Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Little faces

These little monkey faces, with their bed-head and sweet, tired eyes
Looking at me over the bar, with their bowl of morning cereal
They tell me all about their dreams at night and their plans for today

These are the things that make me remember how much I love being 'Mom'

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A constant state of alteration, perhaps of improvement

This is a project that's been hanging over our heads for about 6 months. We've had a wood picked out, plans made, measurements done, quotes bid out and still we couldn't quite bring ourselves to pull the trigger on this massive undertaking. Even though the actual floors were being installed by professionals, we would be doing the actual tear-out. And oh golly... what a project it was.

The carpet came up easily, even though it was secured with tack strips along every single inch of the perimeter. Seriously, someone cut down 2-inch strips to angle around closet corners and the fireplace. And the pad was held in place with, minimum, 5 billion staples. I never thought I'd long for the cheap-as-free construction techniques used in our old house.

Fortunately Bart and Lisa are as handy with staple-removal as they are with wallpaper. No, Bart did not gouge out the drywall. That was courtesy of the electrician who tried to burn our house to the ground. Now that I think of it, I think Sprinkle might be having second thoughts about being born into a one-family demolition team.

The carpeting, all 10,000 pounds of 90's-era dusty pinkness, was a total dream to remove compared to the kitchen linoleum. We discovered that we had not one, but two layers of it to take out, plus another layer of particle board. And the number of nails in the lower layer was probably someone's idea of a practical joke. Honestly, I think whoever put down the second floor bought his first-ever nailgun and then went totally insane with it.

Oh and let me point out here that Joe, who is training for a marathon, ran 15 miles about an hour before he started this project.

We made it a hard-and-fast rule that the kids had to wear shoes at all times. So Lisa wore high heels while she pulled up staples and hauled out debris. I stepped and knelt on so many staples, tack strips and nails that I'm sure we're due for tetanus shots all around.

After 2 days of crazy, intense work we had bare, staple-free particle board floors throughout the house. The furniture is all in the garage. Like I don't have enough pregnancy-hormone-related stress to begin with, this made me start having nightmares that we were moving again.

Because we had to move the fridge and the stove, we pretty much eat anything that can be made in the toaster.

The installers put in half a day yesterday and here's their progress. I'm ever so excited for the finished product. Also I'm excited to have my computer desk and chair back because right now I'm sitting on the floor in the basement, listening to Bart play Lego Batman behind me and the unholy racket of air tools, circular saws and classic rock music upstairs.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bring on the chaos

The thing with this home remodel is that it just goes on and on... and on. It may have seemed like we took a break from projects for a while, but that's only because there was a flood in our basement and we've been working on getting that area dried out and put back together. So right now, our basement is an unlivable disaster area with small walking paths between piles of toys, beds and overturned furniture.

I suppose that we're just gluttons for punishment because, even with the half-finished projects downstairs, we decided to schedule the installers who will put in the flooring upstairs. Hopefully this professional install will go better than others in the past. And while I was busy being excited that we were having the floor installed by someone else, I completely failed to remember that we have to move furniture, pull up 30-year-old pink carpet and scrape out dirty linoleum by ourselves.

So yeah. Now our main level is an unlivable disaster area with slightly larger walking paths between piles of toys, furniture and random household items.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weep with envy

Or... you know. Just go get your own.

Shabby Straps has an Etsy store but you can also check these out live and in person at Pro Digital Photos on Main street in Pleasant Grove - which is where I got mine. Cute, no?

Friday, August 20, 2010

The fall-back excuse

"I'm pregnant" is a great excuse for most of my failures right now. Examples:

I DID make my children a non-cereal-based breakfast (fresh strawberries and milk) but totally let Bart put maple syrup in his bowl. Not good maple syrup either. Generic-brand, corn-syrup-based, regular ol' pancake syrup.

I have a meeting with a client and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make it out of my pajamas.

There's a strand of Christmas lights that has blown off the top of the house that hangs attractively next to the front door. It's been that way for a week. It will probably stay that way until Christmas.

I'm sure I can think of many, many more... but right now I'm too tired.

I'm pregnant.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The waiting game.

