Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Must Cook This

The most perfect oatmeal I have ever tasted. Add a little brown sugar, some slice banana. Yum Yum Yum.

Seafood lasagna from Cooking Light that will make you cry. It is dinner party good.

I got a subscription to Cooking Light from my friends for my 30th birthday (were they calling me fat???) and I used it some back then, but saved all the issues and now I'm obsessed with it. I made several things while my sister was here and they were all soooo good! Time to re-subscribe.

Below are some links to some of the other things that were very good, but not necessarily 'make you cry' good, like the lasagna:




Fish tacos with lime-cilantro crema (Charlie loved the pinto bean salad that goes with this for those of you with little kiddos)

Oh and you're not missing anything - the oatmeal has nothing to do with the rest of this Cooking Light-type post. It's just really good.

OK, seriously, I really need to get back to work. Deadlines and all that.

Um, OK....

Charlie is so taken with his Aunt Meredith that he has started pointing to pictures of me around the house and saying MIMI! Tonight it was my bridal portrait.

He's also started crying out Zoe's name desperately every time we pass the drawing we have of her that hangs in the upstairs hallway. Makes for a very tiring trip to the nursery, as he lurches towards the pictures. There's one of Ringo, too, but he's so last week.

And yes, I realize the oddest thing about the above statement is that we have portraits of our dogs. They were a gift, ok?? From our realtor in Maryland, who is particularly dog obsessed. She also nicknamed Zoe 'The Princess."

Not much else going on. Charlie got new shoes in the mail today. Pediped had a half-off weekend sale so I bought him two pairs. He thinks he's pretty hot stuff in them. Ran all over the backyard chasing the poodles in his pajamas and new shoes.

I think my camera is really, truly gone. Brad has some Best Buy credit and said he'd get me another. Until then I'm going to try and remember how to use my old one. I just don't have enough brains left to be responsible for a credit-card sized camera I suppose.

That's all. I have to go back to work now. Bleck.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Uh Oh

I think Charlie might have chipped one of his front teeth. It's not a huge chip. And it really shouldn't be a huge surprise. He falls down all the time. But one of his front two teeth is kind of uneven and it has me wondering. Charlie must have a high pain tolerance. I don't recall any tears after any of his recent falls.

Maybe it's from the apples he now insists on eating whole. Big boys don't have their mommies slice their apples after all. Or maybe he bit a piece of corn in a tortilla chip. During the Arkansas game, when I was distracted making dinner, Meredith was on my computer and Brad was watching the game, Charlie managed to get the chips and do this:
The poodles were so pleased.

My sister left yesterday around lunch time and Charlie got sad when she left. There were even some tears! He sat on the front step, kind of amazed that she was actually leaving, saying BYE BYE Mimi! BYE BYE! Then when the car pulled out of the driveway, he got upset. Brad had to carry him back in the house.
Today has been so quiet around here with Meredith and Brad both gone. Charlie's been asking for both of them quite a bit and must have brought up Mimi at least 10 times after getting up from his nap.

He's also been doing this thing she taught him, to hold his hands out on either side of him and ask where something went. Where did it go? I've been asked that about 2 dozen times today. I'm not even sure what or who he's looking for most of the time!

After she left I launched into Christmas decorating mode. We are out of town for the holiday, but coming back on the 26th for the week and I want everything to be decorated. I love decorating this house at Christmas, makes it feel so cozy. People in Richmond put little lights that look like candles in their windows at Christmas. Looks so pretty from the street.

We decorated our fake tree and I went and picked up greenery for the mantel and wreaths for the doors. I also bought and potted a couple of small poinsettias for the table and three other houseplants for different parts of the house.

The signs at the nursery said that are supposed to help clean the air of toxins and are they are next to impossible to kill. One is a snake plant and I can't remember the names of the other two. Chinese Evergreen maybe? It's a trial run - if I don't kill them, I may branch out to other houseplants.

Other than my exciting new houseplants, it's back to the routine this week. I have book club on Wednesday. We read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It was somewhat interesting and a quick and easy read.

When Meredith arrived she brought me Never Let Me Go, which I really enjoyed. Also a fairly quick read, but one that you kind of chew on for a few days afterwards. I'll probably try to rent the movie once it comes out on DVD.

