Monday, January 29, 2007

Applesauce Association

Yesterday we had grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, with applesause on the side. My mother always fed me applesauce with my grilled cheese sandwhiches, so its just a natural association that I grew up with. I am now transfering this association to my child.

My visit home last month shed some very interesting light on this grilled-cheese-and-applesauce association. My mother served us grilled cheese sandwiches. Grandma (her mother) was sitting next to me at the table, and said, "Where's the applesauce?" (I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the applesauce tradition went back another generation.) My mom dutifully put it on the table and apologized for having forgotten it. We all then proceeded to enjoy our sandwiches with applesauce.

Then we had an interesting conversation about applesauce. Apparently, my mother got the applesauce tradition from her mother, who thought it was a good combination (and it is). Mom told me that when she was a kid, her mom always used velveeta cheese with their cheese sandwiches, and that she thought it tasted awful. She would smother her sandwich with the applesauce to mask the cheesy taste--that's what she thought it was for.

After years of growing up with applesauce next to my cheese sandwhich (not velveeta), it became a tradition for me, too, but not because I didn't like the cheese. Now I'm transfering that same applesauce association on to the next generation. Thanks Grandma!

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Dust Settles

The holidays are far behind us now. We’ve moved and everything that is going to be unpacked has been unpacked. We finally installed the child locks on the kitchen cabinets and drawers. We’ve even argued with the post office about what street we actually live on and what our mailing address really is. Yesterday we celebrated the busiest anniversary yet (our fourth), scarfing down frozen pizzas and Barq’s root beer (in stemmed glasses of course!) during the 30 minutes we were together between when Chris got off work and when he left for his first ever graduate class. In the midst of it all, we spent time on the phone hearing the details of our new niece, Jessica, who was born yesterday afternoon.

Now that we have made ourselves at home, we’ve come to the “maintenance” stage, where we need to establish a regiment for cleaning floors and bathrooms, reorganizing the pantry, and scrubbing down the stove-top. I’ve checked off all the residual Christmas to-do items from my list, introduced ourselves to the neighbors, and demonstrated my first-ever Stampin Up! workshop (a fantastic success!). 2007 has started out very busy, and I never thought I would catch up with the things on my to-do list.

Well I don’t quite know how to word this, but I think today I have nothing emergent to do. Thanks to a late night and a 10pm car ride, Leah slept until 9:00 this morning, allowing me to wake up first and eat celebratory cinnamon toast crunch by myself. I found it strange that after she was up and fed, we didn’t zoom about doing one errand or another. In fact, we didn’t even get dressed. The refrigerator was stocked, thank-you cards created and sent off, bills paid, etc. The baby was playing happily with her toys, and I found myself looking around for something important to do. My book! I needed to read my book…was that it? I guess what I am trying to say is that I was all caught up (*shudder*). There was nothing for me to do. Monday, of course, would render an entire new list of things to do. But what do I do with myself today?

I suppose if you try, you can find something that needs to be done, like dishes or laundry, or scrubbing bathroom tiles with an old toothbrush, but why would anyone want to intentionally find something to do? And, of course, you can always follow-through on good intentions such as working off that holiday weight and writing congress as a concerned citizen. I dutifully emptied the dishwasher and started a load of laundry, but that was it. My husband came home for lunch at noon, and was surprised to find the baby and me happily tickling each other, both of us in pajamas.

The error of my ways, however, was the aforementioned load of laundry. You see, when you start a load of laundry, you’ve committed yourself to transfer it to the dryer in about 45 minutes, and then to put it away once it is dry. In addition, there are always a few straggling socks that don’t make the load, so you feel obligated to start a second load, darks, requiring a third, and so forth. (Not to mention the desire for scientific efficiency, which requires that no machine be idle for more than five minutes)

So what began as a simple, no-stress, nothing-to-do day, has now become laundry day. I haven’t mentioned that putting away laundry is my least favorite thing to do. Now I’m staring at baskets upon baskets of clean clothes, all colors of the rainbow, fresh from the dryer, determined to find something better to do than put it away. (Hence, I’m writing this blog post). Chris will be coming home from work soon, so I better get dressed. In the meantime, I think I’ll start drafting that letter to congress.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Floor Life

