Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Everybody and their momma *is* doin' it.

As seen on Ali's blog and Cathy's blog, it's...

TODAY June 23rd, 2009

Outside my window... the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. It is a beautiful day

I am thinking... about gardening instead of mopping

I am thankful for... Deuce's patience today while we ran errands for hours (with a playground/lunch break, so it wasn't all work)

From the kitchen... I packed lunch to eat at the playground (go go prepared mom!), but have yet to decipher dinner. Greek salad?

I am wearing... Birkenstocks. But my feet are pedicure-d so I only look half like a hippy

I am creating... more work for myself by buying more plants

I am going... to my parents' to swim if all goes to plan

I am reading... every sweater knitting book I could get my hands on from the library

I am hoping... to find a sweater pattern

I am hearing... birds chirping, and the non-sound of Deuce napping. Thank God.

Around the house... are two less things to return, two less things to trip over and stress that I don't get anything done.

One of my favorite things... is taking sun dried clothes off the clothesline.

A few plans for the rest of the week... swimming, a reunion, knitting meetup, then camping!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's tough bein' old

The scene: Deuce is napping. I am on the couch watching a documentary, drinking diet coke. Windows open, letting in fresh air.

A sound. Kind of a cry. I pause the TV. Not Deuce. Unpause. I hear the cry again, and pause TV with a sigh. Dog hears sound and starts to bark. I charge outdoors to reprimand this person. Instead of some stupid troublemaker, I find the 84 year old neighbor on the ground in the backyard!

The neighbor has clearly fallen on her head/face, evidenced by the grass-stained white hair and slight skinned nose/cheek. Should I call 911? "NO!"

The neighbor says "blah blah, in Italian, blah, I don't speak English, blah, something that I managed to recognize as the word for 'face', Italian words, more Italian words, why didn't I learn the language from Grandma..."

Well, she seems fine, upsadaisy. But I can't lift this woman. (Remind me to lose weight before I get to 84 years old.) Then she's gesturing, and I realize she wants me to go get her nephew who lives 3 doors down. This nephew is in his 70s, but he's more help than the dog, so off I go.

We right her and she said thank you along with many other things to me and the nephew, and the nephew's wife who came down... luckily she's okay.

What was she doing outside? Trying to hang clothes on the line. Her nephew commented "84! use the dryer!" I get that, but man, it's tough bein' old.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finding meaning in the mop bucket

In my perpetual state of half-finished, I have found myself outside on a chaise in the sun knitting or reading more and more often. I am loving this. I am loving it because despite all the unfinished stuff that fills my home, and all my sitting around, the house is looking better than ever.

DeuceDad and I don't see eye to eye on housework. My philosophy is that if my kid won't get sick or hurt in our home, it's fine. I push the clutter aside to make room for additional clutter, I clean the toilet, I call it a day. He likes things put away properly but does not under any circumstances clean the toilet. In other words, I'm a "clean" and he's a "neat."

That said, a few weeks ago he expressed some, uh, frustration? annoyance? fear? over the state of the house. There were some very precarious leaning piles. As I've said, I don't care, but if it's important to him I can make it at least marginally important to me. I do love him after all.

So I implemented a lose days of the week schedule to make sure each level of my house is getting some attention every week. I have a split level, so that's 3 days of tidying and cleaning with 2 days for margin of error/naps. It's been working out nicely because it's a small set of things to do each day, and I can make myself do them before I get really bored.

Okay, so all this is cute, right? Housework, leaning town of mail, haha. But here's the tough stuff. All the while I've been overachieving in school, working professional jobs, then being a WOHM I've always said I have much more important things to do than keep house. And now I find myself a SAHM and keeping house is the only thing I have to do. I play with Deuce, I socialize, I do my crafts. But when he's taking his 2-3 hour daily nap, the only actual responsibility I have is the housework. My gut reaction to that is to say "is this what my life's become?" My life is the unimportant things - the things that were beneath me a year ago.

My mom put this in perspective for me. She always told me to be the best I can at whatever I'm doing. That always meant academics or career in my life. Parenting goes without saying that I try to be a good mom, but now my career is homemaker. Mom told me that I need to take pride in my home and be the best homemaker I can be.

She's right. Homemaking isn't beneath me. It's hard work. It's tiring and thankless and repetitive, like so many other jobs I've had can be at times. But it can also bring a sense of satisfaction and pride when the job is well done, and certainly when it gets noticed!

