Friday, January 29, 2010

When life gives you limes ...

Mr. Squishy has been crying since approximately Monday morning.

I'm surprised his tear ducts aren't the size of small kiwis.


This morning it suddenly became too much. Blasting primary music didn't seem to be helping. (I'm TRYYYYYYYYYYYYING to BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE like JEEEEEEE-SUUUUUUUUUUUS!)

I decided to make these:

Cupcakes make everything better.

We suffered casualties in the shape of one bottle of lime juice, two eggs, one fistful of butter and several chucked spoons.

No children were hurt.


Right now both children are in bed. I'm blogging. I just had a cupcake.

And I feel better.

*******************************************
;">Recipe from CuisineNie:

Lime-Coconut Cupcakes:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp grated key lime zest
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup loosely packed sweetened coconut flakes (3.5 ounces)

The Frosting:

5 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped into small chucks 1/2 cup
(1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Pinch salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp lime juice (bottled or freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup sour cream
Fresh lime slices, for garnish - if desired

The Instructions:

* Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, key lime zest and juice and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 5 parts total, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold the coconut into the cupcake batter. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill each liner almost to the top with batter. A spring loaded 1/4 cup ice cream scoop works great for this and ensures the cupcakes are all the same size. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops begin to brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer cupcakes to a baking rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the frosting. In a small heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, carefully and slowly melt the white chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool until just slightly warm. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla extract, key lime juice, and sour cream and mix until very smooth. Add the melted white chocolate and mix just until incorporated. Frost the cupcakes and garnish with a bit of grated key lime zest, fresh lime slices, or candied limes. (And I added coconut, too!)

You'd think

that after almost fifteen years of wearing mascara,
I'd be fairly good at putting it on ....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In which I prove how lame I really am

So there's this big to-do in the Mormon Mommy Blog world, and it is called the Casual Blogger Conference. This is preceding another big to-do deal, called the BlogHer Conference.

I'm seeing lots of bold braggy buttons that declare "I'm going!" I'm seeing lots of public begging to husbands for tickets. I'm seeing lots of envy from those without those bold braggy buttons.

*announcement* I'm not going.

And here's the kicker: even if I lived in Salt Lake and had a million extra dollars, I probably wouldn't go either.

Are you totally shocked?

The reason is this. I am a shy, shy insecure little bugger.


I have my bloggy friends that I love dearly. I even have a few bloggy fans. (Okay. Two.) But I can't help but think - what if they don't like me in real life? Sometimes I think that all you people that leave such flattering comments are just kidding yourselves. I mean, shoot. Most of you actually think I'm fairly skinny. That proves you're delusional.

I think I prefer to remain in the role of "person you have built up to be somewhat cool in your head," rather than come crashing down in all my quirky realities.

Here's what I would do if I actually went to the conference: sit in a chair surrounded by women who all inexplicably seem to know one another. Take notes with lots of doodles. Wish I knew how to accessorize. Feel sorry for myself. Leave. I know because I do the same thing almost every Enrichment night. (Sorry. RELIEF SOCIETY MEETING.)

Oh, and don't forget that I'll be doing these things while sweating profusely - especially out of my right armpit, because for some reason I always sweat more out of my right armpit.

If anyone actually struck up a conversation - or worse, if anybody recognized me - I'd probably freeze. I would frantically try to come up with something witty or funny, because for some reason the MMB classified me as a "Funny Lady." Pressure.

Instead, I'd probably jabber on about really awesome topics like the weather and health care reform. And the sweat stains on my right side.

The fact is, I'm only funny when not under pressure. And when I'm completely comfortable. (Like right now. At my computer. I'm not even sweating.) But neither of these circumstances is likely to happen at a blogging conference. So I'd revert to my natural state of being: geek. A wall-hugging, clutching-a-book, geek.

