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Monday, November 30, 2009

the thanksgiving pig?

Nope. We didn't eat pork. Nor did we eat like pigs. We ate very little as it turns out.

We were visited by the pig. As in the swine.

We've been very careful. But it snuck in like a chilly winter draft under the front door, unseen and unwelcomed.

And there we were Thanksgiving weekend with high fevers, coughing, headaches, sore throats and crying (the girls and the moms).

Thrown into quarantine, we did what anyone would do.

We decorated for Christmas.

Even the pets got involved.

Ella had a little spa time while Maya (who was the sickest of us all) napped.

And then, stealing Emilie's idea for making gingerbread houses with graham crackers, we set to work.

Painting mini ice cream cones with glaze and rolling them in coconut for snow:

Ella's masterpiece. I'm pretty sure we lost an entire jar of pink sugar to this construction.

My work of confectionery art. Ella would leave the table and then come back: "You still working Momma? I guess I'll do some more too." And on would go more sugar and chocolate chips.

I have no idea how Sandi pulled this off with Maya on her lap. Perhaps it was because Maya was more interested in putting the candy in her mouth than on the house.

We only took pictures of the fun and kept the camera in hiding for the ugly side of being stuck inside with sickness. Overall, I think we rallied well, with moms not needing the prescription called in for Tamiflu and only one trip to the doctor to rule out strep and scarlet fever (!) for Maya. I was under the weather all weekend with an upset belly, general yuck feeling and a body wanting badly to have a fever. All in all, I performed a magic trick on the wood pile so that it disappeared, got the dead, brown skeletons of my perennial garden down and now we are ready for our gaudy outdoor Christmas decorations. I am so much tougher as a person being a mom than I was before. Sick? Well, if I'm not going to be asleep in bed, why can't I load a little wood?
Dear Carver immune systems,
Do you think we could be done with heavy sickness for the year? Please?


We have these hefty lag bolts in the support beams of our living room. I can explain. They were installed to support a yoga sling (for inversions and handstands and such- you know, just the usual living room accoutrements) years ago when we did things like hang upside down and enjoy a quiet moment. Then they became a handy anchor for my exercise bands used in P90X to do pull downs. After watching me do said exercises for a number of months, Ella decided she wanted to have a go at it.

At which point she realized that if she used the band with the most resistance, it rendered her airborne.

And she has gotten quite good.

It has become an everyday event, with tickets sold to anyone who wishes to sit in the living room (umm, I mean theater) and watch the acrobats. The bands hanging alongside her are for Maya who is in training.

These were the performances given when the Tylenol and Ibuprofen were working at it's best...

Big finish.

Monday, November 23, 2009

oh, I just don't know

Here are some loose associations for you all:

1. I want to personally thank 2 of my 5 dedicated blog readers for noting my grammatical error in my spelling of Haiku. I actually have no idea how I managed this because I know it is not a Haiko but I appreciate being called on the carpet. It has been rectified.

2. I want to make sure everyone knows the sardonic nature of my comments about my running speed. When I looked at my half-marathon results I was very humbled to know that I came in 515th place, that the winner crossed 55 minutes before me, had time to eat pizza, stretch, shower and learn German before I crossed the finish line and that the top finishers ran between a 6 and 7 minute mile THE WHOLE TIME!

3. On a similar note, we drove past a woman running yesterday, looking strong and striding along and Ella said, "Momma that's what you look like when you run." God love her.

4. Ella came home from school the other day and told me that since bats are essentially blind they find each other and their food using "echolocation" in caves. And once again, I fell in love with Highland Preschool.

5. I am that woman now, of that age, of that mindset... when we went to the grocery store this afternoon and I saw two male Hannaford employees outside at the staff picnic table yell to another young guy driving by at a crawl with his windows down, rap music pumping "Hey, Joseph you faggot!" I yelled to them, without even thinking, "Hey, let's watch the faggot talk OK?" They hung their heads in shame and mumbled apologies, likely fearful for their jobs, and all that was missing was a "Sorry, Mrs. Carver."

6. Ella made a picture the other day and hung on the window in the living room. Facing out. "It's for the world. It says, 'I love you world.'"

7. Ella had a complete meltdown the other day because her new Hello Kitty purse did not match either of her winter coats. Now Maya will only wear clothes with pockets. And I wonder how this all went so terribly wrong.

8. Ella just came in to me and said, "I'm the nicest person in the world." And the most humble... And that was followed by, "It's a miracle. Skyler was here to visit yesterday and Brady is coming today. It's magical."

