to be. No presents to open, no one to make me a birthday cake (it's not the same if you have to make your own). No one's even up right now, which is a birthday present in and of itself. I got to sleep until 7:09, which was a feat. And, as his own little present to me, Zach slept through the night, save for one moment of distress when all he needed was to have his "fa" (pacifier) re-inserted. Today's going to be a good day.

Oh-speaking of, I hear Zach.

Okay, Fa's reinserted. We're good for another few minutes.

I'm less focused on my birthday right now than I am about the New Year. I really want to make 2008 the year I finally get my shit together. Like, I want to make resolutions that are practical and POSSIBLE. I want it to be fun. I want to figure out how to keep my house organized. I want to put laundry away as soon as I do it (or at least as soon as nap time is over). I want to wear jewelry. I want to learn something. Like how to speak Italian or how to make jewelry. Then I could speak Italian while I make jewelry that I could wear while I go out in the clothes I'd just washed and put away. How fun would that be?

Here are some Resolutions for my 29th year of life. These are fun. These are things I'm going to do before I turn 30 in 365 days.

- Take my children to Disneyland
- Go away for at least 2 nights with my husband, but WITHOUT my children
- Go on an extended (at least 5 night) FAMILY vacation to somewhere that's not in California
*Do you see a trend developing here? I need a VACATION!*

There's more, but a bedroom door just opened, so my moments alone are over. I'll be back...

December 28, 2007

Friday's Recipe-12/28/07

This is one of my favorite appetizers. They're yummy and they're made of spinach. Who'd a thunk it?

Spinach Balls

2 packages frozen spinach, cooked & drained
2 cups herb stuffing, crushed
1 onion, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
3/4 Cup melted butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix all the ingredients and form into big bite size balls. Bake 20 minutes at 350. May be frozen after baking.

Just a Reminder

MY BIRTHDAY IS TOMORROW!
:0)

The Mama Bear Instinct

Poor, poor little Baby Bear, commonly known as Zach around these parts, is sick. He's finlly come down with the cold that his brother and dad have. He was fine when he went to bed last night and I didn't notice anything when I went to his room to feed him at 3:00am. But when he finished eating and I went to put him back in his crib he was really stuffy and making these horrible labored breathing sounds trying to clear his throat. I felt so bad for him and started worrying, as I'm wont to do, so he ended up coming into our bed. Just so I could make sure he was breathing appropriately and all. No biggie. He's currently asleep in his swing, still making funny noises. We'll see what his mood is when he wakes up. Hopefully he'll still be my happy, smiley little drooler.

December 27, 2007

The Story of the Holiday Dog

Did you notice him? Here? Well, we're lucky enough to have our own version of the Holiday Armadillo. Jealous, aren't you?

My crazy Aunt Dawna recently opened up her very own Dog Grooming and Adorable Dog Merchandise shop. It's called My Dog's Spot. Cute, right? I'm still not sure why she didn't use my descriptive title. Whatever.

Anyway, as a way of bringing in customers my Uncle Ryan bought a dog costume and stands on the corner waving a sign. Apparently, this technique ACTUALLY brings people in, and it gives us something to laugh about. Especially after a few bottles each of wine.

Well, he kindly offered to wear the costume for the boys on Kissmas morning. The kids were all totally freaked out by it, except for Cousin Will, who ran right up yelling "dog!" and spent the next 10 minutes hugging it. Dylan wanted nothing to do with him, but I did manage to take him up to the general vicinity of the Holiday Dog and he didn't freak out. I'd say that's a victory on our part.



Oh, and they also own this shop. They're very diverse. Tattoo's & Dog Grooming go hand in hand in our posse. Don't ya wanna hang?

Once Again, Santa is Trying to Kill Our Children

Remember this post? The one where I called Santa an Axe Murderer because of Dylan's fear of him? Well, turns out I may not have been too far off.

For your reading pleasure, I bring you a few new recalls. Very well something that you Santa may have recently given your children.

I'm not sure about you, but I wouldn't be prone to letting my children teethe on something that was sterling silver to begin with. But, to each his own, so here you go.

Dylan's all about building towers right now. Fortunately, this is not something we own.

For those of you who live in cold areas and shop at Gap Outlet, take note. I'm assuming that if you'd spend $50.00 on a coat for you kid, you'd like to be sure they're safe while wearing it. Just guessing.

Because, if you're like me, you don't need ANOTHER reason to worry about your children while they sleep at night. So, keep them out of these bunk beds.

At first I though, Um...DUH, but then I read further and saw there was a mechanical reason behind it. "Bombardier Recreational Products Recalls Snowmobiles Due to Crash Hazard"
Aren't all snowmobiles crash hazards to some extent?

We're Alive

We made it home! It was SO nice to sleep in our own beds last night. Dylan rushed DJ through his nightly book so that he could go to sleep. Funny kid.

I'll post something witty & informative, or at least informative, after I've had more caffeine and more sleep, or at least a lot of one or the other.

For now, a brief retrospective slide show of our trip.


December 23, 2007

Twas Two Nights Before Christmas- A Guest Blog

Here it is...the Guest Blog from my Sister...without further ado:

Twas two nights before Christmas,
And all through the land
“Noddy” was playing
On Sprout on Demand

The children were sprawled
In front of Thomas the Train
While visions of Sodor
Filled up their brains

They played and they sang
And they squealed and ran races
They were all very happy
You could see it in their faces

The grown ups were standing
And watching this scene
While sipping martinis
With olives of green

When in the family room
We heard such a cry
We dropped our glasses
To see what had gone awry

And what greeted us there
Was a terrible sight
The kids were upset
And they were starting to fight

“Mine! Gordon.” “Mine! Thomas”
“Mine! James.” “Mine! Percy.”
“Mine! Salty.” “Mine! Edward.”
“Mine! Clarabel.” “Mine! Annie.”

The youngest was sobbing
He was shrieking and sad
And his cousin was hitting,
And just being bad

Then my sister-in-law looked at me
And she said
“You need to punish your son,
Or send him to bed.”

Something inside me snapped
And I heard myself shout
“Don’t you dare try to put
My kid in time out!”

My sister cried out
That we should calm the hell down
As our husbands decided
To go out on the town

Grandma and grandpa
Were sore and worn out
They were angry and distressed
After hearing us shout

Once we all settled down
We put the kids in their jammies
We read them a story
And they said good night to their grammies

We sat down on the couch
Figuring a stiff drink was our right
And we talked about doing it all again
On Christmas Eve night!

It's a Brand New Day

Ahhh, what a fresh perspective a good night's sleep and a cup of coffee -w/o Bailey's :0( - can give a girl.

We're having a nice time, save for the occassional altercation between children, which also results in the occassional passive-aggressive altercation between the children's parents. Well, really between my sister-in-law and either my sister or me. That's another story for another time. I think we'll be able to make it the next few days without bitch slapping her. I. HOPE. There will just be a lot of dirty looks being exchanged by my sister and I. Not directed at each other, of course. We're getting along like peaches and cream. Like Root Beer and Vanilla Ice Cream. Like Rum & Coke.

We're off to the snow today. Not sure if it's a good idea, being as Dylan woke up this morning (at 2am) with a hacking cough, but I'll be damned if we miss our opportunity for snow. Plus, we spent a gazillion dollars on warm clothing at Target, so we need to put them to good use. At least once.

We spent yesterday at the Train Museum downtown. Dylan and his cousin Will thought it was pretty FREAKIN awesome. So did the bigger boys.





Zach was there, but he was asleep in the stroller, so he didn't make it into any pictures. Until he woke up, at which point he remained in the stroller, but I did get a picture of him. That way, when he's 10 and feeling left out of life, I can prove to him that even though he's the younger brother, he really did join us on family outings. Until today, when we'll leave him behind for our trip to the mountains. We don't need an infant weighing us down as we tromp through the snow. Right? Babies ruin everything don't have much fun in the snow.

