Monday, December 31, 2007


Completely gratuitous picture. Just to get you interested in this crazy long post.

It's New Years Eve? What? M pointed out yesterday that New Years Day means it will no longer be the year that our little munchkin was born. That might not seem odd to, say, Feathernester or my friend K, whose children were born in November and December, but mine was born in January. I've had almost a whole year of it being the calendar year in which she was born.

People, January starts tomorrow. A new year. The year when she turns ONE. Are you picking up on the fact that I'm hyperventilating? Just a little? Wow. It's insane how quickly everything is happening. She walks everywhere now. She "talks." She eats anything and everything you put in front of her. She is a real kid. Kind of. What happened to my baby? I can't imagine what this feels like to people who have kindergarteners or high schoolers or babies getting married and having babies of their own. Dang. Bring on the Prozac now. I'm going to need it.

Moving prevent my need to find a paper sack to breathe into.

The New Year, as always, brings its demand for resolutions. I batted .500 with my 2007 resolutions. I did lose the baby weight...and my boobs, but that's another issue entirely. (Sorry for the nausea tsunami that just hit the GIS Department at FMSM/Stantec.) Otis, however, got the short end of the deal. He's pretty lucky to get walked twice a week. Lucky. I can't walk him on my own when I take S out as he pulls too badly despite training and a gentle leader, so he can only be walked when M is home. As M leaves for work at 6:30 in the morning and S still wakes for a morning feeding between 5:30 and 6, I'd have to get up at 5 to walk him. Not happening. I am selfish. Then...M's dad comes over for dinner when M gets home from work between 6 and 6:30...then the kitchen has to be cleaned and S goes to bed at 7:30. The other option is that I could walk him after S is asleep, which means walking him around 8. Again, I'm selfish. I'm pooped by that point, plus it's winter, meaning it's cold and very dark at 8pm. That means that Otis gets walks on the weekends. I feel horrible having typed out that explanation for my poor dog-parenting. I'm basically admitting that I'm too lazy to wake up early or go out late to walk my sweet pup. I'll try harder in '08.

All that brings me to the upcoming year. Like everyone (I think) abstract goals are easy to come by. Be a good wife and mother. Be healthier. Continue the green crusade. Concrete is hard, though. We started one resolution already...cutting out soda. I wanted to eliminate it from the house entirely, but Mr. P drinks it with dinner, and M said I shouldn't penalize his dad with my resolutions. While I still believe M's padre would be better off drinking water with his dinner, too, I've kept soda in the fridge for him. For now. I'd rather not have it in the house as S gets older. So, for now, I'll stick to no sodas in the house for me. I've got 365 days to go. I've also decided that (abstract goal) we are going to start treating our health as an investment. M and I have no problems saving money and foregoing things that we may want when we are working towards financial goals like buying cars or houses or paying for vacations. We're downright good at it. We tend to neglect ourselves, though. To make it easier on us, I've decided that we should start looking at taking care of ourselves as another investment...the time and money that we put into it now will save us money and resources later. Plus, I can think of it as an environmentally friendly investment. The more medical problems we can head off now...the less energy and packaging for medicines and medical treatments later. To try and be more concrete about that goal I want to make sure that we are each eating at least three superfoods a day. I also want to try the walking the dog thing again. Plus, I'd like to practice yoga at least twice a week. Yoga is easy enough to fit in during S's naps. I just have to remember that my health is as important as the dishes in the dishwasher. M has to remember that his health is more important than (I know, I totally just called you out.)

I have to get in the shower. I've got things to do today, peeps. Have a happy and safe New Year. I'll see you on the flip side.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

happy christmas

What a perfectly perfect day. S woke up a little early, but that's okay. We had lots of fun checking out the loot from Santa and from friends. Then we decided to start a new P family Christmas tradition, and we took a walk just after we finished opening gifts and eating some Blueberry Cranberry Muffins, which were very yummy. The walk was great, and it was nice to be outside on such a quiet and peaceful morning. We only saw two people...a dad warming up the car and Max (a friend's son) trying out his new skateboard. For the record, he wiped out immediately. M and I had a relaxing middle of the day, slowly getting Christmas dinner ready. We pigged out at 3, and now we're chilling out with Mr. P while S takes a nap. It's been an absolutely wonderful day. I hope yours have been great, too. Here are some pics...

