I don't know if all parents to do this, but I do. Every little thing my kids do- especially if it's the first time doing it- I wonder where they get it from. Did I do that? Did Dustin? And, I know full well that a lot of stuff skips a generation. Heidi and I do things that our grandparents definitely do (stay up til 3 am reading? Heidi) but our parents may not. Well, this one? It's me. I only know this because my mother reminds me frequently that I used to signal dinner was done by wiping my food slathered hands through my hair and swiping the rest of whatever was on my plate onto the floor. See that face above? She's just finished some salmon and rice and veggies and now she shared some with her hair. Then, before I could grab her tray, she grabbed two handfuls of smashed food and carefully dropped it straight into Tiki's waiting grasp. Other than when Auntie Jos reminded Breckin of his hair during his 1st birthday cake party, he never really did that.
It's never been a guessing game with Breckin- he is 110% Dustin. Looks like him, walks like him, makes the same expressions, is 75% torso and 25% legs, and snores like him. But with Ella- she started out looking exactly like her brother and, to my surprise, is evolving further and further away from that. I have a picture where she looks exactly like my sister did as a baby. Alright, she doesn't have pitch black hair but I see more of my family and less of D's.
Am I grasping at straws to make one of my children resemble the Lauer crew? Maybe. Should I not compare everything my kids do to each other or one of us? Maybe. I can't help it and I know other parents MUST do it. Sure, they'll change. Sure, Breckin says I Don't Think So with the same raised eyebrow and head tilt as my mother. It's kinda fun playing the genetics game when they do stuff and trying to make sense of the two family trees that shaped these kids.
Well, we made it. One more year of delusions that Seattle will be sunny in late October so we put off the pumpkin patch trip as long as possible by lying to ourselves that we do it because we don't want rotten pumpkins. Meanwhile, we allow ourselves to rot a little by tromping around in the muddiest places on the planet in search of vegetables. Sure, we'll pay obscene prices for produce at the grocery store cause there's no way in hell we'll take the time and muddy effort to grow our own but Dang It! we are going to a pumpkin patch come hell or highwater to get a squash. Cynical? Only because this year was the wettest, coldest, muddiest I've been and I didn't even jump in lakes, er, I mean puddles or fall in a slick patch of mudslime like my crazy little man.
Don't get me wrong.... I had a really good time. We found a fantastic little family owned place in Enumclaw. We managed to do all of the outdoor activites including "Uncle Steve's Redneck Sandbox"- a mostly buried hot tob filled with dirt- seconds before the torrential downpour that had us trapped in the covered Corn Box for half an hour. And, the kicker? We didn't even get pumpkins there. We didn't make it to the patch portion before the monsoon so we hightailed it out of there- stopping only to inhale a dozen mini donuts on the way to the car- and got pumpkins at Foleys and Safeway instead. Breckin had a total blast. He was allowed, even encouraged, to stomp and jump in the biggest puddles he could find. He fell belly first in a large patch of matted grass/mud/soggy boot slime. He rolled around in a giant pit of dried corn niblets. He saw animals, rode in a tractor train, blew giant bubbles, and raced a rubber ducky down a water chute.
Pumpkins got carved. Cider was drank. We even tivo-d the Hawks game for when we got back. Ella could have cared less and was not amused by any of it but she maintained sanity most of the time. Next year, I'll have two mud monsters by the end of the day.
It turns out we took 718 photos from sometime in late June through today. And, none of them have been put on the computer. You know that commercial where that kid is suspended in mid- swimming pool jump and just wants off the camera? Those are my kids. I've added some new photo albums over there under the Photos link. I promise to get them out of the swimming suit stage and into fall.... although with the weather around here these days, it sure feels like they should be swimming. Heck, the ice cream man drove through the neighborhood yesterday and it seemed perfectly reasonable to purchase a Spiderman popsicle.
Alright- if you are here from Facebook, here's the Chicken recipe from my status update. I'm fully plagarizing the Biggest Loser 6 Weeks To A Healthier You book but I'm not selling it as my own or anything.
It's called Ed and Heba's (I HATED her when she was on the show) Blue Ribbon Chicken
You Will Need:
4 chicken breasts, butterflied
4 slices low sodium ham
4 slices low fat provolone cheese
salt and pepper
1 tsp rosemary
1/4 cup low-sod chicken broth
Here's what you do:
Make sure the chicken is kinda thin- I smashed mine with a mallet before butterfling it. Inside the chicken, put one piece of ham and one piece of cheese. Make sure they are tucked in good so you don't lose them while cooking. Sprinkle the outsides with salt, pepper, and rosemary. (I have a rosemary plant out my front door but dried will work, too).