I frequently enter my kitchen only to find my daughter scouting around under her high chair for remnants of a once-tasty meal. At any point in time, you can look under there and find an assortment of random particles such as cheerios, dried macaroni noodles, dirt-encrusted scrambled egg, and of course, the ever-present unrecognizable flecks that are so appealing to little mouths. I don’t mind her eating the cheerios, which my husband described as having a long “floor life.” But the dried ham and macaroni just doesn’t appeal to me as a next-day treat, and I can’t stand hearing the muffled crunch as she bites in expecting a reprise of yesterday’s tasty entrĂ©e. Don’t get me wrong, I try to keep my child fed and my floor clean, mostly because my daughter also thinks of pebbles and dirt clods as free game.

“Shelf life” refers to the amount of time something can be stored without going bad…like Twinkies, for example. I’ve heard that Twinkies have a shelf life of seven years. So when my husband coined the phrase “floor life” I began to wonder about which kinds of foods are remotely edible after a day or two on the floor. And why is she so anxious to pick up food remnants from the floor immediately after finishing a tasty, prepared, germ-free meal?

It seems that she is drawn magnetically to the dirtiest ones, the ones that were wet when they landed and have since collected dust and dried out, like scrambled eggs. Rice and noodles return to a dry, pre-cooked state, and she seems to like them just fine, as if I had intended to feed them to her unprepared, not to mention off of the floor. She’s always liked peas, and when eaten off the floor, they are just dehydrated. Then there is the food processed mush, the four course meal we grind into baby food consistency and feed her for dinner, and which she has never complained about. This stuff does not have any floor life. Once it hits the ground, it is immediately off limits. But of course, if she gets her little pincher grasp on a clod of this stuff, its an afternoon snack. Gross!

When does the oral fixation end? I find myself worrying that her kindergarten teacher will accuse us of neglecting to feed our child, otherwise she wouldn’t constantly be scrounging for food off the floor. After all, she is growing, despite her love of cardboard, grass, and wood chips. I’ve seen her bite into carpet, chair covers, human skin, socks, her crib, leather, hair, denim, and the list goes on. You think after one experimental bite of something repulsive, she would never try it again? Hah! If only that were true. I should be grateful that my child has a robust appetite and senseless palate—it indicates to me that she will always be willing to finish her vegetables. Can we channel this positive desire for salivary gratification onto something a bit more tasty or nourishing?

I’ve tried to avoid getting her addicted to sweets. She likes ice cream, of course, but I’ve never really fed her candy, because she doesn’t need it…its not important to learn to like sweets at an early age, as it is to like veggies. Now I worry that instead of getting her used to healthy things, I’ve assisted her in getting to like paper, dirt, and the leftovers on the floor. Does anyone have a mop I can borrow?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I'm a Winner!
Within the past two weeks, life has turned up several surprises...I started winning things. I won second place in my cousin Annie's blog poll about the worst gift I'd ever received...(My alleged "best friend" in middle school gave me facewash and tomato red lipstick for Christmas-was this some kind of message?). See my fame here.

Then, one evening while driving, I got bored and decided that since I was in the car anyway with a cell phone, I might as well call the radio station and vote to "Mix it or Nix it" about a new song. To be totally honest, I didn't care about the song at all, I just wanted to see if I would be the random caller that would win a free dinner at Sweet Tomatoes restaurant. I called in and actually got through, gave my "Mix it" response, had a friendly converstation with the DJ, and then she told me that I had won! Awesome! You know how they ask you at the end what your favorite radio station is? You really should know the answer when you call...just in case.

Do you think my winning streak will continue? Should I start playing the lottery? Nah. But this gives Chris and I the opportunity to have a nice free dinner for our anniversary. Any offers for a babysitter?