Santa only comes to see little girls with good oral hygiene.

The loot.

Playing the ladybug xylophone.

Wondering where it all went wrong.


Bundled up for a Christmas stroll.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

i go out walking...

You have my sincerest apologies for not posting recently. I know your holidays have been incomplete without your daily dose of all-things Ouiser. It's been busy around here. You know how it is.

Despite our having been running all over this week, we haven't had much going on. Last Sunday night, S hosted her first dinner party for her friends AJG and ALB (and their parents). It was lots and lots of fun. We hadn't had a chance to get the babies together since they all three became mobile, so it was great to watch them all together. ALB was especially interested in Otis as she doesn't have a dog. You'll notice in the picture that he was at the center of everything.The big news...if you can imagine bigger news than the infant dinner party...S is WALKING!! That's right, I said walking. Upright. On her feet. On her own. She only goes a few steps, but she's doing it, and it's so funny to watch. Hopefully, I'll have some video to post soon. That, of course, implies that I'll figure out how to do it. We'll see. Maybe you should just imagine S walking and then be pleasantly surprised if I post video. Yeah, try that.

Anyway, happy Saturday, peeps. If you're traveling for Christmas, be safe...

Friday, December 14, 2007

ready, set, go...

Is the weekend really almost here? What happened to all the days like Wednesday this week? It seems like yesterday that I was lamenting to my FIL that, "this has been a long weekend." The P family has quite a bit to accomplish this weekend. Lots of cleaning up to do around the house because Santa doesn't visit messy houses, and I'd hate to miss Santa. We're also having a little dinner party Sunday night, so I've got some grocery shopping and some cooking to do. And Mr. P needs a haircut in a bad, bad way. Pretty soon he could go the Flock of Seagulls route. Not really an appropriate look for an older man. Or a man not living in 1985. Oh, in other news...S sort of walked yesterday. She's been taking one little step for awhile now. By "one step," I mean she moves one foot forward then plops down. Yesterday, though, there were two steps. She was after the cookie I was eating. How hysterical is that? I laughed and laughed and laughed. Then I gave her well-deserved bite of my cookie, which she thought was great.

She's also officially got a first actual word (not just syllables that coincide with words like bye bye and dada and mama), though it's not at all what she's trying to say. It's OTIS! Really, it's O-din, but she's trying so hard. She makes the right motions with her face, but her vocal cords aren't really cooperating. She says it, though, and it's adorable.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

santa claus is in town...

We took S to see Santa Claus yesterday afternoon. It was great. I apologize for the poor photo's scanned.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

recover with ecover?

Am I on the way to recovering from yesterday's green depression? Maybe. My travels this morning took me to the immediate vicinity of Wild Oats, so I picked up some Ecover dish powder. I know, I know. I said no powder, and I would prefer liquid or cubes. Ecover makes cubes, but they were sold out, and since I am almost out of detergent and I don't know how often I'll be near Wild Oats, I went ahead and bought what they had. While there were several other brands that I'd never heard of and several that were just crazy pricey, I chose this one. One of the detergents was so expensive, you could just continuously replace your dishes instead of washing them and still come out ahead (monetarily speaking, I realize it defeats the green point). So, I'll keep you all posted on the pros and cons. It'll be a few days, though. I know you're on pins and needles with anticipation.

