Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I LOOOOOOOOOVE Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday. All the anticipation and preparation - it's so much fun! We're hosting again this year, which we so enjoy doing, so I've been cooking since yesterday. I'm having a ball. Yesterday, I made a batch of rolls and some bread and boiled 18 eggs for devilin'. Today, I made another batch of rolls, a pecan pie, an apple pie and more bread, and I baked, mashed and mixed the sweet potaters for the sweet potater dish I'll be making tomorrow.

Here are some of my rolls. James has informed me that I've now made enough for each person to have five. I just don't like running out of rolls.

Here's my first ever pecan pie. I wish you could smell it. I'm using every bit of my restraint to hold myself back from diving in face first.
Apple pie. Mmmmmmmm.....

Here are my two pie babies as friends. :)

James has been amazing, keeping the J-bird occupied and happy all day, so I can work. He took the whole week off, so we're having a nice, relaxing time.

I've got my schedule lined out for tomorrow, broken down by hour, with the general goal that everything will be hot by the time we reach the table. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baby paparazzi

When your yogurt covered baby sees you coming with the camera and starts telling you "no no no", it may be a clue that you take a few too many photos of him. Of course, I just ignore this and take the photo anyway. Because I'm sensitive like that. I can't help it - he's cute!

In other news, after I put Jimmy to bed last night, we had a babysitter come over and James took me on an honest-to-goodness date to the movies. I shaved my legs and everything (nearly severing my back-of-the-right-ankleus maximus vein in the process - stupid cheap razor)! We saw the new Bond flick, and it was awesome. We don't go to a ton of movies in the theater because, well, it's ridiculously expensive. We have a great home theater set up too, so we usually just wait for movies to come out on DVD and watch 'em at home. Once in awhile though, it's nice to get out of the house with my husband, and remind myself that I'm still a wife, as well as a mother. It makes coming home to our little dude even more special. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

True Confessions of a Forest Grove Housewife

My very good gal pal, Jaimey has been posting pictures of her house...both clean and dirty, making the point that our houses, which we take such pride and angst in, do not always look the way we wish they did. I'm going to swallow my anxiety and follow her lead, letting you in on a little secret - In spite of the fact that it's my job, I'm not half the housekeeper I should be. goes.

When sitting at my desk in my kitchen, this is what I wish I always saw to my left.

Here's how it looked this morning.

I blame Jimmy.

Look how devious he is...

Here's the beautiful play area I made for him. This is how it looks after I put him to bed at night and get it all cleaned up.

This is what it looks like by the time he goes down for his nap the next day.

In the interest of full disclosure, here's the floor under Jimmy's chair.
You can go ahead and ask. And the answer is LAST NIGHT. That's the last time I swept and mopped under there. This is just from breakfast. Breathe in, breathe out. I have a toddler. You'll notice I did NOT include photos of the floor under James's chair or mine.

Here's my kitchen island. Nice and spacious, eh?

Here's why I finally made myself a craft area in the guest room. Because I usually craft it up right here, and the clutter makes me want to go crawl in a hole.

Ah...the order of a nice clean sink area.

My aforementioned desk. A person could really get stuff done sitting there.

If it wasn't the spot Jimmy can't reach, making it the dumping ground for the things he brings me that he isn't supposed to have. You know, the worst part is that I was raised better than this. My mom keeps the most gorgeous, immaculate house - ALL THE TIME. Walking into her house is like breathing clean air as you twirl through stardust sprinkled from the hand of God. Or something. I'm truly ashamed of myself.

You know, if you look at all these photos in reverse order, you'll see what I did this morning. On a day to day basis, I honestly am a fairly good housekeeper. I don't like disorder and chaos. It makes me anxious and unsettled. Sometimes though, I do get lazy, and I let things slide. The problem is that the longer I let them slide, the faster they go.'s overwhelming. So, right now, sitting in my quiet, immaculate kitchen, I'm enjoying and relaxing in the complete order and calm. I'm sure Jimmy will be down shortly to set off a bomb or something.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is it bedtime yet?