Next up for me is The Glass Castle, which I forgot I had in my book boxes. We are so refined - not bookcases - cardboard boxes full of books in the attic. I really need to rectify that. Maybe if Brad wins his fantasy football league I'll get a bookcase. I typically get a cut from him when he places in exchange for tolerating him all season.

We're going to attempt to get a babysitter this weekend and maybe catch a movie. I want to take Brad to the Cinebistro that just opened near our house. I met my friend Karen there last week to see Harry Potter and we had a great time! The chairs are huge, comfy leather rockers and I had a glass of wine and we ordered some appetizers. Such a lovely way to watch a movie.

Harry Potter was awesome - the movies just get better and better. I think I felt that way about the books too. It's funny to think of them being children's movies at this point. The story is so dark by the end of the series that the film is kind of haunting and sad. I can't wait to see the next one and what they do with the very last scene.

So that's it for us around here. Time to get cracking on some online Christmas shopping!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Gobble Gobble



Happy Thanksgiving! Well, a little late. Ours was rather... memorable! As most events that involve Charlie end up being. It was also really busy, a lot of fun and we all ate too much. So, your typical American holiday.

We drove to see my in-laws in Williamsburg for the day, with my sister Meredith entertaining Charlie in the backseat. Starbucks was in order before we hit the road. Charlie seemed to really enjoy his. Fuel for the rest of the day.
Charlie spent most of the time before dinner playing out back. My father-in-law was grilling oysters (side note: YUM) and their dog Bennett was working on a peanut butter container. There were also leaves. So many leaves. And a hill, perfect for running down as fast as your 21 month old legs will carry you.
It was really cute watching Charlie run up and down the hill and roll around in the leaves. Right up to the point where he was so overexerted he threw up all over himself. Twice.

Fortunately, I had the foresight to pack extra pants. Unfortunately I didn't realize they were too big. They kept falling down over his little diapered butt and he looked like a toddler gangster.

Good news for Charlie: dogs don't care if you smell or your pants are too big.

It was so pretty outside and I had my sister's camera, so I was originally determined to get this year's Christmas card photo. Even before throwing up, though, Charlie didn't want to cooperate.

We also tried to get a picture of Charlie with Clare for their holiday card, but he wasn't having it. This is the closest we got. In hindsight we should have just posed the two them around the dog - Charlie might have cooperated then.
Right after Thanksgiving dinner Charlie went down for a nap and slept for a good 3 hours. I think it was all the rice dressing he ate - it was yummy. When he got up he was still tired and grouchy so we decided to get on the road and head home.

On the way home he was just inconsolable, so I suggested we pull over and get him a milkshake and grilled cheese at Sonic. If I hadn't been so stuffed from dinner I probably would have wanted some Sonic myself. I miss Sonic.

Anyways, that seemed to do the trick and a little while later we heard Charlie slurping the dregs of his milkshake. He played with the cup for a while and it was dark so Brad, Meredith and I just chatted for a while.

All of the sudden Charlie shouted YUCK! And Meredith replied "Oh my gosh!" .... Because she had just gotten pelted with Charlie's milkshake covered Ugg boot. Somehow he had gotten the shoe or his foot in the cup and the rest of the milkshake was soon all over the backseat.

That was a fun final 20 minutes home. When we got back to the house it was chaos trying to get everything cleaned up and Charlie in the bath. I asked Meredith to watch Charlie in the tub while I got the car seat cover in the wash. When I came back upstairs, she and Charlie were in the nursery and she had a really alarmed look on her face.

Apparently, on her watch, Charlie had a big, um, accident in the tub. I will never forget that panicked look on her face. Hilarious!

I would really like to forget, however, the state of the bathtub.

By that point in the evening, we were all really ready for Charlie to go to bed. Which he did, right before kickoff. :)

Meredith promised Charlie this morning to retell this story many times in his lifetime. In response, Charlie dumped about 50 crayons on the floor. Meredith is here until Sunday, during which time Charlie plans to keep impressing her with his feats of strength. Something tells me she's going to want a long nap when she gets home!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

OK Seriously, WHERE is my camera?

