Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beets Me

I may have mentioned once or twice that, by education and until recently also by profession, I am a nutritionist. I've spent many a year studying nutrition and so I know quite a bit about food. However. Apparently there are new things for all of us to learn, so I am now passing on my knowledge to you guys.

First, some background. I am not a picky eater. Never have been really. I remember as a kid, I didn't like onions- I'd even pick out the tiny little ones in a McDonalds hamburger Happy Meal on those rare occasions we were lucky enough to eat out at one of those high-falutin' restaurants. I also didn't like zucchini, unless it was in my aunt's zucchini bread which is basically banana bread with zucchini instead of banana. Moral of the story- sugar makes everything better.

There was just one other food that I knew of that I DID.NOT. like. The culprit: beets.

Beets were one of those tricky foods- they look so gosh darned purdy with their purpley purpleness oozing out in a, "Hey baby....you should taste me because I'm purple and you know you can't resist purple so why don't you take a nice, big juicy bite out of my tasty purpleness. You know you want to. Baby," sort of way. Apparently beets are also quite the sleazeballs of the tuber family.

(An aside: My mother-in-law's first language is not English, so she sometimes still to this day will have very amusing turns of phrases. This past Thanksgiving, she was talking about a really unsavory person she once knew- a real jerk. She said, ever so seriously, "He was a really big squeeze-ball!"  Oh dear me...I don't think I'd laughed so hard in a really long time.)

The only problem with beets is that they kinda sorta really taste like....well, like dirt. Or at least what I assume dirt tastes like because that is not something I'd know from experience. Nope. Surely not.

So, I pretty much have avoided beets, no matter how purpley they were nor how much my coworkers told me they tasted good and were good for me. Yes, I'll grudgingly admit that they are indeed a very healthy food. But still. DIRT.

HOWEVER. At a work conference I attended two years ago, there was a beet and walnut salad available on the buffet and, since my coworker told me that it was a really good salad, and since I was a new employee and wanted to look tough and adventurous, I decided to try that darned salad. If anything, it would test my acting ability- could I get it down without making an, "EWW GROSS!" face? 

Much to my surprise, that darned purpley salad tasted as good as it looked! Well blow me down and call me Popeye! I couldn't believe it! Beets that didn't taste like dirt! They had some sort of vinegar on them, that I knew- whether balsamic or red wine, I don't recall- but ever since then I've been on the hunt for the pretty, non-dirt tasting beets but to my dismay have not been successful.

Until now. I found a recipe on Epicurious for Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens and it had decent reviews, so I thought, "I am going to try this one more time and if they taste like dirt, well, at least I'll now know what dirt tastes like because I have never tasted dirt before in my life. Ever."

So I made the salad with a few modifications- I didn't have the sweet onion, so I omitted that, and I really just wanted the beets and not the oranges, so I used a little bit of orange juice instead of the orange slices.

OMG. I don't remember dirt beets tasting so good! I really really REALLY enjoyed them. My Mister...not so much. He thought they were good, but they didn't float his boat. HOWEVER. He's not writing this blog so his primitive taste buds don't count. I really liked this salad A LOT. A lot, a lot. I ended up eating most of it last night and then finished it off for lunch today. That's right- I, an avowed beet hater, ate beets TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

And now comes the, "Wow- I did not know that," part. I feel like I should have known this since I am a nutritionist, and I may have learned it many years ago but may have repressed that knowledge along with any memories I may or may not have had about eating dirt. I'm also sure that had I been a beet eater all my life I would have also known this so my ignorance is justified.

Apparently, what goes in purple.....COMES OUT PURPLE. There is no need for alarm. You are not dying. Your intestines are not falling out and you don't have cancer of either the urinary or digestive tracts. There is absolutely no need to call your husband over to take a look and see if he thinks you are dying, as well. NOPE. All completely normal.

And you can take my word for it because I'm a nutritionist. A really really edumacted one. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

'Twas the Day Before Christmas...

...and all through the house, Gege was crocheting, with a baby under her blouse...

Oh yes, my friends. Even though I've been crocheting quite a bit in the last few months (though not quite getting the whole "finishing" thing), I brought out my hooks on Christmas Eve because I was on a mission. An important Christmas mission to save our poor little Charlie Brown tree from looking entirely sad and dejected, not to mention naked. We had the lights. We had the bulbs, though not the hooks for the bulbs, so, you know. We had the lights.

