Monday, September 29, 2008

Alright, already! I give you...the bangs

No, really, I do have hair on the other side of my head. And in the back. The rest of it looks pretty much the same as my profile pic on the right side of this page so I didn't see much point in posting a pic of my hair down.

(Cool trick: making a photo black and white and fuzzing it up a little goes a long way to hide bloodshot eyes that occur when photographing yourself at midnight. But apparently does nothing for dark circles.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Best Rube Goldberg Ever

"Ever" is not enough. Watch for my favorite part: the cell phone call.

Learning your haircut

Got me a new haircut the other day. Ironically, by the same woman who has cut the hair of two of my sisters as well. Isn't some sort of discount in order here?

Anyway, after years without bangs, stuck in a rut with the same ol' style (much like my cooking...hmmm) I sat down in the chair and said "cut me, Tina!" (Based on her blank stare I don't think she got my Rocky reference.) So I explained to her I didn't want some wannabe bangs that would end up getting shoved up into a lazy-tail like the rest of my hair. I wanted to look in the mirror and see something different for once. Some bangs with authority!

So, she cut me all right. To just below my eyebrows. Yikes!

So I came home and stared at them in the mirror. The haircut you come home with from the salon can never count as the real haircut, since you had no hand in fixing it. You have no idea what it's going to do until you get your own hands on it. Which I did. And I still have no idea what it's going to do.

It's been about ten years (15? 20? Who really knows...) since I dealt with bangs and it's obvious I have forgotten everything I ever knew about fixing them. I know one thing: if I pull out my curling iron like I did back then I will get laughed at...and not in a good way. Some people I know may even hit me over the head with it.

So now I'm just left to learn them. And try to do something cool with them like Ashlee Simpson, or Pete Wentz, for that matter. I'd like to Palin-ize them just a little, but without so much pouf. I bet Sarah doesn't stare in the mirror and wonder what hair tool she's feeling particularly skillful with that morning.


I guess I will let them do whatever they will do, and continue to have flashbacks to junior high when I washed my whole head of hair just to get my bangs back to square one so I could fix them all over again.

In the meantime, don't judge me. Don't cock your head sideways and try to figure them out. Just smile and say, to yourself, please..."yeaaah, she's still learning..."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The other three words we all need to hear

This morning as Alex finished his cereal, he got down from his chair and announced "I feel pretty, Mommy." Hearing the words made me smile as I watched him run off to play.

(My first reaction was "It's a good thing you're feeling pretty because it's picture day at school..." I nearly sent a comb with instructions for his wild hair.)

Then I wondered what it would be like if I announced "I feel pretty..." on the days when I'm feeling just the opposite. We all have days when we feel like we got it goin' on. Whether it's a new haircut or a new outfit or maybe the scale was forgiving that day. Doesn't "feeling pretty," even though you know you were the same person yesterday, make you walk a little taller, smile a little more, be just a little friendlier to people?

Who the heck knows what was on Alex's mind when he said that this morning. Could have been the milk he spilled down his shirt and I didn't get on to him. Or maybe that I let him have sugar pellets (otherwise known as sweetened cereal) for breakfast. Whatever it was, it made him feel pretty. As long as he smiles for the camera, I suppose it doesn't really matter...

So tomorrow, when you're hating your hair once again, willing three (or thirty) pounds to be gone, thinking you need to get your teeth whitened, look at the mirror and say "I feel pretty." See if just hearing the words lifts your spirit a little.

If not, Lucky Charms might do the trick...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WFMW: Dealing with hospital stays

Yesterday I had to go to the hospital where Pete was admitted back in 2006 to fight his pulmonary embolism. * (I was paying a bill.) As I traipsed the boys through the halls to find the cashier, I felt the tension from two years ago wash over me all over again. I didn't tell the boys where we were going, but Mickey asked immediately " this the hospital where Daddy stayed..."

Anyway, it really made me start thinking about what we went through. I got a crash course in dealing with a husband's unexpected hospital stay and wrote the post below about it. Thought I would share it once again if you haven't been reading my blog for long.

Like the title says, I hope you never need these tips.

