Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I’m psyching myself up. Why? Well, I’m going to make another blender full of green smoothie. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve made any, and up until a couple weeks ago, I was making them almost daily. They really do make me feel really good and full of energy. What happened the last time that made me reticent to try again? My blender exploded. Everywhere.

Okay, so it didn’t explode. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still, it did vomit profusely all over the counter and the cabinets (and me). Now, green smoothies are delicious and super healthy, but somehow, when you’re scrubbing pre-masticated spinach, greens, and fruit off of every surface imaginable in your kitchen (and sweetened with honey... nice and sticky), that fantastic smoothie seems just a little less satisfying. Oh, and I really loved hearing, “Mommy, you made a big mess!”

Ever since the spewage incident, I’ve been finding little dried splatters of vaguely greenish brown material in strikingly strange places (and it’s REALLY hard to get it off when it’s dry), so here’s a tip for those of you who are considering starting this wonderfully healthy habit: if your fancy high-speed blender is struggling to blend together so much frozen fruit, don’t open up that little cap in the top to add more liquid. Take the time to stop the blender, add liquid, stir it up a little bit, and then try again. It’s a surefire way to keep your blender happy and nausea-free.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

We Made Her Bed, Now She Has to Lie In It

It’s my favorite time of day... Jewel’s bedtime. It’s been a long hard day of playing, reading, running, dancing, dressing up, un-dressing up, changing, pretending, and eating. I don’t really know if she’s worn out yet. Is she ever? One thing’s for sure, though. I am exhausted. I don’t think I’ve played this much since I was little. I used to bemoan the fact that I was already tired from work when we picked her up from school, but no more. It’s far more draining to play with the girl all day than it is to go to work and play with her for the few hours before bedtime.

So, then, what should I do with my free time this evening? Should I do schoolwork? Almost definitely. Should I continue the cleaning and organization streak we’ve been on today? Perhaps. I know my nearest and dearest would certainly enjoy that. Maybe I’ll empty the dishwasher. He really likes it when I empty the dishwasher. Or maybe I’ll just sit here on the couch and watch TV. Really, though, I should probably get some exerciszszzszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....................

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just Call Me Switzerland: I'm in Neutral

As you might know from my last post (if you actually bother to read this stuff), my family and I went down to visit all of our folks this weekend. While we were happy to visit, and we haven’t been down in a while, the real purpose behind the trip was to acquire another vehicle. We’ve been a one car family for several months now, and it’s been alright, but a little inconvenient at times. So, what kind of vehicle did we bring back? We brought back an old, standard transmission, Ford Ranger.

This is a car with personality. Does it have air conditioning? Yes. Does the air conditioning work? No. It has some other quirks as well that come with a long and happy automotive life. No biggie. The real issue is the standard transmission. I have never driven anything but automatic, and neither has my hubby, although he had an unfortunate (and very brief) experience with a U-Haul truck a couple of years ago. May I just say that I would have paid good money to see him lurch his way home in that gigantic truck, going 25 on the freeway the whole way, but I digress.

Part of the deal of us taking the Ranger (from my in-laws) is that my father-in-law teach us both how to drive it. I feel for him, really. Of course, he regularly puts his life in God’s hands as a driver’s ed teacher anyway, so I guess we were in good company. And despite the lurching, dying, grinding, jerking, and peeling out (and the panic... can’t forget the panic), we did okay. My father-in-law has the true heart of a teacher, and for that I am truly grateful.

So, my dearest husband drove our new acquisition the six hours back home, and while every time we stopped for gas/food/potty break, he either killed it or peeled it out, he did a pretty good job for a beginner. Did I laugh heartily? Of course! Will he laugh at me when it’s my turn? Of course! If only he hadn’t locked the keys in it the minute we got back. *sigh* I guess it’s time to check out the subversive lock-picking skills of our neighbors.

The bottom line is this: we’re just happy to have another car that works, even if we have to kill it a few times on our way.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Out of It

Well, it only took me six entries to get to this point, but I’m officially out of things to say. I know I’ll come up with other topics, but I’m at a complete loss at the moment. So... what should I write about if I have no topic? I’ll give it a try and see what I get.

For starters, I have food stuck in the permanent retainer behind my bottom teeth. I hate that thing. And my bottom teeth are a little crooked. So... why is it in my mouth? It’s obviously useless. But let’s move on from this topic. Too weird, and a bit TMI, I think. Not to mention completely pointless.

