Friday, November 25, 2011

Black friday, simple and belated

More of an explanation later, but our Black.Friday was short and leisurely. A family affair. How was yours?

Belated and trunkated black friday 8:18am

A different sort of Black Friday Assault, revised and shortened because our next door neighbor's place was burgalerized yesterday.

More later.

with more spelling mistakes, if you're lucky.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

third thankful post and i think this is officially a creamery tradition

This year I am thankful for:

My body with it's ability to heal, grow, change, move and hold this new baby in it and speaking of this baby - yes: this Polly baby who has snuck into our lives and consciousness in such a way and hardship and trouble (you heard me right) and my parents who have been such an amazing support and Grammy Dawn and my sister and the little brother and Coach Curtis and all that these siblings have taught me and music that gets me through the hard days and the easy days alike and silly Alice and sweet Alice and spunky Alice and creative Alice and quiet Alice and sleepy Alice and even cranky Alice because it's always just Alice and she was the baby that made me a mother and I love this life with all it's quirks and problems and lovely little bright gifts that have come because of this Alice creature and computers and Fergus and Phoebe with all their nonsense and Chip Chip Chip who is my very best friend in the world - even so much more than I ever thought possible and The Last Homely House and dear Texas Alicia and meeting lovely Kate in that birthing class so long ago and scraped knees and bumped heads and good movies and sewing and fantastic fabric and artists who create that fabric and my lovely computer and Matt and the beautiful time we were able to spend with his family this summer (so very special) and Buddy with all that he had to teach me in such a short time and stretching and naps in the middle of the day and teeny tiny baby onesies waiting for an occupant and Amanda and chocolate and warm sweet milk with a splash of vanilla and good medicine and fresh squeezed orange juice and Chip's hash browns and being in touch with my sweet old friends: Stacie and Chad and Karen and Sharon and Samia and the friends I have here in my life who forgive my mistakes and do their best to understand me and the faith I have in God and my church and the opportunity I have to work with small children and our preschool co-op and chalk and a large driveway and emails from friends that make me smile and Kathleen and Harry Potter (sounds like a personal friend) and while we're at it: JRR Tolkien and let's just say great writers who inspire and dream and ice cold water and modern electronics and Fergus' stripes and central heating and a warm jacket and seeing Alice in her sparkly purple Converse and the opportunity I have to be home with Alice every day and employment and my dear friend and boss John and potty training (so glad it's OVER) and the dearest of dearest Minions who comment here and visit at The Creamery--- you've become my friend-friends even if I've never met most of you (and normally I would then list each of your names because you really ARE friend-friends and one should mention friend-friends by name, but quite frankly this year I'm worried that I might miss a few of you because the pregnancy memory loss has hit hard 'round here and I'd hate to miss any of you because then feelings would be hurt so can I just say that I am grateful for YOU and you'd know that I'm talking directly to YOU?) and caramel Rice Krispie treats and while we're at it chocolate susan cookies and delicious chocolate Texas sheet cake and oh so many delectable pieces of sugary yumminess and peaches (can you tell I'm pregnant?) and seasons that change and rain even when it's falling like there's no tomorrow and the smallest things, I guess that's what this year has come down to: the smallest things that give me faith for tomorrow--- small things that make this world spin.  I'm giving thanks for all these small things, and more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

where I've been

In bed.
At home.
In the living room, watching mindless television.
Attempting sleep.
To the doctor.
To the pharmacy.
In Alice's room at her bedside.
Trying to help her cope.
Wiping lots and lots and lots (and lots) of bogies.
Sitting on the floor with Alice on my lap as she takes in a breathing treatment.
Reading books to a sick girl.
Stumbling around the house like a zombie.
Blowing, blowing, blowing my nose.
In silence, ears blocked.
Coughing until my ribs ache.
Climbing the walls.
In a sleep-deprived glaze.
Watching Chip sacrifice time and energy and much-needed shut eye for his family (bless that man).

And finally, finally, finally---- watching this from the other side, feeling better, feeling hopeful, feeling like I can once again join the living.  As is little Alice, while she's a few days behind me, she's sleeping quiet again - and actually sleeping with a depth and comfort that I haven't seen in days and days.

See you tomorrow for The Creamery's annual Thankful post. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

how we see things

Hello.  I write to you from the semi-reclined position as Alice stumbles around the living room watching television.  We are both sick for the second time in less than a month.  I know I sound bitter.  I kind of am bitter.

