Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

Last night at dinner MM randomly said "Do you know which mammal has the largest penis?" to which LM replied "sperm whale?" which then set off a discussion about giant penises (penii?). Don't ask questions.

Anyway, about halfway through PB all of a sudden says "Penis? Penis? Penis?" to which I replied "You want peanuts? Sorry, we don't have any." Ever since she's been running around the house yelling "Penis!" which I pretend is "peanuts", so my head doesn't explode.

The good new is, this is a lesson to MM, who didn't realize toddlers repeated everything you said. Every.thing.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ashes to Ashes

My grandfather passed away two weeks ago today. He'd been ill for several months, but it escalated pretty quickly. February 15th he went into the hospital with severe stomach pains and 1 day shy of two weeks later he was gone. I was very fortunate to have a close relationship with him. I spent a lot of time with him the last six months and especially during the two weeks he was in the hospital.

He told me he had no regrets about how he lived his life. 82 years and no regrets. I think that's a wonderful thing. He was himself right up to the end, cracking jokes and trying to make everyone else feel better. He was my favorite.

Since he passed I've stayed busy helping my grandmother settle some things, making final arrangements for him, etc. It's kept me from thinking too much about him being gone. I had a really hard time today, though.

He was very insistent that he didn't want a funeral. We had a wake - of sorts - the weekend he passed, but my grandmother had his body cremated as he wished, with no services planned. Today we were called to pick up his remains.

In 82 years, that man touched more people than he could ever have imagined. He always had a smartass comeback or dirty joke in his pocket, but he was also a no-bullshit kind of guy. The day before he passed his eye doctor stopped in to see him. He wasn't doing well at all then, but he roused when she came in the room. She said "you know you're my favorite, right?" and he said "I better be". She was sincere when she said it, too, and I know she isn't the only one. He was amazing.

Which is why I think I was so affected today when we picked up his ashes and they handed us a small cardboard box. Those ashes don't tell the story of the man he was. No one looking at the nondescript brown box could guess at the life of the man or the love he gave his family. 57 years of marriage and 7 kids. 34 grandchildren and 12 great-grandkids. Years of hard work. Pain and anger. Suffering and heartbreak. Honesty and integrity. Joy and laughter. Love.

82 years of life reduced to 5lbs of dust.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


This past year has been pretty high-stress. MM took a new position at work. He's really happy with the move, but the hours are crazy. So is the training. In August he left for 6 consecutive weeks in Alabama. The year leading up to that was filled with classes and trips away.

Just before that, my grandpa got really sick. He had a giant mass at the base of his colon that turned out to be a cancerous tumor the size of a large melon. He had to have surgery to have it removed. Afterward it was discovered he had lymphoma. Because I'm a stay-at-home-mom and my schedule is more flexible that the rest of my family's, I spent months taking him to appointments and sleeping at the hospital with him. Bless my grandma - who is a strong woman - for taking care of him on her own. It isn't easy to see someone you love in such a weakened state. I'm happy to report he came through the surgery well, but he still hasn't fully recovered. He declined chemo and is doing fairly well for the moment, but we know it's temporary. Cancer doesn't just go away on its own.

My sister got engaged in 2012 and asked me to be her maid of honor. The wedding was this past October and there was a ton of planning and work that went into it. I love my sister dearly and I was honored she asked me, but there's no way in hell I'm doing that again. Good thing her and her new husband are perfect for each other.

 Having a toddler is more work than I remember it being. It's wonderful, of course, but I'd forgotten how busy toddlers are. Especially when there's no one around but me to distract her.

TG and LM are both in high school now. TG is taking 4 AP classes plus Pre-Calc and does marching band and swim. Her schedule is so busy half the time I can't keep up with it. LM is taking honors classes and Algebra II. He does soccer and track. Between the two of them I'm run ragged...not just because of sports but also keeping them on track.