What else have I got? Well, there’s the six hour drive we made today. I have to say, I was surprised at how little I had to stop and pee (speaking of TMI). Pregnancy is brutal when it comes to traveling and peeing. The last time, when Jewel was on the way, I made my poor hubby stop about six or seven times in that six hour stretch. The six hour drive quickly (or not so quickly) turned into a seven-and-a-half hour drive instead. I still haven’t heard the end of that one. Even worse, I made my other half stop in a really seedy part of Houston. This stop was at the kind of gas station you only see in horror movies. It had reflective windows, and it was a little too dark in the building. There was a man muttering to himself outside the car, and he muttered to me too, but I couldn’t tell you what he said. I tried not to make eye contact.

And what did my dearest, defender-of-my-honor, husband do when we stopped there? He let his very pregnant, exceptionally rotund wife waddle past the delusional muttering man while he holed himself up in the car and locked the doors. Coward.

The point? I would say I’d try and hold it next time, but you ladies know how that goes in late pregnancy. I guess I should just brush up on my self-defense. Or maybe buy stock in Depends? I think next time I’ll just stay home.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This Omnivore's Dilemma

As I sit here watching my charming child chow down on fried balls of corn, which are radioactive orange, freeze-dried and reconstituted, and then coated in a “cheese-like” powder, I feel a little guilty about giving my child “food” instead of wholesome, real food. Then, I rationalize and tell myself that she doesn’t get these things very often, so it’s more like a treat than nutrition. I know her body won’t see it the same way, but it’s nice to make myself think it anyway.

Between my gall bladder, my second pregnancy, and Jewel’s asthma and her allergies to milk and soy, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what we eat here in America. The media (and all the fat people such as myself) bemoan fast food and obesity related illness, but then we proceed to turn off our brains and stuff our faces with all sorts of mystery “foods.” When did food start coming from factories instead of farms? And when did factories become acceptable sources of food? When did it become okay to have one real ingredient in a “food” and have the rest come from a lab somewhere? When we can’t even pronounce what’s in a food, then that ought to be a red flag, but we look at the pretty picture on the label, and it looks so good, so we ignore the adverse engineering and fill our bods with pseudo-food that is loaded with fat, sugar and salt. It's food that completely lacks real nourishment and saps our energy and health. Sad, really.

As a way to get maximum nutrients with minimum time (and fat), I’ve started making green smoothies. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one, but they’re pretty fantastic. That is, if you upgrade your blender (the $15 Walmart version won’t work... believe me... it gets ugly). The main idea is blending greens and fruit together to make a tasty smoothie packed with super nutrition. I know it sounds disgusting, and I have to admit it does look pretty disgusting too (who doesn’t like gloopy brown food?), but it tastes really great, especially since we add local honey to ours to help with our allergies. I feel really good when I drink the smoothies, and I can tell a definite difference when I don’t. Even Jewel likes them, and she loves helping put the frozen fruit into the blender. The challenge is keeping her from eating it all before she puts it in.

I guess that’s all for my soap box today, and I’ll try to keep things on the lighter end from now on. Oh, and I think I’ll give Jewel a peach with her lunch. Maybe it’ll make up for the cheese balls just a little bit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Father Fodder

The hubby and I are headed down home to visit the parental units this coming weekend, and we’ll be there for Father’s Day. While my dearest and I tend to keep Mother’s Day and Father’s Day pretty low key, we usually go out for a nice meal and give each other a standard “Happy Mother’s/Father’s Day. You’re a really great Mom/Dad.” And so on and so forth. However, since we’ll be visiting both of our families this weekend, it would be nice to do something a little bit more. So, given our current gift-giving budget (i.e. nil, zip, zero), what could I possibly do for free? And what is it that I do best? You got it, cheesy poems! I figured a poem for each of the major dads in my life would be a good option. These are a bit beyond my usual cheese threshold (and a bit shy of my usual poetic standards), but that’s what holidays like Father’s Day are for. I know it’s a bit early, but I’ll share my queso-rific creations with you here:

For My Hubby

You’re stubborn and nerdy and at times quite annoying

But smart, thoughtful, loving and determined you are too

You’re so much fun to be with, your smile lights up my day

And for serving our country, I’m so proud of you

You’re the best Daddy Jewel could possibly have

She runs to you, laughing, when you come home at night

You're part horse and part playmate as she giggles with glee

And she hugs you and kisses you when you tuck her in tight

For My Dad

You were cleaning your guns the first time he came over

My teenage self was mortified, I asked why

Pretending your timing was just coincidence

Your ploy didn’t work, but it was a nice try

Now he’s around for good, you’re a great dad-in-law

And you’re now the almighty and benevolent Pop

A super grandad for Jewel and her soon-to-be sister

In twenty-eight years of dad-hood, you’ve been at the top!