We even had gifts. Or, at least I had some gifts. My Mister didn't because he was married to a Grinch this year who hadn't wrapped any gifts yet. She's just lucky there is something called "expedited shipping," otherwise she would have had a large I.O.U. to give her wonderful, thoughtful, Christmas-loving husband and then have to look at his large, blue eyes, brimming with disappointment, and feebly say, her voice cracking ever so slightly, "Surprise...? Heh...heh.... Ummmm...thank you for all the thoughtful gifts that you bought for me ages ago....yours are on their way....heh! Ummm.....Look what I can do!" and then try tap dancing, but since she has dance moves akin to Elaine on Seinfeld, she just ends up looking like a deranged woman in the midst of a grand mal seizure.

Ahem.

As I was saying. Something we didn't have was a tree skirt for our tree. However! I do have yarn- lots and lots of yarn and so, being the easily distracted innovative girl that I am, and to do some stash busting as well as show Big Mister that having a ginormous yarn stash is actually a good thing, I decided to crank out a Christmas tree skirt. In just over 24 hours.

A largish crochet project? With little time to complete it? And a grumpy, hungry baby to feed all day long, as well? Oh yeah, baby. BRING IT.

I actually started it the night before Christmas Eve, thinking I'd have loads of time to get a huge chunk of it done while Little Mister was sleeping. Especially since we still had some last minute shopping to do on Christmas Eve, including grocery shopping for the amazing Christmas meal that I had not yet planned. Hey- I thrive on stress and am so much more productive when I've procrastinated until the very last moment. Or so I like to tell myself. And I usually believe me, even though I know that I will usually lie to myself in order to make myself feel good. "Oh no, Gege. Of course breastfeeding means you can eat dessert every night without gaining weight since you're burning so many calories. Besides. Nutella and crumpets are healthy. Says so on the container."

I figured I'd use up some of my cotton yarn since I had quite a bit and, if it got too hot under the tree, it wouldn't melt like acrylic. Brilliant! Or so I thought.

You see, I've been crocheting an awful lot of lace weight stuff recently. I have just discovered lace weight and I'm in love, but I'll go more into that later. The point I'm trying to make here is that my fingers have gotten used to luxuriously soft lace weight alpaca and, as such, have become quite the prissy little digits. They scoff at anything so thick and blundering as sock weight, much less the hefty boorishness of worsted weight, so the choice of a worsted weight yarn was bad enough, much less that the yarn was also cotton. *shiver*

You see, crocheting with worsted weight cotton yarn is....oh geez. I can't come up with a metaphor strong enough to convey the torture my poor hands went through while trying to create a little Christmas cheer for my naked little tree. Crocheting with cotton is dumb. And extremely painful. And the fact that cotton becomes like a Chinese finger trap when it is wet making it near impossible to crochet with it at all, much less crochet quickly under pressure when your hands are so wet and clammy because you are afraid you set yourself up an impossible goal and yet you so desperately want some Christmas cheer in your house and so you are going to make this tree skirt RIGHT NOW because the Baby Jesus didn't complain about being wrapped in swaddling clothes, so stop complaining and work those fingers, monkey!

And so I crocheted with the stupid cotton. I could have stopped and used acrylic since I had all the colors I needed, but, what can I say? I'm stubborn and just a wee bit mental, so I continued on and on with the stupid cotton. Did I mention it was stupid?

I restarted 3 times the night before Christmas Eve because I couldn't figure out the right color combination I wanted to use. I had a lot of colors so I thought I'd use them all so that our little tree would look like it threw up a rainbow which was why it had no color on it's branches. But, it just didn't feel right. And My Mister said, "Well, it's nice, but it's not Christmas." So, I decided to do something much more simple- a dark berry red, black, and white to resemble a Santa outfit. Brilliant! (Truth be told, I was stuck on the rainbow throw up...it was My Mister who suggested the red/black/white combo because he wanted a tree that didn't suck.)

First try with a rose color- beginning of rainbow puke

Christmas Eve morning, I was out the gate with 10 rows (out of 30) down. (I'm making a 9-point star, or round ripple, but without closing it.)

Christmas cheer- can you feel it??

Then I had to take a break and go last-minute Christmas shopping (picked up some paperclips to use as ornament hooks, too- take that, Scrooge!), scare Santa, 

He has his mother's Christmas cheer. *wiping tear* That's m'boy!
eat lunch, and feed Little Mister a few times. I crocheted a little bit in the car, but still only completed 5 more rows.

15 rows down and a blister starting to form on my thumb. Hard core crochet, y'all.

Little Mister was having a Dickens of a time with his teething and was a complete Scrooge the rest of the afternoon. (HA! See what I did there??) Thankfully Big Mister was home so we could take turns pacifying the beast the poor little guy. However, since I alone have the ability to feed him, I ended up not having much crocheting time, no matter how hard I tried learning how to crochet with my feet.

