Monday, October 31, 2011

late nights.

The ballet was a blast.
On our fancy Wendy's date.

The fall festival was great. The hayride was cold, so I sent my girl out with my sisters, and I stayed inside with the ladies.
My sisters, who were medieval outlaws.
The spooky halloween princess.
The football.
Bundled up for the hayride.

The football game was a disaster, and M used his free rally towel to wipe his tears. Midway through the game, I got a text that read, "Curtis Painter is horrible...even worse in person."

Today, in lieu of carving pumpkins, we finger painted pumpkins. S's pumpkin looks a bit like a tranny hooker, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see it since I haven't taken a picture of the final product yet, and I'm too lazy to do it now. Just trust me.
Stella's pumpkin.
Liam's work.

Friday, October 28, 2011

coming soon.

The Ouisers have a lot coming up. A lot. It's going to seem like we are people who actually leave our home to do things. Don't worry. We'll go back to being slightly agoraphobic soon. Here's what's on the calendar for the next week or so.

Tonight: I'm taking my girl to the ballet. It's Cinderella. I asked her what she wanted for dinner tonight. I told her that I'd take her anywhere. She wants to go to Wendy's for chickenandfriesandasprite.

Tomorrow: We're heading over to Columbia for the fall festival at my parents' church. There will be a hayride, and she gets to wear her costume.

Sunday: The kids and I are hanging out with my stepmom and sisters while my dad and Mr. Ouiser watch the worst NFL matchup of the weekend. Poor Colts. Poor Titans. There is so much awful.

Monday: Um, Halloween.

Tuesday: Preschool.

Wednesday: Mr. Ouiser's birthday.

Thursday: Hop on a plane to Florida to visit M's aunt and uncle.

Friday: Disney.

Saturday/Sunday: Swim. Swim. Swim. Try not to get sunburned within an inch of my life.

Monday: Fly home.

Do you have any idea how much activity this is for the Ouisers? So much. I'm surprised that the universe is even allowing it. And you're not going to believe me when I tell you this, but it's true. I haven't even started my lists for what to pack. That's how laid back I'm pretending to be.

Of course, when I went to the grocery last night, I went ahead and bought the stuff to make Crockpot Freezer Cranberry Chicken, and I totally already chopped everything and put it into it's Zip-Lock bag. I may not have packed, but I've got dinner all lined up for the day we get home.

You didn't really think I'd become laid back, did you? If you believed that, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

some things i've learned.

I should never, ever say that I'm going to do something. Well, something involved.

Examples: I should never say I'm going to read every book on the bookshelf in my room. I should never say I am going to bake every bread recipe in The Bread Bible. I should never say that I am going to do at least ten minutes of yoga everyday.

Know why?

I never do it. Ever.

The books? I've read several, but when I got to one that I didn't enjoy, I remembered that I couldn't read it the first time because it was so God-awful-boring, so I sat it aside. So now I've cleared the first shelf of the books that I will never read, and I donated them. I decided that I read for pleasure, not as a chore, so I'm not going to waste my time reading unenjoyable crap, even if it would make me smarter or better informed. I think that's a good decision, but I feel bad about not meeting that lofty goal I set.

The bread recipes? I now refuse to make anything with sesame, and I don't make anything with molasses. I also refuse to buy specialty ingredients if I know there is nothing else that they can be used for in the foreseeable future. It's just wasteful. Again, I stand by the decision, but there's another goal down the crapper.

The yoga? Sometimes I just don't want to do it. Usually it's because I'm wearing jeans and I don't want to change clothes, and I know how lazy that sounds. I can't really get behind this lack of goal attainment, but at least I'm honest. Right?

So now I catch myself saying that I'm going to do things, and I tell myself to chill out and not be so hard on myself and just enjoy life more, but that doesn't sound at all like me. Then I mop something.

I've found that setting more easily attainable goals is better. Meaning, I can set goals in steps. Then I feel more accomplished. The end goal may still be huge and lofty, but each step is more manageable. I'm also trying to remind myself that at the end of every day, the only things that matter are my family and friends and our collective health. It doesn't matter if I've baked a new bread recipe or cleaned out my closets.

