Thursday, April 28, 2011

1 Week of Dinners

Because I am lazy and get home after 6PM and have no braincells/time/energy/money to experiment with new and exciting dinner ideas, we usually end up having the same things for dinner every week. But when the same thing is DAMN DELICIOUS trust me, you don't mind that much. Here are 5 dinner recipes you will eat and repeat. Maybe every week. Hey, I won't judge.

1. Broiled parmesan tilapia
Fish + cheese = perfection. Fast, easy perfection.
2. Beat This Lasagna
I found this in some magazine one day, and it's now my go-to dinner party recipe. The secret is cream cheese! I make a veggie version with spinach and a meat version, usually with Italian sausage. It's also a good recipe to make ahead and then cook the night of.
3. Allie's Mushroom Pizza
Jewel makes these flatbreads that are PERFECT for this recipe. Make it exactly as written the first time - trust me, it's heaven.

4. Tater Tot Taco Salad
Napolean, gimme some tots! The flat tater tot crowns work best in this recipe, and just add a little extra sumthin-sumthin to a regular old taco salad.

5.  Unbelievably Easy and Delicious Vegetarian Chili
This chili takes 5 minutes to throw together, and is flavored with a packet of taco seasoning and a packet of ranch mix. Sounds weird but tastes divine. Don't worry, carnivores, you can add meat to it.
Make it with this super-simple cornbread recipe. Olivia discovered this recipe when she accidentally dumped half of the cornbread mix on the floor and I got mad and made her bake some from scratch. It was so much better than (and just as easy as) the mix, she now makes this everytime we have chili. So, once a week.

Next week: 5 Fab Desserts!

This Isn't My House

But I wish it was:


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Porch In Progress

At some point in time, someone who owned this house before us decided to enclose the porch. So they put in windows, and nailed a bunch of plywood to the railings. It wasn't exactly waterproof though, and the materials they used weren't designed to get wet all the time. They also didn't use any kind of insulation, just a layer of foam between the plywoods.

In the fall/winter, the enclosed porch isn't warm enough to use. In the summer, it's too hot. It's not exactly a place you'd want to set up a table and eat al fresco. And it doesn't look so great.

So Josh and his dad spent the day pulling all that crap down. It was a huge job and literally took all day. But as soon as the first windows came out, we knew we were doing the right thing.

Now it's a place you might actually want to sit and enjoy a meal. And SO much more natural light comes into the kitchen. You can see the yard, even!

I'm going to hang baskets of flowers, and some little lights, and an outdoor chandelier. And we need a table. And we've GOT to get rid of that damn hot tub - we'll put some comfy outdoor furniture where it is. It's gonna be a million times better.


DYLAN UPDATE: He went to the doctor yesterday for a follow-up visit. Turns out his wrist is not fractured, just sprained, and he should only have to wear a splint for another week or two. His concussion hasn't had any lasting effects either, but he needs to be careful not to get any more bumps on the noggin. No skateboarding or bike riding for a while. Dylan's feeling pretty good for someone who got hit by an SUV, and even his cuts and bruises look better. Here's a picture he took of himself to put on Facebook the day after this happened.

HOUSE UPDATE: Josh and his dad are working on a little project on this room today.

It's only halfway done and it looks a million times better already. Pics to come!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Scare of My Life

I was sitting at my desk today, eating lunch when my cell phone rang. It was my ex-husband, and his first words almost stopped my heart. "Dylan got hit by a car," he said. "He's on his way to the hospital."

I literally dropped my fork, grabbed my purse and ran out the door. I jumped into a cab downstairs and hysterically dialed Josh at work. Eric hadn't sounded worried - he said it wasn't too serious, according to the paramedic he'd talked to - but it was serious enough for an ambulance to take Dylan to the emergency room. I asked Josh to head home and wait for me to call him.