Born to Ride
Now that we have uncovered the floor in our new home, we realized it was time to assemble Leah's Little Red Wagon she got for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa S. It ocurred to me that someday we will be assembling similar toys on Christmas Eve. (And they will always take at least twice as long to assemble than you expect)

Sure enough, this morning when she descended upon our living room for the first time, she ran over to the wagon just like a little child should on Christmas Day. She can even climb into by herself...I didn't realize that until after she had done it and couldn't get back out. She was very happy to roll back and forth across the living room. We'll go for a ride tomorrow!

Nice Pick

Leah has learned to pick her nose. What kind of message are we sending her by laughing and taking pictures? Does that reinforce this kind of behavior? or create feelings of shame? Click here for the full story.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bread is the answer

This post was written following Sarah's Superlicious Post Formula

Since we started planning to move, I began using up my kitchen supplies without replenishing them, and so this weekend when I went to make cookies, I ran out of flour. I borrowed some from a friendly new neighbor and offered them cookies in exchange. So yesterday when I went to the store, I put flour on the list. A 5 or 10 pound bag would have been sufficient, but for some reason, I got a 25 pound bag. It didn't occur to me that no one has ever used an entire 25 lbs of flour. What was I thinking?

Chris helped me pour some flour into a smaller tub, and by the time we had done so, flour was falling like snow flurries onto our eyelashes. I then began to realize that if I'm going to fulfil my role in preserving our environment, I better start making my own bread.

If we continue to rape our environment of its natural resources, our children will be forced to purchase the right to breathe clean air as if it were a commodity. We are constantly stealing water from fresh springs so we can indulge in things like "bottled water," and we are are cutting down trees 'to make toilet paper that we are never going to use' (quoted from an actual college student's essay). Instead we should be sitting in the dark and watching trees grow for our entertainment, eating organic foods to discourage the use of poisonous pesticides, and while you're at it, you might as well live in a tent and live off the land where you dont use (and therefore waste) any energy by doing such repulsive things as shaving, wearing clothes, or driving a car.
(Check out this guy's interesting list of tips:

Computers are, of course, out of the question, since they obviously are a waste of energy. Doh!

Now I'm overcome with guilt: I take a shower at least once a week, am filling landfills with half a dozen of my daughter's manufactured diapers daily, and can't seem to live comfortably in January without a furnace running. Wouldn't you think that global warming would be a good thing if it means that some day we wont have to heat our homes because we no longer suffer from winter? It is an environmental quagmire of exorbitant proportions.

Home-made bread warms the heart and soul, and is the solution to all our environmental problems.

All this talk about what a drain I am on our environment has made me depressed, and instead of making homemade bread, all I really want to do is make chocolate chip cookies and soak in the tub with the stereo blaring. C'est la Vie.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Pack a punch

We finally got Chris's punching station assembled. It's really cool! I got punching bag and speedbag lessons, and I like it! I think I will actually enjoy using it along with Chris. We did make a trip to Sam's because we doubted that assembly was possible, and made many references to the digital pix we took. What I wonder is how they figured it out.

What is truly amazing is that Chris and I were working together and we weren't getting mad at each other. I was holding pliers on one end of a bolt while he was tightening, and we both looked at each other and said, "Huh! We're working together and we like it!" It's only taken us four years to figure this out! I distinctly remember our first Christmas as a married couple (and we'd been married nearly a year), trying to screw hooks onto the back of a picture frame so we could hang it with a metal wire. We got so frustrated with each other and with the thing, that we fumed and took to separate rooms. We were just on separate wavelenghts, had two different ideas of how it should be done, and weren't effectively communicating those ideas. I'm not trying to imply that we now communicate perfectly, but in situations where misunderstandings that, once upon a time, would have made each of us get defensive and forlorn, we now just have the other person clarify what they want, need, or expect. What a difference that makes! Now I can see how my parents, who have been married for 35 years, dont get huffy with each other when as an observer, I would have expected it. And yet they still don't read each others' minds.

The truly sad part is that now that we have finally figured out how to work together, Chris may not have as much negative energy to take out on the punching bag.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A place for everything

Per popular request, here is a photo tour of our new home. Disclaimer: it's still full of boxes; we are not really this messy.