There's a church here in town that I occasionally sing for, the last time being a few weeks ago. After the service, the pastor and his wife took James, Jimmy and I out to lunch, and in the course of conversation, mentioned that there was a gathering of Baptist seniors coming up (I performed for them last year) and would I like to sing for them this year? I said, "Sure! Let me know when it is!" and then never heard back. I got a call around 9 this morning from the pastor wanting to know if I was planning on showing up at noon...TODAY.

Let me set the stage for you...there I sit, in front of my computer, drinking my "elixer of life" (coffee) in my pyjamas and unwashed hair, my son running around like a hooligan, working on pooping in his diaper as I clutch the phone and shriek, "WHAT!?!?!?!?!"

He said he'd been trying to get ahold of me all week, and there was a message from last night, but my phone must be on the fritz or something, because there were no missed calls for the last three weeks from him. I immediately panic and start shaking. I haven't had to set up my equipment for awhile, so I frantically drag it all out and start trying to figure out how to hook the new mixer board James got me to the CD player for the backup CD which has to connect to my giant, heavy amp, which has to connect to my microphone. I nearly rip the instruction manual into tiny, tiny pieces, because no matter how many times I scan it, I can't understand a word, because I don't speak tech. James calls. He thinks maybe our EXTREMELY AWESOME friend Traci might be able to watch Jimmy for me, so I don't have to haul him too. I talk to her, realize she's working from home and that my child will not allow her to get anything at all done, then call James and beg him to come home and help me, which he, like the true hero he is, agrees to do.

So James arrives home to find me on the floor, nearly sobbing with frustration as I jam inputs into outputs on the various pieces of not-cheap audio equipment, alternately trying not to swear because I get no sound to come out and then freaking Jimmy out by actually getting sound - very LOUD sound - to randomly blare from the amp. Jimmy is wandering around with the microphone, reeking because he needs his pants changed, and I'm still in my blasted pyjamas and haven't washed my hair, let alone chosen and burned a backup CD for the six songs I'm supposed to sing. My fantastic, heroic, amazing, studly husband takes control of the equipment, sends me upstairs to shower, helps me with the baby while I get ready, walks me through hooking everything up, gets me granola bars and water for the drive, and even puts up with my running back into the house NO LESS THAN FOUR times for things I'd forgotten. Important things like my wallet. And my brain. Then, he stays with Jimmy and even puts him down for a nap (the first time anyone but me has put him down for a nap and the first time he's ever gone down without nursing. Funny side note: when James had read his book and rocked him, Jimmy turned to him, made the ASL sign for "milk" and said "nu-nu?" Apparently, he was pretty put out when James wouldn't deliver up the goods.)

I drove to the performance in the pouring rain, got there on time, and everything went fine, in spite of one minor glitch. I sold a few CDs and received a little honorarium and even got home before Jimmy woke up and James had to start an important work meeting.

Then, I made this for supper:
That's Mexican pizza bread, people. Look at it...all that cheesy, meaty, carby goodness. And once 8:00 rolls around and the boy (who is at this moment clutching my arm and flinging orange juice at me) is in bed, it's Miller time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New 'do

I wait WAY too long between hair appointments most of the time, mainly because I'm a cheapskate, and also because I rarely care all that much how I look. I know I SHOULD care. I'm too old to really pull off the "I don't care" look, so I think I mostly just look kind of scruffy, though I do refrain from going out in public in my pyjamas and a sweatshirt (oh, college days). Of course, I'm a complete homebody, and it's hard to drag me out of my little nest, so it's not like anyone really ever sees me. ANYWAY....what was I saying? Oh yes! My hair. So, I've been dyeing it for several years, taking it to the color it was when I was a kid. I did it myself for a long time, but when I tried the old box of dye after J was born, I turned my hair bright, and I mean bright yellow, so I found a good salon and started going there. A cut and color is not cheap though, so I only go every three months or so, which means I walk around for at least half of that with trashy looking dark roots. Long story longer, I went in yesterday and asked to match my root color instead, apparently pretty dark. Here's the result.