I'm starting to get really nervous I've actually lost my camera. It's making me panicky because every time Charlie does something cute, I think to myself EGAD, this isn't being documented!!! I'm very photo-high-strung these days, realizing how quickly the phases of babyhood/toddlerhood pass and knowing how bad I am at remembering to take pictures.

So all I have to offer are a bunch of lousy iPhone pictures, which were a lot better in quality when Charlie didn't move so much or so quickly. I'm about to start using my really old camera just to have something. At least it's digital.

Behold, fall color:

And here's Charlie watching the tae kwon do segment on Yo Gabba Gabba. I've already forgotten the little girl's name that does the segment, but Charlie was quite taken with her for a time.
Unfortunately for this Yo Gabba Gabba chick, Charlie has a new crush: my friend Leslie's daughter Tori. She's 12. Charlie likes older women. He watches her every move and follows her around like a devoted little puppy. She taught him how to say Zoe's name (Row-Ree) and now he thinks he's pretty hot stuff.

It's been a pretty typical week for us - gym class, music class, errands, walks around the block, a visit to the park. Brad gets home tomorrow and will be home until the Monday after Thanksgiving. He doesn't know it yet, but we're going to decorate the house for Christmas next weekend while my sister's here. His favorite part of any year. Forced family fun anyone??

Not much going on this weekend. I have a cough and really hope it goes away, as I have a very important Thanksgiving preemptive exercise strike planned for Saturday and Sunday. Spin class both days and Awesome Abs taught by the teacher whose ab exercises I can actually do (read: they're easy). And then the same again next weekend. Just beat the holiday cheer right out of myself!

I'm also starting to get some Christmas shopping done - though what would the holidays be without last minute gift-panic? We'll be in Dallas and Little Rock for Christmas this year. I'm glad Charlie is too young to realize what's going on so we can keep the gift thing simple and not have to ship everything all around. For him, it's just another day, albeit a day with a much cuter outfit on and more pictures than usual.

Ahhhh pictures... reminds me I can't find my camera!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Happened to Me??

I lost my blog mojo there for a while. I'm not even sure it's back but for a while I just haven't felt like writing anything. Is that normal?

I also can't find my camera (sob) so I don't have any new pictures of Charlie to post! I've been trying to get some video of him because his talking is hilarious, but he clams up the minute I turn my Flip on.

I wish I had a bunch of exciting things that have been keeping me busy but really I've just been taking care of Charlie and continuing to work part time. Between that and holding the house together while Brad is out of town, I am low on time. And energy. I add one thing to the mix and I have to drop something else.

For instance, I have been putting effort into being a more diligent book club member and actually, you know, reading the book. This month's selection is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It was interesting an easy read. But it didn't change my life or anything. If you're looking for a decent page turner, go read it.

I'm hoping next month we read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Looks so interesting. I also want to read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, that the movie is based on. I love that kind of futuristic Handmaid's Tale type stuff. I always have more things to read then I have time for.

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving? My sister Meredith is coming down from NYC next Wednesday to visit for it! I'm so excited! I know Charlie is going to be thrilled to see her. He loves Aunt Mimi.

For Thanksgiving proper we are going down for the day to Williamsburg to have dinner with my in-laws. Charlie's already working on his power eating so he can impress everyone with how much he can pack away.

I'm making a Crain family tradition to take with us for Thanksgiving dinner: Blueberry Banana Cream pie. Yummm. The recipe makes 2 pies and I will go ahead and predict that Meredith and I will eat the second one directly out of the pie plate while watching some really bad television at some point during the weekend. Because that's what Thanksgiving is about: tradition.

Also to occur around Thanksgiving: the new Harry Potter movie! I'll be viewing it with my traditional date, Karen, who loved the books and tries to love the movies as much as I do. We both love butter on our popcorn too.

And finally, in exciting news, our good friends and former neighbors, Jason and Kristen, just had their baby boy over in London! Welcome Baby Charlie! Now, yes, I do realize our sons have the same names. But then, so did our grandfathers. :) It's a good name!

I hope we can go over and visit them and meet the new baby next spring or summer. I sure do miss the Fosters. The USA just isn't the same without them - too much wine and not enough sarcasm around here with them gone!

Ok, maybe I got a little mojo back just writing something. I've GOT to find my camera, though. Has anyone seen it?