Beyond that, there isn't much going on around here. M and I both had dentist appointments this morning. We really like our dentist's office. All the girls there (and it is all girls, not a man in sight) are very nice, and they are good at what they do. Our usual hygienist, Sarabeth, is so good you'd never even know she was working on your teeth. You never feel anything. I love her. I was not fortunate enough to get her today, though. Instead I got Brenda. I'd never had the pleasure before, and I'm using the word pleasure very loosely. Very. The woman is a sadist. She must absolutely abhor teeth and gums. I am not a bleeder. This lady made the gums around my front teeth bleed. I didn't even know that was possible. Then she had the audacity to tell me that my gums were bleeding, so I probably wasn't flossing enough. Maybe she was just trying to murderize the inside of my mouth. I floss at least every other day. I don't think my flossing habits had anything to do with my current need for a blood transfusion. My mouth feels like someone took a jackhammer to the insides of my teeth. I'm going to have to request that I never have her again. It's not worth it. She is the kind of dental employee that makes people afraid of the dentist. Apparently, M has drawn the short straw and gotten stuck with her before. She tried to kill him, too.

I'm out, peeps. Enjoy your afternoon with (hopefully) perfectly normal mouths.

Monday, December 10, 2007

guilty as charged

I think my ongoing battle with green guilt has been pretty well documented. For the most part, all of the green guilt in our little family falls on my shoulders. Not that M is at all environmentally irresponsible, but his role in most endeavors is to keep me sane and grounded. He puts things into perspective. So you can imagine my surprise when he fell into a funk Saturday after watching the video posted on Feathernester's site. Based on what it did to him, I'm not watching it. (Sorry, Feathernester, I just can't do it to myself.)

I really don't know where to go from here. I'm trying to phase plastics out of the house, but I'm not getting rid of things until they need to be gotten rid of. That just seems wasteful, right? I will, however, be replacing all of our re-usable plastic Glad containers with glass containers as they inevitably migrate away from our house (where do they go?). I'll also be slowly replacing our plastic hangers with wooden hangers, which I honestly prefer anyway. To get rid of other chemicals, I'll be purchasing some dryer balls when the current supply of fabric softener sheets run out. We already use Method cleaners throughout the house, though I use Cascade dishwasher cubes and All Free and Clear as I can buy them in bulk. Therein lies a dilemma. I'm great with the laundry detergent. No chemicals there, and I feel good about there being less packaging involved because I buy the container that I can barely lift. The dishwasher cubes are an issue, though. I know that Cascade is not the best option out there. I used to use the Method dish cubes, but they come in pretty small containers, so I felt like I was constantly headed to Target for more. With the Cascade cubes, I can buy them three times a year. I know that Seventh Generation has some options, but I really don't like to use powder as I tend to get it everywhere, and I think their liquid only comes in Lemon. I don't use lemon products on my dishes. It's too harsh. I guess I need to prioritize. Or do some research, eh?

Once again, green tips are appreciated as the P family is once again headed down our green shame spiral.

Oh, I have vowed that this will be the last year that I buy wrapping paper for gifts. I had already bought our Christmas paper when it went on sale last year, so now I'm waiting for our supplies to run out. From now on, we'll be reusing whatever paper I can find for Christmas, birthdays, baby gifts, you name it. I'm not sure that I can give up ribbon, though.

I'm out, people. I have to feed a baby.

Friday, December 07, 2007

you call this a meal?

I am amazed. Amazed at the random crap I can put onto a plate and call a meal for my child. I'm trying to recall her last few meals. Here's a sample of the kind of "meals" I've been feeding her. Breakfast is the same everyday: handful of Cheerios, one banana, and either a cinnamon nutri-grain waffle or a piece of whole wheat toast. Some of this week's lunches: whole wheat cheese quesadilla and grapes; diced cheese, diced chicken, and Cheerios; grated pear, toast, and green beans.

I usually try to incorporate at least part of our dinner into hers, so sometimes her dinners seem normal. Like last night's dinner. She and I ate the exact same meal. Baked chicken, whole wheat mac and cheese, and green peas. She's also been eating butternut squash this week. She loves squash. Almost as much as she loves eggplant. I feel like I've gotten into a rut with her meals, relying on the staples: steamed carrots, green beans, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, eggplant, squash, English peas. To try and bust out of the rut, I attempted lentil burgers for her this week, and she did not like them. (Not to mention the intestinal issues they caused the poor child.) Like Jayne's Ave, I have trouble with proteins for little bit. We don't eat a lot of meat, so I have to make sure that I'm feeding her enough protein. It would be easier if M ate beans and I could just throw those to her, but he doesn't. I've given her cooked lentils before, but they were hard to eat as they are so small. She likes smooshed chickpeas, but I'm trying to get her to like more things, so this week, I'm making her red beans. I hope she likes them.