See? No roots! According to my husband, this adds to my transformation of 70 lbs lost (some of that was baby), contacts instead of glasses and whitened teeth. He told me today that he feels like he's cheating on me when he kisses me, his "new wife" (ha). Now if I could just cultivate an interest in fashion. ;) Whoops, gotta go ... Jimmy's smearing Ack!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can't get motivated

Ugh. I don't know what's wrong with me lately. I can't seem to get the gumption to change out of my sweats, let alone get out of the house and go anywhere. I have to use force with myself to get on the treadmill every day, and I look on my jeans with loathing (mostly because I don't like to actually feel my clothes touching me when I wear them...why can't everything feel like my comfy sweats?). I just want to sit in my house with Jimmy and do as little as possible. Then, I feel like a slug. A slow moving, lazy, TV watching, time wasting slug. Buh. On the up side, I live with a funny little monkey who lights up the world just by running up to me with that beautiful grin, arms outstretched, saying "UP!!". Of course, five minutes later he stands up on his potty chair when he's SUPPOSED to be sitting there obediently...and pees...everywhere. *Sigh*

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A few days of Jimmy

Playing outside with Daddy during a brief break in the rain

Helping me make his supper

I'm obsessed with his adorable, sweet little piddies

Pudding is a serious matter...especially when it's all gone

Please Mommy!! Can't I have some more?!?!

Little naughty bird

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It's 4:20 in the afternoon and it's already almost dark. I forgot how early that happens in winter...and it's REALLY winter!

Monday, November 10, 2008


I hate, no DESPISE talking about politics. This is because I'm a huge wimp, and I can't stand confrontation, arguing or offending people who are sensitive to differing opinion and who get all angry and defensive. I'm not fantastic with words and can never seem to defend my opinions adequately (or even rationally sometimes) and end up lying awake at night after having these (purposely rare) conversations, thinking of all the brilliant things I should have said and feeling like a moron.

That said, I want to touch on Proposition 8 that just passed by vote in California.

First of all, James and I lived in California when we were first married, and I did theater there, which enabled me to meet lots of people, several of whom happen to be gay and at least one of whom married his partner during the period of time when it was legal this year. So, because I love my friend, I think I took a more personal interest in this proposition than I might have otherwise. Not that I don't care about equal rights normally, but it definitely hits closer to home when it's someone you know and love who is effected. If you've been under a rock (and hey, maybe you were. Maybe you're Patrick the starfish.), Proposition 8 essentially took away the right for gays to marry in California which was granted by their Supreme Court earlier in the year. It passed by a pretty narrow margin, and the debate was fierce and very heated. I've heard and read a lot on both sides, and I guess the following is how I approach it:

On the political side, I usually fall somewhere in the middle with a tilt to the right. I'd like the government to keep its huge, bloated nose out of my home, my business and my wallet. I believe in both a compassionate hand up and in personal responsibility. I don't want my government to parent me or even babysit me, and I'd also really, really like a receipt.

On the religious side, you should know up front that I am a Christian. By that I mean that I believe Jesus is the son of God, that He came to earth, died, rose again and lives still in Heaven. I believe His story is told in the New Testament of the Bible from several points of view. I believe the Bible is a living document, meant to be studied, questioned and learned from. I believe that, as a Christian, my main job is to live my life in a manner that is as Christ-like as possible.

I also think that a lot of us Christians start believing that we can speak for God or even do Him one better by forcing what we think is His will on those around us, whether they believe as we do (and even Christians have varying beliefs on MANY MANY things)...or not and that using the name of God to justify this excuses anything we may do. And that, in my opinion, is not Christ-like at all. I'm not here to tell you what you should think or what you should believe. That's your business. I'm not here to tell you that if you and I believe differently, that you are going to burn in Hell. Your life, your death and what happens to you after is between you and God, not you and me. Do I believe whole heartedly in my above statement of faith? Yes. And I don't think there's a thing in the world wrong with believing something is right and true. I do NOT believe, however that this means it's okay to then mold the world in your own image.

I could go on and on about Christian love and charity and about how one of the basic tenets of Christianity is humility. I could talk a blue streak about free will. In the end though, in spite of all the argument and the claims that Prop 8 was God's work, I don't think that this particular case is really a religious issue at all, but a practical, Constitutional one.

Take the all-inflaming topic of sex out of it for a moment. The Supreme Court of California gave a group of people a right. The people of the state were then allowed to vote on whether or not that group of people should get to keep that right. That doesn't seem okay to me. It doesn't seem American. I'm all for the system and the rule of the majority, but the way this went down just seems wrong to me.