As soon as we got in the car, the boys fell asleep. It was perfect. Notice the train tracks on his lap? As if there won't be enough Thomas crap under the tree, we bought MORE at the gift shop. We're single handedly keeping RC2 Corp. in business this year.

All right. I'm off to shower and get dressed up real warm for the snow. I'm a wussy and yesterday it was 1 degree in South Lake Tahoe. We're not going that far up into the mountains but I'm pretty sure it's going to be DAMN cold.

Cheers!

December 22, 2007

Baby It's Cold Outside

Hi Internets...I'm Alive. There may be copious amounts of wine running through me right now, but I'm alive. And my children are too! Bonus!

We're having a gay old time in the Sacramento area. Dylan is "enjoying" spending time with his cousins, which is nice, but the rest of us (the adult set) are having a difficult time. Has anyone ever put three toddlers together and tried to have them get along? Doesn't happen so much. Oh, and the adults don't get along to much either, then. Nice time all around. My sister has threatened murder, and I'm not sure if she meant her son or my sister-in-law. NICE.

REALLY happy time all around. I'm doing my best to convince her hormonally pregnant self to "Guest Blog" because I think we could all benefit from it. She's pissy and not drunk (being knocked up and all) so it would be really interesting. Not at all what I'm writing right now, being as I've had several bottles glasses of wine.


SO, I'm typing one handed right now cause Zach decided to FREAK out & needed to eat. I'm going to go. I'll post again tomorrow next week. Whenever I get around to it.

(I didn't know spell check could find SO MANY typo's in one post)

December 20, 2007

I'll Be "Home" for Kissmas

And, we're off! The car's packed, the kids are fed, and more importantly, TIRED, so we're ready for our 6 hour rainy trek to Grandmaother's house. Wish us luck!
Computer's coming with me, so you'll hopefully be lucky enough to hear from me in the next few days!

Merry Week Before Kissmas (& Week and a Half before my Birthday!)

December 19, 2007

Kissmas Cards from the Past

Here's a Kissmas Card I received three years ago. Also known as the "Good Ole Days"




Awww...remember?! The hope? The excitement? The adorableness? This was actually addressed to ME and the return address is BritBrit's former BFF and Assistant Felicia. Awesome. I still have it. I could tell you the story behind why I got it, but then I'd have to kill you. At least it's not on EBay! Hmmm...that gives me an idea.

Dear Jamie-Lynn Spears,

You sweet adorable little CHILD. Please, PLEASE have learned from your sister's mistakes and be a BETTER parent than she is. I'm not talking about not tripping while carrying your child, that could happen to anyone. I'm talking about not driving (do you even have your license yet?) with them on your lap. Not missing court depositions regarding your custody arrangement. In fact, don't even GET to the point where you HAVE court depositions regarding the custody of your children. But, if you do, please make it a point to make it important enough for you to be there.

Good Luck. I'll be pulling for you.

Pour Some Sugar On Me

Or, Day Three of the No Sugar For Dylan Experiment.

Why, you ask, would I possibly deprive my almost 3 year old of sugar, and why, WHY would I choose the HOLIDAYS as the time to experiment with the poor kid? Let me give you some background.

Dylan is, to put it mildly, a bit sensitive. Okay, a LOT sensitive. The tiniest little things can set that child off and it will take TIME to calm him down. We're talking sobbing, gagging, bit fat alligator tears upset. Over spilled milk. Literally. Or over not being able to go outside because it's nighttime, or because someone has the audacity to LOOK at him. It was a daily battle. I was about to lose my mind because I couldn't deal with the insane amounts of crying. It was embarassing.

And then, on Sunday, I realized something. It always seemed to happen when he'd had something excessively sugary, or when he'd spent a day having a lot of little sugary things. Piece of Fudge? Complete meltdown a few hours later. Fruit snacks and juice at GP's house? Total devastation when he can't "play puzzles" or when we have to PUT THE TRAINS DOWN. I know, I know, he's three. Three year olds cry. Three year olds throw tantrums. But not like this. Not my sweet little Dylan.

SO, I made the decision to see what would happen if we limited his sugar intake. And OH MY GOD, it's been two days and he's been an angel. A few little crying spells here and there, but nothing like before. I haven't had to yell at him or give him a time out. He doesn't even freak out when he can't have juice or candy. I think I might be on to something. I'm actually pretty damn proud of myself that I got my head out of my ass long enough to NOTICE something like that. Normally, I'm totally oblivious to that sort of stuff.

So, Grandmaother, get ready for us. Maybe this time the extended family will be able to actually ENJOY my oldest child instead of watching him sit on my lap and cry/bury his head in my shoulder/yell "NO" whenever anybody looks at him. Maybe it will be a Merry Kissmas after all!

December 18, 2007

And the Winner Is...

After all of my posts referring to Kissmas Lights, you need to go look at this...Amazing. Be sure to click on the picture to make it bigger. I can't even imagine how LONG that took.

Now, if it's not raining tonight I'll walk down the street and take a picture of the house that wins our neighborhood award for Most Decorated House. It gets nightly "OOHHHSSS" and "WOWS" from Dylan.

Oh, and Yes, I said rain. We're actually getting RAIN! It's amazing. It's coming in copious amounts! It's WET! We'd forgetten what it was!

December 17, 2007

Dear New Jersey,

Please allow prisoners in your state to carry concealed weapons. At least until one of them has the opportunity to use one against the A*SHOLE who killed Megan Kanka. You've done away with the death penalty, now you must find another way to do away with that worthless human being.

Thank you.

Dear Oprah

Please, do not ever, EVER have Dr. Oz take his clothes off on National TV again.

Thank you.

Virtual Hugs

Dear Internet People,

Please send big virtual hugs to my sister. She's knocked up (yay! Another baby...maybe even, dare I say, a girl!?), it's freakin' cold where she lives and she's been rear ended TWICE in the past few weeks. Both times with her almost 2 year old in the car, the most recent of which happend JUST NOW. A few minutes ago. Right after she made a comment to me about having the "cheap" car seat in the car in preparation for their plane trip out here this week. Poor thing. But, she wasn't even crying, which is awesome. I would have been a sobbing, snot nosed idiot.

So, send her a virtual hug and have a nice, big alcoholic drink for her tonight. If that's not your bag, then eat some brie or some lunch meat for her. That would work too.

Thanks!

Oh, and we were not on the phone with each other at the time. It kind of sounds like we were, but we weren't. It must have happened in the 5 minutes of the day that we weren't talking to each other. Okay, so we don't talk THAT much. We used to, but then she went back to work and now she can't keep me occupied all day long, so that's your job now, internet. Hmmm...that makes me want to give you a big virtual hug too. Okay, I'm done now.

4 Months


From This:

7lbs 1oz. 20 inches

To This: 15 lbs. 10 ozs. & 26.75 inches

December 16, 2007

Stream of Consciousness...Be Warned

It's Sunday. It's 10:41am and I'm on my couch in my pajamas. Still. DJ left at 7:45 this morning to golf. I have dishes, laundry (which includes SEVERAL sets of peed on sheets, including my own, thanks to Dylan) and organizing to do. We're leaving for our Kissmas trip in T-4 days, which is very exciting, but also a bit overwhelming. I have a lot to get done before then. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. There's packing all the clothes for all four of us, and making sure we're weater/activity appropriate. But, before the clothes can be packed, they have to be washed. Then there's the Kissmas presents that need to be collected and packed up. Packed up in Plastic Containers due to the threat of rain. Rain which wouldn't matter if we were taking the car, but does matter because we have to take so much CRAP that we have to take the truck. But, before the Christmas presents can be packed up in plastic containers they need to be bought. Not all of them, our tree is overflowing already, but the little odds & ends that I haven't gotten to yet. For a moment I thought about going out today, but then came to my senses and thought better of it. Tomorrow's Monday, and the final shopping can wait until then. Or Wednesday. But hopefully tomorrow because Wednesday is the day before we leave, so that's cutting it close, even by my standards.