20 down! THE REST OF MY LIFE TO GO.

By the end of the night, I had run out of the berry so I had to start the white a little earlier than I had anticipated. But, I ended up having 5 rows left when I started the white, so my OCD with numbers was appeased. 

I had to stop crocheting and wrap presents so that My Mister wouldn't have that sad, puppy dog look in his eyes as he looked at my ever growing pile of presents. Oh yes- that hard lump of coal where my heart should be had started to soften.

We woke up Christmas morning and I had only one thing on my mind- NEED TO FINISH THAT TREE SKIRT! Who could think of presents when there was crocheting that needed to be done? PUT DOWN THAT STOCKING, MONKEY! No unwrappy until I finish! HI-YA!

I had just over 4 rows to go and crocheted while we watched the online Christmas Eve service of our old church in VA and while Big Mister played with Little Mister and while I ate breakfast and after I fed Little Mister for the second time. Crochet, crochet, crochet!
And finally....I finished!

CHRISTMAS! And Santa! And CHRISTMAS!

So then we could put the presents under the tree.

My Gummy Bear!

Although Little Mister was ashamed that I had not weaved in the ends before putting it in use.

Ughhhhh. What am I going to do with her?


But Santa Koala approved.

I'm a koala and I approve of this skirt.

Merry Christmas, y'all!


Friday, December 23, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is My Gummy Bear

So I woke up this morning and was snoozily feeding Little Mister in hopes that he'd fall back asleep but instead I startled him awake with my own ear splitting screech because the little turd my dear sweet darling had gummed me really, really hard. He of course then looked up with me and smiled his heart melting, little gummy smile that he reserves for me alone during feedings. The smile that says, "Oh there you are mama! I missed you!" as well as, "TEEHEE! I'm a carnivore! NOM NOM NOM!"

It's been weeks since he started teething- or at least what I assumed was teething. He has had the droolies, the gnawing on everything in sight, the grumpiness and the clinginess going on. He's been inconsolable at times- usually in the evenings when his daddy gets home which means poor Big Mister rarely gets to see the happy, smiling, laughing little baby I get during the day. Well, for parts of the day, anyway. There are so many times when I know he's tired. I know he's hungry and that nursing him will help make him feel better as well as knock him out cold, thus making me feel better. But he does not want to eat. Nor does he want to sleep. He wants to fuss and be an all around grump for an extra 30 minutes before he finally relents and believes me when I lovingly coo to him, "You're sleepy tired and mama needs you to go to sleep now before her head splits in two and then you'll have to live the rest of your life with the guilt that you killed your mama and you don't want that hanging over your head, do you sweetie pie?"

I've been hoping that his tooth/teeth would hurry up and poke through so that he wouldn't have to greedily shove my hands in his mouth whenever he got them in his iron clad grasp. I've given him all sorts of teething rings and suckers and even tried an icy sock, but all to no avail. The only teething relief he enjoys is human flesh, and as my friends, in-laws, and his doctor have all found out, he latches really well. In the midst of a particularly furious hand-gnawing session, my father-in-law even asked me, "Has he ever...uh....hurt you....uh........," and I let him know that I've been very lucky in that respect. 

It's mine! All mine!!

As the days turned into weeks and no teeth showed up, I started second guessing my assessment- perhaps he wasn't really teething, after all. Perhaps I just do have a slobbering grump as a baby who is only truly happy when he's eating or otherwise gnawing on human flesh. Perhaps he's a vampire. I knew I shouldn't have read the Twilight series while pregnant. Wait a second. Does he sparkle in the sunlight? 

And then this morning, when I was Skyping with my sister, she took a screenshot of my little Dracula taking a bite out of my hand, which she thought was very funny.

She's so gorgeous that it looks like she's posing even though she's merely laughing at me being turned into the undead.

It was right after this picture was taken that I realized there was a sharp thing in his mouth that was poking me and it kinda hurt. I hope he didn't swallow one of my toenails or something. And then it dawned on me. My Little Gummy Bear finally got his first tooth. 

*Quick inhale while fanning my face* 

He's growing up too fast!! 

*sobbing*

*dawning on me that he wasn't gumming me this morning as he was nursing*

My poor, poor booblies. 