(Originally posted December, 2006)

A list I hope you'll never need

A wife can learn a lot when her DH is suddenly awarded a six-night, seven-day trip to a hospital. (And NOT an all-expenses paid trip, I might add.) It was a little different than, say, when I went in to have my babies: we weren't prepared at home with the kids, DH wasn't prepared to be absent from work for that long, and the obvious difference is that it was a very tense situation, not a happy occasion. So I feel compelled to post a list of things I learned when DH recently went on his little trip, and I hope you will never need to remember them:

1. Before you leave for the hospital or as soon as you get there, get a pad of paper and a pen and keep them with you all the time. I didn't do this, and I had six pieces of information written on a ragged 3x3 Post-It. Phone numbers, medical terms, room numbers, etc. You'll get all of this spewed at you in rapid succession and you'll want to remember it.

2. Have someone bring you a sack full of snacks and bottled water to keep in the hospital room, for you and/or the patient. Hospital food gets old very quickly and you won't want to leave his bedside for food anyway. Someone did this for me without my asking and it came in so handy.

3. Grab your cell phone charger.

4. Back to the pad of paper: jot down questions for the docs as you think of them. They talk fast and they spend limited time in your room so you need to make the most of it. It's also good to record any medications they are administering so you can Google them later or ask someone else to. And Google-ing doctors' names is interesting, too.

5. The more machines and/or cords involved in the patient's stay, the more important it is to be there with him all the time. The nurses, as compassionate as they might seem, will not hang around to help the patient get situated after getting up to use the restroom or if he needs to turn over. It's especially hard for them to get comfortable if they've had blood drawn or needle pokes in both arms.

6. You need to make sure you are there when the doctors visit. DH will think he is lucid, but ask him to repeat something the doctor said and you could get a blank stare.

7. Ask questions. The medical staff seemed a little robotic at times with all their procedures and such and soon you will find yourself wondering, "just what was that blood-draw for..."

8. Listen to the people who tell you: "you need to worry about DH and not your kids..." If you know the homefront is covered, allow yourself to focus on being at the hospital. It is hard to do but people really do want to help so you have to let them. It's really the only choice.

9. Speaking of the homefront: ask the people there to keep a phone log of calls so you and the patient can look at it later. Again, this was done without my asking but I so appreciated it.

10. I was wishing for one of those mini voice recorders for remembering what floor of the parking garage I had left my car. There were a few trips winding up and down on foot with my keys trying to follow the sound of my "beeper."

11. Pray with your DH, not just for him.

That's about it. I have been working on this post for awhile and now I'm ready to move on to funner things (shut-up, sometimes non-words work).

*He made a full recovery!
For more great tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Trying new recipes: Chicken Pot Pie

Doesn't everyone have a different version of Chicken Pot Pie? And does anyone's look like the ones that come in little round foil tins? There are so many varieties of CPP and techniques to make them that finding any perfect recipe is impossible. But I think I have found quite the contender...and from a most unlikely source (unless I'm the only one who doesn't feature Jessica Simpson as a chef).

The other day I mentioned I was watching Rachael Ray when Jessica was on and she was sharing her recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. The recipe was so simple I didn't even have to write anything kind of recipe!

I intended to post the link to RR's website where I did look it up later, but unfortunately it's now nowhere to be found now...hmmm.

So here it is from memory:

Jessica Simpson’s Chicken Pot Pie

One can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Rotisserie chicken, shredded
One can Cream of Chicken soup
One can Cream of Mushroom soup
One cup chicken broth

Separate the crescent rolls into triangles. Place about 1/3 c. chicken on each triangle and wrap the crescent roll around the chicken. It was a little like wrapping a 20 pound baby in a receiving blanket, but it does not have to be pretty because it’s going to be bathing in soup in a minute. Just do the best you can to cover the chicken.

Place the chicken "pillows" in a (sprayed with Pam) 9 x 13 dish. You’ll have eight of them. Mix the soups together and pour over the pillows. Then pour the chicken broth over the whole thing.

Bake at 350 until nice and bubbly.

That's the recipe as she made it, but I made a couple of changes:

-- Used two large poached chicken breasts, shredded.
-- Added most of a bag of frozen mixed vegetables to soup mixture before pouring over chicken.
-- Omitted chicken broth and 1/2 can of mushroom soup; whisked one can of milk into soups.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Honorable? Why thank you!

A few weeks ago I entered this post about Colors in Scribbit's monthly Write Away contest. Turns out it was chosen as one of the top entries in the contest! (toot, toot, toot...)