But tomorrow we have to be at the Dr.'s at 9:15am for Zach's 4 month Jab Him In The Leg as Many Times As We Can So We Can Make Him Scream And Be Miserable Appointment* Well Baby Exam. After which I can't even nurse him to calm him down for fear he'll spit up the recently administered Jammed Down His Throat Rotavirus Vaccine. But, on a good (?) note, he'll get one less Jab in the Leg tomorrow due to the recent recall of the Hib Vaccine. Now I'll just have to worry about him contracting Meningitis. Apparently it's not a big worry because ONLY "about 20,000 US children a year were seriously harmed and about 1,000 died form Hib" before the vaccine was widely administered. Huh? Excuse me? ONLY 20,000? ONLY 1,000 DIED? That's a HELL of a lot of children in my book. I suppose they must not have been important children, so their deaths didn't matter as much? WTF?

So, as I was saying. We have to leave the house by 8:45 tomorrow morning to make it to the Docs in time for the appointment. I think I can get the boys out the door by 8:00 to head to Walmart to pick up More Crap to Fit In The Back Of The Truck, also known as our final Site to Store packages (Spongebob Cups & Thomas Hideaway have arrived...what would I have done without them?). I also want to make a trip to Toys R'Us to get Dylan the much coveted Thomas and the Jet Engine battery operated train. It's certainly something he COULD live without, but it would be nice to go a day without hearing "I Need the Jet Engine." The quiet would be short lived because we'd probably just start hearing a lot of "It's broken. It needs batties."

Which brings me to another dilemma I'm having. I can't decide if it would be a good idea or a bad idea to pack up some of Dylan's trains & tracks so that all the boys could play with them. I'm torn because either way, it will be an extreme. Either REALLY good because the boys will enjoy it and it might keep them entertained inside while it rains outside, and ANYTHING that can keep an almost 3 year old and two almost 2 year olds entertained is good in my book. But it could be REALLY bad because I can just picture the tears and fighting that could ensue with three little boys trying to play trains together. Oh, and the tears of which I speak are Dylan's. He's way OCD about his train tracks and he DOES NOT like it when anyone but him messes them up. I'm currently leaning toward taking them, because they can always be taken away if things get out of hand. Now that adds one more thing I have to pack in the truck. See how difficult I make things for myself?

I also have to remember to bring my pump and some bottles for Zach. That would seem like a given, except, for some reason, that's the stuff I ALWAYS forget. My sis, bro-in-law and DJ and I are going out to dinner...without kids!...so I need to make sure the chubby little boy I birthed 4 months ago tomorrow has food to eat. Seems like a good idea to me. That's the mommy in me. I'm going to TRY to remember to bring the devices that will keep my infant child fed and happy. I should win some type of award. Or a visit from Child Protective Services.

We also have to have room in the truck for our ginormous dog, aka Tahoe, who has to be dropped at the Doggie Hotel on the way out of town. He'll be enjoying a week of pampering and humping all the other dogs. Merry Kissmas, Tahoe. That's my gift to you. Which brings back memories of a Kissmas not long ago when he was a puppy and not yet "clipped". Oh My, did he have his way with my Aunt & Uncle's Golden Retriever. It was embarassing and quite funny. Nothing says Kissmas like some boy on boy doggie action.

I'm also a little bit nervous about what we have to bring BACK from our Kissmas Trip. Regardless of the presents the boys will be getting from the rest of the family, there's the secretive gift that DJ has planned for Dylan. He's planning on purchasing it up there and is worried that people might be put off by it. It's apparently that big and extravagant. I have NO IDEA what he's planning and I'm a wee bit worried. It's dangerous, DANGEROUS I say, when he has money burning a hole in his pocket. Now you're all curious too, aren't ya?

Well, it's now 11:45 and I've successfully killed an hour. That's some mad time killing skillz right there. It's like I'm back in college and I'm putting off studying or writing a paper. I suppose I should take a shower now. That will kill some more time before the real work begins.

*This post was updated b/c I couldn't figure out how to do the strikethrough earlier, but then I looked at my "Blog Buddy" and, in true kindred spirit fashion, she has the EXACT thing I was looking for on her blog. WEEEIIIRRRDDDD!

December 15, 2007

Due to Popular Demand...

Okay, so really just my sister. But, this IS a really good, easy recipe, so I thought I would bestow it upon you before Friday's Recipe. Once again, lucky you.

These are the cookies that one of my MOMs friends made that I mentioned in this post. They've won over DJ big time and everyone who ate them at my in-laws yesterday liked them as well. My sis made them today, and as she shared in one of her comments, she has some tips for you. Her 2 year old asked for seconds, so that has to count for something as well!

Missouri Cookies:

2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
4 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (Chunky or Smooth)
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oatmeal

Combine sugar, milk, cocoa & butter in a large pot & bring to a rolling boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute then turn heat to low. Add vanilla & peanut butter and stir until melted. Add oatmeal and mix well. Drop on wax paper using 1 oz. scoop (I used a Tablespoon). Yields 4 Dozen cookies.

**Tips: Allow to cool completely before you dig into them. The texture is weird before the Oats cook completely.
As my sister mentioned: "I used my connections to get next Friday's cookie recipe and I have some advice you'll want ahead of time: 1) 3T of cocoa can be substituted using a 1 oz. square of baking chocolate. 2) You'll want to check that you actually HAVE 3 cups of oatmeal before starting. Having two and removing 1/3 of your "batter" sucks. 3) After all this, you'll have to refrigerate the cookies because they'll be really soft. Don't get caught in the same quaqmire. Buy cocoa and quick oats ahead of time!"
Now, you don't need too refrigerate the cookies if you make the cookies according to the directions above. She had to because she didn't remove enough batter for her reduced amount of Oats. Got it? Good.

Now, get to cooking, & Enjoy!

Merry Kissmas

I've been thinking a lot this year about my feelings and thoughts on Christmas. As many of you know, I've developed a very "Scroogey" view on traditional Christmas. Really, about the whole "Christ" part of it. I'm not arguing that a little baby wasn't born in a manger on Dec. 25. Mary & Joseph very well may have had the unfortunate luck of not being able to find a hotel room on the night she had to push a baby out of her "pachina." (For those of you who are gasping about my referencing The Virgin Mary's "pachina" and the act of her pushing anything out of it, did you really think he was delivered by miraculous birth as well?) Said baby may very well have grown to be a wonderful human being who did many wonderful things and died by being hung on a cross. Anyway, I just find myself HIGHLY doubting the whole, "Miraculous Conception" thing, Son of God, God himself, Resurrection, etc. etc. Many of you may be hyperventilating right now. Just stop. Breathe deep. It'll be okay.