Now don't get me wrong. I would love to meet you all. But in small groups. And only if you guys didn't know each other, either. (Because I hate being the only one who gets introduced.) And also it'd be nice if we all brought our husbands and kids - so if all else fails by way of conversation, we can talk about them. Or to them. Oh, and don't forget the food. Lots of food. And perhaps deodorant.

Exactly one person that reads my blog I see on a regular basis. (Hi, Katy!) One other I see on a not-so-regular-basis, which is ridiculous since we live so close. (Hi, Kathy!) Other than that - you all think I'm actually skinny. So there you are.

No comments today. I'm not fishing for declarations of love and assurances that I am cool - and I'm proving it by cutting the line. I'm simply siphoning my thoughts. Cuz that's what I do here.

The end.

LAME.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I may be taking too many pictures


because as I went to get my camera to document Little Prince's trampoline acrobatics the other day, he protested thus:

LP: DON'T GET THE CAMERA. (Simple. Direct. To the point. I like it. Except not.)

Me: But I want to remember you, LP. (Such logic. I impress myself.)

LP: YOU HAVE A BRAIN, MOM. (....)

Indeed.

Image here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In which I mean business

I'm not a good email-writer-back-erer. Besides my mother and my husband, it usually takes me a good week (okay. month) to click that "reply" button. The longer the email, the longer it takes me to write back.

I'm not sure why.

Is it because I don't want to look too desperate? As if, heaven forbid, I check my email three times a day? (Okay. Ten.)

This is dumb. Emphasis on the dumB.

And it's going to stop.

This is not a New Year's Resolution. This is a New ME Resolution. I will write people back at my earliest convenience. My inbox will no longer be a to-do list a mile long that fills me with guilt. (Ack! Is she still on there? Now it's almost too late to write her back ... how embarrassing ....)

I will press forward, constant and courageous, tenaciously clicking REPLY in response to inquiries, newsy updates and hi-how-are-yas, boldly going where That Girl has not gone before. YES. I will return that very affection that makes me check my email three ten times a day. Because I love my friends.

And I want them to keep emailing me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dear Risa,

I would love to answer your questions about natural child birth and the Bradley method, but I also don't want to bore my other readers. Ya wanna shoot me an email? It's over there ------> and up a little.

Cheers, That Girl

This post is blatantly honest.

It's no secret that Ouro Branco is my "tough one."

He's the one who exhausts me. The one I get annoyed with the most. The one who always gets to go on "dates with Dad," simply because I need a break.

Is it because he's three? Or is it just the way he is? My memory of Little Prince at this age is fading ....

He drives me nuts a good portion of the time.


This fills me with guilt.


I feel like less of a mother because of these sometimes terrible, horrible, no-good very-bad feelings I have towards him. As if my love were conditional. (Is it?) Requiring. (Do I?)

Look what happened to Joseph when his father started comparing him to his brothers.


I love this baby boy. Oh, I love him fiercely. I love him every ounce as much as my other two. Sometimes, because I have to work harder at it, it feels like more. And it hurts me when others complain about him or have a hard time with him. Even though I feel the same way.

And he loves me. Oh, he loves me. He wants every minute to hug me, to hang on me. To beg me to play with him "just five more minutes." To sit next to me and just be with me. I don't deserve this beautiful boy.


So we've been investigating his behavior lately. Because I've known for a while that something just isn't quite right.

And guess what.

He is partially deaf.

His ears are so filled with fluid that everything he hears sounds like it's underwater. Hence, speech impediments. Hence, frustration. Hence, sensitivity and quick anger.

I feel ... relieved. Validated. To know that there really is a problem. That it's a fixable problem. That he can get help and things are looking up.

And I feel ... remorse. For yelling at him when he didn't respond the first time. For losing it when I had to repeat something the tenth time. For gritting my teeth every time he freaked out about something he probably couldn't understand.

Because I love this boy. I love him so. I am his mother.

And I'm so glad he's mine.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reminder

There are days I think -

WOW.


It would be so. super. easy to just have one kid.

Think about it!