I miss my Little Gummy Bear already.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Time is Here...Happiness and Kangaroos

We’ve finally unpacked just about every single box and I’ve been trying to get things placed where I think an organized person may put them- not an easy task, let me tell ya. I must admit that getting things situated is a lot easier when My Mister is around to help entertain Little Mister, especially now that he’s discovered a brain splitting, glass shattering, high-pitch squeal and, even more importantly, that he likes it. I put him in his reclining seat with a pile of toys smothering him- most of them playing some sort of musical something or other to try and entertain him for 2 minutes so I can get a few books put away or load the dishwasher or sit like a slack-jawed lump on the couch and try to escape to my happy zone. He LOVES the musical toys- especially my Sing-A-Ma-Jig. He thinks its open mouth means, “Kiss me!” and immediately starts making out with it in a way that makes me veeeery wary of his teenage years.

Because he needs constant entertainment, and because he usually takes 30 minute naps, it’s taken me 2 weeks to finally get my bookshelves in order- alphabetized by author and then by title, unless it’s a series of books, of course. I have really been in a Hercule Poirot mood and bought an extra copy of Hercule Poirot’s Christmas a few weeks back since I knew my original copy had been destroyed many moons ago. Placing my whole collection on the shelves made me wish I could just sit and read a whole book cover to cover in one sitting. Dang- if only Little Mister would react better to the bourbon in his bottle and actually sleep. Ha! Kidding! He doesn’t take a bottle so I drink it first.

So, today I finally became desperate enough to keep him entertained and to keep my eardrums from splitting from the “I AM BOOOOOORED!” screeching that I…..oh man. I can barely get it out. I…went…to the mall. EEEEEP!

As I was walking around, I came to the conclusion that I don’t think I’ve ever been to a mall by myself during the middle of the day. At first I thought I had never been to a mall by myself, but I do remember a Christmas 3 years ago when I had to get My Mister something specific and I knew I would find it there. Shopping. Alone. At a mall. At Christmas!! I’m still in therapy over it.

As I mentioned, our house hasn’t exactly been full of Christmas cheer this year. Even now it’s not very noticeable. Our tree finally arrived on Friday so we put it up and got out the decorations that I bought. However, we really didn’t progress much farther than that. Unfortunately, due to my amazing shopping skills- which actually consist of me seeing something and, like an impulsive 6 year old, throw it in my shopping cart and then dash to the cashier before the anxiety sets in- the bulbs I bought don’t have hooks with which to hang them on the tree. They have these highly annoying silver strings, as if the shiny silver will distract you from the fact that you have to tie 100 little, teeny, tiny strings in order to have some sort of Christmas Cheer in your dry, shriveled, little heart. So. We have 600 cool L.E.D. lights, a string of silver beads, and 10 purple and silver bulbs haphazardly strewn around the tree. Oh- and a silver star because we are Scrooges, not heathens.

I was in such a frenzied state when I went to the mall that I didn’t even remember to pick up a pack of paperclips to use as hooks. All I could think as I carried Little Mister in our Ergo was, “When is he going to start screeching so I can get out of here and go home??”

And then I saw it. The most amazing thing that instantly brought cheer- nay- CHRISTMAS Cheer- to my dry, shriveled little heart. And, I would never have had this miracle happen had I been in the States!

That’s right, folks. It was Santa’s sleigh with his 6 Magical Flying Kangaroos.

Christmas Cheer accomplished. 

Now, Russel! Now, Hugh! Now, Nicole, and Keith!
On, Naomi and Tito! Hop away, Hop away, Hop away all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Team Effort

Oh dear internetz full of people who are well rested and ready to face the day. How I envy you. As Little Mister keeps getting bigger and bigger and the months roll by, (seriously?!? Christmas is THIS weekend?? Oh crap.) I can’t help but wonder WHEN THE HECK IS HE GOING TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT?!?

The night before last, I put him down at 6:30 like normal and then he was fussing and wanting to eat at 9:30 and then every hour and half after that. You could set your watch by it. EVERY.NINTEY.MINUTES. Even with his earplugs in, Big Mister was having a difficult time sleeping through the constant noise and earthquake shaking I made getting in and out of bed. No matter how much shaking I make, I know it cannot possibly be as bad as when My Mister moves in bed. I am always afraid that he is going to do his mega flop from his back to his stomach and catapult Little Mister to the ceiling fan.

So, last night we were both so exhausted that we thought we’d be smart and actually go to bed early, though this never seems to work out whenever we try. I don’t know why it is, but we seem to never be able to go to sleep before 11:00. Last night, though, we took our showers at 9 and were in bed by 9:30 and drifting into dreamland by 10. Not as early as we were hoping (we had said we’d be in bed by 8- HA!) but still, an hour earlier than usual is a start.