What about you? Do you achieve your lofty goals? Or do you set more manageable ones?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

love that girl.

There are many things to love about my sweet girl...even if she isn't always so sweet. Here are a few:
  • Words that she mispronounces: M&M's ("Nem Nems"), restaurant ("rest-ry-ant"), picnic ("pic-uh-nic"), onesie ("wum-sie"), popcorn ("pah-corn").
  • Despite recognizing the letter "H" and clearly identifying it as such when she sees it, she always says "kay-tch" when reciting the alphabet. Every time.
  • The fourth toe on each of her feet is crooked.
  • She has freckles. Two on her right cheek. One on the back of her right ear. I love them. They are like bulls eyes for kisses.
  • She likes to create elaborate dates for me and M. She sets tables, folds napkins, puts out flowers, and makes menus. Then she is our server. And we never have to pay.
  • She snuggles.
  • She sincerely has the cutest butt of any person ever. She's getting old enough that I should probably stop squeezing it all the time, but I just can't resist.
Then there are conversations like this one. She will be studying the infamous letter "H" this week at school, so this morning we talked about some things that started with the letter. Happy, Halloween, Hat, Horse, Hippo. On the drive to school, I asked if she remembered some of the things we talked about. She said, "Yep."

"Really? What were they," I asked.

"Happy and Halloween and hat," she replied.

"Do you remember the animals we talked about?"

"Yes. Horse and Rhino."

"Not quite. Horse and Hippo."

"Same thing."

Not really, baby girl, but I love you anyway.

Friday, October 21, 2011

so long, chicken.

So here it is.


After all that hullabaloo last month, I've finally just decided that I don't like the stuff. Here's what happened. I think the day after I made the roast chicken that I blogged about two whole times, I was walking through the grocery store and the front of Cook's Illustrated sat there, mocking me.

"WEEKNIGHT ROAST CHICKEN: Great Flavor, No fuss," it said.

So I bought it, and I read it, and I decided that I was an absolute genius because I figured out that I should roast the chicken in a skillet before anyone ever told me to. Then I decided that I'd need to make another roast chicken. Last night, I did.

And I realized that I don't like roast chicken. In fact, I don't really like chicken unless it's in something like chicken tacos or chicken and dumplings. It's really sad, too, because roast chicken is just about the most economical meal with meat that I can think of. Plus it smells great. I just don't like it. In fact, I've pretty much known this for years.

I had this realization about all things with sesame not too long ago. I decided that I wasn't going to make any new bread recipes that had sesame oil or sesame seeds, so I haven't, but then I went and made Ina's Asian Salmon, and remembered that I don't like sesame and my dinner was effectively ruined.

So I'm done making roast chickens I think. And things with sesame. And butternut squash. And mustard. And I'm done with thinking that I like coffee without a hundred tons of flavored creamer. I am a grown up person, I can eat and drink what I want, right? That argument doesn't hold for Mr. Ouiser, though. He still has to eat at least one bite of whatever vegetable I fix with dinner. Poor Mr. Ouiser. I have to convince him to try things almost more often than S. It's a tough life he leads, I tell you.

What about you? Are there things that you continually make that you don't actually like? Are you, like me, ready to just say, "I do not like them, Sam I Am."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

the one in which i ramble.

I'm not all that capable of coherent thought right now. Maybe it's the sleep thing. T woke up at 1:30 this morning to eat, and I had the toughest time falling back to sleep. I stared at the clock for over an hour. I had a blog post in my head. It was about even numbers. It was witty and clever. I don't remember anything about it other than it was about even numbers. A lack of sleep will do that to you.

So you're stuck with this.

Let's see...what to blog about.