9. I am a mom. That means I have snotty tissues in my pocket. I carry dum-dums in my purse to tame the lions. I get kisses on top of my head when Maya rides my shoulders. I park on the sixth floor of the parking garage just so my kids can walk through the super echoey hallway and play "rollarcoaster" on the trip down the ramps. It means I eat discarded crust off bread for breakfast and sleep on a twin sized mattress next to a five-year-old for hours so she can stop coughing. It means I know which stores have the most awesome carts and will do almost anything to score one. It means Sandi and I spend our dates shopping for our children, eat meals with kids crawling on us, and somtimes go into a room in our house, shut the door and wonder how long before they find us.

Being a mom also means crying yourself silly as you lay next to your newly minted five-year-old on the night of her birthday wondering how she could be growing so fast. It means not being able to get enough of Maya's "morny momma" in her deep base voice and can't stop gazing at her tender blond curls and pointing them out to anyone who will look. It means embracing the silvery stretch marks tattooing the skin under my belly, getting really good at pretending to like wooden play food, and having strong arms more from wrangling and less from push-ups. It means running to save my sanity, thinking that sleeping until 6 is sleeping in, believing 9 pm is a reasonable bedtime for an adult, and often writing children's books and speaking in rhyme in my head.

10. I am a family member so that means that I go a baptism because I love my niece and nephew even though I am incredibly angry at about 75% of churches right now. It means that I work (and sometimes I work really, REALLY hard) to extend love instead of anger. It means I call my mom on it when she double dips her shrimp in the cocktail sauce at a party during swine flu season. It means that I can call my sister in the middle of the night and she will always be more concerned with how I am than the sleep that she is losing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

turtelly beautiful

I made a double chocolate turtle cake.

It was a thing of beauty.

Until it slipped from its glass thrown on the floor of the car as I pulled into Mindy and Charissa's driveway.

(I'm no expert but I feel maybe I just composed a Haiku?)

trading asphalt for rubber

I've been wondering how I am going to run this winter.

What with the tricky lungs I've got, the treacherous ice and the pesky darkness we can't seem to escape, it seemed I was going to have to dig deep and run with ice gripers, ski mask and headlamp like last January.

Or trade in and go to the gym.


I don't really like the gym. And I like the treadmill even less. I like to move my body OUTSIDE, oxygenate my lungs with whatever ozone-free air I can find and have new scenery every quarter mile or so.

But something funny happened this week. I got on the Carver's treadmill, purely out of need, and found that I could do tempo workouts (my new found ass-kicker to try to improve my speed) on the treadmill (pre-programmed even!) and have little digital numbers tell my of my profound speed. It pretty well beat the pants off the sprint-to-the-next-telephone-poll strategy I had been utilizing.

And then Sandi told me about the Kids Klub.

Do other people know about this? Apparently yes because it was crawling with kids.

Listen to this: I can go to the gym to run WHILE SANDI IS AT WORK and SOMEONE ELSE WATCHES MY KIDS! For $4 for an hour or $6 for two!!!!

Okay, this is all great incentive and all but it is still the gym and I still will be a hamster on a wheel. To help matters not at all, a guy gave me the slow once over when I stepped foot in the door (flanked in children, no less) and then when I went to sign up (Sandi had it all pre-arranged and it was to be oh, so easy) the woman behind the desk said this: "Well, you and she aren't really together, you know what I mean?" even after I had told her Sandi was my partner. This just made me want to jump off the second level into the racquetball court below such is my continued sadness over the loss of marriage rights.

But then I dropped the very excited girls with a slightly sketchy looking teenager and hit the treadmill. It helped that I knew I was right there if they needed me. It helped that I suddenly became truly eager to pump some iron and stay for 2 hours next time. It helped immensely that I was running, albeit on a treadmill, without my children during a time I would normally be trying to contain their craziness at home.

It helped the most that I ran intervals under an 8 minute mile. And I ran faster than the guy next to me.

our future meteorologist

Ella was watching the morning news with her grandfather the other morning. I walked into the room and she said: "We won't be having any wet weather until tomorrow."

Good to know.

Then tomorrow came as did the wet weather.

"Its like the clouds are shaking the water right out of them."

Monday, November 16, 2009

culinary miracles

Alternate titles for this post:

"Never again."

"Crumbs or castles?"

"Why does it look like we started drinking but have no buzz?"

"Just how crazy are we actually?"

"Do you think Frank's bakery will take pity on us in the morning if we show this to them?"

"Is 4.5 pounds of confectioner's sugar on a child's birthday cake a crime?"

I started early enough. Making cakes. Freezing them. All in hopes to avoid the dreaded crumb layer when frosting.

We got the kids to bed, laid out every conceivable pink candy we had found, I started whipping up butter cream frosting, Sandi slicing cake into shapes she had sketched like an architect to form a grand castle.

The party was the next afternoon. We delusionally thought we might have time to snuggle on the couch and watch Grey's Anatomy.

It was 8:06.

And everything started to crumble.

Some light swearing. Some doubt from Sandi countered with some bullheaded determination of my own.

We actually ran out of glue, I mean frosting (after 4 pounds!) and Sandi had to run to the store.