Now, when we took Little Mister a bath, we had noticed something different….down there….but we didn’t think we should panic just yet- it could just be normal. Just to be sure, My Mister suggested that we (read: Your’s truly) should change Little Mister’s diaper in the middle of the night just to be sure. Since I knew I’d be up anyway, and since I wanted to make sure my little Snuggle Bug was ok, I steeled myself to take one for the team.

After being jolted awake at 11 for his second feeding (first was at 9, before we went to bed), I felt his diaper and thought he could go another few hours before needing a change. Then, at 1:30, I brought him back into bed to feed him again. I was so dang out of it that I decided that, of course he was normal down there, I didn’t need to check. Who needs grandkids, anyway? So I started to crawl out of bed to take him back to his, but I couldn’t get past the foot of our bed. I laid there, curled up in the fetal position at the foot of the bed while Little Mister slept with his arms straight out taking up my whole side of the bed. And I didn’t care. I was falling asleep with all of my body parts to myself and it was OH CRAP. I was jolted out of my sweet slumber by the worst sound possible at that moment. The bubbling farts had sounded the alarm.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I waited a second and thought, it was just one round of bubbling farts. It’s ok for him to sleep in his poop for a few hours because I am so tired and really don’t care if he has poop plastered to his butt in the morning. Sleep now. Chisel poop later.

And then the second round of bubbling farts erupted with the force of Mount St. Helen. And kept going. And going. And then the third wave.

I bounded out of bed and ran to the bathroom to put eye drops in since I fell asleep with my contacts and my eyes were pretty much little raisins in my skull. Then I ran back to the room and shoveled Little Mister off the bed and was about to put him onto his changing table. Big Mister was now awake and dangling from the ceiling fan.

I was too late. The Yellow Spot of Doom had made its presence known and was traveling up Little Mister’s back and down my arms. Worst of all, it had invaded our sheets and was trying to make it to the mattress, but I had anticipated such an attack and had fortified my side with a waterproof mat. Ha! Take that poop!

It was a two-man diaper change emergency. My Mister had to come and put a layer of paper towels down as the first barrier on the changing table. I then was able to put Little Mister, who had still been bubbling in my arms, down and strip off his PJ bottoms. I was about to go for the diaper, but yet ANOTHER round of bubbling farts erupted from Mount Doom. It went on and on and ON. While I was waiting for Shock and Awe to die down, I thought I was having a sleep deprived hallucination when I saw Big Mister spraying the pooped stained sheets with Windex. I’m still not sure why he chose that particular cleaning product. He was either sleep cleaning or he’s possibly part Greek.

The bubbling farts finally ceased and I was able to try to take off his diaper. As soon as I had the front panel down, Fount PeePee decided to help me wash the area. I then knew that everything was a-ok in that area and we could someday have grandkids who will one day avenge us for this fecal attack. Oh how I look forward to that day!
 
With my poop and urine soaked arms, I decided that it was now or never and called My Mister to help me with the careful extraction of the fullest diaper ever in the whole world. I knew you had to be careful with the fresh, very wet poopy diaper and not just whip it off which would allow the poop to pour out of the diaper and all over Little Mister’s legs and stomach. I am a good student and learned that lesson the first time around last week.

As I finished up with El Pooper, My Mister changed the sheets and we both were finally able to crawl back into bed. I brought Little Mister with me since he was now wide awake and chatting up a storm and could use a nursing nightcap to help him wind down. But, no. He wasn’t hungry and just wanted to babble and giggle and then punch his daddy in the nose. And we laughed.

My Mister: You are just lucky you make us laugh.

Little Mister: *giggle* *cooo*

Me: curled up in fetal position at the foot of the bed.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cockroaches and Spiders and Toilets, Oh My!

Great googally moogally. There be some big and scurry critters up in this place. If you follow me on twitter (which you should totally be doing, by the way. All the cool kids are doing it and you want to be cool, dontcha? DONTCHA?!? Peer pressure. Best.Invention.Ever.) Where was I? Oh yes, twitter. If you follow me on twitter, you would have seen pictures from my house of gigantic cockroaches and scary black Red Back spiders that have made me scream loud enough for my mom in New Mexico to perk her ears up in a, “HARK! My baby calleth! She must have seen a bug!” sort of way. Mommy-ears. I now totally get it.

TWO INCH FLYING COCKROACH!! I think it ate my cat.

ANYwho. The important part of that paragraph (other than the peer pressure you feel to follow me on twitter, like all the smart, good-looking, cool kids do), is that I am from New Mexico. No. I am not Mexican. Nor do I speak Spanish. Except for the two years I took in high school and the one semester in college that I took with My Mister when we were still dating so that we could have a class together. All together now: Awwwww.