Ya'll head over there and read the other winners and the submissions. The writing talent on mom blogs continues to amaze me...

Everyone calm down

I have seven sisters, and apparently the number of them concerned that I would loan my hairbrush to this person is growing by the minute.

Put your fears to rest, sistas; I fumbled with "...uh, no, I don't have one..." fully realizing she knew I was lying. No one with a mass of hair like mine goes out in public, a very rainy public, without some sort of weapon for her hair. Now if I'd have had a teeny-tiny purse, maybe. But I carried the behemoth that night so I'm sure she was thinking "yeaaaahhhh, riiiiightttt..."

But thankfully she did not challenge me, and instead provided us details about how much she needed to fix her hair.

I don't know, I think the ball cap was a pretty good start... (ouch!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Keen insight from Mickey?

Or lofty goals for Pete? Or maybe Mickey knows something I don't. He started the conversation:

"...did you know the cheetah is the fastest animal?"
"No, I didn't know that."

Then a few seconds later:

"...but I bet Daddy could beat the cheetah."

Kenny Chesney and...who was that again?

Last week Pete and I got to go to the brand-spankin'-new BOK Center recently built here in Tulsa. We were there to see Kenny Chesney and Leann Rimes (apparently Pete has a thing for LR so I took out a loan and for his birthday I got us some pretty good tickets).

A sight to behold, for sure, but for us, the beholding-worthy site was right outside the doors:

I would say it pays to have friends in high places, but that would be a trite and pretentious phrase and we here at the Home Team do not flaunt our good fortune when it so very rarely descends upon us. Except for right now.

Dudes, my friends hooked us up.

Here's the scenario: (the kind that requires lime) And free parking across the street from the Center.

I love these friends!

Here's me and the friend we now owe favors to. (About two seconds before this picture was taken that woman in the brown shirt asked me if I had a hair brush she could borrow.)

"...what to wear, what to wear. Shoot, this Hanes t-shirt still has a few hours left in it. Lemme get my hat. And a necklace!"

The ferocious guards at the entrance to the tent...keeping all the unsavory freebie-seeking characters out.

...or keeping them in?!

Could he have at least grabbed the blue hula-hoop?

Okay, now here's where it gets ugly: Leann Rimes, the whole reason I sold my...ahem. The reason Pete was counting the days to the concert? Called in sick. Something -itis. I don't know. I believe he'll be scarred for a while.

So in her stead, Miranda Lambert sang her substitutin' lil' heart out. Way to step up, girl...

Then the man made his grand entrance...

If you look really closely you can see his jeans standing there.

His songs will make you want to sell everything and move to the Caribbean. Get a boat and just float around all day...

Not too sure Pete feels the same way. He's still feeling pretty bluuuu-uuu-uuuu-uuuu-uuu....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The birthday party

I'm going to spare you most of the pictures from Alex's third birthday party. As I started thumbing through them I realized most of them are of the top of his head as he concentrates on opening gifts. When am I going to learn that toddler gift opening is not a photo op?

So here we go:
Here's the cake with a disclaimer: these sad-looking little cupcakes may looked a little, um, sad, but oh, my they were happy eating. The frosting alone called for two sticks of butter. 'Nuff said.
(This is also one of two times a year you will not see a stage name. Now go forget you saw that...)

Thank goodness three-year-olds are too critical when it comes to cake decorating.

Okay, one gift-opening picture since I think that might be emotion on his face. He was darn happy that Ming-Ming made it to his party.

...and a little more birthday morning in the driveway.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birthday morning in the driveway

This morning:

One year ago today:

Two years ago today:

...and a short three years ago I was holding you for the first time. Happy 3rd Birthday sweet boy...

Monday, September 15, 2008

A chance to win!

Check out the new site Mommy Come Lately. Apparently it was written for those of us who waited just a tad longer than most to have kids.

And they're having a cool giveaway right go over there and enter to win. You don't have to have a blog, either!

Another misc post

Good Monday! I am painfully behind in posting, but not really that behind for me since going three days with nothing is not unusual for The Home Team at all. So I guess I'm right on time with these miscellaneous items:

-- Alex's third birthday is tomorrow and we celebrated yesterday with a small family party. Pics to come!

-- Ya'll can breathe a sigh of relief: I didn't get crazy on haircut day. Pics to come as proof.

-- Pete and I got the countroyal treatment at the Kenny Chesney concert in our city last week. Um, I have pics of that, too.