For some reason they both decided to drop the ball this year. I have a strong suspicion LM purposely tried to fail his honors classes because none of his friends are in the advanced classes. Due to the way the school schedule works, he doesn't have lunch with them either. I'm pretty sure he thought if he screwed up enough he'd get dropped from the classes and be able to hang with his friends. Of course that wasn't an option, but it took him longer than it should have to figure that out. TG was doing great until about a month in. Then she missed a couple assignments here and a couple there and before I knew it her grades went from A's to D's.

For two extremely intelligent children, their grades are pretty damn ugly. A month ago I completely gave up on trying to get them to A's and B's and started focusing on getting them to pass, something I've never had to worry about from either of them before. Sure, we had brushes with C's in the past, but neither child has ever had a D. much less an F. Until this year. I never thought I'd actually be excited to see a D from either of them, but hell if I didn't give a little cry of joy when I saw LM's English grade went from a 55% to a 61%.

We hosted the holidays again this year (something we've done for 6 or 7 years). Both MM's family and mine came to our house for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had 20-25 people for each. Since MM's grandfather is allergic to dust and dog hair and we live in the dessert and have 3 dogs, it's a major undertaking getting the house ready. Each room has to be cleaned from ceiling to floor. Fixtures, furniture, walls, floors and everything in between get scrubbed. Closets get cleaned out and organized. It's a PITA, but we enjoy having our family around so we make the effort. Of course there's the cooking to do once all the cleaning is done, but we won't talk about that.

Added to that - because that isn't enough - I've been in a weird funk. I don't know what happened to me, but last year (at the end of 2012, really) I just..disconnected. I lost whole blocks of time. I would look at the clock at 3pm and not know what happened to 1:00 or 2:00. I lost track of our finances and the household chores. By the time I realized it was something more serious than just the winter blues things had spiraled completely out of control, including my mental state. It was a major blow to realize I'd dropped the ball so much.

That's something I still haven't fully recovered from. I worked with my doctor and started taking an antidepressant, which helped tremendously, but I still don't feel like myself. The worst part is that I no longer trust my own feelings. Did MM really stop over the line with that comment or am I just blowing something small out of proportion? The truth is, I don't know. I don't know if what I'm thinking and feeling is a result of outside circumstances or my mind playing tricks on me.

The end of the semester is tomorrow and marching band and soccer have ended. My sister is married, the holidays are past and we're in a holding pattern with my grandpa's health. All of that means I can take a much needed breath. Except it isn't that easy. TG is starting swim and PB is potty training and MM is working crazy hours and..I'm still emotionally a mess.

So what now? I don't know. I guess I just keep going. One day at a time. Until I figure out a new normal.

If that's even possible.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Mac-n-Cheese Squared

*I'm sort of just using this blog to post a recipe so I can share it with Twitter. I may come back to it someday, but I'm too overwhelmed with family stuff and my obligations to Book Binge. I'm on Twitter off and on if you want to keep up with me there!

This is my take on Yard House's (mac+cheese)2. For those of you who haven't experienced the awesomeness of (mac+cheese)2, I feel sorry for you. Luckily you can have something similar by trying out this recipe.

Warning: This isn't even remotely healthy. Trying to make it healthy will compromise the integrity of the recipe. I suggest using this as one of those once-in-awhile omg-who-needs-arteries type meals.

The great thing about the Yard House dish is the mushrooms and truffle oil. Because I'm cheap, I don't buy truffle oil. And because my family hates mushrooms, I only add a small bit of diced to the dish. It isn't as good as the real thing, but it's close enough.

You can use just about any cheese combination. Whatever you have in your fridge is fine. I would recommend using at least 4oz of Velveeta (or another processed cheese) to add creaminess and 2-4oz cream cheese for flavor. Even if you don't like swiss, it's a must. It gives the dish depth. Trust me. I wouldn't lie to you.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 2/3 cups milk
3/4 cup shredded fontina or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack
4oz cream cheese
4oz Velveeta
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
8 slices lean bacon
1/2 cup of diced mushrooms (I use baby bellas. They give it awesome flavor)
1/4 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 chicken breasts, cubed
6 cups cooked pasta (about 3 cups uncooked) your choice (I generally use rotini or penne)
Cooking spray
1  cup breadcrumbs (I like sourdough, but you can use whatever you want/have)
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, softened


Preheat oven to 375°.