(Begin Rant) I've really been conflicted about my beliefs for a long time. Not conflicted "IN" my beliefs, but "ABOUT" my beliefs. I was raised Catholic. I was baptised and went through Communion and dutifully went to Confession (a time or two?) when I was little. Then, suddenly, it hit me. I didn't really BELIEVE any of the stuff I was being told. I certainly didn't AGREE with it. But, it seemed that EVERYONE else did. I was uncomfortable for a long time even telling people that I don't believe in God in the traditional "God" sense. I don't buy into the whole "pearly gates" in "Heaven", or the belief that things happen because of "God's Will." I'm a strong believer in biology, evolution, and people's ability to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their own actions, and the fact that sometimes shit happens. Finding "God" (a la Paris Hilton, (other) prisoners, etc) has proved to be a very convenient way for people to theoretically clean up their images, and it drives me crazy. And don't even get me STARTED on the whole Noah's Ark thing. Maybe I'll discuss all that another time. Lucky you. (End Rant)

DJ has always given me a hard time about the fact that I love Christmas, given the fact that I don't believe in it in the traditional sense. So, I've decided to reclaim Christmas for myself. It's not going to be "Christ"mas in my house anymore. It's going to be "Kiss"mas. That's what Dylan calls it and I think it sums it up perfectly. Kissmas is about family and showing them how much we love and appreciate them. It's about being together, laughing, celebrating and loving. It's about bestowing our children with ridiculous presents just so we can watch the excitement and glee bubble out of them. It's about being human and accepting other people for who they are. It's about letting other people believe what they want to believe and not judging them for it. It's about being almost 3 and LOVING all the presents ("Is that my present?" is uttered daily) and being TERRIFIED of Santa. It's about putting goofy looking lights outside my house because my son gets excited when he sees them.

So, there you go. Kissmas. I like the sound of it. I like the idea of it.

Merry Kissmas

P.S. This post was inspired by this post.

December 14, 2007

TGIF!

A few random thoughts before I go to Blogless World for the rest of the day. Don't be sad. I'll be back tomorrow.

1) Okay, so I TOTALLY rocked my "Christmas" gift to DJ. He walked in and I directed him back outside by telling him this whole story about how something had happened to the truck today, but that our neighbors were totally taking responsibility for it and that I thought their son was probably grounded for, like, the rest of his life. This freaked him out, because the truck is BRAND NEW and has barely been driven because it's been sitting in our driveway, and THAT'S where it got broke. Funny. Mean? Whatever.

Anyway, he walked outside all nervous. But it was dark, so he had to get really close to the truck before he noticed the lining. Needless to say he was happy about it. And I'm pretty damn proud of myself. Oh, and I don't feel bad about tricking him because he does it to me all the time. Paybacks a Bitch. Must be good friends with Karma.

2) See recipes below. We've also discovered our new favorite cookie, thanks to someone at the cookie exchange...I have no idea who, though! Anyway, you'll have to wait until next Friday for that recipe because I'm not going to type it out now. But they're SO GOOD. So get ready. DJ says that whoever made them is a woman after his own heart. Ha. He hated my cookies, so what does that say?

3) Zach slept through the night last night! It would have been totally awesome, but Dylan came into our room at 3:30 SOPPING wet, so I had to get up to change him and his pajamas. I didn't change the sheets, thought, just covered up the wet spot and put him back to sleep in another area. Is that bad parenting? Whatever. ZACH. SLEPT. THROUGH. THE. NIGHT. And, I had to wake him up this morning to feed him! He's such a good baby.

4) I want to comment on the whole Clemens/Pettitte steroid thing, but I'm still too disappointed to even think about it. Hopefully it ain't so, that's what I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for. Andy- I LOVE YOU! Please, Please, Please, Please, Please don't turn out to be such an idiot. Who next, Derek Jeter? Bernie Williams? Okay, so BW doesn't even count anymore, but he's still my favorite Yankee of all time, so I had to give him a shout out! Love you Bern! Kisses! Miss you! You rock! Bernie Williams, I heart you! Do you think he googles himself? Maybe he'll end up here...

Friday's Recipe Potluck-12/14/07

A few recipes to make a festive Friday night...dinner? BAhhh...who needs it? There are enough calories & fat included in these to make up for missing dinner. Plus, I guarantee you won't be able to stop eating the glop long enough to eat anything else. Oh, and I just realized that ALL of the food groups are (loosely) represented in the recipes below.

To start


Coconut Rum Mojito


I've loved the Mojito ever since my honeymoon to the place the world forgot, also known as Los Roques. Yummy. Didn't think it could get much better until I discovered it with Coconut Rum. Oh, Lord, who's going to have to drive home, cause it sure won't be me!?


3 cups fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup sugar (to taste)
8 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
24 ounces Coconut Rum (Malibu or similar)

Garnish
4 imes, cut into thin slices
Club soda

In a pitcher, add the mint, sugar, and lime juice and muddle with a wooden spoon to crush the mint leaves.

Stir in the rum, making sure the sugar has dissolved, then add 4 cups of ice.

Top each tall glass with club soda and garnish with lime slices and make sure some mint goes into each cocktail.

Next:

Glop



My friends and I LIVED on Glop in High School. So Good. Even my co-workers at my old snooty hotel job loved this stuff. And it was our JOB to sell people on expensive, hoity-toity food.


1 Block Cream Cheese
1 Can No Beans Chili (I don't know why No beans, I'm sure that would be good too)
1/2 - 3/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Spread Cream Cheese on bottom of pie round, or similar sized baking dish.
Spread Chili on top of Cream Cheese
Top with Cheddar Cheese & Microwave or Bake until heated through (the hotter the better).

Serve with Tortilla chips & more Mojitos.

Finally:


Paula Deen's White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies


I made these for my MOMS Club Cookie Exchange. They were yummy, and I learned a few tricks of the trade along the way to make them fool proof. See *** items below for my tricks. If you're not opposed to fruit in dessert (that was DJ's complaint), these are sure to please!


1 stick butter, softened*
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup candied cherries**
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, with electric mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Set aside.

Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add milk to the butter mixture and then add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Batter should be stiff.
In another bowl, combine nuts, cherries, and white chocolate. Then add to batter, stirring only to blend. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on wire rack.


*The colder the butter, the better the final product. So, leave the butter out so it's not rock hard, but don't put it in the microwave. Your cookies will flatten out if the butter is too warm. I'd even recommend putting the dough in the fridge in between baking & ALWAYS use COLD cookie sheets.

**The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup candied cherries. I personally don't feel that's enough, so I do 1 cup & cut them in half. That way, you're pretty much guaranteed a cherry in every bite, plus they're that much prettier.



Enjoy!



BTW, I totally stole the idea for the "potluck" from her. Who needs to have original thoughts when you're surrounded by creative people?!

December 13, 2007

I Think I Pulled One Over On My Husband

The "Hardest Person to Buy For" has been conquered. I think. I'm fairly confident that he doesn't know what I did today. I had NO IDEA what to do for him for Christmas. We don't really get each other presents, but I like the idea of getting him something. Something useful, practical, or golf related. I was going to get him an IPod Shuffle, but he went ahead and bought himself one, so there went that idea.

Then it occurred to me. We bought a new truck for him to use for work and he's been wanting to have the bed spray lined. But, logistically it hasn't worked out so he hasn't even been able to USE the truck. It's been sitting, neglected and unloved, in our driveway for three weeks. The dog has spent the most time of anyone in it (we use it as his "timeout" holding area).

So, I enlisted the help of DJ's best friend "Uncle" or "Fireman" Tony, depending on who you talk to. He helped me get the truck and the two boys to and from the spray-on place, which happens to be owned by one of my MOMS Club friends. So, now our nice, new truck has a nice, new spray on bed liner. And the best part is, DJ has no idea! I think I'm going to tell him something happened to his truck today to get him to go out and look at it. That is if he doesn't notice it himself when he comes home. It'll be dark, so I figure it's a 50/50 chance. I'm sure Mr. TalkiePants Dylan will spoil the surprise.

I realize that this is a very boring post for you all, but I'm proud of myself and I have nothing else to write about. Except for the INSANE amount of dishes that have piled up in my sink. I can't bring myself to go in there and clean them up, and writing this ridiculous post sounded like much more fun! Plus, now I'll have to write a Follow-up post because I'm sure you're all DYING to know his reaction.

