Friday, September 30, 2011

Leo's Adoption is Final!

Who once was called aunt is now called mama.
Who once was called uncle is now called dada.
Who once was called cousin is now called sister.
And who once was called nephew is now called son.

Little Leo, we love you.  We love you so much, and feel so blessed that you are here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why We Will Never Be Rich, Part 2

Well, apparently this is what Lancôme has been sending by the boxful to both Kate and Pippa Middleton. And everyone knows they are gorgeous.  So, I suppose one would have to be a complete and utter knobhead not to try the stuff, right?  And for fear of that, Lancôme's Visionnaire has been flying off the shelves.  In fact, I read that it was selling so well that it was just plain not to be got in the UK when it first hit the market. 

Right when I read this on-line last month, I immediately did an internet search for Lancôme's Visionnaire.  It appears that there is a big difference with beauty products here in the US versus the UK, because here you can wander into any major department store and easily buy bottle after bottle of it.  Well, that is if your Nordstrom credit card will let you, that is.  Anyway, it is supposed to be a wonder serum of sorts -- you know, erase the old, tired, haggard look I seem to be rocking these days, and make one (er, me) look, well, like Kate or Pippa.  Done, I'll take two, please.

And so, I have been slathering my face with the sacred serum for about two weeks now.  Does it work, you ask?  Who the hell knows.  But it does smell very much like a British beauty product, which is odd because it is Lancôme and supposedly made in France.  And every time I put it on, the smell reminds me of the bottom floor of Selfridges.  Or, even the aisles of Boots (the Chemists).  And maybe even a bit like my old bottle of Burberry Touch perfume.  Anyway, I will keep using my wonder serum for now because it doesn't seem to be doing any damage. (Is it a bad thing when this is an actual consideration when buying face products?  I think the jury is still out on that one.)  Besides, I am the sort that feels out of sorts if I am not applying at least two make-you-gorgeous-by-the-morn serums before I put my face cream on at night.  I am nothing if not civilized, you know.

Oh, and as far as the not ever getting rich bit goes, the little blue bottle is not cheap.  That being said, it is not, by any means, the most expensive thing one can put on one's face, though, either.  However, because I am very happily married and love my husband very dearly, I will not disclose the price of said beauty serum here. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baked Oatmeal for Breakfast

I think it is high-time we move Little Leo into his own room.  This business of having the noisy bugger sleep roughly one and a half feet away from my head is for the birds.  Every night it is the same thing -- he is sound asleep, but then tosses and turns and tosses and turns some more.  All the while he is shooting the breeze and having a nice little time, before he eventually conks out again and we are left, briefly, with a little peace and quiet.

This is the reason why I have found myself stumbling in the middle of the night, half asleep, to the couch in the study these days.  I love the little boy like nobody's business -- but I need sleep, or I simply cannot function as a pleasant person during the day.  Michael generally sleeps through all the racket -- only waking when the boy is screaming and wants a bottle.  That is when I totter off to the kitchen to make one, and Michael totters over to his crib to change his little bum.  But otherwise, he sleeps through it all.  Lucky bastard.

So I am relegated to the couch -- a cold hard leather affair (which I cover with every blanket I can locate in ten seconds flat), and my legs cramped up every which way (in an effort to keep them from touching said freezing couch).  But it more or less quiet in this room.  Ahhh.  I can still hear the little pipsqueak down the hallway, but it isn't right in my ear.  I can also hear Miss Emilia open her door and announce to the world in general, 'I have to go potty!'

This morning the girl woke up early.  After her trip to the potty, I got her all situated in the big green chair roughly one and a half feet from my head while on the couch -- beamies (two blankets that Grandma knit), a pillow, and a nice stack of books.  Then as the girl decided it would be a great time for some conversation, I reluctantly got up off the couch and headed to the kitchen to make breakfast.  And that is where the baked oatmeal comes in.

My new favorite thing in the morning is a recipe that takes only a few minutes to put together and then plenty of time in the oven so you can sit back and not be bothered with actually eating it just yet.  (Actually, this is when I usually give Leo his breakfast, kick Governor out for his morning constitutional, pour a cup or two of coffee, and sit around being quite grumpy with everyone.)  Emilia loves this approach to breakfast, because, normally, it goes something like this:  'Emilia, what do you want for breakfast?'  'I don't know.  I'm still thinking about it.'  Twenty minutes later, 'Emilia, what do you want for breakfast?'  'I don't know.  I'm still thinking about it.'  So, this is quite nice, really.  Besides, if the girl had her druthers, she would be getting Dutch Baby for breakfast every morning.  (Oi.)  Or Cheerios.  (Double Oi.)

