Monday, November 30, 2009

Cute video

I love videos of normal people doing goofy dances...



and this one's for a good cause. :)

This week

Here I am eating beans again while I post. I'm the leftover queen lately. I use leftovers to make meals to make more leftovers. Frugality, thy name is leftover. Actually these beans and cornbread are quite tasty today, and are warming my little soul.

I'm looking on the bright side this week (or trying to) so here's a few of the things I've got going on that are not worthy of complaint:

Today: Return to work (not complaining! I promised I wouldn't!) and showing of the "play within a play" of Hamlet, via Mel Gibson's pre-crazy Hamlet movie. Not too shabby, except for that part where the director let them go all Freudian and Glenn Close (Hamlet's mom) plants a big wet one on him. Still better than pantomiming an entire scene myself for teenage amusement. Tonight: ballet and more ballet. 'Nuff said.




Tomorrow: Nothing, really. Well, teaching, ballet and oh--picking Roo up from school, which I'll also be doing today. She went back to school this morning after a month of being off track. Those breaks always seem to come when she needs them and once she starts getting antsy (she has been for about a week) it's time to go back to school and see her friends again. So this week I'll be resuming the after school pickup routine.

Wednesday: normal teaching day, killer NAP planned for after school to sleep off all the "tireds" from Monday and Tuesday night teaching. I love those kids at ballet, but it's killing me to work two jobs. NOT COMPLAINING though, because money is money.


Thursday: Thursday morning I'm presenting at our staff meeting. What what! That afternoon I finally I get to get our family photos that Carmen Salazar took for us this summer out of Purgatory. We paid to have them taken, but then since E had so much trouble finding a job we haven't been able to pay to have them printed yet. E's mom is letting me pick out one for my Christmas present so we're going in on Thursday to choose. It's going to be tough because there's so many good ones, but some pictures are better than no pictures. I love them. Can't wait.


Friday: Holiday home tour of the rich people's fancy-shmancy homes in Sacramento with E's aunties. Dinner out with them as well.


See? It's not so bad being back at work. Once all this is over I'll be one whole week closer to Christmas break. Wahoo!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday with Miss Kingsolver

It's a lazy Sunday around here. The five days off were welcome but I just stood, dumbfounded, and waved at them as they zipped by like an airplane. Time with family and home is equally comforting and cruel; just when I relax and breathe it's time to head back to work with the unfortunate knowledge of just how un-awesome it is to win that bread. Funny how "real" life of work and routine seems less real than a few days of lounging on the couch eating pie. For this reason I think the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations are the longest in any teacher's life.

I spent the better part of today curled up on the couch reading my new book, Lacuna. Love isn't a strong enough word. Barbara Kingsolver's books are like a pumpkin spice latte for my soul. I find them comforting and delicious. I'm reading this one slowly, savoring each metaphor and trying to take it in small bites so I don't miss anything. It's very good. When I read authors who connect the layers of their story again and again, their circularity warms my little nerd heart. Kingsolver is queen of the small but significant detail. In what may be the nerdiest thing about me, when I read her novel Animal Dreams as senior in my AP English class, it changed my life. I'm a forever fan of her work.

So far this book follows the life of a young boy who's half Mexican and half American, living in Mexico with his mother who left his American father to be a mistress to basically whoever would fill those shoes. The boy finds himself on a remote island, then Mexico city, and in Washington, DC at various times. He's present for the Bonus March riot in DC during the Depression, and now he's back in Mexico working as a cook for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. (Favorite description from the book: her eyebrows "joined in a handshake above her nose.") The book is told through his journal entries and so varies with his maturity. It's lovely and seems to touch on some really interesting (and new to me) historical events in a kind of Forrest Gump way. I'm doing a lot of Googling as I read. Good books always inspire curiosity.

At the moment there's a Martha Stewart Christmas special on TV. (Just so you know, I now have an incurable need to emboss something.) I've got cornbread cooling on the stove and beans in the crock pot. E cleaned our bedroom today, including a thorough sweep of the wood floors. Does it get any better than that? I've even got one of the aforementioned pumpkin spice lattes in my lil' hand courtesy of April and Meem who stopped by to return some forgotten Wii parts from Thanksgiving. Happy. Happy. Mmm. I've imposed a no-latte policy between now and Christmas, allowing only for the exceptions of gift cards and lattes that other people purchase. This one fits the bill. (Zero extra cash this year. We'll be lucky to make it to December 25 and our 30 or so presents.) Sunday is easily becoming my favorite night of the week, thank you very much Hank Moody and Phil Keoghan.

Thanksgiving was wonderful and passed effortlessly in a warm pumpkin-flavored blur. I don't know how time goes like that when we're with family, but it seems to be both relaxed and then suddenly gone. I'm truly happy that E and I are celebrating the holidays together this year. Everything is better when shared in telling glances and knowingly raised eyebrows of a spouse. Man, I love him. I need him there with me for life to be complete. It was nice this year to return to the familiar, shared joy of the holidays. Last year as a single mom, Thanksgiving and Christmas were the most painful for me. It's the things that were the most joyful together that are the hardest to bear alone. It's such a blessing for things to be as they should again.

We spent most of Thanksgiving day with my mom's family at my Aunt Anne's--each one of my mom's brothers and sisters is an excellent cook, as is Gram. Nobody in that family is afraid to try a new recipe, so holidays are a delicious mix of the familiar and the new, each dish prepared to perfection. I was glad that my new green bean casserole turned out well--close enough to the original to be comforting, different enough to be interesting. Cooking is a rite of passage in that family--a way to prove yourself and join the ranks of the adults. (I try hard to do my part!) We had a lazy time of food and cribbage, followed by food and more food. Gram made a chocolate pecan pie this year (along with the pumpkin, mincemeat, apple, etc etc etc). I ask you: is there a better invention than chocolate with pecan? I think not.

I had a hard time leaving, but by that evening we made our way up to Placerville to see E's folks. It was an unusual Thanksgiving in that most of the more than 30-person family was not there--it's an "off" year for Thanksgiving so it was very small. We made it up just in time for pie, ad-browsing for things we can't afford, and The Grinch. The kids made their sleepy way into Mimi's lap and snuggled in close to watch Whos in Whoville. The adults ended the evening with a game of Mexican Train. Though it was different this year, we really enjoyed being there. There's something very comforting (I know, I keep using that word in this post!) about E's family. I love them so much... missed them last year too. Every time I go up to their house I manage to forget about the fact that I have a life and a job... I just want to crawl under a quilt to watch movies by the fire for the rest of my life as the oak leaves fall outside the big glass doors. Bliss.