-- I just found out today someone I knew in high school found my blog. I guess 'cause I'm also on Facebook. I don't know...the blog, it's out here for the world, but sometimes you forget that everyone is the world.

-- This morning I was sitting on the sofa playing catch with a soccer ball with the boys and watching Rachel Ray. Her guest and apparently undiscovered chef Jessica Simpson was making a chicken and dumpling thing (mostly she was dumping things in a pan and guffawing). Anyway, the recipe looked pretty good so I decided I'd give it a try and then review it out here. Then I decided I needed to get up off the couch...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Trying new recipes: Crockpot Chicken Tacos

One of the sisters (JW) posted a recipe in the comments here for Chicken Taco Meat in the crockpot. Not the taco part, just the mouth-watering, most tender and flavorful chicken you ever tasted. Yeah, that part.

The best reason to love this recipe?

It only has three ingredients.

chicken breasts
taco seasoning
chicken broth

That's it. Put it in your crockpot. Turn it to "on." When it's done get a couple of table forks and shred it up. It's so tender it just falls apart. It wants to be shredded.

(I didn't take a picture of this one. I wanted to eat it instead.)

Ya'll give this one a try; you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Remember when you could sit this way?

Trying new recipes: Brown Sugar Crockpot Chicken

Yesterday I tried Brown Sugar Crockpot Chicken from A Year of Crockpotting. It's a combination of some unexpected ingredients like lemon-lime soda and vinegar, but very easy and cheap to put together.

It tasted fine and the boys liked it. But it wasn't to die for. Could have been it was cooked a little too long. I have a turbo slowcooker that never needs 6-9 hours for anything and yet I continue to think it does. And I cooked the chicken from frozen.

But still, nice to have a new something to try. Next I believe I will try the chicken taco thingie that one of the sisters posted in the comments here. A friend who reads me said she made it already...maybe she will post her results here? Please?

Nonetheless, behold the chicken. In a dish I bought 23 years ago from a traveling salesman. That's right, ma'am...Dynaware!

Monday, September 08, 2008

That thing you do in your 40s

Just got back from having my annual mammogram, which, in case you've not crossed over to FOUR-OH land, is a pretty painless process. Step up ma'am...turn this way ma'am...smmaaaashhh! It really isn't that bad, but for a fleeting second you wonder if the machine could malfunction and continue its smashing mission beyond slightly-uncomfortable to oh-my-gosh-are-you-freaking-kidding-me.

Oh, and if anyone reading this should ever in their next life become a mammography technician, don't, during the process, squint really intensely and lean into the monitor.

Alrighty take the visual of flattened out breast tissue and go enjoy your Monday.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Trying new recipes: Simple Hamburger Stroganoff

In an effort to get out of my cooking rut of late, I searched All Recipes and found a recipe for Simple Hamburger Stroganoff that I tried last night. YUM. It was easy, cheap, and, drum roll please...

My whole family ate it. And there was no pleading.

That in itself makes it headed for the recipe box permanently.

(I can't wait to try some of your suggestions, also. Thanks!)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Lower a ladle and get me out of here!

I'm in a cooking rut...anyone want to join me? It's quite nice down here in the Rut since no one expects much out of me and my kitchen. I can put peanut butter and jelly, bread, and mac and cheese on the table for dinner and no one complains because they all know I'm in the Rut and that's the best they'll get from me. Lately all I have to do is pretend I'm actually opening the spice cabinet and I get applause for being creative. But then they realize I'm only reaching for vitamins, which is surely the only thing keeping us breathing lately.

What? No takers? No one wants to jump in the Rut with me? Then help me claw my way out. Please? Help?

Please post in the comments your go-to recipes, the ones you fall back on that you know your families will devour. Maybe they're just little menus you put together for easy dinners. Crockpot recipes, too! I love my crockpot but it has been neglected of late, along with my pots, pans and three drawers of utensils.

And what simple dessert ideas do you have? I don't need a chocolate cake hanging around for days (or hours, who are we kidding) but it would be nice to serve something twice a week or so that isn't a cookie. My fingers are getting blisters from opening those packages.

In addition to trying your ideas, I will be visiting sites like All Recipes and A Year of Crockpotting as well.

Thanks guys. My boys thank you, Pete thanks you (and will probably pay you).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Write Away Contest: Colors

I'm entering Scribbit's Write Away Contest this month. The theme is Colors.