No juggling of nap times. No fights over toys. Less messes. Less laundry. Less stress and less drama.

And then I think -

WOW.

I would have missed all of this:







I love my boys.

And I love that they love each other.


(most of the time)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

there is a man inside my head

His name is George. He is short, pudgy, balding and has glasses. He sweats a lot. And wears a bow tie.

He works in a long, narrow room with vaulted ceilings. There are filing cabinets stacked high as the eye can see. Gray. With white labels and silver handles. This hallway of a room is dimly lit, barely illuminating thousands of papers that swirl and whirl in every direction. A snow storm of paper.

This room, you see, is my brain.

All the thoughts I've ever had are filed not-so-neatly away. Thoughts on chess. Q-tips. World peace. AIDS. Peanut butter. Grass. Baseball. Mozart. My grocery list and the state of my nylons.

It is George's job to catch the papers - my thoughts - as they fall from that sky-high ceiling, and file them accordingly. 'Cept usually there's about 1987136 thoughts fluttering down at a time, and he's dashing back and forth, frantically trying keep up.

But not now. Now, he's taking a nap. His glasses are falling off his face and he's curled up with his knees tucked to his chest as far as his belly will allow. Only one or two thought-papers drift lazily down, careful not to disturb him.

Let's let him be.

That's all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

why i go natural. now shut up.

I've had three babies one time each without drugs.


















I generally get two reactions when I tell people this:

One - aspirations against my sanity.
Two - defensiveness.

I must say that *I* rarely bring it up. I don't flaunt it. I do not have I AM TOUGH tattooed on my forehead. I don't pass around fliers or join Facebook groups or try to convince anyone to do it "my way." I mention it when a circle of ladies are swapping birth stories - as seems to happen way more than is probably healthy.

I do not say a word against the medical community. I do not preach against The Evil Anesthesia. I had three beautiful experiences that brought me joy, end of story -

To the tune of: "You're crazy!" "So you like pain?" "What a glutton for punishment." "I would never in a million years be that stupid."

This offends me. I do not mock their decision. Why mock mine?

And second, it seems that most listeners get very defensive - without any offense from me. I get the feeling they think I am awesomer-than-thou for going natural. They think I think I'm tougher. Or healthier. Or better, somehow.

WhatEV.

So ya wanna know WHY I go natural? I shall tell you, my friend. And then, perhaps, print this off and carry it around with me.

I have a cousin. Say hi.


We're the same age ('cept I'm older by SIX WEEKS), and I think of her as my sister, even if I don't call her as much as she would like. (Hi, babe!) She married the year before I did, and babies soon followed. I listened to every detail she shared with me, knowing that my time would soon come.

She, like me, planned on getting an epidural with her first. We both just always assumed we'd get one. (Doesn't everybody?) But due to circumstances beyond her control, she couldn't. It was involuntarily natural. And she had a terrible time of it.

I listened to her horror story, and vowed that I would prepare for "the worst," just in case I couldn't get the drugs for some reason. Truly, as a back up plan. Because you have to be emotionally prepared for that kind of thing - not to mention physically.

I did some research and decided I liked the Bradley method best. I read the books, did the exercises, practiced practiced practiced - and I did it.


And I liked it.

So I did it two more times.













That's really it. I'm not better than anyone else for it. I'm also not crazy.

I plan on going natural for #4, but I'm also not against an epidural if, say, my pelvis breaks. Or I'm in labor for 42 hours. Or this time it hurts way-freaking-more than it usually does. (Which is still a lot, I'll have you know.)

But the plan thus far is no meds.


Is that so hard to understand?!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hating laundry is a dominant trait

Especially when it's time to wash the blankie.

Because I'm totally rude/awesome like this

One of my dear, dear friends (who I haven't seen in, oh, ten years, but that's beside the point) emailed me recently with the following request:
Any tips from a happily married lady? I know it seems so abstract asking. But I admire your fairy tale. I know there isn't a secret recipe per se...but what's the secret? ; )
Okay. Confession. She didn't write me recently. It was a month and a half ago.