Actually, that semester in college really came in handy for both My Mister and me when we were in Spain a few years back. We were with his parents and had stopped at a nursery for some long-forgotten reason. No- we were not trying to buy a Spanish kid- we could have done that in NM. It was the kind of nursery where you buy trees. Work with me here. 

All I remember is that I had to pee like RIGHT NOW and pulled out my, “Donde esta el
baño?” from my high school Spanish days. The lady behind the register told me it was around the side of the building and then continued with whatever she was doing. What she failed to tell me, and even I with my limited Spanish would have known if she had, was that you didn't need a key to get into the bathroom, but she had to give you the freakin’ doorknob in order to exit said establishment.

OH YES. The understanding. It dawns on you.

I did my peepee dance on over to el baño and thought it was weird that there was no doorknob but only hoped that nobody would walk past and look into the hole where the doorknob should be and see my, “This is how I spell relief” face. Once I was done and was ready to exit el bano, I then noticed that I WAS LOCKED IN A BATHROOM IN SPAIN.

I started looking around me to think of ways to MacGyver my way out if needed, but was hoping that someone would walk by and I could get their attention and not need to knock down the bathroom door. As if on cue, a car pulled up and my would-be saviors got out of the car. HOWEVER. I did not call for help. It was a car full of four, young Spanish guys and I decided I would rather die of starvation in the Spanish bathroom than die of embarrassment from calling them over. Egads.

About 10 minutes later, just as I was about to use the plunger to knock out the small vent on the bottom of the door, along came my Knight in Shining Armor. My Mister came along and was calling me. I guess he finally figured out that I said I needed to pee, not that I had Montezuma’s revenge which necessitated 15 minutes on the toilet. Besides- that’s from the wrong Spanish speaking nation. Not every Spanish speaker is from Mexico. Racists.

A few moments later, My Mister arrived with the doorknob and let me out of my Spanish prison.

After thanking him and kissing him profusely, I asked how he was able to get the door knob and he very proudly replied that he told the cashier lady, “Mi esposa esta en el baño y no puede abrir la puerta.” Which very roughly translates to, “My wife iz purdy but she sho’ iz dumb.”

ANYwho. That whole long digression brings me back to New Mexico where our first rattles come from snakes and giant wolf spiders, great big grizzly bears, and black widows are found in our backyards and we eat scorpions for breakfast. Hey. Anything with green chile on it is cool in my book.

That being said, I must say that I have only ever seen a black widow spider maybe five times in my entire life. They are very venomous- a bite can be fatal- but I never ever feared going outside barefooted and running through our barn or climbing trees, having rock fights, or riding bikes down stuckoed stairways on the side of restaurants. (Yes- I did do that. My 7th grade yearbook picture shows the large head wound I incurred from that not-so-bright decision. My brother still laughs at me to this day.)

THAT BEING SAID.

I am SCARED OUT OF MY WITS to go outside in my backyard and into our shed. The exterminator came by yesterday and found 3 Red Back Spiders (the Black Widow’s Australian cousin) on my backyard gate alone. There was another 2 that came out of hiding outside my living room window. I’ve seen five of those scary man-eaters in 10 minutes versus five Black Widows in my ENTIRE LIFE.

I feel a little safer now that my house has been sprayed down, but still. DUDE. If there was a Red Back Spider in that Spanish bathroom, I could guarantee that I would not have needed anybody saving me- I would have had that door down in a minute flat and barreled my way back home to NM where the chile is hot, the girls are dumb, and the spiders know to stay out of sight.

Red Back Spider from outside my living room window. ALL THE BUGGIES DIE!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Memories from The Grinch

I finally did it. It was under threat of family abandonment and after a flurry of increasingly urgent emails, but I finally did it. Last night, I made up my Christmas wish list. Whew!

At risk of sounding Grinchy, I have not thought a whit about Christmas and to say I do not have the Christmas Spirit this year is like saying Santa has Type II Diabetes due to eons of gorging on cookies and milk set out by greedy boys and girls around the world. Yeah- that's right. Go ahead and continue stuffing him full of cookies- what's it to me if he goes into a diabetic coma while flying over Sacramento? I'm the Grinch! And I like my itty bitty teeny tiny heart! BAH HUMBUG!

Ah dang- getting my Christmas villains mixed up. MUST.SLEEP.MORE.