Coat a skillet with spray, heat over medium-low, and put the stuffed chicken breasts for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. They need to be cooked through and golden brown. Remove them and scrape out browned bits or bubbly cheesey-ness. Pour the broth in the skillet, put back over the medium heat, and put the cooked chickens back in. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. This is what makes them super juicy. EAT!
It's 200 cal per chicken breast. I served mine with homemade oven roasted potato chunks and steamed broccoli/edamame/carrots. I'd make it again in a heartbeat. For that matter, pretty much all of my favorite recipes have come from the Biggest Loser cookbooks. I'd buy one if I were you.
Ella got up the stairs today. She's been real deal crawling for a little over a week. I mean, motoring with both knees coordinated and head down and hands cruising and little raw red marks on her knees by the end of the day crawling. She inches towards the office. Stops by the dog toy bin. Keeps heading down the hall and HOLY GRAIL there's the stairs. What is more perfect than a small, reachable ledge that's just the right height for stubby legs to swing themselves up on? Stairs are not going to move out from under you. They aren't going to get up and walk away (like when your doggie is sitting nicely against the couch and you grab her collar and stand up all wobbly like and your doggie looks at you like what the hell? and walks away and you fall on your face). And, your big brother left his nice little bucket of trains on the landing so all you have to do is crawl and shimmy and swing your way up two little perfect-baby-height stairs. Done! Throw each and every train out of the bucket knocking yourself in the heels with half of them. Done!
Where did my little baby go? I used to set her down on her kangaroo blankie in the living room and unload the dishwasher, fold some laundry, and vaccuum and know perfectly well that she'd still be there chewing on Big Bird's nose when I was done. Smiling and laughing and perfectly content. Damn! Those days are over!
I mean, yay for growth and all but LAME! Now I am on the chase. My saving graces are the exersaucer and the playpen. Fortunately she still loves to get in both of those. I am screwed when those have seen their day.
Oh yeah, Breckin said I had a unique perspective. And, read a new book all by himself. And sent Daddy an email. And, knows how to click on the Add to Wish List button when he sees toys on the computer that he likes. And, plays computer games on playhousedisney.com and nickjr.com. Again, where the hell did my babies go?
Oh, Breckin. Your one liners kill us. Here's the latest.
Daddy and Breckin were playing the alphabet game while waiting patiently for Ella and I to be done eating dinner. None of us leave the table until everyone is done eating- unless Breckin is picking out a dessert. It was Daddy's turn and he had the letter Q.
Daddy: Hmmm. Q. That's a tough one. Oh, I know. Quality food (and points to our dinner plates- Breckin's was wiped clean).
Breckin: Ooooo. Good one. That's not really true.
A lot of people ask Breckin if he has a girlfriend at school. I do it, too, but I kinda wish it would stop cause I think he feels like he has to say yes. He used to be smitten with a little girl in preschool- two, actually- and it's so early in the year, it's impossible for him to know anyone well enough to be drawn to them. Plus, he's FIVE. But, anyway....
Me: Breckin, do you like any of the girls in your class?
Breckin: Oh, yes. I have a girlfriend. Her name is Ella- just like my sister.
Me: Oh, that's nice. Do you guys play together?
Breckin: Not really
Me: Do you sit by each other?
Breckin: No. She usually sits far away on the rug.
Me: Do you go to work stations together?
Breckin: No. She doesn't play trains or legos and the time I tried to go to listening center, she told me to go back to trains.
Me: So, how is she your girlfriend? What does she do to be your girlfriend?
Breckin: Oh, she doesn't know yet. I tried to say hi every year (he's still caught up on the day/week/year differential. they all substitute for each other) but she never says hi back or talks to me.
Me: Got it.
Breckin: Mommy. Wanna play tool bench?
Me: Sure. What tool do I get?
Breckin: The suggestable jaw wrench.
Me: I think that's an adjustable jaw wrench.
Breckin: Right. Suggestable.
Now you say what I wrote outloud. It's totally a suggestable jaw wrench.
Just like toysker (turquoise), trundeval (I don't even know what this is, really, but it's any large bridge with railings on the side), festibal (festival), fief (theif), and brefixt (breakfast).
Poor Ella is teething. And, she has a bad cold. But, she does it in her own non-complaining, life is peachy way. When Breckin teethed, he was a maniac. (What? So I compare my kids. Not in a competitive way, just in a way to gauge my parenting.) He bit our chins, screamed bloody murder, and didn't sleep. He couldn't be satiated, didn't want anything, but wanted everything. He was kind of a disaster when it came to teeth. And, he drooled. Like, we went through three bibs a day drool.
Not Ella. She plays quietly on the floor gnawing on some poor Fisher Price little people's head. She scoots around, pulls herself up on the ottoman, and steals Breckin's toys with a smile. She's content, mostly, and only gives me grief when I stop reading stories at night. But today? I think the teeth kicked into high gear. She's got four little babies on the bottom already and now has FOUR MORE WHITE NUBBIES on the top. Four. At a time. Good lord woman.