I had a lovely holiday and a wonderful weekend. I'm even including that one giant fight E and I had late at night on Friday. Sometimes that junk happens, people. But the benefit of working through ugly stuff (even late at night) is that sometimes you come out on the other end of it realizing that there is somebody who loves you enough to hear you out when something is wrong. It's kind of like spending time with the family, in a crazy way; it too reminds you that you're loved no matter what. (And this thing reminds you that basically you need to be asleep by 11:00 PM or you turn into a raving banshee.) So I'm grateful for family, I'm grateful for good books, I'm grateful for E, and I'm grateful for chocolate pecan pie. Nothing about this week was perfect, which is exactly why it was.

I hope that you had a blessed holiday as well. I hope you're finding time, energy and money enough for the presents you need to assemble this month, and that there's something in your life that makes you as happy.

NOW BACK TO WORK.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New green bean casserole

Tonight's attempt at a new green bean casserole was a success! Not too different from the original, but a little bit more flavorful. Here's the recipe, adapted from Paula Deen's recipe (at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/green-bean-casserole-recipe/index.html)

Green Bean Casserole

1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped red onion
2/3 stuck butter
4 cups French cut green beans
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Garlic pepper
Poultry seasoning
6 oz can of fried onion rings
1 cup feta
1 cup shredded cheddar

*Preheat oven to 350*
1. Chop onions, slice mushrooms.
2. Melt butter in a large frypan. Sauté mushrooms and onions. Season to taste.
3. Add green beans, mushroom soup, and half of fried onion rings. Stir.
4. Mix in half of feta and half of cheddar.
5. Pour into a greased casserole.
6. Top with remaining cheese, remaining fried onion rings.
7. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

(grateful, estrogen-laced) Thanksgiving Post

I got a little shock this afternoon. The doorbell rang and the mail lady handed E an Amazon.com package. He turned to me with that what did you order, we have no money look. For half a second I was in a sweaty panic that I'd ordered something without remembering, or worse--without knowing that I was doing so.

A quick search of my memory didn't reveal anything, so I did what any mature adult does. I started to protest and swear up and down that I was innocent.

"But the package is addressed to you," he said.

Hmm. Seriously, no idea. My next thought was that maybe a relative meant to order something for me for Christmas and it accidentally came early. I didn't figure that was happening, though.

E opened the package and inside was a gold-covered thing. Whoa. Legit present. Still, nothing. He handed the heavy rectangle to me and I nervously peeked inside the little half fold card.
Just because everyone needs a new book for all that holiday downtime!
Hope you enjoy it!
BakerGirl
Wow for reals. Wow, wow, wowie wow. What a thoughtful thing to do. BakerGirl of An Extended Vacation is a regular reader and commenter. THAT in itself is a lovely, precious gift to me. This was just... above and beyond. You guys, this is not someone I know IRL (in real life... ha!) just one of the many kind and generous souls I've met in blog land, and she just made the heck out of my day. My month, actually. I'm still smiling.

Of course, Barbara Kingsolver is my favorite author, and of course I've been drooling over this new book. I totally had some time mentally reserved for its reading while on break. Now I can make that a reality. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR YOUR RANDOM KINDNESS!

So this leads me to my other (possibly estrogen-influenced rosy glow kind of) point. This Thanksgiving as I count my blessings--my family that's whole again, my secure job, the roof over my head and enough food to eat--I am most definitely also thankful for you, blog friends. All of you. The chatty ones and the silent ones and the three of you that have been reading since I started this crazy thing back in January. I love to hear from you. I love to see that my hit count has gone up. I love to look at the Google Analytics and see that people all over the world and country are actually reading about my goofy little family, my bumpy relationship, my stupid crock pot recipes.

This blog is good for me because it forces me to document the things in our life. It's also good because from time to time it gives me a creative outlet. By far, though, the best thing I've been able to do here is to speak honestly about things that I wouldn't necessarily be able to give a voice--and in the process so many of you have opened your hearts and your lives in return. Thanks for coming into my life, new blog friends. Thanks for getting to know me better, and allowing me to get to know some of you better, old friends who hang around. I'm so grateful (and maybe, like I said--a little hormonal) right now that I have you here. Thanks, Blog.

I'm going to make an effort to pay BakerGirl's kindness forward. Not sure how yet, but I feel like the universe would be happy with that response. What a lovely, unexpected surprise.

I wish you all a blessed day tomorrow. If you're with family, I pray that it's relaxing and comfy. If you're alone and hurting (been there, friend) my heart goes out to you too. Remember that it won't always be like this. No matter what, I wish you peace. Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkey coma, tryptomaniacs. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Urine control. (The pee story.)

You know how once you haven't done something for a long time, all you can remember are the good parts? Nostalgia takes over with her rosy glow and obliterates anything that's unsavory? Yeah. Let's talk about unsavory. Cleaning up other people's kids' pee. Monday night at the dance studio I had a run in with a peeing preschooler the likes of which I have never seen before.

I was already grumpy. When I dropped off the kids, Mom justifiably asked me "what's wrong with you?" I was annoyed that I had to take the kids somewhere when all I wanted to do was snuggle under a blanket and watch that one episode of Spongebob for the 800th time. I missed them and I was tired, but c'est la vie. We need money. So I dropped off the monkeys and made my way over to the studio, trying to snap myself out of the bad mood.

I'm not even teaching "the babies" as they're known in dance teacher land. I like their smallness, but there's a host of other issues that come with them, like the aforementioned pee and their uncanny ability to stop a class dead in its tracks with salacious, juicy family secrets that they shouldn't be sharing. "Grandma says Daddy's a deadbeat!" (Yeah, that happened.)

So I got to the studio, put on my makeup in the car, and headed in to use the bathroom. I'm not sure how this has changed since my days as a full-on ballet teacher slash dance student in the 90's, but the ONE bathroom has become the place for kids to change for class. Dude, that used to be so off limits. That's why there's a dressing room. But somehow the one bathroom is always held up from 4:50-5:00 with girls scrambling to get into their tights and such. Suck it up, homegirl, and go change in the dressing room. Unfortunately "dressing room" has become synonymous with "hangout area," but whatevs.