Toddler Daze

Having a toddler is so much fun. I can sit and WATCH him learn - there are new things every day, and he's so BUSY. I love that we can have "conversations" now and that he can tell me what he wants (and doesn't want - he's very opinionated). I love seeing the little person he is and how each day adds to that. For instance, Jimmy can hear two notes of a song and will immediately start dancing. He definitely gets his dancing skills from me (meaning he has none), but he doesn't know that and just dances with wild abandon and joy. He's started singing. He's tremendously inquisitive, and wants to take anything and everything apart, so we have to watch him with the pop-up books. Also, he imitates us constantly, the little monkey. Roughly 4000 times a day, I hear him drop something then say "Aw maaaaan!", and I know exactly where he got that (glad I've weeded out "Aw CRAP" from my vocabulary...mostly). I also hear a lot of "Goss!" (gross) and "Bood boy!" (good boy). When he's unhappy about something, I look at him and it's like gazing into a teeny tiny angry mirror. The little eyebrows draw down and that precious lower lip pooches I seriously look like that? Well...when he stands up on his potty chair to reach the candles on the window sill so he can throw them across the room, yes, I probably do look at him that way. It's a whole lot harder not to laugh when he does it though.

I just looked over and he is studiously destroying his Happy Meal box from yesterday, chattering away and investigating each piece to discover its magical properties. kiddo.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The wonders of pudding

Learning about eating with actual utensils out of actual dishes, so I needed something kind of ...sticky. He had a spoon in his other hand. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

I wonder

Am I too involved with my son? Sometimes, people will tell me what a "typical first time mother" I am, and my first instinct is to be a little insulted. I mean, I'm the oldest of seven children, and, aside from that, I've got lots of experience with kids - helping with all the foster kids that came through our house, babysitting from a young age, working with kids at church forever, substitute teaching and teaching piano lessons. It's not like I'm gagging at stinky poop or freaking out over fevers and little coughs. I'm tough. I'm relatively calm. I don't fall to pieces when he scrapes his knee or bumps his head. What's the deal? When I think about it though...I AM a first time mom, and I don't want to pass up on any experience related to doing this for the first time just because I'm proud. So, for the record, I think my son is the most amazing, sweet, cute baby I've ever seen, with no regard for the fact that I might be biased, and I offer as evidence the roughly 600 photos a day I take of him. I sweat some of the small stuff. I get anxious when we're apart, even for a few hours. When he's sad, I'm sad. When he laughs, I laugh. When he says, "Yuv yoo", I'm so delighted that I laugh and cry at the same time. I was a complete wreck during his "sleep training" (and poor James put up with me beautifully). I have excessive guilt over ridiculous things that most likely have no effect on Jimmy whatsoever. I plan my day around his nap and bedtime and can't seem to make myself be easy going about it when his schedule gets disrupted. I can't honestly say that I don't care what other people think of him. I see what other kids his age are doing and wonder if I'm a bad mom if Jimmy's not doing the same things, then feel inordinate amounts of pride if he's passing them up on something. Sometimes, I look at Jimmy and my heart is so full that it makes me cry. I'm a mom - and this is my first time at it, and though I think I was as prepared as I could have been to have a child, all my other experience pales in every way in comparison, and I think that's just alright.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dragon - big time (haha)

Halloween was....really fun! We had a few friends come over for the evening, took Jimmy trick or treating (he got it right away and LOVED it - was thrilled with his costume - wouldn't let anyone else carry his bucket - even said "thank you" once or twice :) ), then watched a scary movie after the J bird went to bed. Here's my mommy moment; I was SO proud of how well behaved Jimmy was. Even having eaten several pieces of candy AND a cupcake (in addition to supper...apparently he was hungry yesterday) and with all the excitement, there were no tantrums, no whining, no bad behavior, none of the toddler stuff. He was charming and funny, and...well...I was just proud of him is all. He's turning into such a little boy.

Having fun with Traci

A vampire bit into all the cuppycakes!

The culprit

partner in crime

So I do what now?

My attempt at cool

Oldie but goodie...pumpkin pi

Enjoying the spoils

Waiting for more trick or treaters
Lots of sticky handprints

Kissin' Kimberly!