For My Dad-in-Law

Campers and coasters, cycles and scooters

To think, you take your life in your hands

But it’s not from all the adventuresome fun

But from teenagers and their testosterone glands

Fun and silliness you exude from your mouth

A better Grandpa is not anywhere to be found

From the backseat of the car everywhere we go

A thundering “I WANT GRANDPA!” does resound

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Gall of It

It started with the worst spring break in history. My gall bladder decided it had had enough of this life and was ready to give up the ghost. And so began the excruciating pain as one small organ declared war on my digestion. In the beginning, I think it was winning. But... I went to the emergency room and to the surgeon and got myself all psyched up to have surgery. And then I didn’t. I was “not sick enough” to have surgery while pregnant. I don’t begrudge the surgeon for not wanting to operate on a prego, but what’s the real outcome here?

I have a severely limited diet now, 6 grams or less of fat per meal, and yes that’s for the entire meal. Can I push it a little bit sometimes? In short, yes. Will I pay for that in fairly unpleasant ways later? Unfortunately, yes. Now, in some ways, this diet has been really good for me. I’ve lost 15 pounds, and while I would have preferred to not lose it while pregnant, the weight needed to come off anyway. My diet affects everyone around me, though. My dearest husband has lost “sympathy weight” as a result of my low fat cooking, and we rarely get to have any special treats such as ice cream unless it’s more like ‘ice cream’ than real ice cream. Luckily, with a three year old (almost), sorbet still counts as ice cream.

Another good example? Right now my husband and daughter are at the store in search of fat free mayonnaise. I know, not worth eating, right? I mean, is it even considered mayo if it’s fat free? Somehow I doubt it. Who knows what kind of horrid Frankenstein-like engineering had to go into that jar to make it fat free. Why fat free mayonnaise, you ask? Well, we’re having some really good friends over this evening (they have to be good friends because mediocre ones don’t stick around through fat free cooking), and we’re making potato salad. It can’t be good potato salad, mind you, with fat free mayo in it, so, in the end, everybody else gets to enjoy their food a little bit less just so I can eat it in the first place. Cue dramatic sigh.

So, think of me this evening as I try to enjoy my low fat potato salad (eww), and take pity on me as I choke down my fat free turkey dogs (again, eww) while my friends and family enjoy their juicy burgers. At least, in the end, I’ll be able to drown my sorrows in a large bowl of watermelon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Underwear Everywhere!

I just have one question: is it normal for guys to have tons of underwear? I mean, really, isn’t it the gals who are supposed to have all the undies? Granted, a lot of it is for cute and/or sexy purposes, but we’re supposed to have all the clothes, right? Well, not so around here. My nearest and dearest has the market cornered in our house.

So, on the off chance that I don’t get laundry done (okay... make that regular event), he complains that he’s almost out of underwear. I can understand that. I mean, nothing says “I love you” like clean underwear, right? So I check his stocks. And I count. And I keep counting. And I count some more. How is 30 more pairs almost out?! I don’t have that many to start with! I guess it’s just like in the car when you hit the E on the gas gauge. E means 20 more miles, so why wouldn’t the E on the underwear drawer mean 30 more pairs?

My only consolation is this: when the nuclear war comes, and I’m instantly vaporized, my husband will have enough underwear to last through the apocalypse. He just might have to wash it himself.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two Have Become Three (aka What Happened?!)

Okay, so I've joined the blogging revolution. You know, the one that happened a few years ago when I wasn't paying attention? I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon while the wagon's still there. This is probably one of those things that I'll start, and I'll go with it for a few weeks and/or months, but then I'll get bored and abandon it to start some other short-lived new hobby. But hey... that's okay with me. It's fun entertainment, and it's free. And I am all about free entertainment right now.

So, now to the real topic. My sweet, adorable, bright, charming, sometimes strong-willed, little girl has suddenly become a monster. I'd been warned before that the threes are worse than the twos (a friend of mine calls them the Torturous Threes), but it never really hit home until the screaming began. And once I calmed down, I realized Jewel was screaming too (okay, I know, that was lame). Seriously, though, who flipped that switch and where can I find it? I need to flip it back! I want the little girl back who doesn't scream at bedtime and doesn't have a total meltdown when she doesn't get her way. And who knew that asking 'why' all the time started so early? That, and I think she just keeps getting louder. Do they always have to get louder?

Still, she's more cuddly now, and she can reason out her thoughts. She even started using adverbs the other day... correctly. I love listening to her tell about experiences from her day and make up silly games and stories. Her imagination gets stronger every day, and she is constantly fascinated with the world around her. I'm not really enjoying much of her three-ness right now, but I wouldn't give it up for the world.