So in case you were wondering, my dear, I haven't forgotten you. Not by half. I have not written you back - have blatantly ignored you, actually - for the simple reason that I didn't know how to answer. Aren't I awesome?! And rude.

Your question has been sitting in the back of my mind all these long weeks. I know you probably did not expect a long, well-thought out answer. You were probably just writing off the top of your head, and expected me to do the same. I know I'm way over-thinking this. But I am a classic Head Case, will probably wile away my sanity pondering how bees fly, and you just have to deal with it.

So without further ado, I give you MY "secrets" to a happy marriage. (I guess I'll now have to kill you all.)

1. You have to actually be married.


Commitment counts. Countless studies have proven time and again that married couples are significantly happier than those who simply live together. Something about publicly binding yourself to one person can actually increase love. Don't doubt.

And for those of you who are already married and think you're off the hook for this one, go back and read that line up there again. Commitment counts. This means divorce is not an option. Ever. Pre-nups, don't get me started; if you build yourself an emergency exit, you'll use it. So no "we'll stay married UNLESS ...." lists. No. No. Stop. You will stay married. Period.

This leads to:

2. Selflessness and sacrifice.



(I don't know why this picture represents selflessness. But apparently Google Images thinks it does.)

I firmly believe that any two decent people can make a marriage work if they're willing to pay the price. (I learned that from President Spencer W. Kimball.)

It means bending yourself to the other. It means putting their needs before your own. It means giving 100% of yourself ... and not expecting anything in return. No "I'll change this about me IF he changes this about him." No. Just "I will do this because I love him" - even if you don't like him all that much at the time.

I don't believe in soul mates. I don't believe that in heaven we pranced around promising enduring love throughout the eternities, with desperate pleas to find each other on earth.

I believe instead that we have to work hard to become one another's soul mates. This means change.

But WAIT! you say. I want to marry someone who loves me for who I am! you say. I shouldn't have to change! you say. CORRECT! I say. And yet change you will, and change you must. Because that's what marriage is all about: Loving the other without the change, but changing yourself because you love the other.

That's why it's so hard.

[And let me just say something right here. To make a marriage the joyful state of ecstasy that I know God intends, it takes two. TWO people working hard to sacrifice and change. That said, everyone has ups and downs. Sometimes one person will be working harder than the other. One will be giving, giving, giving without getting anything back. Sometimes BOTH will be down in the dumps. That's why the whole commitment thing is so important - to get us through the normal ebb and flow of human nature.]

3. This is where God comes in.


Now, I would be stupid to claim that a non-religious couple can't make it. Nonsense. I know plenty of happily married couples that don't go to church. And plenty of unhappy couples who do.

What I will say is this: Heavenly Father makes it a heckuva a lot easier. That's because when that one spouse is struggling, or when both of you are losing focus, He's there to remind you. A covenant marriage involves three people: husband, wife, and the Lord. That way, one of you is always pulling. And that one (the Lord) is pulling harder than the other two could ever manage on their own.

Not to mention the fact that changing one's very nature to match someone else is nothing short of a miracle. And the Lord? He knows miracles.

So there we are. That's it. One, two, three. All the little tips and advice (like communication, prayer, date nights, lots of intimacy, etc.) somehow fit into one of those three categories. Just three secrets, when it comes right down to it.

Good luck to you -

Love, That Girl

images here here and here

Monday, January 18, 2010

That Girl by the numbers

10 weeks to go
29 pounds so far
3 pairs of pants I still like
2 shirts I still like
1 extra chin
1 full shoe size bigger
0 hours of good sleep anymore


2 red shoes that make everything better

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The whys and wherefores of bucket-dom

I go in phases with my scriptures. Phases where I wake up early and DEVOUR them for an hour, pencil at the ready. Phases where I read them during nap time, more as an item-to-be-checked-off-today thing. Phases where I read them right before I go to bed, struggling to get through a chapter, and not getting a dang thing out of it. And phases where I don't read them at all.