December 12, 2007

Don't Let Your Children Suck on the Toilet

Seems logical right? Well...in case you don't agree and you own this potty training toilet, you might be exposing them to excessive levels of lead. Again.

Also, this stroller has been recalled.

And, this baby feeding seat. The same one GP has, so we'll have to check it out and make sure it doesn't propel any of the children onto the floor.

Oh, and in case you're having trouble keeping up, 2 of the 3 mentioned on this page, along with the Thomas Trains, are all manufactured by RC2 Corp. Hmmm....I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Zach insisted on being fed, so the cookies are being postponed for the moment (and yes, I'm typing with one hand).

Success!

Got my little out of the house errands done and I didn't even forget anything! Dylan found a few things he "needed" so I went ahead and bought them and then hid them in the back of the car. I think he's already forgotten about them, so they can reappear for Christmas. Stocked up on crap for DJ's stocking at Harbor Freight...I LOVE that place. Especially now that they've expanded and moved to the "nicer" part of town.

Toys R'Us actually went off without a hitch. We avoided the Thomas aisle, got Sebastian's present and only walked out w/one extra item, a Shrek flashlight, which combines two of Dylan's newest obsessions. So, score! I almost forgot Penney's but remembered in the nick of time. Dylan cried the whole time because I was evil and actually made him WALK instead of taking the stroller. I was about ready to offer him for sale to the highest bidder, but figured that wasn't very Christmasy of me. So, he remains a member of the family.

WalMart & Site to Store were exceptionally easy...who knew?! They've totally got it figured out though and make you walk through the ENTIRE store to get your stuff. That ended up with my passing through the kid section and buying a bunch of little stuff for Zach for Christmas. Along with socks. I can't have enough socks for the boys. I'm very particular how they fit and they absolutely have to match whatever they happen to be wearing. In case you're wondering, Zach fits into Faded Glory brand size 6-18month socks, and yes, he's not even 4 months yet. And, apparently their heads are as ginormous as their feet, because Zach's "My First Christmas" Santa Hat doesn't fit him and the new 3T sweater I got for Dylan won't even fit over his noggin.

So, that completes this totally random post. Good afternoon, good evening and good night.

Christmas Things About Me You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know

Once again, I got one of those "answer these questions and then send it to everyone you know" emails. Instead of doing that, I'll make all a-y'all read it. You can thank me later. This also works because I don't have an interesting thought in my head. All that's rolling around up there is all the stupid stuff I have to get done today, which I'm pretty sure you don't want to hear about...like go to WalMart to pick up my Site To Store packages, Penney's to pick up Zach's pictures, Harbor Freight to look for ANYTHING to get DJ and batteries (hopefully rechargeable), bake 6 DOZEN cookies for my cookie exchange tonight, go go Toys R'US for something for my 7 month old Nephew (50% off Fisher Price stuff today), Fold DJ's laundry that I washed this weekend (yes, three days ago), do more laundry for the boys and TRY to get it put away. Gee, seems like I just told you everything anyway.

Now, to the REALLY interesting stuff!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper- why would I make things easy for myself?
2. Real tree or artificial? REAL - as I've said before, You'll have to kill me before I allow my children to wake up Christmas morning with a fake tree.
3. When do you put up the tree? As soon as I can convince my husband
4. When do you take the tree down? When it becomes a serious fire hazard
5. Do you like eggnog? Absolutely NOT
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably my dollhouse...which is sadly in a box in my garage
7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Absolutely NOT
8. Hardest person to buy for? DJ- he always just buys whatever he wants, so there's never anything good to get him.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Dylan - Thomas or Cars and we're good to go.
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? One of those "Jesus fish" bracelets - regardless of the fact that I had a "Darwin" thingy on my car at the time...
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas or Elf - Depends on my mood
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? It depends- First time I see something I HAVE to get for someone
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Strata
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear...and a lot of them!
17. Favorite Christmas song? Hmmm...Jingle Bells right now b/c Dylan has started singing it and it's freakin adorable
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Both-we alternate years between staying in town w/ the in laws and traveling to see my family.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? It might take me a minute, but I can do it.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Felt Snowman from Pottery Barn Kids
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One Christmas Eve, the rest in the morning
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Living in Southern CA and having absolutely NO chance of EVER having a white Christmas...

Merry Christmas!

December 10, 2007

A Blog Milestone

I got my first link! My "Blog Buddy" featured my Strata in her post today. Ha! See, some people outside my family really DO read this!

Obligatory Christmas Tree Photos

Cute enough
(notice the kid friendly ornaments?)


Shortly after this Zach ended up on his face
and our picture taking session was over,
before it really had a change to begin.
He's fine, no need to worry.

One's Growing Up, One's Regressing

As I mentioned in passing earlier, Zach has graduated to sleeping in his own room. THE. WHOLE. NIGHT. I even get my cold ass out of bed and head over to his room to feed him when he wakes up. My baby's growing up and I'm not happy about it. But, I think it helps him to sleep better and I'm definitely sleeping better because I don't hear his (MANY) little grunts and groans throughout the night.


Last night, right after we turned the T.V. off (we didn't even watch The Amazing Race, so don't tell me who went home) we heard him making the usual noises. Because I'm still getting used to him being in his own room, and because I'm a crazy paranoid freak (see above referenced post) I got up to check on him. I opened my bedroom door and was met with this:

WTF? I thought we were SO beyond this phase. This is what we worked so hard to overcome right after Zach was born. Leaving his room and sleeping with the dog was Dylan's ONE, count it ONE, adverse reaction to the new addition. It took some persistance and A LOT of patience, but we got past it and he got back to sleeping in his own bed. Now, almost 4 months later we're back to it.
So, instead of going to bed at night and falling asleep, I'm sure I'll lie awake wondering if he's made his way out to the dog bed. And I'll have to get up to check, because GOD FORBID the dog roll over and crush him, or something else highly unlikely but nonetheless terrifying.
And now, your moment of Zen:

December 9, 2007

I Wasn't This Crazy Before I Became A Mother

I used to not be afraid of anything. Well, almost anything. There were the usual fears of rabid dogs and strangers offering candy, which was well justified. (I'll tell you that story another time.) But for the most part, nothing caused the sort of fear that made my heart beat fast, my throat close up and a vague sense of nausea sit at the bottom of my stomach. I never had an overwhelming urge to get out of bed on a chilly winter night to make sure that things around the house were okay.

Then, I became a mother. Suddenly the world held dangers that I had never before realized. Around every turn, out every door, beside every stranger there is some horror about to befall us. I constantly check that my doors are locked, both to keep others out and to ensure Dylan stays in. Windows are closed and locked at night, regardless of the warm summer breeze, because, GOOD GOD, someone could sneak in the window and steal my baby. The boys are strapped snugly into their car seats because car rides have become the number one danger. Plane trips, which used to hold so much excitment, now instill a fear in me that never existed before. Not because I'm worried about terrorists, but because PLANES CRASH, and who's to say that the one I'm on with my children won't? Car doors are locked because of the fear of a carjacking. Banks are off limits because we might be involved in a bank robbery (we have a serial bank robber running amok in our area right now).

I've woken up at night before, out of bed and screaming because of a dream that masked men had come into my bedroom. Last night, I dreamed that Dylan's shirt had gotten caught in an escalator and he got sucked into it right before my eyes. I woke up with that now familiar rapid heart beat and sick feeling. I FORCED myself to stay in bed, because I KNEW there was no way an evil escalator had snuck into his room and gobbled him up. He was FINE. There was no need to check on him. Within about 10 minutes he'd made his nightly trip into our bed, so I pulled him close, just to reassure myself that he was there and whole. As soon as I heard Zach start to stir on the monitor (YES! He sleeps in his own room now!) I got up and brought him back to our room. I needed them with me, to reassure me, their crazy, insane mother, that everything was fine.