Except, when I think about all that I have to be grateful for this year - and especially at this time of year - I can't be that bitter.  I mean, sure, we don't live in a huge rambling house or have every physical creature comfort we'd like to have (I'm looking at YOU, sciatica)---- but I think it's all in how we see things.  And when I try to see things as they really are, with the plenty we enjoy and full bellies and a happy Alice and a healthy Polly and I get to have Chip home every night with me, I can't be bitter.  Just grateful.

But I am still sick.

Let's see what tomorrow holds.

Friday, November 11, 2011

surviving a food rut

Since Chip started his new job, we've all had to make sacrifices and improve our game, so to speak.  Before, with him traveling four or five days out of seven, Alice and I could easily eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with nary a complaint between the two of us (we love our cereal).  Now my big guy is here, living and sleeping and breathing our air every night of week.  And while that is awesome, it has also meant that cereal for dinner is in short supply.

I've come to realize that I feel comfortable cooking about seven different entrees.

And seven different entrees isn't enough to happily satisfy this family, week in and week out. 

So here's what I am proposing, my dear Minions: let's help each other, yes?  The beauty of my food rut is that it's not your food rut.  So I can share my revolving recipes without having you think THIS AGAIN?  Which means that you, too, can share two or three recipes that might be on your food rut list and they'll be entirely new to the rest of us.  I'm looking for things that are pretty quick, pretty simple, and pretty delicious.  A remodeled recipe exchange, hosted here at The Creamery.

I've posted a few of my stand-by's below, the ones that we can eat over and over (and have), but don't require so much work that they're impossible to pull together at 4pm on a Thursday night.

Feel free to use and abuse.  And your job, if you don't mind, is to post one or two (or three or four) recipes that YOU love.  Either in the comments, or on your blog (comment with a link, pretty please), or even shoot me an email and I'll repost it here.

Please help me.

Our top three dinners at the Whimsy house, in no special order:

Mom's Meatloaf (posted before because it's DEE-LISH-US) - made with either ground turkey or ground beef.  Sometimes topped with french fried onions during the last couple minutes of baking.  Yum.

The next recipe was originally gleaned from The Little Red House.  I adore Sheena - she is simple and delicious herself.  Love her.  And we LOVE this chicken & salsa dish.  It's so easy, she doesn't even have the recipe indexed on her site.  So I'm listing our version of it.  Usually I'll throw it together mid-morning on a Sunday and we come home from church to a house that smells amazing, and a dinner that doesn't need much more than some extras thrown on the table.

Salsa Chicken
Place three or four frozen chicken breasts into a crockpot set on low.  Add one can of black beans (drained), one cup of your favorite salsa, and a few sprinkles of onion salt.  Place lid on the crockpot and let cook for at least five hours.  When complete, shred the chicken mixture.  Serve with chips, sour cream, guacamole  OR serve the meat wrapped in tortillas and all the fixings.

And because I can't walk away from the whole breakfast-for-dinner thing entirely, every couple of weeks I put it together, with varying items in the Starring Role.  After some testing, our favorites are: this pancake recipe (so much better than the pre-made stuff), this easy waffle recipe, and recently when we're feeling really fancy, this french toast recipe - but I skip doing any of the brulee business and just enjoy the amazing custard-y french toast sans crunchy topping. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

necessary introduction

Let me introduce Pregnant Whimsy.

Pregnant Whimsy forgets things.  She hands Chip the remote control and then promptly says WHERE DID I PUT THE REMOTE CONTROL.

Pregnant Whimsy is accident-prone.  She locks herself out of the house while Alice is napping inside it.

Pregnant Whimsy is slow.  She takes twice as long to complete any task and is mystified that she's so tired at night.

Pregnant Whimsy has cravings.  Chocolate.  Especially plain Hershey's Kisses.  The richer and more milky, the better.  Toast, thick with butter.  Apples.  Mostly Gala, or Honey Crisp if she can get them on sale.  Chilled cold in the 'fridge, and sliced.  Tall glasses of cold water.  Deep bowls of cereal.  Milk, warmed until almost hot, with a scoop of sugar and a splash of vanilla.

Pregnant Whimsy might be disgusting.  She says might because her husband is particularly appalled by the recent hot-milk addiction, but it's so delicious that she can't be sure that this is a craving she'll later regret when she is no longer pregnant.

Pregnant Whimsy is tired.  Wait - Pregnant Whimsy might have already said that.  Pregnant Whimsy advises you to see above re: forgetful.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

holding on to what's important

Alice has lately been exclaiming.  Her chosen exclamation is this, shouted at the top of her three-and-three-quarter-year-old lungs: OH MY GOODNESS OH MY SOUL.

It makes me laugh.