I've also made a new list of things to try her on: blueberries, which I've been avoiding based on Toddler Tamer's warning about blueberry poopers, grape tomatoes, tofu, cantaloupe, asparagus, broccoli, and corn. I have another list of things that I'll have to wait until next summer for: mango, apricots, kiwi, and peaches (attempt #2). So, I'll keep trying to round out her diet...

Wish me luck.

Oh, and she has a new trick. (I say that like, "Watch how my dog can play dead.") If you start saying the first lines of one of her books, she'll go get that book and bring it back to you. It's really cute. It's especially cute when the book you're talking about isn't in plain sight and she has too actually look for it. I, of course, take this as another sign of her brilliance and future as a Rhodes Scholar. I mean, they'll go ahead and bestow that honor upon her based on her ability to recognize the cover of But Not the Hippopotamus, right? Good.

Have a great weekend, peeps.

Sight: S giving Otis a hug, S wearing tights for the first time
Sound: Barenaked for the Holidays
Smell: cookies baking, melted chocolate
Taste: holiday goodies
Touch: flannel sheets, fluffy towels out of the dryer

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

happy Hanukkah

We are certifiable WASPs. We'd be card-carrying WASPs if they issued cards...I mean, look at us. I have an Episcopal Church sticker on my car for crying out loud. Just the same, we want S to appreciate that there are people out there that aren't just like us. I don't want my daughter to grow up saying things that are offensive to other groups of people because she's ignorant about those people. To kick start the process, we've set up a makeshift menorah for Hanukkah, which started last night at sundown. I don't speak Hebrew, so we didn't recite any blessings or sing any traditional songs or anything, but we did light the first candle, and we ate salmon and latkes for dinner. It was nice, but I think M's daddy was seriously confused by what was going on.

Beyond that, nice and reverent is out the window for this post. Has anyone else been following the Jennifer Love Hewitt, "a size 2 is not fat!" thing? Basically, she (who has a rockin' body, have to love a girl with a booty and some tatas, right?) was photographed in a bikini recently, and she has-gasp!- cellulite. Who cares? How many real people do you actually know without cellulite? If you know any, you should remind them to thank their mothers for their genes because we all know that being skinny or being pudgy has nothing to do with cellulite. My grandma had it. My mom has it. I've had cellulite since I was a 14-year-old cheerleader. And I wasn't fat then, and I'm not fat now. Anyway, the photos hit the internet and everyone started saying she's let herself get fat. She has responded by saying that she's not fat. This is what she looks like and people need to get over it and start embracing their bodies. When I read about this on Monday, I was so happy. Good for her. Of course, if she suddenly becomes a bobblehead in a month, I'll be seriously peeved. Anyway, I'm pretty happy with my body. I always feel like I should be thinner, but in reality, I am a pretty small person. Society just makes us all feel inadequate. If you don't feel like you need to be smaller or more toned, let me know your secret for real body-related self confidence. I'd love to know...

So, I was feeling pretty good about myself for a couple of days...then I watched the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show last night. Now I feel like a whale again. To make myself feel better, I'll likely eat a cookie or two or ten. It's a vicious cycle, people.

Have a great hump day...celebrating your humps. Or trying to get rid of them. Whatever makes you happy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

for the foodies

A couple of recipes that have been requested:


7C low-sodium chicken broth
3T olive oil
2C butternut squash, large diced
2C diced onion
2C arborio rice
3T butter, softened
3T grated parmesan
1tsp salt (or to taste)
black pepper to taste

  • Boil broth and set aside.
  • In large saucepan, heat oil over low heat. Add squash and onion, cook one minute. Add rice and continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes. Add 2C of broth and simmer, stirring constantly over low heat until liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding broth 1C at a time until all liquid is absorbed. (The whole shebang takes 20-30 minutes.)
  • Combine butter, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir into risotto. Season as needed.
  • Enjoy. Then enjoy a second bowl. Then a third. You get the idea.