This holiday season has been the farthest thing from my mind, especially since I know that Santa doesn't deliver sleep on Christmas morning. I spent way too many years as a kid forcing my parents' eyelids open so we could unwrap our loot to ever think I'd be able to sleep in on Christmas morning. One year for my birthday I received an AM/FM microphone where, with the correct frequency, you could turn your radio into your own personal record studio. I'm pretty sure my parents really regretted that present on Christmas morning when their bedroom radios were playing non-stop, "IT'S CHRISTMAS!! IS IT TIME TO WAKE UP YET?? IT'S 4:30!!!!" and then, "HOW ABOUT NOW? IT'S 4:35!!!!!"

Of the three of us siblings, being the oldest, it was my duty to get the ball rolling whenever questions needed to be asked, boundaries needed to be pushed, and presents to be discovered and covertly unwrapped/wrapped back up prior to Christmas morning.  I think the only year I was unable to locate our presents was the year our mom hid them in the barn. I always wondered why our gifts smelled slightly of animal poop. Dang- she was a genius.

I was a pro at sllllooooooowly pulling the tape off of the wrapping as to not tear it and then rewrapping it once we found out what it was. My sister, unfortunately, could not keep her 4-year-old trap shut and would rat me out if my mom asked her point blank if we found them. I remember being so mad at her and saying, "I told you you got Bianca the Mouse and you still told on me?? I will remember this and blog about it someday so that everyone in the world will know what a Christmas ruiner you are!" 

Ok, maybe I didn't say the last part, but it really was Bianca the Mouse- a detail like that is seared in my mind after such a heinous sisterly betrayal. And then my brother and I would shun her and she would cry and then my mom would get mad at us and take away our presents so that she was the only one who would have any since she was such a reliable rat so honest and pure.

As we got older, our love and impatience for Christmas morning never waned and we all would try to catch our mom filling our stockings in the wee hours of the morning and always just miss her. Each year promising that we would not attempt to wake them up before 6am and each year say, "Well, 5:45 is almost 6!" Each year dumping out our stockings so we could chew a piece of Double Bubble while sorting out our gifts into piles so we could count who had the most gifts and each year my bro and I would gripe that our sister once again had the most.

Those Christmas memories are some of my favorite memories and I must admit to being transported back to our childhood where we three were always cooking up something mischevious and fun. Ahh- to have the childlike love and purity during this season. That's what's been missing. I thought it was the weather that was missing- how can it be Christmas when it's 100 degrees outside? I thought it was the lack of Christmas music blaring in all the stores since October. I thought it was the lack of Christmas decorations since My Mister decided at the last minute to put all of our decorations into storage* which means we have no evidence of Christmas AT ALL in our house as of yet.

Yes, it is a little of all of those things, but it's mostly that I've grown up and have grown up worries and stressors and have lost my focus as I wearily stumble through my day. I just need a change of focus right now. Instead of being the little girl who tried catching her mommy fill the stockings, I'm now the mommy and will one day have stockings to fill for my Little Mister. So, even though I'm not currently bursting at the seams with Christmas joy at this moment, I do now have a little child in my life who will one day try waking me up at 4am to open up his gifts and who CANNOT.WAIT. for Christmas to get here. I'll get to relive some of my memories as he's making his and I must admit, that does fill me with joy.

So, for that chubby-cheeked, almond-eyed little boy, I'm not letting this Christmas sneak past me, no matter how warm the weather or decoration-less we may be. My wish list was filled with things for him (and a little for me- that greedy little girl hasn't completely disappeared) and it'll be fun to see him playing with the wrapping paper and taking pictures of him with bows on his head (no matter how much his dad may complain). We ordered a tree online and will hopefully get it this week. I've scored some decorations that were on sale while grocery shopping the other day, so we'll at least have a little evidence of Christmas fairly soon. And I've got the best husband in the whole world who has been mischievously giggling as boxes come in the mail since he hasn't forgotten about Christmas this year and has been buying me gifts for a while. (I know- how does a Grinch like me deserve a Who like him?)

So, with only 12 days left til Christmas, I'm going to try to bring back those childhood memories, starting with all of our favorite Christmas cartoons. Bring on Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Garfield, Frosty, and even The Grinch! I'll leave you with one of my favorite scenes from A Claymation Christmas- makes me laugh each time. :)



* Even though I griped at him when our stuff got here and I realized that we didn't have our Christmas decorations, I really can't blame him for this decision- Australia has some of the strictest import and quarantine guidelines in the world. We didn't have time to go through our decorations to ensure our stuff wouldn't be delayed because we didn't take out the wreath that had a pinecone in it. Also, our lights wouldn't have run without using a transformer, anyway, so we would have to buy new lights regardless. All this to say, we'll begin making new Christmas memories this year, which is a good thing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Welcome Home

Thank you to all you fellow mothers who have been giving me encouragement during these sleep-less days and reinforcing the fact that these days only seem interminable but will in actuality eventually end... one of these days. One of these long, long, never ending days I will indeed get more than 1-2 hours of sleep at a time. The crazy thing is that, cumulatively, I actually get around 8 hours of sleep. However, the constant waking up and never getting into a deep sleep really takes its toll, ya know?