His eyes were supposed to be brown. I already had one brown-haired, brown-eyed boy, and I was supposed to have another one who looked just like him. Just like all ten of my siblings look like me. That's just the way it was supposed to go.

But when Alex was born it was a little like visiting my neighbor's baby in the hospital: he had blond hair and blue eyes. For a fleeting nanosecond I remember he really mine? Where's the olive complexion? Where's the dark hair? And my goodness, where are the brown eyes?

But our hospital bracelets matched up, so I took this fair little boy home with me.

Three months went by, his eyes were still blue, and people started to stare. I think they wondered if he really did belong to me and Pete. Meanwhile, his brother's hair and eyes just got darker as he got older.

But not Alex's. His hair got blonder and those eyes...they were well past the point where newborn blue turns to brown or some other color. They just kept getting bluer and bluer. When he was about six months old I finally realized: I'm going to be the mother of a blue-eyed child.


Since then those blue eyes have completely and utterly stolen my heart. Now at almost three years old, it's not too often Alex looks directly at me, but when he does all I see is blue (and mischief). I see the unique color that turns even more vibrant when he looks upward at the sky, and I wonder how I got so lucky to get to see it every single day.

My sister once said when you see Alex coming, his blue eyes get there before he does. Hmm, I thought his incessant talking did...but I know what she means.

Both my boys have brought me unexpected joy in a lot of ways. But they're memories now.

Alex's blue eyes...they're my unexpected joy forever.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Hi, Gustav

These pics were taken Monday at my mom's pool. Less than 48 hours ago.

Today, I put the other kind of jacket on them.


Check out more Wordless posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Oh, no she didn't...

This evening I was watching the Weather Channel follow the parade of hurricanes, tropical depressions, big ol' storms, etc.

The woman said...with a straight face:

" we have Hannah moving through and right on top of Hannah is Ike..."

But I could pretend we're famous, right?

My littlest has been busily growing his hair long. Not Hollywood-worthy long, don't get me wrong (a la Celine's and Kate's sons) but long enough that I recently bought tangle-free shampoo. For my BOY.

Once a week or so he gets mistaken for a girl, but that doesn't bother me so much because sometimes I wish he was a girl just so I could buy bows and frilly Easter dresses. I guess I could still do that...

Anyway, we have an appointment next Thursday for both boys to get their hair cut. Mickey's is a no-brainer: short as she can get it without using clippers. If I didn't have it cut that short, it would be my horrible childhood hair revisited. So we short it; he likes it.

Then we have Alex, whose hair couldn't be anymore opposite mine and Pete's if he wore a clown wig: it's blonde. It's straight.

And it's getting a tad bit out of control.

He hates to have it combed, until I remind him that Ms. Summer the gymnastics teacher, Ms. Christine who cuts his hair, and Ms. Sarah at school all like to see little boys' hair neat and combed (don't laugh, it works). Washing it isn't so bad since I've conditioned him to enjoy the near-drowning feeling as I rinse the heck out of it.

So yesterday I tried to pull it back and imagine him with a little boy haircut like his brother's. I couldn't. I couldn't even imagine what he would look like. Then my sister asked me if I ever parted it on the side. Every day, I told her.

So I think it's time for him to get a more grown up 'do. We don't live in Hollywood and his hair will soon start obscuring the basketball goal, the wiffle ball, and the golf tee. Horrors!

(Can one mourn after a haircut? Even if it's not your own?)

But wait, I still have a week or so to talk myself down...Please!??!

Monday, September 01, 2008

New lineup

I decided to bring in some new players on the sidelines at Home Team (thanks to all youse guys who were there before. I'm still reading you!). Ya'll check 'em out; they are listed on the right-hand side of your screen in order of who posted most recently:

An Island Life: Check her out for great giveaways. Or maybe it's the retro beach theme that keeps me coming back.

5 Minutes for Mom: One of my favorite all-around mom sites. Always fresh!

Adventures in Babywearing: Met this sweet woman at BlogHer '08. She is due with her fourth child in 17 days! (And yes, that is her in those photos.)

Pioneer Woman: If you aren't Ree-ding, my goodness where have you been?!

Owlhaven: Mothers ten. Kids. Phenomenally.

Simply Recipes: 'Nuff said.