Yesterday, I did a little internet research into "my colors." They are not blush and bashful. Shockingly. Have you ever done this? Analyzed what colors you should and shouldn't wear based on your coloring? I had not. Anyway, it was kind of fascinating. I am apparently a Cool Winter, which I never, ever would have guessed just based on the name, but it fits. Me, Brooke Shields, Jennifer Connelly, and the late great Elizabeth Taylor could all totally share clothes because we're all Cool Winters. After this little experiment, I looked at my 33 articles of clothing, and I realized I'm not terribly far off track. My wardrobe revolves around blues and grays and purples, so I'm pretty good there. Apparently I need to adios my green cardigan and my gold sweater, but I'll wait until I find what I want to replace the green sweater, and the gold sweater needs to stick around for Vandy games.

Speaking of replacing clothes, I am currently fascinated by this and this. Sometimes I enjoy reading things that sound like someone wrote down my inner thought process. Alas, I can't get on board with Rachel's list of stores, but that's just me. I'm currently pretty loyal to Garnet Hill for sweaters and dresses and J.Jill for jeans (the butt never sags!! ladies, you know what I'm talking about!) I also hit LL Bean for sweaters and pieces to layer. They tend to wash and wear well, though I've had a couple of pieces that the neckline gets all discombobulated. Besides, walking into Gap or Banana Republic or J. Crew sounds like walking into Hell for the most part.

What about you? Where do you shop? Do you go trendy or more classic? Do you know your colors and go by the rules? Do you think Kate Middleton can really bring hose back into fashion? Do you think someone will take a pot shot at her if she does? There are so many questions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

a doozy.

Sorry I was MIA last week. Luckily, Scarlet Lily picked up the slack in the blogosphere, and we all know that she's a more interesting blogger than I.

Last week was a doozy. There was a leaky dishwasher, electrical work, the shrimpiest of shrimpy babies got shots (and weighed in as the shrimpiest of shrimpy babies), Fall Break for S, a dog with diarrhea, Mr. Ouiser went out of town, I had a massive panic attack, and we made the rather heartbreaking choice to wean T (which is the right choice, just a tough one). There was a lot going on.

Luckily, we ended the week rather nicely with a belated anniversary date with the Nashville Opera.

M and I saw La Traviata on Saturday evening at TPAC. We had loads of fun. I will say that a very dark theater, a performance in Italian, and an 8pm start time were a tough combination for the overtired parents of a six month old, but we managed. It was very, very good. We were intrigued by the "subtitles." TPAC has a digital screen above the stage where they essentially run ads and trivia prior to performances. For the opera, they used it for subtitles. We were very curious about how much we would've understood without them. Would the performance seemed more powerful? Would it have seemed more like a musical performance than a theatrical performance? We'll never know because even if we saw this particular opera again we'd know the story. Either way, I loved it. M either loved it or faked it really well.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, La Traviata is totally the opera that Edward Lewis takes Vivian Ward to in Pretty Woman, so that was cool.
Another bonus to going to the Opera? Your daughter running around the entire next day in your heels.

Friday, October 07, 2011


I'm not entirely sure how this is possible. It seems like only yesterday that I was aghast at his being two weeks old, and now? Now my little man is six months old.

Six months.


I'm not even lying.

My little shrimp toast is halfway to his first birthday. As in: six months from now he'll be smashing his face into a cake and sporting some homemade garment advertising his age. Pureed sweet potatoes will be a thing of the past by then, but for now he thinks they are the absolute penultimate of human experience.
So, here's to my little sweet potato eating string bean of a boy. I hope he always, always loves simple things like sweet potatoes and the big blue sky and his mama smiling at him. I'm pretty sure I'll always love smiling at him, and I'm absolutely sure I'll always melt when he smiles back at me.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

the cycle.

My house? It's pretty tidy. But it probably isn't as tidy as all my maniacal cleaning posts would indicate. I desperately want it to be, but life gets in the way sometimes. And I get in the way a lot of times.