This is my family room. It has attractive faux wood floor (which, by the way, gets dirty really easily and makes the baby do splits when she's wearing slippery socks...we're working on getting an area rug). We are still trying to figure out how to arrange our furniture, too. Next to the front door are the stairs to the upper floor, and on the right edge of the frame are the stairs to the lower floor. Next to the stairs is a powder room with a sleek pedestal sink, and next to that, a coat closet. We have really high ceilings...there are 14 steps on the staircases instead of the standard 13. Baby likes to go up. She hasn't figured out going down yet (well at least not intending to go down).

This is the beautiful archway into my kitchen. I love the red walls! Behind the curtains are sliding doors to my very own BACK YARD! There is even a hose and grill out there for us to use! I think this summer we'll get one of this little kiddie pools!

Timp from my back step...this was taken today!

Here's my kitchen. There is a planter window above my sink...not the best view of an empty field, but better than a junk yard like what was behind our last place. My kitchen is not terribly big, but several things make it way better than my last kitchen: the cupboards are tall enough for the tall stuff, the dishwasher is built in, the kitchen does not double as the laundry room, I have one of those spray hoses at the sink (I've never had one before!), and last but not least, a HUGE pantry!!! I dont know what to do with all the pantry space! (I'm sure I'll figure it out, but in the meantime, I'm accepting donations of canned goods and other nonperishables). I've actually already had the chance to scrub down my stove since moving in...we had a little gravy mishap.

Going down the stairs, this is the main room. The opposite wall features built in shelves...very nice! Chris is working on assembling his new punching station, which, by the way, is way bigger than I thought. He got it for Christmas from his Mom. Since the picture was taken, Chris discovered that there are several pieces that do not assemble correctly and that the directions are awful (but should that surprise us?). Tomorrow we plan to visit Sam's Club and take a picture of the display model, and invite whoever it was that assembled the display model to dinner and then have them put ours together. Poor Chris...he was really hoping to punch off some of that energy tonight (or should I say Holiday fudge...which he tells me he didn't get enough of). Instead of getting a workout, he got angry.

The door on the left goes into the next room, which will be featured shortly. Not pictured next to that door is my laundry room with a throne and stall shower. Hooray! Laundry not in my kitchen. Chris likes the idea of using the shower after working out. (By the way, today I did FOUR loads of laundry and have to put it all away tomorrow). Next to that door is the cupboard under the stairs where we keep Harry Potter, I mean storage. Storage!

This is the next room over. (This is where I currently sit!) It will have our computer desks, a folding table for stamping and other crafts (I am currently exhibiting signs of withdrawl while it is all in boxes), and has a nice big closet for other stuff not yet determined. We are hoping to also get a futon in here eventually that will allow us to entertain houseguests comfortably! I'm going to put a curtain on the window well because its cold! Let me say, going without internet for nearly a week was super hard! We finally got it hooked up today which is why I'm blogging this narrative.

Going back upstairs, we now visit the top floor. This is a linen closet. What a concept! I've never had a linen closet before! To the right is the baby's room, and to the left our bedroom and the bathroom.

This is the baby's room. It is very blue. We plan to paint white clouds and put up curtains. We finally put together the crib this evening, which is why you still see a portable crib in here (I almost think she sleeps better in the portable one because her binky can't fall on the floor and get lost). To the right is another nice big closet with nothing in it yet...again, donations accepted. The big fancy window is the front of the home.

Another view of the baby's room so you can see how big and empty and blue it is right was sleeping when I took this one.

This is our HUGE bathroom! Behind the door is yet another closet! I am just loving all this storage space! I think it really makes the difference when you want to have an organized home and life: a place for everything and everything in it's place. This was the first room that I put effort and money into decorating...I got new towels, a shower curtain (don't try going without it...big flood) and swanky new red rugs.

Here is our humble bedroom. We don't have a bedframe or a dresser, so the walk in closet shelves have been dedicated to holding boxes of unmentionables as if they were in drawers. (And we suffer no shortage of boxes...remember that lovely powder room on the first floor?...full of boxes right now!)

That's the end of the tour! Now that we have established that there is indeed a place for everything, we commence the great task of putting everything in its place! How did we fit all this stuff into a two bedroom apartment with no storage space?