The bathroom was full when I got in so I slipped into the office, de-Ugged my feet, and fixed my hair. As I headed out into the hall, I saw a little girl of probably 6 years old and her sister who was probably 13, both standing just outside the bathroom. I asked them if someone was in there. I got a blank stare back from both; I think maybe there was a language barrier? I decided just to knock on the door myself. Someone was there. In that same instant I looked over at the little girl to see that she was still mid-pee, clutching herself with her hands, trying to make it stop.

Listen. I'm a mom. Kids pee. It doesn't make me freak out. I didn't really care that it happened. It wasn't the poor kid's fault that someone was holed up in the bathroom for 20 minutes trying to put on her stupid tights. But once the floodgates were opened (and let me tell you, this kid must have just finished a 32-ouncer of grape juice), the sister (who totally saw that the kid was peeing, by the way) grabbed her hand, and led her down the hall away from the bathroom. AWAY, I TELL YOU! What? Let's put our thinking caps on here. Your sister is peeing. Should you a) keep her in one place to minimize damage, b) try desperately to get into the bathroom, or c) walk her in the opposite direction, creating a "mile of pee" situation? She totally chose C. Dude. You never choose C.

The hallway outside the bathroom? A lovely blue Berber carpet. Not exactly ideal for pee cleanup situations, though. There was a trail of pee about 20 feet long soaking into the carpet. The fact that she'd walked this kid down the hall meant it went from being a little problem to a big fat mess and annoyance. I looked at the girl, then to her sister who gave me this embarrassed laugh. She just stood there like my Freshmen do when I ask them what they're going to do about the fact that they didn't do their homework. Not my problem, her face said. Blink, blink went her eyes. I commenced Mom Mode, and I shot over to the other studio to ask if there was carpet cleanser or paper towels nearby, since the bathroom was STILL occupied. Heaven help us. I was concerned at that point about the stink. I mean, this was an amount of pee tantamount to that of a great Dane. I don't think this kid went to the bathroom all day before she watered the carpet in the hall. It was going to be smelly if it didn't come up soon. There's nothing I want to be known for that includes "that one teacher who let the kid pee stink up the studio." It's my uneducated guess that pee smell is bad for business.

My friend Christina told me where to find the towels, and I walked out ready to hand them to the sister. If this had been my kid, I'd be embarrassed, but I'd look at it like MY PROBLEM. Right? Can I get an AMEN? I mean you can't go around expecting other people to clean up your kids barf, pee, or poop. I thought that was just one of those parenting rules. Remember that one? From the great Bodily Fluids Treaty at Versailles in 1802? Yeah. You just take care of your own and you take care of what they do. It's a health issue. It's also NASTY.

I walked out with an armful of paper towels like some kind of Paper Goods Claus, and instead of being met by a thankful face, the sister looked RIGHT PAST ME like she didn't know me. I was so pissed. I was totally giving her the "don't think I didn't see you lock eyes with me over that pee in the hallway" look. I think the little girl was still peeing. No joke. It was like the Trevi Fountain. Meanwhile, like fifteen people are standing around watching this unfold. At that moment the mom came inside from the parking lot, grabbed them both, and they left. They left me holding the paper towels, and they left a hall full of PEE. They basically left me holding the pee, you know? The cheese, standing alone, in a hall of URINE. So gross, and so rude.

Trying to mop up this pee was about like trying to stop a levee break with a cotton ball. There just wasn't enough absorbent material to cover it. The best I could manage was some shoddy, sporadic absorbing where it was the worst. Meanwhile the class before mine let out and I had to guide traffic through the pee-free zone. At that point Christina's class let out too, and we both just stood there looking at the pee in disbelief. It was like the hallway had been doused with a garden hose. I just couldn't believe they didn't try to help clean it at all.

I found out at the end of the night that this family had the gall to take the daughter home, change her, and bring her back to class that same night. They never said anything to anyone about it. I can't believe people.

As a teenager, I remember learning that pee cleanup was part of my job as dance teacher. I think that was where I got my firsthand experience at being a mom. Nobody else was going to come to my rescue and do the gross job. If a kid peed on the floor in the studio on my watch? It was all on me. I remember gagging as I soaked it up, then scrubbing my hands raw afterward. It was a rare thing, but it happened. That was different, though. I was the adult in charge. This girl had a sister and a parent and nobody wanted to go out of their way to take care of their sh*t. It's so easy for people to make it someone else's problem. Pee cleanup in the dance studio was gross, but manageable. Nothing like this hallway thing though. Ew. This was just out of control.

Remember. Urine control, people. You're. In. Control.


Not pregnant

I'm not pregnant. Just in case you were wondering. I was (wondering).

It wasn't that we were trying, and there was no "oops" that I'm conscious of, but for the last three weeks I've been having some of those familiar symptoms... of course I know it's always a possibility. I started to feel like I might be, and then of course every little ache/pain/twinge became about something.

It's amazing how much my mind takes over once I even suspect that I might be. I go through this whole range of emotion from OH CRAP, I might be... I'm not really sure I'm ready for that again to what if I am and something goes wrong and I lose it to if I am, then I'm happy, because what is meant to be will be.

I inevitably end up at the place where I start to let myself feel a little bit excited that it might be a possibility, and even just knowing that for a few days means I get my heart a little attached to the idea. For me (and I don't know if it's like this for other women) there's an ease of decision-making that comes with pregnancy. There's no choice about where my priorities will be relocated. It's knowing that your life is going to be wholly, unavoidably dedicated to baby, home, and family for at least two years. It's all-consuming. At a time when I'm feeling some life-related angst and wondering what I am going to do with myself, it's a bit of a relief to think that decision might be made for me.

But it's not. That's okay, I'm okay with it, just a little teensy bit sad. It's not like we were trying, but it was a nice possibility, if a fleeting one. It's nice that when E and I talked about it, he was supportive and would have been equally happy. He understands what it's like for me to find out that I'm not, too. I have to give him so much credit for that. He understands all things baby (and unfortunately, loss) related much better than I could probably even describe. It's one of the things we've been through in several ways that makes our bond a lot stronger, and I'm thankful for that.

But I'm not pregnant.

Monday, November 23, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream

I think I'm getting plenty of sleep lately, because my subconscious is having a field day in the playground that is my dreams. I have had about five nights in a row of strange, memorable and complex dreams. Of course several of them have faded over time, but here are a few:

My dream from several nights ago: E and I decided to have a party at my Uncle's house, without telling him. We just showed up, with all the peole we invited. No idea why his house was the venue. He didn't really care, either, but it was a bizzare dream and I felt stressed and worried the whole time. I realized I was dreaming and I tried to change it or wake up but I kept slipping back into it. That happened at least three times before my alarm went off and I woke up for good.