I've been shaking my head and pulling my hair out over the "insane" fears that Dylan has developed. Santa is currently at the top of the list, but the vacuum and any type of power tool are a close second. I keep wondering how long these "irrational" fears will last. Will he grow up terrified every time a drill is used? Will he be 8 and still run away in terror every December when we run into Santa at the Mall? No. He's only 2 1/2 and as far as he's concerned, the vacuum is just as likely to suck him up as it is the dog hair on the floor. Santa is a big, imposing figure in a bright red suit with a hidden face. Can't really blame the kid for being wary of him.

He'll grow out of his fears and dive into the ocean, as I did as a child, without any worry about drowning. He'll hop into a car with his friends one day and won't even think twice that they'll get into a car accident. He'll grow up to use power tools and won't be consumed with fear that the saw will cut off an appendage.

I realize that it's my job to worry about all of that. To make sure that the lifeguard at the beach is close by and that the surf isn't too high. To make sure that seatbelts are worn, safety glasses are donned and bike helmets are snug. That's the job of being a parent. To take on the fears that your children are too innocent to know on their own. To keep them aware of the dangers, but not consumed by them. To get up in the middle of the night to make sure they're okay. To be on guard for potential dangers, without instilling in your children a fear of the outside world.

So, I accept my temporary insanity. I won't make any apologies for it. I'll allow my children to run in open fields of wildflowers without telling them that a rabid dog MIGHT, JUST MIGHT, run out of the forest and attack them. But I'll be there with a big, rabid dog beating stick tucked securely away, within easy reach.

Hey, you never know. Better to be prepared than caught off guard, right?

December 8, 2007

I'm Not as Mature as I'd Hoped

Gosh...I really thought I'd made progress. I was so proud of myself for being practical and thrifty (two things I am most often NOT). I had decided, based on the fact that we will be out of town for Christmas, that we did not need to get a Christmas tree this year. Why spend the money on one and invest the time in lighting and decorating it when we won't even be here for Christmas day? Makes sense, right?

Then, I got up this morning and decided that I HAD TO HAVE A CHRISTMAS TREE. HAD. TO. DJ protested. Dylan even said he didn't want one (?). But I'd made up my mind. I needed to have a beautiful, (white) lighted tree to gaze at in the morning and at night. I resorted to bribing Dylan. I told him I'd give him a Cherry Cordial Hershey Kiss (oh- run out right now to buy them...they're SO good) if he'd tell DJ that he wanted a Christmas tree. He'll do anything for Chocolate (or any dessert for that matter) so he happily ran outside and yelled "I need a Christmas tree Dad." DJ shot me a dirty look, argued about the practicality of it all and then gave in because he knew I wasn't going to give it up and sometimes it's just easier to let me have my way, regardless of how much sense it makes, than to try to continue to keep arguing with me and pissing me off. Again, the Christmas spirit is alive and well in our house.

So, Dylan and I took the truck and drove to OSH to buy our tree. Just a little one. It's "only" about 6 feet tall. It only cost $20.99. How can you beat that? Now I get my God-Damned Christmas Cheer and DJ gets a wife who's not holding a grudge against him. See? Everyone wins.

I'll post the obligatory "adorable kids in front of the tree" photos when we actually get the damn thing up and decorated. I'm sure there will be much cursing and throwing of things (as there is every year) in the meantime.

December 7, 2007

Friday Recipe -12/7/07

This is, quite possibly, my FAVORITE thing to eat. EVER. I limit myself to eating it once a year (I don't want to know how much fat or how many calories a serving contains), so it's kind of taken on this rock star status for me. I. LOVE. IT. It's the ultimate comfort food for me. It is our traditional Christmas morning brunch item, which I'm sure, is why it's such a big deal to me. So long as I live, I will have Sausage Strata EVERY Christmas morning. And this version of it, too. There will be no messing with the recipe. Feel free to experiment on your own time, but don't mess with MY Strata. It could get ugly, Christmas or not.



Sausage Strata



The Night Before:



8 Slices of White Bread

2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 1/2 lbs. Browned Breakfast Sausage (not Maple Syrup flavored), cut up

4 eggs

2 1/2 Cups Milk

3/4 tsp. dry Mustard



Cut the bread into cubes and place it at the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese and then sausage.

Mix milk , eggs & mustard. Pour evenly over bread, cheese & sausage. Cover & refrigerate overnight.



In The Morning:



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Mix 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup & 1/2 Cup of Milk. Pour over casserole & bake for 1 1/2 hours or until hot & bubbly.



Serve with Mimosas & enjoy!



**I'm sure if you wanted to use low fat cheese & reduced fat cream of mushroom soup you could. It would certainly not be as good (in my opinion). The only concession I've ever made is to use turkey sausage instead of pork sausage. That's Yummy. MMMMMM....I CAN'T WAIT! Only 17 days to go!

December 6, 2007

I'm an IDIOT

I was SO proud of myself earlier that I'd gotten my shit together and actually PLANNED ahead and put a roast in the crock pot. YUMMY...warm roast w/gravy and potatoes on the rainy night we're supposed to have...what could be better? We could all sit by the fire and eat our scrumptious slow cooked roast while listening to Christmas music and gazing into each others eyes*. All of this would have been possible HAD I REMEMBERED TO PLUG IN THE CROCKPOT. So now, I hope my roast has enough time to cook, or I'm going to have to come up with something else to make for dinner. It's hard enough for me to make ONE dinner a day, let alone two.

*None of this would EVER actually happen, save for the eating of the roast.

Blogging

So, as you all know, I'm new to this whole "Blogging" thing. Clearly I just started my own blog, but I'm also new to reading other people's blogs. Little did I know that there was such a vast expanse of Internet world related to blogs. I've spent a lot of time (when I'm not dedicated to an October Road marathon-er, um, I mean reading to blind children) wading through A LOT of blogs. Some funny, some sad, some really well written, some not so much. There are some I read every day and some I check in on occassionally. There are some that are especially popular and are like the "Rock Stars of Blogs", at least as I'm concerned. Like, if I met these women I'd scream and jump around and cry and throw my panties at them. Not really, with the panties, but you get the idea. Most of the blogs I read are related to what I like to call "Mommydom." They're mothers who write a lot about their children (like me) but also tackle the really serious subjects as well. Or, at least some of them are serious. Anyway, they're ALL imprortant, just some more so than others.

SO, the point of all this is that I want you all to check out THIS BLOG. She is freaking hilarious, and for those of you not interested in the "Mommy Blog" thing (except when it's me writing it) I promise that you will think she is funny. I PROMISE. I especially love her because she introduced me to this. (Go look now. Seriously. It's well worth it) There are a few people who I know will find that as hysterical as I do, and a few others who will shake their heads and watch about 30 seconds of episode 1. You know who you are. I know who you are, but I will not call you out here.

I graciously accept your "Thank You's" for introducing you to the Planet of Gay Unicorns (if Wha? Is your response to that, then CLICK HERE NOW, seriously people, can you not follow directions?!).

Enjoy your evening. It's going to rain here, so I'm going to hunker (?) down and watch some good, old fashioned T.V. on my computer...or, at least catch up on Planet Unicorn.

December 5, 2007

Merry Elfin' Christmas

This is too funny!

Go watch it and then tell me you didn't pee your pants...just a little bit!

Merry Elfin' Christmas, from my family to yours!

P.S. The Dylan one cracks me up the most.

Killer Waves (Not Killer Santas)

So we've had insane temperatures lately. It was 80 here yesterday and it's 77 today. Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be like 20 degrees lower, so it will seem a bit more Christmas-ey AND it's even supposed to rain. That's right, I said rain. We'll see if it actually happens, but that's what they're saying.

