Saturday, March 31, 2012

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

I made this for my lunch today, and it was so yummy! I just had to share the recipe!

You will need:
  • 1 cup of vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup of strawberries (c. 7)
  • 1/2 cup of skim milk OR 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 tbsp. of granulated sugar
Blend and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hide-and-Seek And Funny Things

The toddler decided to play hide-and-seek with himself. No lie. If you listen, he's asking, "Where did *_____* go?" And then he's answering, "There he is!"

Funny Thing #1

The toddler and I were browsing through clothes at Target. I had originally gone to find some cute St. Patrick's Day stuff in the dollar section. Really, Target? You deliver on every.other.occasion. but apparently not for the Irish. So, in order to feel like I didn't waste time/gas getting to Target, I decided to browse.

I was pushing the cart through a tight section, and we passed a fire extinguisher that was mounted with a metal clasp to the wall. I pushed my little Butch Cassidy past that darn thing in .5 seconds. I promise! But that was all the time he needed to undo the metal clasp and send the thing crashing to the floor. I half expected an explosion, and I half expected for Target employees to start running and shouting at us to leave. Thankfully, neither happened.

Immediately after it happened, I whisper-shouted (moms, you sooo know what I'm talking about--don't lie) through my teeth my toddler's name.

He knew. He knew he was in BIG trouble.

So what does my child start doing in the middle of Target?

Singing "Jesus Loves Me" at the top of his lungs until.we.left.

We went dashing past the greeting cards section with my child singing, "THEY AH WEAK UH HE IS STRONG!" accompanied by violent waving/clenching hand motions. We were proselytizing in Target, for real.

By the time we made it out to the car, I could only laugh. :)

Funny Thing #2

Tonight, the toddler was hello-not-kidding-terrible-horrible-and-definitely-no-good. He got out of that bath, and he was not happy about it. So, to placate the non-stop screaming child, I started shouting, "Okay! Okay! Pirate book? You wanna' read the pirate book? Hey! Pirates? {and then--ahem--adopting my pirate voice, I quoted from his favorite book} Ahoy thar, matey! Be this the Spanish Main?" Nope. It didn't work. He kept right on screaming until I poured a cup of milk from the fridge, grabbed Llama Llama Red Pajama (Have you read the book? It was no coincidence I grabbed that one tonight.), and we got to rocking and reading in the rocking chair.

Just as I finished the book and baby llama was fast asleep and the toddler's eyelids were drooping (so were mine), I whispered, "The end. Okay, night-night, turn out the li--"

"Pirate book."


You cannot promise your little boy that you're going to read his favorite pirate book, and not follow through on that.

So ahoy and avast, we sailed into that tale. And now (as it always is at the end of that book) my throat is sore. (I take my pirate voice verrrrry seriously.)

Friday, March 23, 2012



Yep, that's how I was woken up this morning. I was sleeping peacefully in our big, squishy bed when I heard the toddler's voice screaming "FIRE!" over the monitor.

Well, needless to say, that popped my eyes open, jolted my heart, and made me grab my glasses and swing my legs over the bed in .05 seconds.

However, the "Fire! Fire! Fire!" was followed by a split-second pause, a laugh, and then the usual requests: "Yogurt? Applesauce? Yogurt? MOMMY?"

I assumed my child's bedroom was not up in flames.

After our couch time with Super Why and Dinosaur Train and blankies and breakfast, I went into the kitchen to do the dishes. During this three-minute window of time, the toddler decided to get into my purse and pull out my unbelievably-long-lasting lip gloss/stick and smear it on his hair and scalp. By the time I made it back into the living room, he looked like the victim of some crazed ax murderer.

No problem, I thought. I'll just stick him in the tub and scrub that right off.


It quickly became apparent that a good-ol'-fashion scrubbing wasn't going to do the trick. So after the bath, I tried nail polish remover. Fail. And then the girl who cuts my hair suggested mixing shampoo with baking soda. That sounded legit, so I gave it a try. Nope, that didn't work. (And FYI, it still hasn't come off. We got lots of stares in Home Depot.)