The following night I dreamed E and I went to Italy, only it was like the Galt of Italy. The Hydrox to Italy's Oreo, if you know what I'm sayin'. The Sam's Choice of Italys. Boshiba, as E and I would say. In the dream we didn't plan to be there, we somehow ended up being there, though. I was happy we were on the trip, but somehow we managed to avoid anything interesting, historical, and picturesque in Italy. Like, basically it was Sh*taly. We were in a crummy Motel 6 style hotel and basically we didn't see anything cool. No Rome, no Venice, nada.

Last night I was out by 9:45 (what whaaaat) and I got a full 9 hours. Glorious sleep. I did do a lot of weirdo dreaming again, though. Last night's dream was about Lis getting married (not about her actual wedding, but she was getting married in the dream--I don't remember who she was marrying in the dream) but for some reason we had to keep doing the wedding over again. There was a lot of sitting around in between and it reminded me of ballet days where I'd be backstage killing time for hours. The first time we did the wedding I had on a gold (like gold lamé) dress with sequins and gold shoes. I had that on for a while and then I looked down and the dress had changed from gold party girl to black and white buttoned up business wear. That was for the first run-through, then I had to go outside and wait. While I was out there I decided I didn't like what I had on, so I'd just be bold for once in my life and... wait for it... go back inside with NOTHING on. (What? Yeah, because that's so like me--naked at a wedding.) In the dream I was mad about not having something to wear and I was envious about what other people were wearing... so I got mad and that was the result.

The problem was that once I went back inside I came to my senses and realized that being a nudie patootie might not be the best thing. A powerful shame came over me and I scrambled to find something to wear. Luckily one of my friends from my dancer days, Leah, was there and had just taken off a teal blue unitard dress. I put this on instead with her shoes (both things were too big on me--she's like 6 feet tall) and went out in the hall. Somehow I was suddenly in the middle of the church Christmas program (like high school) and I was surrounded by children preparing to sing and dance (good thing I put some clothes on, huh?). I made my way down the aisle and found that instead of an altar, the wedding was going to be at this snackbar-looking thing on top of a hill. I had to climb up and balance on something like those silver cafeteria bars that hold up trays in front of food bins. I was also suddenly surrounded by a ton of other people and I couldn't see anything at all. Then I woke up.

Told you I had some weird ones.

(Oh, and I wrote this yesterday--Monday--and forgot to post it. Since then I had a Disneyland dream. HA.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Father/son Mario

When Addie was first born, E would take a late night feeding every night and give her a bottle so I could rest. He'd do this by propping her up in his arms and (sometimes) playing video games around her all night while he just rocked and rocked in that glider. *sigh*



It's only fitting that now he sits and plays these games with the monkeys. A few days ago we rented the new Super Mario for Wii and right now Henry is all about it. It's a great game--total nod to those of us who spent countless hours on the side-scrolling Marios of yesteryear. I'm enjoying watching the two of them play so much I don't have any desire to do so myself.

Henry drew Mario tonight (below). I can't take it. Too funny and adorable. Look at the toes. :)



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A little good, a little bummer, and a little pretend shopping.

Time for another edition of good news/bad news.*
*Not really, though. Good and bad but both under the umbrella of the stability and joy we have in our lives now. Things are rough, but we have each other and I am so grateful for that blessing. No matter how much I might need to whine about the speed bumps. Mkay?
So... good: E got hired. He got a job. He's been basically looking for anything that pays since July. His (unpaid) internship is going fine, but it's costing us near $50 a week in gas for him to make the trek up to Lake Tahoe for a day of work, so that's not exactly helping with Operation Don't Go Completely Broke. Good experience, though.

His job is with a local auto parts store. Yep, we're right back where we were in 2000 when we got married: he's working the counter at an auto parts store and I'm teaching ballet. The circularity astounds me but I am still grateful. In this economy it's a blessing to have work--any work. Yes, it's humbling that he's got an entry-level job when he has his J.D., but it's going to help us pay the bills. It's momentum and I'm proud of him for taking it on.

The other good thing that happened was that he got an interview with a local attorney for a full-time paid internship. That's happening this week. Who knows what will come of that, but it's nice to have opportunities when we've been stuck in the desert of unnoticed resumes. I think this auto parts thing is good because like I said, it's momentum. I feel something happening for him. We're moving forward, finally.

Bad: E didn't pass the Bar--yet. He got his results last night and he didn't pass when he took it in July. I've been thinking about how to dress that up since yesterday but as always I feel like there's more sense in honesty. In that spirit, it's fair to say that it's a bigger surprise to other people than it was to us. Please don't misread that as lack of faith in my husband--in fact it has nothing to do with that--but he and I both knew the reality of his situation and how those three days went this summer so we were expecting it and planning for it.

At the time he took the Bar he didn't have his sights set on a legal career. We had just started to patch our life back together. Things were not stable. Now that's changed. He's registering for February and moving forward. No shame in that and I admire his dedication to this difficult task. I'm proud of him for getting through law school when his family was falling apart, and for being a model of perseverance to his children. One day when they're old enough to understand, this will be an important piece of how they see their dad.

I can see you thinking this might be embarrassing for us but it isn't. I feel like sometimes it just takes people longer to get to the same place, and that's okay. I'm not ashamed. I love him so much and I know he can do this. I know he will do this. The hardest thing for me (and most of this I had to deal with back in July or so) was mourning the loss of time ahead. I won't lie. That part was painful for me because it felt like a step back. The best thing about the Bar is that there's this sense of finality and being able to rest after it's over--and I'm talking from the perspective of a family member, not even from the perspective of the person taking the test. I wasn't disappointed in him, but I was selfishly lamenting the increased sentence we were facing.

What I didn't realize at the time was that there were so many other positives in our life that it was/is going to be okay. This year has been a good one for showing us that you can make plans but there are just also things that are meant to be and things that are not. I'm still trying to find joy in the moment and trust that things will unfold as they are meant to. I'm still trying to focus on now, rather than an arbitrary date in the future when "happy" will start. Yes, we're stressed as heck right now about money, but our relationship is much stronger and it's different. It's good. Things will be okay.

So now you're updated. Let's talk about something else.


I'm a little restless today. I needed to clean the house for Roo's family party but I wasn't real motivated about it. I also had a headache most of the morning and I was feeling pretty lazy. This resulted in a day of sitting on the couch watching Beethoven and Apollo 13, and then some mindless online shopping dreaming.