In order to cover up the mess, I started piping purple. Seemed like a good idea. Seemed like the ONLY idea.

Finally, a metamorphosis. From shack to castle.

And finally...all clean...

And up to bed...
Miracles do happen...

And the squeals and smiles were worth every hand-cramping minute.

"Happy! Happy!"

Since our girls have birthdays a mere 3 weeks apart, and while Maya is old enough to refuse elbow pasta in favor of rotini and crocs in favor of sneakers, she still doesn't care about sharing things like birthdays with her big sister.

In response to all this birthday celebration, Maya walks around the house, shaking her crazy head of blond curls, throwing her arms in the air saying "Happy! Happy!"

And so it was that on a warm November Saturday, we were lucky enough to have some of the people we love most in the world (minus several who were out of town) come and celebrate our girls turning 2 and 5.

We gave out individual bottles of hand sanitizer to keep sickness at bay and set off to plunge germ-free little hands into bowls of pretzels, chips and popcorn.

Maya and Anna, as usual, looking like a couple of old ladies.

Charissa and Emerson.

Brevie chilling away from the fray on Grampy's shoulders.

Love this pic of Sam and Emilie.

The Smiths. I said, "I love this picture of them." Ella replied, "I love this picture of Matt." I'm beginning to think that both our girls have a crush on Matt. Too bad girls, he's all Ange's.

Even Coconut enjoyed the festivities.

But really the best part? To which Ella said, "This is the best present I've ever gotten!" Nope, not a pony. A bounce house!! A gift from the girls' grandparents for them to keep (and to make every parent's dream of a padded room that much closer!) and set up in our bedroom for the occasion. As we stuffed our end tables in the closet and smooshed our bed up against the wall, I thought, "Who does this?" Ummm.... we do....

Such fun...

Monday, November 9, 2009

the first half...

Let me just start by saying I get it. I get why people race. Why it is SO much more fun than going out your doorstep and cruising 12 miles around your town. There is a chance I may be hooked.

What would you ask for when you are doing your first real half-marathon?

An almost summer-type day in November?

Three of your dearest friends running too?

Your kids happily taken care of by your partner who got the day off work to be there with you and took all kinds of great pictures?

A beach for a playground for them to play on?

How about 1200 women to run alongside you?

A body that felt just the right amount of strong and rested, able and willing?

How about if you got all of it?

A three hour drive, a little bit of nerves, the sun rising high with the promise of warmth, a happy albeit, un-napped toddler...we head into the gym to find these incredible women. Sandi said, "Can I just say how lucky I feel that I have friends who run marathons?!" (Author's note: these women are all members of the other 3 families that we feel at least somewhat responsible for moving to Hampden.)

Ready to go.

We are all excited and anxious to start. Mindy, the real trooper of the day, had been battling flu-like symptoms for the past 24 hours.

Maya getting a good view from up on Charissa's shoulders. Plus it had the added benefit of us not needing use the dog's leash to keep her with our group.

First few minutes of the race it was a thick sea of women (there was a lottery and "one lucky guy" got to race with us.) Mindy was there but hiding behind someone. In front of us, the back of one woman's shirt said, "Marriage inequality is so gay." Awesome.

Our cheering squad. Packed in the stroller and ready for the first stop cheering spot.
Mile 3.5. Mindy looking amazingly strong for her poor, flu-riddled body. I was ridiculously happy and high-fiving everyone and anyone that was willing. I told Mindy I felt like a parasite feeding off the crowd. She said it was a symbiotic relationship but I'm pretty sure I took more than I gave.

Meredith and Emilie looking strong. (This is Emilie of just finished the San Francisco Marathon 3 weeks ago-and my running muse-and Meredith who is doing her first marathon in February.)

No joke- this was our view...

Time for the kids to ditch the running moms and go play!

Can I bottle this joy please?

And then back in the stroller to be cheerleaders... bummer.

Mile 8.

This is where poor Mindy started to really struggle. There was not enough water on the course, for anyone, but especially for her already dehydrated body. I opted out of the photo of her looking like she was suffering. (Hope that is okay Min. Scroll down for your moment of glory.)

What we were all aiming to get into our line of vision...

Here they are, all glammed up. Check out Emerson's cheek. It looks like a tatoo you would find on a guy who smokes cigarretts, listens to classic rock, and has longer hair that you do.

I finished in 2 hrs. 15 minutes. Very proud.

Here come Emilie and Meredith. That is me holding my arm out. I was REALLY excited. Their time was 2 hrs. 22 min.

And pulling it from who knows where...

Looking strong and fantastic (and probably wondering where the closest bed was to crawl into) Mindy came across a mere 15 minutes later. Tough as nails.

What more can I say?

How about Memorial Day weekend 2010. Vermont. Full Marathon.

That is why the blog header says "Start." This is only the beginning.
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