Stepper blogged about a bucket analogy the other day, and it reminded me about my favorite bucket story - even if it didn't have much to do with hers.

This picture made me laugh. Moving on.

A young man approached an old man, seeking wisdom. And to complain.

"Why do I have to read the Holy Book every day, O Wise Man? I never remember it anyway ..."

The sage bowed his head and promised to answer the youth's question - but only after the young man fetched a pail of water from a lake in the neighboring village.

The young man took off, bucket banging against his leg, trudging through the terrain, up and down hills, to said water source. Bucket filled, he began the trek home only to find that the bucket had a leak in it.

Upon arriving at the elder man's feet with nothing to show for his journey, the youth began to complain again, "This bucket had a leak in it! There's no point to this! Why did I have to do that?!"

And so the old man sent him to fill the bucket again.

Trek there, trek back. Still no water.

"Tell me about the bucket, son," the wise man said.

"Well," thought the young man. "I did water all the flowers between the lake and your hut."

"You're starting to get it - now do it again."

Trek there, trek back. Still no water.

"And what did you learn this time?" inquired the man.

After a moment's thought, the youth had the answer. "The bucket is clean."

***************

We are asked to read the Lord's word every day not only to learn, but to be cleansed.

Even if our buckets are a little leaky.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No husbands were harmed in the making of this post


Don't you think it would be incredibly convenient if our spouses read our minds? It would save so much trouble and pretense.

Wife: "Hi, hun, how was your day?" I had an awful one, and I'm dying to vent to you.
Husband: "Just great." Can you wait five minutes? I gotta pee.
Wife: "Good to hear." Be fast. Then offer to make dinner, please, or I will die.

Of course, sheer honesty would eliminate the need for this, but then there's the whole issue of 'A Gift I Ask For is No Gift at All.'

Sometimes I don't want to ASK My Man to do the dishes. I want him to just KNOW.

If he does it without my actually asking him, he's doing it because he wants to - not because I asked him. And that creates all kinds of warm, lovey-dovey feelings. But if I have to verbalize my indubitable desires, it creates all kinds of feelings of guilt and bad-wife-ship and nag-meister-ness and general laziness. It's like Tuesday night.

That Girl: "Hun, how much homework do you have?"
My Man: "Not too bad. Why?"
TG: I could really - REALLY - go for some Coldstone right now. Pretty please? (internally feeling soooo bad for asking him....)
MM: No problem, love of my life. Let me just finish this real quick.
(We end up talking for an hour and suddenly it's a quarter to ten and Coldstone is about to close.)
MM: Shoot! I better get going.
TG: Oh, no, hun, it's so late and I'm a bad person from keeping you from your homework this long. Please, please, please still get it. I want it. Bad. Please.
MM: Don't be silly. What kind do you want.
TG: I'm not telling. Don't go. It's too late. Do your homework. I'm serious. I changed my mind anyway. Don't go. Of course I still want it. Please go. Cheesecake with raspberries and brownies.
MM: *kiss* I'll be back.

Lucky for me when it comes to Coldstone runs, he's very good at reading my mind.

But this is not always so. I wonder if many marital problems are due to the simple fact that we are not psychic.

Think about it. Any romantic novel I have ever read (which, I grant you, isn't that many) includes a couple that love each other so much and know each other so well that there is really no point in conversing at all. The heroine saw that look in his eye and KNEW. The hero glanced at the way she held her shoulders and he KNEW.

Bull.

I once tested My Poor Man. It was a good two years ago. We were cleaning up dinner, and he used a rag to wipe up some spilled somethingorother. Then he chucked it toward the kitchen island, missed, and it ended up on the floor. I teased him about getting it later, and he responded in kind.

The rag stayed there for three weeks.