So, she was totally fine playing on the floor. I walked over to pick her up and give her a hug and play in the mirror and Swipe, Smack, Chomp. She pressed her little head as hard as she could against my head, swiped her smushed up, slimy, slug trail nose across my cheek, smacked me in the face with both hands, and bit down like a frickin gator right under my eye. I think she's had enough. I couldn't see her face when I reached for her or I would have armed myself with a Boogie Wipe. She had the unfortunate green river from nose to lip- hey, it happens when you can't sniff or blow your own nose- and donated it all to my eyes, cheeks, and hair in one foul swoop. Then, and maybe it's cause she was surprised about being picked up or really happy to see me, clapped me like a patty cake on the temples. And, chomp. When those teeth hurt, she bites. I guess. I had a small spot of blood and a little pinch mark from the bite but it took about three Boogie Wipes to get us back to good.
She cried. I laughed. I was so surprised by her insanity- and maybe so was she. I ran my finger across those new teethies and she pressed down so hard. Poor baby must hate those things.
The insanity continued at bath time. She usually just splashes and gnaws on a few squirty fish. Today- not so much. She was like a mad scientist in a toy tasting lab. The minute she hit the water, she was possessed. Her arms were flailing. Her feet were frog kicking. She looked panicked. She swung one arm like a buckin bronco rider and used the other to snatch every tub toy rapidly and chomp down really hard. If it wasn't tasty, it got tossed out. With unnecessary roughness. I ducked out of the way after getting hit by a rubber duck and let her finish her task. She settled on a thick, foam puzzle piece and made her mark with four tiny tooth prints. The legs stopped, the arm stopped, and she was normal. It was crazy.
Tomorrow I'm wearing a helmet and making loud noises upon approach. I'll be armed with wipes, chunks of foam, and her favorite baby doll. She's crazy. Good thing she's getting four at a time. I don't know what I'd do if this was all over one tooth.
In the sisterly battle of who is becoming mom first, you win. Or, I win. Or, however it means that I'm the Patti of our generation. I went to my first PTA meeting last Thursday. I volunteered for stuff. I'll be the art docent in Breckin's classroom. I'm making his Halloween costume cause they just don't sell Devastator cosutmes in stores. I've said "What's the worst thing that could happen?" to Breckin at least three times last week. We listen to Phantom of the Opera in my car cause then no one fights over music. I made cheese tortillas for lunch. And, I ate them, too. I drank a Pepsi while ironing and watching Oprah. Part of my getting ready for bed routine always involves unloading or starting the dishwasher, switching over laundry, or cleaning up the entry way from it's jacket bombardment. And, five point three seconds after sitting down once the kids are asleep, I am nodding off in my chair while "watching" a show with Dustin.
It's happened. Do we go to my girlfriends' house for cheap weekend entertainment? Yes. Do we hang out in the driveways of our street and order pizza? Yep. Does the local beach or park qualify as sunny Saturday activities? You bet. Scholastic book orders? Check. I'm mom. And, don't tell anyone, but I think I'm wearing mom jeans.
Here's the thing about mom jeans. When did this title erupt? When our generation's mothers were convicted of wearing jeans that meant they were high at the waist, had large back pockets, shorter than regulation allows, and lighter than the trendy dark jeans. When were the last time these jeans were in style? The early 80's. And, as a mom, if anyone in the house needs clothing, then mom doesn't get new stuff. When was the last time Mom bought herself jeans? The early 80's. So, don't diss moms for wearing mom jeans cause it means her children are trendy.
So, my generation of mom jeans are boot cut, medium blue, Silvers. I see trendy moms or moms who's children don't need new stuff wearing the cute jeggings (are they really that cute, though?) or 7 for all mankind with the fancy pocket details. I'm not. Ella needs jammies, Breckin needs shoes and winter stuff, and I'm wearing the same jeans I wore before I had kids. Totally not complaining- jeans shopping sucks and I'd rather buy fuzzy footie jammies than try on new stuff for me. But, there it is. I'm working the mom jeans of our times.
Heidi, you better start catching up. If I don't see you driving 18 children to soccer practice or being a cookie mom soon, the race will be officially over. The ultimate contest ender? A mini-van. And, I have to say, the 2010 Town & Country looks pretty dang good....
I'm a working mom of 2 beautiful children and a fabulous husband. I fully enjoy living in the 'burbs, having block parties, hosting game nights, and sitting on the front porch with a glass of wine!
I am addicted to lush fabrics, new shoes, berries in the summer, fresh cut grass, junky reality TV, vintage tea cups, green sea turtles, and baby drool. If it has coconuts, I want to go there. If it requires adrenaline, I want to try it. I would try anything once and my dream job would be A Travelling Student. Does that exist?