Tracy on the Cheap
reminded me in a recent post about Modcloth, and I think I spent two hours tonight just perusing. I really love that store. Quirky and fun. I want to live in this dress. Cute, huh? I've also been lusting over Anthropologie and Express lately too. It's been a while since I could buy clothes so I'm starting to get the bug a little. Especially for shoes. I miss buying shoes.

I'm kind of an online collector--I totally put things into pretend shopping carts without any intention of buying them. I just like to see things I want all lined up in little columns. See my Amazon wishlist for evidence. No reasonable person expects that much for Christmas (side note: nor do I) but I like to collect it all into one spot so I don't forget that those were things I wanted at one point. Do you know you can put stuff in your Amazon wishlist that's not even from Amazon? Crazy. I have mental lists running all the time: groceries we're out of, kitchen items that broke, things I need for the bathroom, things the kids have outgrown, movies I want to rent, lists I need to make... just kidding. I think I just have shopping envy right now.

Who am I kidding. A trip to Target would probably do it for me at this point.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Hurry up, Friday!

Today is inching, inching, inching along. The sky is gradually blackening outside. I want to be home and in bed. It was hard to get up this morning! Good news though: I pried open my classroom thermostat yesterday, took it apart, and fixed the timer so this morning was the first morning I've showed up and walked in to a warm room! For the past three weeks I've practically been able to see my breath when I got here. I'm so proud of myself. Unfortunately, the student who I got here an hour early to meet was a total no-show. What a nerd.

Before I left this morning I snapped some iPhone shots of the two blankets I'm working on currently. More Christmas presents. This first one is exactly halfway done but I'm still out of black yarn. I need to wait until payday before I hit up zee Wal Marts for some more. Man, that seems like forever! November is always a long, lean month. (Wish the same could be said for me in November!)


Number one. Remember how I said that every blanket I make is my new favorite? Yeah, that's true for this one too. Love it. Like the trash behind it on the floor? What is that? Starbucks napkins? I don't even know. That's just how we roll.


Second one. Totally matches my couch and carpet.


This one's almost 2/3 done. I like the colors. Not for us, though. E's starting to get annoyed that I keep giving these away rather than keeping them.

Pretty sure I made up my mind to stay here for lunch. I forgot my wallet so I can't go out for my normal Friday lunch. I was all set to go home but the sky looks way too ominous and grumpy. I have a sad can of Campbells soup in my cabinet. I think that's preferable to dealing with the outdoors right now. Now if I can just figure out a way to NOT have to go to the bathroom for the rest of the day I'll never have to leave. Stupid tea. That was a bad choice.


Last night E's Aunt Chris had the monkeys so we had a night to ourselves. I might be a traitor to young parents everywhere for posting this, but I missed them! I didn't really want them to be gone! Of course E and I had a really nice dinner out at a new sushi buffet, but our kids are so amenable to whatever lately that we didn't really feel like it would've been that different if they were home. Since I'm teaching Monday and Tuesday nights I feel like I've been missing some prime rugrat time. The most time I spent with Roo was snuggling to watch Top Chef, and Bud has been so busy with Transformers that he didn't have much leftover for Mom. I'm glad they're coming home today.

This weekend E and I have Roo's family birthday party. Time for Birthday, Round 2. Family is easy, though. They're awesome. It will be nice to see everyone.

I'm hoping I can get in some major crochet time and finish both of the blankets I have going right now. I only "have" to make one more, and then after that I'm trying to think about how many more I can do before Christmas. Four? Depends a bit on how much yarn we can afford too. In the scheme of things it's much cheaper to buy yarn and make gifts than to buy things for people. Hopefully my right hand/ wrist will hold up.

Oh yeah. I've been missing running again. It's been about three weeks since I quit for a while because it was too much with this new job. I'm looking forward to starting up again. I've caught myself thinking about it several times in the past week. I really need to get some warmer running clothes, though. I'll probably start up again over Christmas break. By then I'll be on a break from all of my teaching and hopefully I can get back into something like that just for me. My weight is suffering, but I'm putting it out of my mind for now. Too many goodies to enjoy around the holiday season.

Happy weekend! I'm not going to see New Moon because I think the whole Twilight series is a joke. I will probably watch some movies online and E hooked up the Playstation 3 in the bedroom so I can stream Netflix movies in there. That way I don't have to share the XBox with my Call of Duty-obsessed life partner.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Life and Hamlet

Get ready for some full frontal nerdity.

What did you do today? This is what I did:

(click to see the whole thing)

I spent the better part of first period making this chart on the board in my classroom while my kids read Hamlet in small groups. I used to do this in college all the time--draw character charts so I'd remember the relationships between characters. Somewhere along the line I discovered that while I'm a "big ideas" kind of person, I'm not a "little details" kind of person. You also already know I LOVE CHARTS. I had to rely on this kind of thing all the time even when I read the assigned reading. For whatever reason, even now, I have a hard time keeping track of characters for a while into the story.

After two drafts on the whiteboard, I had this moment where I thought holy crap, I better put that in the computer or I'm going to have to reinvent it next year. This all started this morning when I was Googling Hamlet character charts to help some students who were having a hard time with all the relationships (high five, Shakespeare!). In case you're looking for a good Hamlet chart, there aren't any that I could find. I made this one this morning. I knew if I saved a paper copy I wouldn't be able to remember its location next year. The only way I find things is if they're saved in carefully organized computer folders. Voila. Luckily I had counselors in my room for all of my third period today so I could sit and compute. Microsoft Publisher is a beautiful thing.

Speaking of beauty, you should see the bruise on my forehead from yesterday's run-in with the bathroom door. The red line is still on my forehead, but now it's parenthetically referenced with a dark blue/yellow halo. Seriously, it looks like this: ( | ) only mushier and ouchier. Maybe I'll have E take a pic of it tonight. Definitely blog-worthy.

So, I really like Thursdays. I know they say Thursday is the new Friday, but that's really only if you're in college and don't have to get up for class on Fridays. I'm not, and I do, but Thursday is always good for me because it feels close enough to the weekend to breathe a little, but it's not getting so far into the weekend that I start getting anxious about it being over. Plus, who doesn't love a little Thursday night TV? I think the TV arc starts off on Tuesdays with TBL, grows steadily on Wednesday with SYTYCD, ANTM, and Top Chef, and then peaks the heck out of itself on Thursday nights with Project Runway, all the NBC shows, Survivor... ugh, it's almost too much to handle. I know I have a full schedule of crocheting and TV-watching ahead of me. Yes, I watch too much TV. Oh well.