Fry bacon in a large skillet. Remove from pan once cooked and drain on a paper towel, then crumble. Add mushrooms to the bacon grease in the pan and saute 1-2 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and add cubed chicken pieces; saute 3-5 minutes until cooked through. (Yes, cook mushrooms and chicken in bacon grease. I TOLD you it was bad for you)

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a large saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Add cheeses; cook 3 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently (add more milk if sauce is too thick). Remove from heat; stir in macaroni, chicken, mushrooms, salt, pepper and half the crumbled bacon.

Spoon mixture into a 13x9 casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over mixture, then pour melted butter over the top. Bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle remaining bacon bits over the dish and serve hot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Princess Bowie!

*I scheduled this for yesterday but for some reason it didn't post. I'm posting it a day late instead.

Today PB turned one. I can't believe its been a year already. She's a very adventurous baby. She gets into everything and lately she's all about climbing. She climbs up bookcases, on tables and even uses her little chair as a stool. She's giving me gray hair.

She still isn't walking. She takes a few steps then gets scared and sits down. It makes me laugh how fearless she is when going up, yet she's a big fraidy cat going forward. She's adorable.

Still, it seems like yesterday when she was small ans cuddly. Or having a fit about Tummy Time. Or learning to roll over, then crawl. MM and I are both a little depressed today. It's definitely bittersweet.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Princess Bowie: 10 Months

Sometimes I share pictures of the baby on Twitter. This is one I posted to mark 10 months. Isn't she the most adorable baby ever? She has so much personality.

Can you believe she's now 11 months. On November 19 she'll turn 1. It's kind of drepessing.

She's super clever. This week she started standing on her own. As in, she'll stand up from sitting on the floor without using anything to pull herself up. I know she'll be walking soon. Which is also depressing. I'm not ready!

She loves to dance. Her newest favorite jam is Gangnam Style. She squeals and gets down every time it comes on. So funny.

She is still one of the happiest babies I've ever seen. She rarely fusses. We are seriously blessed.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

When Ted Attacks

(I could go into a long, drawn out explanation of why I haven't been blogging this past year. Instead I'm going to sum it up in a sentence - I had a baby. 'Nuff said. Rather than doing a series of posts catching you on my life, I'm just going to jump right back into it. For two reasons. 1) I'm lazy. 2) I have a baby.)

A couple of years ago MM and I went on a cruise with some of our friends (I think 6 other couples?). During our "at sea" day, I decided to relax in our room while MM went out and met our friends. We agreed to meet on the Lido deck at an arranged time. Only that never came to be. I waited on the deck forever. Then I wandered the ship - periodically checking our stateroom - before finally giving up and finding the bar (alcohol makes everything better, right?). 

I'm not going to lie - I was really annoyed with MM at the time. Hello, he abandoned me on a freaking cruise ship! And I just knew he was with our friends..somewhere. Eventually we did meet up and he said they'd been hanging out on the adults only deck (the only one I didn't check, of course), watching the sunset. He said they thought of me, however, and I shouldn't be too upset that I missed watching it with them. 

They were helpful and took a picture. 

He said this way we could photoshop me in. "It'll be just like you were there, babe!". He thinks he's so funny. (but he's totally not)

Flash forward to a couple months ago. MM and I went and saw Ted in the theater on Date Night. Seriously, one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time (though kind of bogged down and a little weird in the middle). We laughed for days. When we got home MM found a Ted app for his phone. It had quotes from the movie and who knows what else (I just rolled my eyes at him). 

One of the features of the app? Putting Ted in your pictures. I bet you can see where this is headed. 

Oh yeah. Replaced by Ted. 

Thanks babe. I'm feeling the love.

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