I swept around it in the ensuing days. I seethed every time I looked at it. Merely walking into the kitchen mad me madder than Mr. Squishy getting his diaper changed.

Shouldn't My Man just KNOW that HE was supposed to pick it up?!

After three weeks, I came to the realization that he was indeed NOT trying to drive me crazy. Quite honestly, he had completely forgotten about it. And he really didn't know that he was utterly failing in a job description he did not apply for.

I threw the rag away. And then laughed myself silly.

Whenever we test our companions, we only set them up for failure, and ourselves for anger. Every time.

(...Have you ever done it?)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New competition for Jay Leno's spot

Apologies for bad lighting and excessive giggling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnQbuvqhQTM

Monday, January 11, 2010

Saturday afternoon when the chores are done






... make lemonade with lotsosugar, and drink it ALL GONE before you can take a picture of the final product ...


And don't forget to drink up those kiddies while you're at it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Patience, charity and violent tendencies

I think Little Prince is pretty much the coolest kid ever.

He gives me pictures that say I LOVE YOU MOM. He draws vampires, too. Quite well. He tells me I'm beautiful almost every day and loves it when I dress up. Whenever we have guests, he always seems to appear with a serving plate of, say, yogurt. Or pears. Or Teddy Grahams. He's such a good host.

He loves to play monsters, spends hours constructing zoos for our countless plastic animals, and is getting quite good at doing flips on the trampoline. He can climb to the tippy-top of the tree without falling. He never tires of his scooter. He memorizes hours of dialogue from his favorite movies.

He's good at taking care of his brothers, cleaning the bathtub, and being awesome.

I'm tellin' ya, he's the coolest kid ever.

And he gets bullied.

Why my kid?!

There's just one kid - let's call him BiggestBratEver (or BBE for short) - and he picks on my baby boy.

BBE lives two doors down. They're not in the same kindergarten class - thank every star in the heavens, even the ones I can't see - but BBE teases LP relentlessly whenever they're both outside. Which is, oh, every day.

There's the normal 5-year-old name calling ("you suck," "you stink," "you're dumb," "you're a loser") and we've had some minor rock throwing and pushpin-scratching incidents.

This has been a matter of much discussion and prayer in the That Girl household. First I tried winning the kid over with love - lots of hugs and compliments and even cookies. No joy. (This is an ongoing experiment ... I haven't given up yet.)

I know very little about BBE's home life. I know they yell a lot. I know they're out of work. I know they sit on the porch and chain smoke, and have bonfire parties with their friends til one in the morning. I know BBE has two older teenage siblings, and one toddler sister. I've chatted with the Mom a couple times, and she seemed very pleasant both times. The dad, quite simply, gives me the creeps.

I kept waiting for a nice, neutral setting in which to bring up the bullying. (I don't think showing up at their door with 'there's something I want to discuss with you' is the best starting point.) But they didn't go to the neighborhood party, and they skipped our house trick-or-treating. As in - walked deliberately to the other side of the street. They don't see me when I wave hello anymore, and they weren't home when I brought them their Christmas gift. (They were fine over the summer - the blatant ignoring is a recent development.)

I'm beginning to think the bullying is because the parents don't like us - for whatever reason - and BBE is just picking up anti-LP vibes at home.

At any rate, our current plan-of-attack is simply to build up LP's self-esteem and watch BBE like a hawk. (Is it bad that I'm hoping they'll just move soon? They've already foreclosed on their home, and they're just renting this house ....)

But you know what? Frankly, LP doesn't seem to mind at all.

I have suggested that LP not play with BBE for a while - to which LP responds: "But he's my friend, Mom, and I forgive him." When I instruct LP to tell BBE off every time he starts name-calling, LP answers: "Nah. I just ignore him."

Every day, LP skips out to play with BBE, while I'm at the front window, clenching my fists. And truly, LP ignores every jibe. He continues to be pleasant and loving and as Christlike as can be.

I, on the other hand, want to drop kick the kid.