I'm starting to get really excited about Thanksgiving and my time off. Thanksgiving is such a nice preview of Christmas. I'm so happy to have my family back together this year. Last year the holidays were awful.

I'm rambling today, but it's been awhile since I've let myself ramble here so I'll continue. I'm listening to Claire de Lune radio on Pandora.com and it's rocking my socks right off. Well, my Uggs, I guess. I'm wearing BROWN Uggs, a blue shirt, and grey sweater today. Suck it, matching. I'm too good for you. Today was warmth over fashion. I'm okay with that, too. You should see me at home now. Last night it was purple and pink cat pants (present from the monkeys), a blue and gold Herd Staff T-Shirt, crocheted mukluks, and a big purple bathrobe. You can imagine how E is hopelessly attracted to me.

Hey, speaking of mukluks, I should look for a pattern. I've never crocheted anything that wasn't flat and rectangular, though. Maybe it's time to learn. Or maybe I'll just order these from Etsy.

Peace out, nerds. Have a great Thursday.




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ouch!

(or, Why it is a good idea to open my eyes when I walk to the bathroom in the dark.)

Lately my habit is to wake up gradually. I'm much better if I give myself a chance to gain consciousneess over a period of time rather than jumping up and into the shower. Unfortunately since having kids my bladder requires that no matter what time I first wake up, I must make an immediate trip to the bathroom. This is really annoying on Saturday mornings when I want to sleep in--once I'm up and out of bed I often have trouble going back to sleep.

For whatever reason, it seems easier to go back to sleep on a weekday. Often times I'll get up and make a trip to the bathroom and then fall asleep for a little bit longer. Perhaps this is because it is pitch black at 5:30 when my first alarm sounds. Perhaps it is because it has been cold lately and I often want to get back into bed even if it's just to read blogs or play on Facebook for a while under a quilt. Who knows.

This morning my alarm went off like usual at 5:30 and at about 5:32 I made my groggy way to the bathroom, hunched over with closed eyes. I'm all about safety, though--you know me--so I had my left hand out in front of me to make sure I didn't run into anything. I thought the bathroom door was open but I didn't want to run into the wall. Hey, sometimes it happens.

Well, cut to me SMASHING my forehead against the corner of the open door, my hand stretching needlessly ahead of me (and just enough to the left to miss a safe catch with the palm rather than the head). I smacked it. I have a vertical line stretching from my eyebrow to my hairline--it's still red and I have a feeling it's going to turn into a nasty bruise. My head feels swollen. I'm feeling really sorry for myself.

I have a few questions at this point. Number one: who left that door halfway open, thrusting rudely into the middle of our bedroom like some Japanese Game Show-style obstacle course? Of course the answer to that question is probably Yours Truly, but it seemed odd. The other thing I'm wondering is why I couldn't have aimed about two inches to the left and saved myself a whole lot of grief. No idea. Why couldn't I open my eyes? What's wrong with me?

You bet your sweet bippy I got back in bed after that, and my head was pounding so bad I didn't even bother with blogs or anything else on my phone. I reset my alarm for an hour later and tried to slip into uncosciousness quickly. It seemed like ten minutes when that second alarm went off.

My head hurts. What is it lately with me and my head?



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kindle or Nook?


Kindle, or Nook???

Or is this the stuff of unicorns and rainbows and unfulfilled wishes? Should I even waste my time? I think so. Reason #90098977 for having a blog: window shopping.  Window comparisons.

I've had a facebook discussion going on about this for... oh, about a year, with a former student. You remember Jennifer. She's the one who named me PDawg, the first kid to really care about me as a teacher. Once every few months or so one of us will post a link to a story about Amazon's Kindle on the other one's page with some erudite comment like "CHECK THIS OUT. WANT."

Don't know about the Kindle? It's like an iPod for words. It's an ebook reader, and it's full of awesome. I know you're asking yourself why you need such a thing, or why I need such a thing, or why anyone does. I believe it's where we're headed. If Star Trek taught me anything, it was that people in the future read books on a digital device, called PADDs. Nerd alert! I'm nothing if not a believer in the prophesy that is the Star Trek franchise. I'm waiting for people with blue faces and antennae to show up any day.
But let's not spend all our time talking crazy, huh? Benefits of an ebook reader:

*Customizeable font size
(I'm not gonna lie, my peepers aren't what they used to be. Sometimes it would be nice to read in Gpa-size font.)

*Storage
We don't have a big house. I like to read more than I like to store books. The storage aspect of this device would be most useful to me on a trip, though. I hate how much space books can take up in my bag when I go somewhere for a week, but I like to bring plenty of material. Problem solved.

*Not having to do that weird thing where you prop your head up so you can read the awkward page when you read in bed.
One screen. Digital page-flipping. No awkward book-propping.

*Instant gratification
Want a book, get a book.  In seconds.  WIN.  Side note: this could prove dangerous.

So that all looks bueno, yeah? Well Jennifer went and screwed up my total faith and confidence in the Kindle by introducing the idea of the Barnes and Noble Nook into my life. The Nook is pretty much like the Kindle, with a few different features. They're the same price.

Hmmm...

Kindle features--a little lighter, has an actual keyboard, internet access, Wikipedia, built-in dictionary and note-taking capability, audio capability (speaks books aloud), black and white screen

Nook features--a little shorter, has a touch screen and touch keyboard when needed, no internet access but WiFi, small color touch screen at the bottom, black and white screen to view books.

You know me, I hate feeling like I might make the wrong decision. I have to say that after all of our debate, I'm still probably leaning toward the Kindle. I'd be so happy with either one, though, I'd probably just die. But the Kindle seems like it's the most reliable and it still has a few features that the Nook just can't offer. Jennifer, on the other hand, is leaning toward Nook.

Will we be able to overcome our differences and remain friends? Only time will tell.

(P.S. None of this matters, because our bank account is currently exactly none percent full.)



Monday, November 16, 2009

Crock Pot Shenanigans

By  popular demand:  CROCK POT POST.

That's my Crock Pot right there.  Ain't she pretty?

I've been a Crock Pot fool lately.  I'm making myself so worried about getting dinner on the table when I'm out of the house two nights a week (and one of those two, so is E) that I needed a little help.  The best thing about the CP is that you can dump stuff in there and it will be ready for you when you get home.  It makes the house smell GREAT, and it makes the kinds of meals I crave in winter.  Warm, and gravy-laden.