Anyway, the storm that's coming has given us HUGE surf the past few days. Like 15 - 20 foot waves. It's pretty insane and I heard it was supposed to be even higher last night into this morning. So, before we went to the Mall to win a tree, we went to the Guadalupe Dunes to take a closer look. I was somewhat disappointed becasue the waves weren't as big as I thought they'd be but it was still pretty cool. Dylan liked to see them and I got some great pictures. Maybe if Santa were out there on a surfboard, Dylan would have thought he wasn't as scary.





Santa...The AXE MURDERER

Or so you would think by Dylan's reaction:



This was all brought on by the SHEER AUDACITY of Santa who went out of his way to come upstairs at the mall to say hello to our group of children. Of course, we arrived late, and as we rounded the corner I made the mistake of saying "Look Dylan, it's Santa." At that, he looked up, saw him, screamed in terror and ran away. And with THAT Santa left. We DROVE SANTA AWAY. OMG...WE. DROVE. SANTA. AWAY. I of course grabbed my camera to document the experience, since apparently these are the only Santa Related photos I'm going to get this year.


This picture was taken 30 minutes later. He'd calmed down considerably until I asked him if he wanted to go downstairs and LOOK at Santa. Clearly, he did not.

On another note, notice the beautifully decorated trees in the background? WELL, we have invested a whopping 10 whole dollars into winning one of those trees. It's a raffle, and Dylan and I had VERY different ideas about which ones we wanted to win. So, keep your fingers crossed that we win one. I'm pulling for the Dream Dinners tree, and Dylan has his tickets spread out between the 5 different trees that had toy tractors beneath them. If you win the tree, you win all the presents beneath it. How awesome is that? SO PEOPLE- your assignment is to keep your fingers crossed until Saturday that we win a tree. Okay? I really don't think that's too much to ask.

And remember to watch out for Santa...you never know when he might sneak up behind you and hack you into little pieces. Dylan can tell you all about it if you want.

December 3, 2007

Christmas Lights

Finally, the update you've all been waiting for. Pictures of my Chritmas light endeavor.

Here it is MY House:




Well, not so much. That's actually the house across the street. They usually go ALL out w/lights on the roof and everything, but this year they didn't. Bummer, cause it's usually quite a Griswoldesque house and Dylan would love it.

Here are the people next door:


And the OTHER people across the street.


(That's two houses)

And now, finally, my house:

That makes me think, EH. Not so much exciting. But, festive, I suppose. Notice the jealousy inducing awesomeness of the snowflake lights? Up there. See them? Right there? On the bottom left side of the picture? Yup...that's them. I definitely think that ALL my neighbors are jealous of them. In fact, I might not be getting my yearly delivery of Rum Balls. Now THAT would really ruin Christmas for me.

Two Things I Heart (& So Should You)

Since walking away from my computer 20 minutes ago I've come across two things that have made me smile. They're simple things. Little things. Two things that make this crazy world in which we live a better place. Two things that...

Two things that someone should have thought of YEARS ago.

1) A Plastic Package Opener. The Zibra Open It! *

It's AWESOME! BEST. THING. EVER. You-yeah, you. You, there, reading this. YOU need this. You don't even know it, but you NEED it. Especially with Christmas coming. Apparently it will even end your "Wrap Rage." How awesome is that? Did you even know you had wrap rage? Probably not. But next time you're trying to open a pesky plastic package with out this, you will be reminded. It even has a little knife** and a tiny little screwdriver built right in. We've used all the functions and we've only had it for a few days. Ironically, it comes packaged in just the stuff that you need the tool to open. Not so sure about that, but with Christmas/Chanukah/My Birthday coming you might want to invest in this handy little device.
*Total death & dismemberment hazard for little ones, so keep it out of their reach.
** Until you are 100% sure where the knife part will "pop" out...don't, I REPEAT - DO NOT -push the button. (MOTHER F.U.C.K.E.R. Anyone?)

2) Costco's Frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts are now...wait for it...INDIVIDUALLY wrapped. I have NO IDEA why I'm so excited about that, but I am. Just wanted to let you know, in case you weren't aware already.

So, to recap:

I HEART the Zibra Open It! & the individually wrapped chicken breasts at Costco and so should you.

Twas Three Weeks Before Christmas

Went shopping today. You'd think, given the title of this post, that I would have at least been a BIT productive with the Christmas Shopping, but, uh, no. I was a complete and total Christams present failure. I did get some adorable clothes for Dylan, which, technically, could be Christmas presents, but given my nature, I KNOW he will have worn all of them several times before The Big Day arrives. I looked at something (not to be mentioned here in case DJ checks up on me and reads about it) Christmas presenty while I was at Target, but as I pondered whether or not to buy it, the lights went out. OUT. COMPLETELY BLACK. IN TARGET. The back up lights didn't turn on for a good 15 seconds. Dylan could be heard saying "It's DARK" "It's Nighttime" and various Target employees could be heard discussing where to find flashlights and HOW, in the COMPLETE DARKNESS they were going to get to them without killing themselves. I wasn't worried, though. I know that store like the back of my hand. If they still had that grocery store game, the one where you have to run through the store with your cart and get a bunch of stuff while being timed (what was that called? I can't remember) I would totally KICK ASS at that game, in Target, with the LIGHTS OFF. Anyways, I figured that was a sign from the universe to NOT make that purchase, so we didn't. At check out, we did get a $3.00 coupon for the "trouble" that had been caused by the black out. SCORE!


Then we were off to Costco. Good God...I ALWAYS forget that I should NOT, under ANY circumstances, go there when I'm hungry. Especially during the Holidays. The Freezer section was JAM PACKED with various packages of assorted appetizer goodness. I had to restrain myself and only ended up walking out with boxes of Jalapeno Poppers & Mozzarella Sticks. Classy is how we do it. But they were SO Good. I also stocked up on the Artichoke/Spinach/Cheese things that are in the refrigerator case. It's the sole green thing that Dylan will eat. He LOVES them. He even ate them before he hate his Mozzarella Sticks. I KNOW! I wouldn't have believed it either, if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Oh, and I got some Bailey's...DJ is still bitter that my 90ish year old Grandmother took his Bailey's away from him when we were playing Bingo for prizes a few years back. Yes, I did say that we were playing Bingo for PRIZES AND that my almost 90 year old (at the time) Grandmother STOLE the Bailey's AWAY from my husband AND that he was MAD about it! If you'd like to be added to our invitee list for Christmas, just let me know. The more the merrier is what I say! I'm hoping the cops will be called this year. With 4 children under the age of 3 together Christmas morning, things might get a little ugly. I'll be sure to take video for those of you who won't be there with us.

I took my Christmas card pictures last night. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Dylan KIND OF cooperated. At least as much as any 2 1/2 year old can be expected to cooperate. Zach was being a turd and refused to smile. This from the kid who will smile at just about anything, anytime. I did get him to smile a few times, but I never managed to get a good picture of it. Oh well. A few outtakes are below...hopefully they won't ruin the surprise for those of you who will be getting the card in the mail.







Smile? Oh...I'll SMILE ALL RIGHT...



Sneezing



Mom...This is SO LAME


Finally! Zach smiles. Of course Dylan is 1/2 Face Boy & they're completely out of center.


Notice DJ in the background of the picture? Being OH SO HELPFUL?! In his defense we had just started watching "Ocean's 13" when I decided to take this on. He kept yelling at us to be quiet. Our home is OVERFLOWING with Christmas Cheer. Still want to be added to the invitee list?