Some examples:
  • Pots and pans. I have a lower cabinet that houses my cookware. My new set of stainless cookware. My cast iron skillet. My crepe pan. My double boiler. Those are the entire contents of the cabinet. Sometimes this cabinet is organized. Things are neatly nested. But those times are few and far between. The cycle goes like this: I grab the 3 qt saucepan that is nested neatly between the chef's pan and the 1 qt saucepan. I do not neatly renest. I set the 1 qt saucepan to the side. Then when the 3 qt saucepan goes back into the cabinet, it just gets shoved somewhere that it won't fall and make a great big crashtastic noise. Then the same thing happens with the skillets. Then the lids get out of hand. Then it's a wasteland of cookware. Then I'm fed up, and I reorganize. Then I need the 3 qt saucepan and the whole thing is gone to Hell in a hand basket.
  • My underwear drawer. I routinely organize this drawer, essentially compartmentalizing it: white socks, wool socks, cute socks, underwear, bras. It looks so nice and neat. Then I do the laundry and just throw it all in willy-nilly. I am incapable of keeping this drawer neat. The same thing happens with my tee shirt drawer. There are three stacks. Short sleeved tees, long sleeved tees, tanks. Well, there are supposed to be three stacks. Normally, there are three stacks that are covered in a pile of the most commonly worn items.
  • The dishtowels. I think the major drawback to my otherwise perfect-for-me kitchen is that I don't have a good place for dishtowels and rags. One drawer is kind of a junk drawer. It holds the week's issue of Newsweek, scissors, tape, crap like that. The next drawer holds cooking utensils and potholders. The third drawer is the spice drawer. The fourth drawer is the flatware drawer. We have two super deep drawers beneath the spice drawer. One holds jars and pyrex. The other holds pie plates, loaf pans, cake pans. Neither of those comes close to being filled vertically, so I think if I were redesigning, I'd have one super deep drawer and two drawers that were a little more regularly sized in the depth department. Then I'd have a place for dishtowels. As it currently stands, they are piled under the kitchen sink. This is how the cabinet should be organized.
Let's just say the drawer isn't this neat. Those towel/rag piles are all over the place, and half the time I get the corners of towels caught in the lid of the compost bucket, which means they are dirty and a little smelly before they even get taken out for use. It's a wildly imperfect system. I hate it, but every time I try to organize/fix the problem, I make it worse. Too much sugar for a dime. (That's for you, Mellie.)

Those are the three biggest problem areas. The linen closet would probably be next on the list. Because I'm totally perfect other than those four areas of my life. Ha. Anyone believe that? Me neither.

What about you? What are your biggest challenges when it comes to staying organized?

Monday, October 03, 2011

a day of very little.

I can't really call it a day of nothing. I've washed, folded, and put away three loads of laundry. And baked three loaves of bread. Other than that, though, this is a day for doing nothing. Or just next to nothing.

Along those lines, I am barely capable of making my brain turn on today. I turned it on for a few minutes as I worked on M's best birthday present ever. Then I turned it back off and sat in the sunshine with the kiddos until Kiddo #2 needed a nap and then Kiddo #1 fell off her horse* and went kersplat onto the aggregate patio, thus requiring the couch, some apple juice, and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

*Little Ouiser has a horse.? Um, yeah. Her horse's name is Lightning. She's imaginary, but she is currently an integral part of our lives. S rides her everywhere until it gets late enough in the day that I can't stand to hear any more galloping and I tell her it's time to put Lightning in the stable for the night. Then she ties the old girl up somewhere, feeds her some apples, and moves on. Then we repeat the whole process the next day.

In case you were wondering, M and I have horses, too. His horse is Fire Dash, and mine is Hearts. We were not allowed to name our own horses, clearly (though I doubt M could've come up with a better name for his gallant steed). Drew and Kaitlin were here yesterday, and they got horses, too. Kaitlin's horse is Lightning Thunder Dash. Drew got the short end of the stick. His horse's name is Grapefruit Juice.

This is the crap that goes on in my life. Daily.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

seven year itch.

Seven years ago today, I got hitched. Happy Anniversary, Mr. Ouiser. I know that there is no one Earth who could make me laugh more than you. You make me happy every single day. Unless you're being an idiot. I love you.
October 2, 2004.
May 2006. Vegas, baby.
September 2006.
July 2007.
September 2008.
September 2009.
April 2010.
June 2011.