Part of the problem on Mondays, when E is working two hours from home and I am teaching ballet, is that we both come home RAVENOUS.  I think that all this Crock-Potting is helping us avoid takeout food.  The other thing I like about it is that it's a good way to cook meat/ stuff I can use for leftovers for the rest of the week.

For a while I was using the CP to make a whole chicken every Sunday.  I still really like this idea.  It's way cheaper to cook a whole chicken than several chicken breasts. That way we also have a hearty Sunday dinner and I have several cups of shredded chicken to use in salads, rice bowls, wraps, etc for the rest of the week.  Since I get sick of sandwiches really easily, the pre-cooked chicken meat seems to help me bring my lunch from home with more regularity and more variety.  The rest of that chicken will last me through the week.  The thing you have to realize about the CP is that you usually need two things: liquid, and time.  It's hard to go wrong with those two things in abundance, and you can pretty much throw in whatever you have on hand.  Example: How I cook a chicken.

P's CP Chicken

Ingredients:

Whole chicken (rinsed and unidentifiable parts removed)
liquid (chicken broth, veggie broth, white wine, or beer)--about 4-6 cups?
spices (whatever you like)

Procedure:

1. Put chicken in CP, breast side down
2. Pour liquid over chicken so it covers it about half/ most of the way (anywhere in there is good)
3. Dump spices in.
4. Put CP on low.
5. Leave alone for 6-8 hours.  When it's finished, the chicken will fall off the bone and shred easily.

Variations: cut up chicken pieces, chicken breasts, pork roasts.  All work the same.  Easy peasy.

If you already have a CP, you're like DUH, Partington, but listen--not everybody who reads this blog is as awesome as you are, Suzie Homemaker.  I needed to start small.







Okay, cookbooks.  Here it is.  This one is GOLDEN.  My Gram bought it for me and Lis for Christmas a few years ago and we've both used it a lot.  It has a ton of variations on each theme (soup, stew, pork chops, etc.)

At first I followed the recipes to a T, but now I'm more of a "dump in whatever is on hand" girl.  One thing that's great about this book is that you can see the variety of things that people put in a CP and it still comes out awesome.  Basically, it's hard to screw up.  There is no connection between that statement and the next one, but... E has even used to to make beef stew on several occasions and it was really good.

Okay, I screwed up a soup one time, but it was because I ignored my own rule about having enough liquid.  It turned into black bean cement.  Not every attempt is a winner.  Forgive yourself and move on.  Don't hate the Crock Pot, hate the game.  What?  Nvm.

I believe that Gram bought this at Costco.  They have several other ones (as do I) but this one seems to be the most extensive and most helpful.  It's pretty old school (and if we're saying that about a CP cookbook, it must be REALLY old school) but I like it.  It reminds me of potlucks and church ladies and good, wholesome livin'.  Nothing wrong with that.

Here are just a few of the things I've made in the CP in the past few weeks.

Tonight: Baked Beans with Pork

Ingredients:

Dry Pinto Beans
Dry Navy Beans
One leftover pork chop (see recipe below)--bacon would work well too
Leftover drippings from pork chops (see recipe below)
Garlic pepper
Cumin
Salt
Lawry's Season Salt
Water

Procedure:
1. Soak 2 cups of beans (mixed) in 6 cups of water overnight.  I put 'em right there in the CP.
2. Dump in pork chop drippings and leftover pork chop (shredded)
3. Season. (We like a lot of seasoning!)
4. Add about 2 cups of water.
5. Put CP on low.  Leave alone for 8 hours.  Serve with cornbread.

You guys, BEANS ARE SO CHEAP.  I THINK THIS WHOLE DINNER COST LIKE $0.12.  I might be off a little on that though.  I don't believe in the maths so much.

YUM!

Sunday night: Pork Chops

Ingredients:

Pork chops (3/4-1 inch thick)--we had three
1/3 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
olive oil
garlic pepper
poultry seasoning
1 packet ranch dressing seasoning
2 large russet potatoes (cut into eigths
2 cups beef broth (I use boullion cubes in boiling water)
salt

Procedure:

1. Put a small amount of oil in a frypan.  Season chops with garlic pepper, poultry seasoning.
2. Sear the outside of chops until they're a nice brown color.
3.  Mix boullion with ranch seasoning, pour in crock pot.
4. Add onions.
5. Add seared chops, potatoes.
(Make sure liquid comes most of the way up the chops.  If not, add more.)
6. Put CP on low. Leave alone for 8-10 hours.

I mashed up the potatoes after they were cooked because that's what I felt like.  I used the remaining liquid and the leftover chop for the baked beans the next day.

Last Monday: Cheater Stew

I think this might be a heresy, posting this here.  "It is a sin to write this..." (Anthem, anyone?) but I'm going to post my cheater stew that I made last week.  Just to show you that I'm not perfect (not that you had any illusions, huh?) BUT I TOTALLY CHEATED.

Ingredients:

stew meat (a cheap cut of beef with lots of fat marbling, cut up into cubes)
potatoes
carrots
beef broth
1 packet of instant beef gravy (cheater status!)
flour
garlic pepper (I put it in everything!)
Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning

Procedure:
1. Put beef cubes in a bag with some flour.  Shake to coat.
2. Put a small amount of oil in a frypan.  Dump in beef.  Season.  A lot. Brown.
3. Cut up carrots and potatoes into bite-sized chunks.
4. Pour about 4-6 cups of beef broth into the CP.  (I often make mine extra strong.)
5. Add beef gravy packet.
6. Add browned beef, veggies.
7. Put CP on low. Leave alone for 6-8 hours.

I promise I know how to make my own flavorful, thick broth, but I wasn't feelin' it that night.  Gravy did the trick and it worked fine.  No harm in cheating once in a while.


Today's lesson: Crock Pots are easy, kids.

Remember, lots of liquid + time.  That's the secret formula.  Better to have more than you think you need in the liquid and flavor departments, if you ask me.  Fatty things cook well in the crock pot because they cook slowly.  Don't rush--though you'll be tempted to put the thing on "HIGH", it is not a good idea--our you'll be gnawing on beef jerky stew.  It's a good idea to prep everything the night before, put it in the Crock, and put the Crock in your fridge.  That way you can take it out in the morning and put it on the base and turn it on, no prep.  Veggies that do well are sturdy things like carrot and potato.  Mushy things will break down too easily.  Beef and pork will have a better flavor if you can brown them first but you don't have to.  It's your party.  It's your Crock Pot.  Go nuts.