When I walked into the hospital room, I immediately burst into tears. He was on a backboard, with a neck brace on, blood all over his face. The nurse kept reassuring me that he would be okay, but at that moment it didn't look okay to me. We tried to piece together what happened, but Dylan had been knocked unconscious and couldn't remember much. He remembered being at the 4 way stop, and thinking the black SUV was going to let him go, but then getting hit on the right side. The next thing he knew he was laying on the ground in a puddle, surrounded by people. Then he woke up again and the firemen were there. Then he woke up again in the ambulance and the paramedic was talking to Eric. Josh was able to track down the police report, and I'll try to get a copy of it tomorrow to see if the lady in the SUV was at fault, or if it was just an unfortunate accident on a rainy day, but right now we don't know.

He wasn't wearing a helmet.

We've argued about that so many times before. My mom died of a head injury, so I've always been a helmet nazi. People in this city drive like maniacs and never look where they're going and expect everyone else to get the hell out of their way. But you can't always be there to make your kids do something, you can just tell them you want them to and hope for the best. I bet it will be a little easier to get him to wear a helmet now.

So it was 6+ hours in the ER this afternoon. Eric's girlfriend lives down the street and ran to the hospital; it was comforting to have someone there, she's such a great person. Josh spent the afternoon trying to find Dylan's bike and the police report, before coming to the hospital with Elliot and clothes for Dylan (since the paramedics had to cut his off). We were finally able to take him home. He had a concussion, but the CAT scan ruled out a blood clot or any other brain injury. Other than a possibly-fractured wrist, and lots of scrapes and bruises, he's going to be okay. We got really lucky this time.

What a Nightmare

Sleep training ain't going so well. Elliot isn't on a schedule, still wakes up multiple times in the night, and doesn't go right back to sleep when he does wake up. Super! We're still only giving him one bottle in the night and one in the morning, which means all the other times he wakes up he doesn't get squat. Which does not make us popular parents from a baby's perspective. I gave up and ordered two books on, hopefully that will help. At this point I don't even know what to do with him when he wakes up. Should I go in right away? Does that help avoid a total meltdown or does it just prevent him from learning to get himself back to sleep? Is soothing him at intervals a good idea, or would he calm down better if we left him alone? I hate to just keep randomly trying things, because consistency is your friend when you have a baby in your life. I just want to sleep for more than two hours in a row, please lord.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Go Dog Go!

When I stepped off the bus this afternoon, I looked up to see a loose Irish Setter sprinting towards me through the rain. Since we were right next to a really busy road, I immediately knew I had to try and catch him or he could(would) get hit by a car. So I dropped my umbrella and patted my legs, calling him to me. That sweet scared doggie ran right up to me, bless his heart, and I was able to get my arms around him. He was clearly terrified and very young - a year old I would guess. Even though he wasn't wearing a collar, he was obviously someone's pet who had Houdini-ed out of a yard or leash. I pulled off my scarf and fashioned it into a lead. I had no clue how the heck I would get him 2 blocks to my house, but just then a police woman pulled up and jumped out of her vehicle. Turns out he had been in traffic on Addison and she was trying and trying to catch him when he ran my way. We tried to coax him into the car but he was petrified, so I picked up that 50 pound soaking wet pooch and popped him into the backseat. He was such a sweetie I wasn't worried for a second that he would try to nip me. She thanked me and said she was going to drive around to see if she could find anyone looking for him - and I had to force myself to walk away before I ended up adopting a third dog on the spot. I'm sure Josh would LOVE that.

The whole situation reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from the movie Funny Farm (starting at 3:17 in this clip) "Helluva dog." "He sure loves to run." Ha!


Right now my Tokyo sis is crashed out on my couch. It's so nice to have her home finally, and know she's going to be around for a month or two at least. Elliot took to Wendi right away, I think partly because she's so much like me. He's getting a little more discriminating about who can hold him (even great grandmothers don't always get the privilege) but he went right to her. Which is wonderful, because Josh is out of town on business and another one of me could come in handy.