Today I am waiting. Waiting for instructions. Waiting on information. Waiting for people who have never, nor will ever be, on time.

I hate lateness. It wastes my time and yours. Plus (and call me old-fashioned if you like) it's Just Plain Bad Manners.

We were brought up to be on time. Arriving on time is a sign of respect. It means you are a person who does what she says she will. It's also a sign that you are not a self-involved twit.

I think I'm getting hyper-sensitive to lateness because I deal with it almost every single day. It's not the "5-minutes-behind" variety of late, or even the "traffic was awful, I'm so sorry!" kind. It's when people say they'll be over to eat at 6:00 so you have dinner ready to go... and then they casually stroll in at 7:45 and tell you that they stopped for pizza on the way because they were SO hungry.

To take the edge off the waiting, I had an eclair.

My mom's are better.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cooking blind

...or possibly deaf. Either way, it was definitely cooking with a handicap.

I go to the gym a few times a week and I usually listen to NPR's 'Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!' on my iPod. Sometimes music helps me run faster but lately that's not so much of an option and the show just gives me the patience to stay on the machine for an extended period of time.

So I'm riding a bike, listening to my iPod AND watching the Food Network on a TV channel at the same time. The TV had no sound but I watched the hostess make something that looked really good. It was some tortellini with what looked like a stroganoff-esque cream sauce served over it. I couldn't tell exactly what ingredients she was using but I re-created her recipe as best I could with what sounded good (and healthier) to me. If that isn't a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is. But... it turned out really good! So here's the recipe (mine, not hers. I never did figure out what it was.)

3-cheese tortellini (4 servings)
3/4 pound lean beef (sirloin, ranch steak, whatever) thinly sliced
1/2 onion cut into very thin strips
1 medium portabello mushroom, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
big sprinkle of beef bullion or soup base
garlic powder
1 cup milk
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper

Get the water for the tortellini boiling

Spray a skillet with with non-stick spray. Sprinkle your sliced beef with salt and get it searing in the pan. When it's about half done, add the onions. At the end, add the mushrooms and saute' them down.

Sprinkle in the beef bullion and garlic powder - add the 1/2 cup water, let the meat and veggies simmer in the broth for a minute. Get your tortellini in the hot water and cook according to package directions.

Whisk your flour into the milk and add the mixture to your meat and veggies. Mix well and simmer until sauce tightens up. (Real cooks would use heavy cream here instead of 2% milk but I can't deal with those calories.) Salt and pepper to taste. At the very end, stir in just a sprinkle of tarragon. Serve over hot tortellini.

If you've timed it right, your sauce and tortellini should be done at the same time. The whole meal took me 20 minutes to put together. If you give it a try, I'd love to know what you think!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Feeling better

Thanks for everyone's comments and phone calls. I'm feeling much better this week - if a bit tired and worn out. We never did figure out anything past "fever of unknown origin" but at least it's gone.

Other than that, the first part of this pregnancy has gone by uneventfully. We finally heard baby Sprinkle's heartbeat, the doctor estimated it was 155-160 beats per minute. So now I can start wildly speculating about the gender of the baby, even though we have a good 5 weeks before we can find out for sure. I'll give you the answers to some old wive's tales and you can speculate and assume with me.

Cravings: definitely sweet. I could have French toast and strawberries at least once a day and never get tired of it.

Aversions: some meat, but it's only a texture thing. Acidic things (like spaghetti sauce) give me heartburn so I avoid them.

Carrying: high. This baby is up in my ribs already.

Chinese birth calendar: says it's a boy

Skin: I definitely have had more break-outs and skin problems during this pregnancy.

OK that's all the OWT I can think of. The kids are really excited to find out what this baby is. Lisa insists that not only is it a girl, but that Sprinkle will be her twin and they'll look exactly the same. Bart doesn't have his heart quite as set on a brother, he's more focused on the fact that he won't be 'the baby' anymore. In some ways he's happy because he insists he's too big to be the baby and in others I can see that he's worried about being displaced. Already I'm having a hard time picking him up and letting him lay in my lap and he's said to me "there was always room for me to be your baby before THAT baby!" Sheesh.