Good luck and happy Crock Potting!





Happy Birthday, Roo!--a peek at her present.


Seven years ago we FINALLY welcomed Addie into our lives after 26 hours of crummy ol' labor.  You can read that story here.  It was well worth it, and she continues to make life better every single day.

When asked what she wanted for her birthday, my sweet little sensitive Roo just said "I don't know.  I think I'd just like it if people picked out what they thought I might like."  The thought of having to make a list is too troubling for her.  She's happy with whatever.

E and I had a hard time thinking about what to get for her, so we decided on creating an experience rather than getting her a thing.  We did, however, want the kid to have something to open on the actual day; we hoped it would be something that would enhance her experience.

She loved San Francisco when we visited in the spring.  She asked when she could move there.  We talked to her about there being colleges there.  She loved everything about it.  We decided her gift would be to go back for another overnight trip.

In order to build the anticipation a little bit and give her something to do, I bought a blank sketchbook which I filled with some fun little things.  I have to say I was inspired by Oma of Travelin' Oma's travel posts and her daughter, Marta's (of m writes) handmade journals.

Here's a little peek at Roo's book:



Front page


Letter I wrote to her about the trip


next page, explaining what the book is for...


The book is divided into three sections--Before you go, Your trip, and after we get back.  The picture is of the DeYoung museum, which we're going to visit.


One of her favorite activities--creating lists with check marks.


On some of the pages I made little writing prompts with pictures.




Golden Gate Bridge page




Second divider page




Last divider page



I'm such a proud Mommy today--I sure wish I didn't have to leave her to go teach tonight, but the time will go by quickly, and there's a pot of beans in the crockpot... MMmmmm... hopefully I'll get some cornbread made to go with it and I can enjoy the rest of this happy day with the fam.

Good night!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fact: January Jones annoys me.

Before I begin my anti-Jones rant, I have to laugh for a second about the dude on The Amazing Race right now who doesn't know what a candelabra is. "Are you a candelabra?" Awesome. I heart you, Phil, and your race. I'd love to go on this show, but I know it'd just reveal my lack of problem-solving skills or a likeable personality to the world. Must. Keep. Up. Façade.

Did you pronounce that fah-kade like ML and I used to do in high school just so we could laugh at our awesomeness? Well I did.

Alright, Jonesy. I'm not going to solely blame you for the giant pile of suck that was Mad Men this season, but in my eyes you're about 60% responsible. Honestly, I feel sorry for the people who jumped on the bandwagon this year. Mad Men did not deliver until the second to last (penultimate for my fellow word nerds--hi-yo!) episode. Most of the time I wanted to reach into the screen and slap Betty Draper. In a show so rich with other talented female characters (I'm looking at you, Peggy and Joan), you have to do a little better. Don's mistresses show more depth of character, and Joan practically set the tone for the entire show in the very first episode.

I'm sure one could chalk (Jones') Betty's bitchiness up to the character and the period and her sham of a marriage, but here's my theory: homegirl just can't act, so she's playing her(vapid)self with some fancy clothes a girdle. Sure, she's beautiful, but she lacks one redeeming or relateable quality. Even horrid villians like Ben Linus or Lord Voldy have some kind of backstory that presents a sense of plausible motivation or redeeming quality. Betty Draper is just a skirt, some eyelashes and a pout. I'm pretty convinced that's January too.

If ever I was unsure of how I felt about her as an actress, she really sealed it with her "performance" (i.e. cue card reading) on SNL last night. It's unfortunate for her that Taylor Swift--musician, not actress--killed it the week before with real humor. Miss Jones' fart jokes and empty stand-theres just fell flat. It felt like the cast was working twice as hard just to fill in the holes.


I'm kind of glad Mad Men is over for the season. I was getting tired of waiting for Betty to grow a likeable quality and tired of waiting for a plot. I hope something else good starts back up on HBO. Until then it's all you Hank Moody.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

You know what would make my day?


A comment from one of these two. Or both! Just sayin'.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let them eat cupcakes.

Time for the week(s) of celebration. Roo's turning 7!


Cupcake-themed friend birthday party?
Yes, please.


This was her first friend party. I'll admit it. I was just as nervous as she was. I just want my kid to have a good party, you know? Why haven't we had a friend party before? She's always off track when it's her birthday... plus we have about eight point two buhzillion relatives. :)


We played games...



Musical chairs...


Always a good time!





Scoop the ol' cotton balls into the bowl on your head...








Pin the heart on the cupcake...





Now she's a part of the family, officially.


Since it was a cupcake party, the invitations were little handmade (hear that? TOOT TOOT, it's my own horn) paper cupcakes, and then I baked three batches of cupcakes for them to frost and decorate.


The cupcake decorating was a hit. Mimi picked up all kinds of toppings and I made four batches of frosting. We were not short on sweets. The girls each took home a plate of cupcakes as their favor and they got to eat what they made. EASY PEASY.

Plus, who doesn't love a cupcake? We had funfetti, chocolate, and yellow. Mmm...


Mess up? Dad will eat it!


Decorating...




Birthday girl


Finished cupcakes


Apparently when you're in second grade you can just leave the party and go play with the host's toys if you feel like it. Okay... :)


Auntie, Mimi, one of the girls' parents.

(Psst. C'mere. Did any of you know about this? People bring their kids to a party, and they stay! Weird. Not expecting that. Not. At. All. It was fun, but it was a little surprise. OH MY GOD, I'M A BAD PARENT BECAUSE I NEVER TOOK MY KID TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY AND STAYED THERE MYSELF! Truth be told, she hasn't been to very many non-family birthdays yet. I stay at those, at least.)


Seven candles. One cupcake to rule them all.


Aww... I can tell she's just like her mommy. She feels awkward when people sing to her too.


OM NOM NOM... By the way, this dude had no trouble being the only boy at the party.


Ta da!


We had a great party, but I am exhausted. I guess that's normal. I went from post migraine-pausal straight to cleaning (as ML would say, the "company clean," which is so much more thorough than the "for us" clean) to making cupcakes and frosting. Exhausted! We still have her real birthday on Monday and then a family party in a few weeks. Phew!


And by the way, WHEN DID THIS KID GET TO BE SEVEN? SHE'S STILL TWO. I'm convinced.