"Um... how are you holding me AND taking my picture?"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Night Four

FINALLY. Sleep training starts to pay off! Last night, little E woke up at 3:30 and peeped for a minute, but when I went in and gave him the binky and rubbed his back, went right back to sleep. He did it again at 4:30, but again (pat pat pat) right back to sleepytime. And then up and happy at 6:45 for the day!

Oh please let this keep going.

Nursery Tour

Elliot's room is featured today on Esther's super-cute blog and site,!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To the Cloud!

Suddenly that dumbass commercial makes a lot more sense.

Maybe in a few months I'll try one where nobody is wearing pajamas.

Night Three

A little better. We're getting there. After the 12:30 feeding he slept until 4:45. He fake-cried for 10 minutes, then real-cried for 10 more, then slept until 6:15. I can deal with that.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Night Two

Thank heavenzzzzzz, the second night of sleep training went better than the first. E had his usual 12:30 bottle and then woke up again at 4. We could hear him making the cutest little cooing noises in his crib. Then he swapped cooing for screaming, which was far less cute, but happily it didn't last long. He cried for only about 15-20 minutes (with comfort from mom and dad at intervals) and then dropped back off to dreamland until 6:45AM. That's my boy.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Hard Day's Night

We started officially sleep training Elliot last night. Not the actual getting him to bed part - he's pretty good about that. Around 8PM every night we have our little routine: bath, story, bottle, bed. He usually goes right down too, since we discovered that he likes the white noise machine on "rain" and we can finally let him sleep on his belly. Now that he can roll back-to-front it's allowed, plus my sisters & mom bought us that Angel Care monitor with the alarm that goes off if he stops moving/breathing. I love that thing, though you definitely want to remember to turn it off before you pick him up, because if everyone's not already awake they will be after that.

No, the problem isn't GETTING him to sleep, it's KEEPING him asleep. Right now he goes down around 8:30 and wakes up to eat at 12:30, 3:00 and 5:30. That is all kinds of ridiculous right there. For one thing, the kid is getting fat. For another, he's not a tiny little newborn who needs to eat around the clock. Nope, it's time to put an end to the 3AM feeding.

So last night, when he woke up for his usual 3 o'clock bottle, we just gave him his pacie and shushed him and patted him and put him back to bed. Well, we tried. Cue MAJOR BABY MELTDOWN OF EPIC PROPORTIONS. Mister man wailed off and on (mostly on) for two freaking hours, until it was finally time for the 5:30 bottle. Then we all slept for 45 minutes before getting up to go to work. Awesome! We're not being Ferberian hard-asses about it. We do go and check on him every few minutes, and pick him up to soothe him, and pat his sad little back. It still sucks for everyone, including the two kids trying to sleep downstairs. We just have to keep our eyes on the prize (Five. Hours. Of sleep. In a ROW.) and hope that he cries a little less tonight, and even less tomorrow night, until the 3AM bottle is a thing of the past. 

Sleep tight, little buddy. Please?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Big 3-6

Happy Birthday to me! At 36, I am:

a mom again
a homeowner again
raising two crazy but awesome teenagers
owned by two rowdy dogs
at a good place in my career
still, wishing I was an interior designer instead
or a photographer
or a vintage-store-owner
15 lbs heaver than I would like
doing nothing about that at the moment eating a disgusting amount of salads
a vegetarian
a veteran
surrounded by good friends
close with my family
happy that my ex has found someone wonderful
an okay cook
an awesome baker
in love with my sweet husband
done with the bar scene
addicted to Scrabble
full of ideas for our home
empty of bank account
not out of debt
a recycler
a public-transportation rider
a lackadaisical blogger
a fanatical voter
an every-day-flosser
no one's boss
not published
okay with that
really tired
going gray
needing a vacation
happy with the way things have turned out
optimistic about what comes next