DeuceDad does make a point to say when the house looks nice - and particularly when he notices a giant pile of crap has disappeared. But I'm the one who needs to take notice and appreciate when I've done a good job. I'm the one who needs to hold myself to a higher standard when it comes to this SAHM gig. This is my life after all, and it's not too small for me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I finally cried

I held back my tears so well about Robbie growing up until just now. He's in his crib, refusing to nap, saying "woof woof woof" and "oh, man!" I am his mom and I am so happy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Deuce is Two

Deuce turned 2 today! We had a busy morning and he's now napping. Time for me to frantically do chores, bake a cake, prepare dinner and wrap his gifts! I don't think he really understands what it means that people keep saying Happy Birthday to him, but it's fun anyway.

I'm doing a good job keeping my emotions in check today. I have had some moments when I wonder how it's possible that he is so tall/smart/independent when 2 years ago today he was brand new and needed his mom and dad for everything. But I've spend the better part of the last year with him so I don't feel like I missed out.

I did a lot of scrapbooking - although I can't say I'm finished with his second year. I have the book divided into sections (events, family, everyday) with coordinating section pages:

I am pretty proud of some of my pages:

The first page has a little dedication.

It reads

Dear Robbie,

As I write this, you are about to turn two. I'm teaching you to say "two" and hold up your two fingers so that you can tell people how old you are. I don't know why this is so fascinating to me, but it is. Probably for the same reason everything you do is amazing to me - you're a fun guy! You're growing up fast and your dad and I get to be there as you become a toddler, and some day a man.

This book is really for me to save my favorite photos and have a place ot write down the stories of your childhood and our adventures as a family. I know I will always want to remember how it felt to help you learn and grow, how you make me smile, even our small frustrations and challenges because they make the happy moments sweeter.

I hope someday you enjoy looking at this book as much as I've enjoyed making it. But if you don't take after me and you're not a sentimental guy, then just know how much happiness you've brought to our family, and in these pages are some of the ways you did that.

My love forever,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Our Backyard

is decked out in Backyardigans! Today is Deuce's 2nd birthday party, and we're ready for action. Guests are coming at 5pm and we're going to grill hots and burgers, play a game, have cake and open gifts. The mechanics of the party are all set, but I'm not ready. I mean, I changed out of my sweatpant capris (hot) into jeans (socially acceptable). But mentally I'm not ready. He's out there in a man's outfit kicking a ball around with his dad. Who is this 2 year old and where did he come from.

I'll share my sentiments to him on his actual birthday (Monday). I don't want to get emotional before people come. I will share my recipe for the pasta salad I make for him that he loves.

Pesto Pasta Salad

1 12oz box tri-color rotini
provolone (ask the deli to slice a 1/2 thick piece), diced
hard salami (again with the thick piece), diced
1 small can sliced black olives
1 small can cece beans (aka chick peas, garbanzo beans)
1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix, prepared with balsamic vinegar
1T basil pesto

Cook the pasta, drain and cool under cold water. Combine the dressing with the pesto. Toss it all together - garlicky and delicious! Add cucumbers, diced bell pepper, cherry tomatoes - anything you want to use up.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A good reason to open a bottle of wine

This Friday I decided to make a nice dinner and open a bottle of the wine we bought in Sonoma. The wine is Cline 2007 Los Carneros Viognier. Dry and fruity, very delicious. I decided to make pasta puttanesca so I could cook with the wine as well as drink it.

Here's a leetle mis en place after the tomatoes were started. This is a good spot to point out one of my favorite kitchen items - Epicurean cutting boards. I have them in 3 sizes and use them every day. Mine are the basic Kitchen series, the thinnest ones, but they are in great shape after 3 years of near daily use and dishwasher cleaning. Have to love the patina (they start out much lighter in color). I'd also like to note that I have never found a gourmet brand of capers. Suggestions? Oh and still using a cheapo knife as we never found the Wustof santoku. But back to the food...

And, if you can excuse my perpetually stained sink, some 10/12 count shrimp I've been saving in the freezer for a celebratory dinner when I get a job. Blerg. But yummy.

And the finished product, steamy and ready for eating!

Want to eat something yummy today?

Puttanesca Sauce with Shrimp

2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t red pepper flakes
28 oz tomatoes (I had crushed on hand, but I also like whole peeled broken up myself)
1/2 C wine (use whatever you're drinking, red or white)
juice of 1 lemon
2T capers, drained
1/2 C kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 C parsley, chopped
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium and saute the garlic and red pepper flakes about 2 minutes until garlic is soft. Add the tomatoes and wine to the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add lemon juice, capers and olives and stir to combine. Nestle the shrimp in the sauce and bring the heat back up to medium high. Cook just until shrimp are done (10/12 count took about 8 minutes). Add parsley and serve over 1 lb pasta.