The children are nestled all snug in their beds...OH WAIT...no they're not. Zach is in the Magic Swing and Dylan is in his room with his door shut...definitely NOT napping...wrapping presents, maybe? No, too young. Sneaking Candy? No, that was the other day and I moved the candy out of his reach. Peeing on the bed? NO, THAT was this morning (in my room, but on DJ's side-HA!) and I'm still not sure how it happened. Playing trains? No...don't hear the necessary train playing noises. Watching TV? No, it's turned off. That only leaves us with one other possibility. Which means, much to my chagrin, that I'm off to change yet another diaper. When do boys get sick of sitting in their poop? Ever? Never? By the time they're 5? SOON, I hope!

Tonight, after the sun goes down (for reasons I'm not going to go into here-Duh, it's kind of obvious) I'll take pictures of the Christmas lights. I know you've all been waiting for them. I did NOT win the award for most festive house. I think every person surrounding my house beat me. But whatever...I have the snowflake lights that will apparently make everyone else jealous. And that's what counts.

I leave you with my new favorite thing...Zach has started sucking his thumb. It's kind of accidental. Like, he doesn't KNOW to put his thumb in his mouth, but he's pleasantly surprised when it makes it's way there. It's SO FREAKING CUTE I can't even stand it. I have already checked out those plastic thumb guards, just to prepare for what I might need in the future. I'm a little worried he might poke his eye out, but so long as I don't let him suck his thumb with a fork in his hand, I think he'll be okay. (That was for your benefit, "Quart"!)



December 2, 2007

The Countdown Begins...

Okay, people. I know you're excited! It's my BIRTHDAY MONTH! WHOO! Only 27 more days until I turn a whopping 29 years old. Let the countdown begin.

December 1, 2007

Things About Me You Didn't Know You Wanted to Know

GP just sent a version of this out in email form, and since I've made a commitment not to send emails out that require action on the receiving end, I thought I'd take part in it here. You just might learn something interesting about me!

So, here goes:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1) Ticket Office of the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera--Musical Theatre!
2) Tasting Room of Santa Barbara Winery (Oh, trouble!)
3) Reception desk at Dr. Marvin Rye's Optometry Office
4) Concierge & planning fabulous weddings & events at a 4 Star Resort in Santa Barbara (Alas, due to confidentiality I can't tell you anything about them here...but OH! the stories, people!)

Four movies I would watch over and over:
1) Shakespeare in Love
2) Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (Say What?!)
3) Finding Nemo
4) Princess Bride

Four movies I'm FORCED to watch over & over:
1) Bad Boys
2) Anything w/ Jean Claude Van Damme
3) Terminator - the Series
4)Starship Troopers

Four places I have lived:
1) Santa Barbara/Goleta/Isla Vista, CA
2) Sacramento, CA
3)Warwick, NY
4) Westlake Village, CA

Four TV Shows that I watch:
1) Grey's Anatomy
2) Deadliest Catch
3) The Office
4) October Road (Have I not mentioned that before?)

Four places I have been:
1) Mazatlan, Mexico
2) Los Roques & Isla Margarita, Venezuela
3) St. Louis, MO
4) New York City

Four of my favorite foods:
1) Pizza
2) Steak (esp. in Sandwich form or wrapped in bacon)
3) Sour Cream (does that count as a food?)
4) Bean, Rice & Cheese Burrito's (esp. from The Cantina in Isla Vista)
*Sausage Strata (see Friday's Recipe this week) is not on this list simply because I only eat it once (or twice if I'm lucky) a year.

Four places I would rather be right now (w/my husband & kids, of course)
1) NYC at a Broadway show or a Yankee Game
2) Los Roques, Venezuela
3) Somewhere where it's snowing & there's a wood burning fire in the fireplace
4) Visiting my sister, brother-in-law, nephew & niece/nephew to be in VA (& not just because I want to eat at Guapo's or Five Guys-although that's part of it)

Five of my Favorite Beverages (3-5 are all tied for 3rd place)
1) Iced Tea, NO sugar please
2) Wine (esp. of the HEAVY Red variety)
3) Classic Mojito (or w/ Coconut Rum- which I discovered last night)
4) Margarita (on the rocks, no salt)
5) Cosmopolitan (re-discovered last night)

Four of my Favorite Charities:
1) St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
2) March of Dimes
3) MADD
4) RAINN

Some add'l Random Facts:
1) I'm afraid of Banks-this is a new fear that's develped in the last few years. It totally freaks me out to have to go inside, so the ATM has become my new BFF.
2) I want to own a cow one day. Not a milk cow. In fact, I really don't want to have to milk a cow EVER, so some kind of cow that doesn't produce milk would be best. And I want it to look like this. Or this. But NOT like this.
3) I'm a fan of the Indianapolis Colts simply because I HEART Peyton Manning. He's funny.
4) I will join DJ in being a Dodgers fan this season simply because of Joe Torre. I will forever remain a Yankees fan the mostest though. Amen.

November 30, 2007

Friday's Recipe: 11/30/07

Fresh Vegetable Penne



Okay...so I admittedly haven't made this. But, it sounds yummy and if I thought there was even a CHANCE that I could get DJ to eat it, I'd make it in a heartbeat. So, I make you all my taste testers.


Tip: Buy already peeled & cubed squash to make it super easy.



Ingredients
1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

Vegetable cooking spray

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 cup chopped leek (about 1 medium)

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half

16 ounces uncooked penne pasta

1/2 cup frozen baby sweet peas

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1/4 cup shredded Italian three-cheese blend

Garnish: fresh sage leaves



Preparation:


Place squash cubes on a large aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle squash with 1 teaspoon oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat.


Bake at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes or until squash is tender and golden, stirring occasionally.


Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add leek, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat, and set aside.


Process butternut squash, vegetable broth, and half-and-half in a food processor until smooth.


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and oil. Add peas to boiling water during last 2 minutes of cooking time; drain. Return pasta and peas to pan. Stir in leek mixture, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon chopped sage, and crushed red pepper. Add processed squash mixture, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with Italian three-cheese blend. Garnish, if desired, and serve immediately.


Yield: Makes 6 servings


Nutritional Information:
CALORIES 386(11% from fat); FAT 4.8g (sat 1.3g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.3g); PROTEIN 14g; CHOLESTEROL 3.3mg; CALCIUM 132mg; SODIUM 1149mg; FIBER 6.1g; IRON 3.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 73g


Ellen Wade, Roanoke, Virginia ,


Southern Living, APRIL 2005


November 29, 2007

A Few Quick Follow Ups

1) You may have noticed in my last post that there was some "colorful" language. Following this post, you probably weren't expecting it. Well, guess what I realized people?! Dylan's 2- HE CAN'T READ, so I can type all the swear words I want! Fuckin A I Can!

2) I've had several REALLY important posts about my current, inexplicable obsession with October Road. I missed the second episode of the second season and was pretty distraught (okay, I might be exaggerating a bit). But, I am sure that you will all be happy to know that ABC has full length episodes available on their website. And, they're FREE!

3) Re: my trial run with the Eco-Friendly diapers available at Target. My feelings can be summed up in one word: EH?! They're okay. Just okay. They're certainly comparable to the name brands by way of absorption. In fact, Zach's "explosions" were somewhat milder w/the eco-friendly brand. BUT, and there is a but, they're not as cozy. And when it comes to something that is going to surround my baby's tushie and special parts on a 24/7 basis, it needs to be pretty damn cozy. Also, there's not stretch to the tabs so they cut into his chubby little thighs. So, I'd buy them again, but I prefer the softer, cuddlier earth ruining diapers. I'll just start being WAY better about recycling.

4) I'm sick of hearing about politics and we're only at the VERY beginning of the craziness. I'm curious about how you all feel. SO, I've posted a poll to the right (over there --->). Let me know who you'd vote for given ONLY these 6 choices.