These last couple weeks have been some of THE.WORST. in the sleep department. Whenever I hear, "He's 4 months old and still eating every 2 hours? Really? My little angel was sleeping 12 hours straight at 3 months. *smirky smirk*" I just want to ever so maturely, in my best grown up voice, tell them, "Yeah. Well you're ugly and so is your kid." And then moon them.

Even though I've been the embodiment of The Walking Dead, these last couple weeks weren't as bad as they could have been. My in-laws came for a 10 day visit for Thanksgiving which ended up being a huge blessing. Little Mister started waking up at 6am and wanted to tell us all about the awesome raves he attended in his dreams- complete with all the dance moves he learned- and I would weep as I realized my baby had better dance moves than me. My Mister would take him to the living room and let me sleep for an hour at which time Little Mister was ready for his early morning nap. He would eat and then sleep until 9am. This is his longest nap of the day and the only time I can "sleep when he sleeps." (And, yes, I may be a new mom, but I do know that I should attempt to "sleep when he sleeps." However, he takes 30-60 minute naps during the day. As soon as I close my eyes or get into a deep sleep (which is usually the same thing), he wakes up and I get a pounding headache. I feel more groggy and less rested than if I had just stayed up. Argh.)

Once he and I woke up, I'd bring him into the living room and let Grandma and Grandpa play with and entertain him until the next feeding time. I was able to get a little "me" time and for that I was very thankful. It was also nice to have help in the kitchen to prepare the Thanksgiving meal. I knew it was going to be a challenge not only because of Little Mister being a new addition to the equation, but also because all of my kitchen stuff was still en route and I had to do the best I could with very limited tools. It was quite funny, actually. We had to use the same pot- including washing it in between each dish- to boil the sweet potatoes, the regular potatoes (for mashed taters), the spinach (for creamed spinach...which I ate a little bit and then paid for it with a humungous diaper explosion from Little Mister the next day), and the brussels sprouts. It was also funny planning out how to cook/bake everything in the little teeny tiny hot-box they call an oven over here. (For reals- I had to use my neighbor's oven to cook the sweet potatoes since only the turkey fit in mine.)

The day after they left, another huge blessing occurred- our household items FINALLY made it here!!!!  WHOOOO HOOOOO! For the first time in 3 months, we were able to sleep in our own bed and eat on our own plates and even use our own toilet paper. Yes. We shipped over some Charmin since we learned the Aussies are not privy to the opulent, spongy, cloud-like pleasure wiping one's butt can be. 

So, we've been unpacking all weekend long and are just about finished. I must admit that it's kinda fun deciding where our stuff should go and it was like an early Christmas as we opened up boxes and said, "Why did we bring this crap?"

The best thing of all is that my yarn is back home!!! YAY!!! Ahhh....How I missed my precioussss. However, I was very distraught to learn that not ALL of my yarn made it here. I have A LOT of yarn. A lot, a lot. But, I also know what yarn I have and I could definitely tell that some of it was missing. I had quite a bit of brown wools (used to make several of my purses) as well as a great stash of the pink yarn for my Felted Watermelon Tote. They didn't make it. (Well, some of the pink did, but not all of it.) Honestly, had it not been some of the yarn that I use most often, I wouldn't have been so upset, but those happen to be the two colors that I use the most. A.R.G.H.

Another HUGE bummer- one that I don't know if I'll ever get over- is that a selection of my favorite books did not make it. I had set aside a collection of my favorite books to be mailed here when we packed out of our house so that I could read them during our 3 month wait time. Well, due to time and weight constraints, those books ended up having to be shipped here. HOWEVER, much to my dismay, that box must have gotten mixed up with the boxes sent to storage and now I don't know when I'll see them again. Many of them were my comfort and escape books- ones I've read numerous times like Jane Eyre, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. I AM SO BEYOND UPSET ABOUT THIS.

As I contemplate how I'm going to survive without some of my best literary friends, I can take comfort in knowing that our new home is starting to truly feel like "home" now. It's weird seeing our stuff in new places- and I'll readily admit I became a little weepy as I was unpacking and picturing each item in its place in our old home- but it sure does feel good having some familiarity around me now.

So, as I'm off to face another night cycle of sleep-wake-weep, at least I can do it on my own bed, snuggling next to My Mister while holding our new baby. Welcome home, Gege. Welcome home.