Somewhere between putting down the bowl of shampoo/baking soda and taking the face towel that I'd used to scrub his head with to the laundry room, the toddler (who has never done this) walked back to our bathroom, opened my makeup drawer, pulled out a tube of actual lipstick, and smeared it all over his arms and face. He walked proudly into the living room. "Mama!" he shouted. And once again, the Texas chainsaw massacre was coming true in my living room. I grabbed him as fast as I could and ran for the sink. We were both covered in lipstick--but unlike my other long-lasting lip color, this came off. Thank Heavens!

After the second spanking for the day and the third (fourth? fifth?) trip to time-out, the toddler was at it again--this time while I was at my computer.

I was at my desk, editing, when I heard the toddler walk into the office. "Mommy, yucky. Is yucky," he said.

"What's yucky, baby?" I asked absent-mindedly.

Then, as if I hadn't truly learned my lesson for the day, I turned around to see the toddler holding the spoon for the baking soda/shampoo mixture that he'd.been.eating.

Just at this moment, as I was contacting Poison Control, my friend pulled into the driveway for our 11:00 walk.

That's right--all this occurred before 11:00 AM.

But I'm not finished.

When we got back from the walk, another friend called and we had one of those hour-long, heart-to-heart chats. The toddler was in the playroom, entertaining himself very well. I was so pleased. Until I got off the phone and he approached me with this. . .

Yes, that would be the battery for my one thousand dollar camera.

I smiled a scary smile--it was all I could do. And I thought in my head that I was going to scream bloody murder in two seconds. Terrified, I walked into the playroom to find this:

So yes, this has been my day. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Twinkle In The Tub

While it is not his complete version of the song, it is his cute version. :)

Good Tilled Earth

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." -Margaret Atwood

Few things do I enjoy as much as gardening. Although you might not know it if you're walking past my house from the months of October to February, I love to garden. I love the sweat that tedium brings, the dirt under the nails, the bulb that you nestle deep in hopes of a fabulous show.

The thing about gardening that brings me pleasure is the serenity of working with my own two hands--of doing something. Not talking about something, or thinking about something, or reading about something, but really doing something.

With the warmer temperatures, I've found myself back in my garden--clearing away old mulch, tilling the soil, smiling at the first glimpse of green leaf shoots from my new Oakleaf Hydrangea.

And the deep, vibrant green from my hydrangea bush.

"Spring cleaning" begins in the front yard for me: getting rid of the weeds, getting rid of the old.

All worthwhile endeavours require sweat and begin with a spring cleaning of sorts. What isn't working? What needs improving? I've found myself humbled lately and so thankful for dear friends. Between the car accident, two deaths in the family, and a new job, I've learned a thing or two about the weeds: those circumstances that suffocate growth. And, I'm left wanting to garden, and feeling so appreciative for the many wonderful things that matter in life.

"The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it." -John Ruskin 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Luck Of The Irish

Today, my hubby was up at the hospital all day (okay, not all day--just for twelve hours). So, wanting to ensure a fabulous St. Patrick's Day and Saturday, I decided the toddler and I would go adventuring. It really is what we do best. We pack a couple snacks, the camera, too little to drink (every.dang.time.), and we're off. All we need is each other and wide, open spaces.

Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival? Yes, please.

Because of this crazy warm weather we've been having, the daffodils were already wilted. This was perfect, though. The toddler had complete license to trample them and pull off the flowers without getting in trouble. Note to self: For purposes of adventuring and free-roaming, it's best to come when the flowers are dying. There weren't that many people there, either--another bonus for running, yelling, tripping, and collecting (and throwing) rocks and sticks.

Nothing warms my heart quite like spending time with my little man. He makes me remember what it was to be a child--for every thing to be so very new, so very unexplored.

When I see his little legs running and his skinned knees and his hands full of rocks and dirt--what can I say?--my heart melts. Totally melts.

As a medical spouse, I have to do a lot of things without my hubby there. It's easy to get down in the dumps about it, but what does that accomplish? We keep on with our adventuring, missing Daddy of course. But I appreciate how hard my man is working so that the toddler and I can drive to places like Bigelow and frolic in a field of daffodils. :)

This little man. He owns my heart. And he 100% knows it.