She makes me laugh alot, except when she is busy exploring her three-and-three-quarter-year-old self and she switches from charming imp to BEASTLY TYRANT.

If you have ever spent vast amounts of time with a three-and-three-quarter-year-old, then you know exactly what I mean.  And if you haven't, I'm not sure there is anything I can tell you in preparation except that you should be afraid, be very afraid.

We've been wondering and worrying over it.  And every time I let my focus shrink to the size of just my living room, I get really concerned.  Because when I'm just looking at my own personal preschooler, the view is nothing less than terrifying.  I worry that she is going to be stuck in this impatient, freaked-out, overwrought, tantrummy place forever.  That I'll be talking her out from under a table when she's eighteen and her date has just offered to help her with her calculus homework.

A three-and-three-quarter-year-old is vicious rocket fuel and the sweetest clover honey.  She is lightening that will arc and burn without regard and then a few seconds later, cool to something so unfathomably wonderful and precious.  There are days when the whiplash is so bad, I wonder if I'll ever recover.

When I let my view widen onto the world of three-and-three-quarter-year-olds, I settle down a little.  People who know tell me that this is something of a challenging age, and that if we hold on - if we are consistent - if we do our best to teach her to do the right thing and treat people with respect - that she'll pull out of this and become a functioning member of society.  Or something like that.  What's the equivalent of a four-year-old functioning member of society?

In the meantime, I try to remember OH MY GOODNESS OH MY SOUL as much as I can.  Especially when she's absolutely losing her cool because I told her we didn't have any Kix cereal.  Or when Chip tells her he can't sing the ABC song in Elmo's voice for the 40th time in a row.  Or when it's the end of the world, to a three-and-three-quarter-year-old.

Oh my goodness oh my soul, indeed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

a strange and unexpected call for advice

I've been wondering lately... about a lot of things.

Like how one talks a three-and-a-half-year-old down from a crying frenzy.
Like if the truth is boys are easier or harder than girls and what exactly that means anyway.
Like what is the magic formula for dealing with these time changes with kids because the change just kicks my TRASH every time.
Like are there any Thanksgiving movies (this one was a point of discussion with Chip yesterday and we couldn't think of any except for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving cartoon).

Things like that.

And it's not that I'm really truly worried and freaking out about any of the above--- but I'm curious if any of you have any advice or thoughts.  Or just general comiseration.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

when you know

There are a lot of women who can tell you that they knew the gender of their baby in advance, knew it so deep down that there was no question, and when they're looking back on that pregnancy the truth becomes something even more concrete, something even truer, like a fact that was made before the baby was even a sliver of thought.

When I think back on my pregnancy with Alice, I feel a little like those women--- making myself into a fortune teller more sure, someone who knew she was destined to have that spark of a girl in her life.  Meant to be.

But really, I'm not quite so sure.  Now that I've lived and breathed her air for nearly four years, her existence is so concrete, so viable---- the line between what I knew then before Alice's slender white form moved on the ultrasound screen, and what I know now with her here, the who and what and why of her--- everything I thought about her before she came laughing into this world is fuzzy and unfamiliar.

So much has been different with this pregnancy.  And the sense of what's to come, the feeling about the baby we were going to inherit, it is even stronger.  So strong, in fact, that I've known the gender of this baby long before it came to be---- long before any humming thumps on a heartbeat doppler, and long before a small white form moved across an ultrasound screen.  In fact, last November my mom and I were shopping at the thrift store and I fell in love with a tiny one-piece romper that I promptly bought.  It was a purchase of faith, really.  Knowing that something would be coming our way in some murky blue future - a future I wanted to come to pass even as I feared what it might mean.

And even as I still worry and wonder, as I've worried and wondered since the mysterious two pink lines appeared on a test I was surely taking only as a joke--- things are coming more into focus, and the faith that surged and fired in my heart when I bought that romper is helping me to quiet my worries.

So even though I feel totally unprepared,

I think it's going to fit him just fine.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

a brief message from olivia

Olivia says that Halloween was a blast - even with her parents swapping out the dangerous nut-laden candy for Tootsie Rolls.

She would like to know how you fared with your Halloween festivities, and if anyone else's ears tended to flop over their eyes a little bit?

And lastly, she would like to suggest that you tune in to The Creamery tomorrow for a bit of News.  Because besides a fabulous Halloween, Monday was also the day when the Whimsy family found out the gender of the little Polly creature.  And on Wednesday, Whimsy herself will reveal the findings here, along with various details of personal reactions from Chip and Alice.  Would anyone care to hazard a guess for Boy or Girl?