The recipe is from Heidi Swanson's new and very fabulous book.  Everything I've made from it we've all loved. For this recipe I use regular sugar and I use Remlinger Farms frozen berries.  And I can safely say I am delighted with both.  (Not the biggest maple lover that ever was...well, unless it is on top of a pancake -- but that's it.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why We Will Never Be Rich, Part 1

It drives my dad absolutely out of his mind going to the grocery store with me.  Not because I buy a load of garbage, not because I don't read the labels, and not because I buy a lot of superfluous items.  Oh no, it drives him crazy because as I stand and have all of the groceries rung up, I don't pay attention to the scanner, or whatever that thing is they use, making sure they aren't ripping me off.  Instead I am usually chasing after Emilia, removing slobbery things from Leo's hands, shooting the breeze with the bagger**, and that sort of thing.  The cashier then announces the total, I break out into cold sweats feeling I may vomit at any moment, cough up the money, and then yell about it as long as anyone will listen to me.  Since my dad doesn't actually live within communal grocery shopping distance, I usually call him after I've just dropped a huge pile of money at the store, and yell about it.  He usually says, 'Well, hon, I don't know what to tell you.  Go to Walmart.***'

And before you accuse me of being all negligent with our grocery funds, I do actually pay close attention to how much we've spent.  But rather than stalk the scanner-machine, I look at the receipt, like a civilized person, once we are home, the groceries mostly put away, and I am waiting for the tea kettle to boil.  And there you go, that is when the bonafide coronary happens.

An excerpt from our receipt from our last trip to Whole Foods:
3 Honeycrisp Apples -- $9.42
3 Peaches -- $5.89
6 or 7 Yukon Potatoes -- $7.02
Small Bag of Shelled Walnuts -- $4.41

Holy shit, are they serious?  Can they actually be serious?  I spent $9.42 on three apples?  Being a rational person, I yelled at the kids over this, and then called my sister to yell at her.  (I needed to settle down before admitting this one to my dad.)  Anyway, my sister being rather wise, suggested I pull out my handy-dandy cooking scale, which I did immediately.  The stupid apples cost $2.99 per pound.  One apple weighed just over eleven ounces.  Another weighed almost thirteen.  And the last weighed barely over twelve.  I was gobsmacked.  Not to mention irate.  The bloody scales were rigged!  And that was just part of the produce I bought that day.  I bought tons and tons of it, on account of the fact that we are wicked healthy eaters.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Swaggering to Pre-School (Otherwise Entitled, How To Be Brave)

Well, we made it through our first week of pre-school.  It went something like this:

A month or so ago, 'You know, you start school so soon.  And mamas and dadas are not allowed.  Only teachers and your new friends.  What will we do without you?  I guess mama and Leo will just be sitting outside the door saying to ourselves "Where is that Emilia!  She sure is taking her sweet time!"'  You know, that sort of thing. 

And then every day after that, 'How many days til I start school?'  'Mmm, about 26, maybe?'  'How many weeks is that?'  Or, 'How many minutes is that?'  Like she has any idea what a minute might be.  Or a week, or a month, or even an hour, for that matter.  Really, the girl has no concept of time at all, as evidenced by trying to get her to do anything fast.

So, Monday morning: swim lessons.  I dragged poor little Leo out of his bed, got Emilia all decked out in her blue and white polka-dot bikini, and raced over to the pool.  We were only two steps in the front door when I knew all was lost.  Felipe was nowhere to be seen.  He got a promotion (or some other stupid thing) and he is now at the Redmond pool.  We were left to poor Mackenzie, the guy she wailed and screamed at last time she saw him.  And so it started again.  'I will never not ever have a swimming lesson with anyone but Felipe!'  And she cried and she cried and she cried.  So I apologized and we left.  I then sent an email that afternoon quitting lessons indefinitely.  I'm sorry, but the girl is three and it is only swim lessons and I'm not going to force her to do it.  And so, no swim lessons.  (You are welcome Little Leo, who always gets woken from his naps to get tossed in the car to go somewhere, it seems.)  And that was Monday.

Tuesday, the first day of school:  I let her pick her outfit herself, and Michael stayed home to see her off.  After the longest morning ever, and a very early and quick lunch, we hopped in the car to go.  We parked about three million blocks away, which worked nicely for Emilia as it gave her more time to swagger along and strut her little self all around.  It was hilarious -- she thought she was some seriously hot shit, if you know what I mean.  I had never in my life seen a three-year-old strut.  It was like she thought she was on a catwalk or something.  And you know what, she was marvelous.  So happy, so confident, so excited -- until the teacher opened the door.  It all happened so fast.  She sobbed and sobbed and cried and wailed.  Quick hug and the teacher closed the door with her on one side and us on the other.  And I could still hear her crying.  So we turned to walk back to the car and I cried all the way, thinking, 'Oh, please be nice to our little girl.  Oh, Emilia, please be nice!'  Apparently the teachers know this is all going to happen, because as they are ushering your daughter in the door and telling you not to let said door hit you in the ass, they hand you a little gift bag.  Inside the bag is a box of tissue, chocolate, a Starbucks coffee card, and such.  I took the tissue and chocolate.  Michael took the Starbucks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On the Tenth Anniversary of September Eleventh

Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love,
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
And where there's doubt true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness, only light,
And where there's sadness, ever joy.

O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love with all my soul!

Make me a channel of your peace:
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.