1 refrigerated piecrust
28 caramels, unwrapped (obviously)
1/4C butter
1/4C water
3/4C sugar
2 large eggs
1/2t vanilla extract
1/4t salt
1C chopped pecans

  • Prebake pie crust as directed. (400 degrees for 6-8 minutes)
  • Combine caramels, butter, and water in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes or until caramels and butter are melted. Remove from heat.
  • Stir together sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Stir into caramel mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in pecans and pour into prepared crust.
  • Bake pie at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes. (You may want to shield the edges of the crust to keep them from over browning...does anyone have one of those pie crust shield gadgets? Are they worth it?) Cool on wire rack.
  • Try to get a piece before anyone else. Otherwise, you may be out of luck. I will never, ever make any other pecan pie. It is so easy and always turns out perfect. Never too soupy and never too sweet. Just perfect.
There you go, loves. Happy eating. Tonight I'll be trying latkes for the first time. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 03, 2007

there and back again

So, we're back from another trip southward. We've got one more trip planned for this weekend, then we're home for the holidays. I think. It's tough having your entire family in other places. Lots and lots of traveling to see people during November and December. It's especially tough on S as she doesn't sleep well in other places and long car trips mess up her daytime schedule pretty badly. Oh, well. We've got a few days at home to recuperate.

Not much has been going on in the P household lately. Just getting ready for Christmas, which means I've finished up all the shopping and since the postage stamps came in the mail Saturday, I'll be dropping cards in the mail this afternoon. I'd like to get all the out-of-town gifts ready to go by the afternoon, too, but that may be wishful thinking. Besides, I am not sure I could get all the packages into the post office on my own with S in tow. I may have to make a couple of trips to the PO to get it all done. That sounds fun, right??

Now that all of that is out of the way, I can get down to the fun stuff- holiday baking and candy making. Scarlet Lily has been sharing 12 days of Christmas cookies lately, and I hope I get around to trying some of them. There is a whole array of things that tradition dictates must be made first, though. Like the Peanut Butter Kiss cookies I made last weekend and took to my Uncle Bret. I like this set-up. I get to eat a few of the cookies...then I take the rest to someone else. The PB Kiss cookies are my favorites, and I only let myself make them once a year as I'd sit down and eat the entire batch more than once. I also attempted gumdrop cookie bars for my FIL last night as they are his favorites. I made them last year, but I could barely read the recipe. I thought I had a better handle on them this year, but they are currently residing in my garbage can instead of in Mr. P's tummy. Despite passing the ubiquitous "toothpick test," they were still badly under-done. I didn't realize this until it was way too late to put them back into the oven. I'll try them again sometime this week.

To make up for the gumdrop cookie debacle, I made oatmeal, chocolate chip, and pecan cookies this morning. I wish I hadn't. I've already eaten four. Luckily, the recipe was from Cooking Light, and I made the cookies smaller than called for, so I don't feel as bad as I would if I'd eaten four PB Kiss cookies.

I've also got to get on the ball making M's favorite- Chocolate Mint cookies. I don't worry too much about getting fat off those. M eats them at warp speed.

I've also got to make chocolate fudge, peppermint chocolate fudge, English toffee, butter cookies, peanut brittle, and (hopefully) caramels. I'd also really love to try a Yule Log, but I wanted to do that last year, too, and I never got around to it. Of course, I'll also have to make a caramel pecan pie at some point. Mr. P ate an entire half of one over Thanksgiving. If you're looking for me during the next few weeks, I'll be in the kitchen. Obviously.

Alright, I have no other news to share. Have a great Monday, and keep your fingers crossed in hope that there will still be cookies here for M when he gets home.

Oh, and just in case you need some help getting into the holiday spirit, I found this reindeer who wanted to say hi...