Oh, I love my little Butch Cassidy. Did I mention his hair is turning red again? Be still my beating heart.

When the hubbs got home this afternoon, we grilled on the back deck. It was so much fun. We told Daddy all about our adventures in the daffodils, and then going to the store to buy stuff to make our traditional St. Patrick's Day cupcakes, and then going to the library and picking out some more books, and finally going over to Pop's and BeeGee's house to play with the uncles, swing on the front porch, and eat Girl Scout cookies.

My sexy hubby. I love this man like crazy. :)

After dinner and bath time, a half-Irish, fully-naked boy escaped the clutches of the duck towel. He grabbed his scooter and was gone in a second. :)

We ended the day with cupcakes, like we always do on St. Patrick's Day. (My hubby is 100% Irish, so I try to make this day more of a big deal.)

I know I'm not Irish, but I do feel lucky. I am blessed by God with a husband who works hard and loves his family, a son whom I cherish with everything in me, friends and family who love me, a roof over my head, and a cupcake (okay, two) in my belly.

What more could a girl want?

. . .

Okay, one more cupcake.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Top Of The World

Spring is here, with surprisingly-warmer temperatures, buds, blooms, shoots of green leaves, wildflowers, and everything that makes nature seem soft and new.

I have started getting in the habit of climbing Pinnacle Mountain once a week. And today, my dad accompanied me. The whole time we climbed chatting back and forth, I had this song stuck in my head: Top of the World by The Carpenters. (I know I'm not the only twenty-something who was raised on 70's and 80's music. Right!?)

Such a feelin's coming over me

There is wonder in most every thing I see

Everything I want the world to be

Is now coming true especially for me

Is it stuck in your head now, too? Sorry.

The day couldn't have been more perfect for hiking. A gentle breeze cooled us off from the eighty-degree weather, and the sun ducked in and out of the clouds, playing hide and seek. Wildflowers bloomed bravely in the shallow dips between rocks, and buds stretched tightly just waiting for the blooms to burst the skin. The trees appeared feathery with their new garments, like they had just puffed up from the ground.

So maybe on top of the world sounds a bit over-the-top, but it was exactly how I felt today. I felt like this coming of spring is bringing new things with it. Exciting things. Happy things. Chances for new growth.

Something in the wind has learned my name
And it's telling me that things are not the same
In the leaves on the trees and the touch of the breeze
There's a pleasin' sense of happiness for me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Sidekick

"My Sidekick"...because I don't know how else to describe it: This crazy love that melts my heart and makes me want to do cartwheels and occasionally pull out my hair and act like throw up is no biggie and sitting on the potty is the greatest accomplishment in the world and playing outside with dirt and bugs and sticks is always an adventure. For that kind of crazy love there is only one appropriate title: sidekick.

Things have been topsy-turvy lately. But I don't want to think about crazy; I want to think about love. My loves. My great hubby. My wonderful fam. And, of course, my sidekick.

This afternoon, I snuck in to wake him up for a doctor appointment, and when I saw this big ole' Butch Cassidy (his main nickname), I just had to take out my camera. When did he get so big!?!

At the doctor, he had to get blood drawn. And did my sidekick take it like a total champ? Well, duh. While he yelled, I talked to him about going to the car, and listening to music, and then going home. And of course when it was finished, he instantly stopped crying, turned to me and asked, "Open na door? Car?" And he did not say bye-bye to the nurse who drew his blood--but can you blame the boy?

When we got home, there were important things to be done: play outside with sticks, throw dirt, draw airplanes and rockets with chalk, spill the bubbles before we even had a chance to blow one, kill two ants (Toddler: "Ant!" Me: "Well, squash it." He obeys his momma. And again, toddler: "Another ant!" Me: "Well, you better squash that one, too."), chase a bird, and dig a worm out of the dirt.


We played and played and played. And even though I didn't feel great, our time was great. And when 5:30 rolled around, and I dragged him kicking and screaming inside to eat an insanely early dinner (am I the only one who feels like Daylight Savings brings about an alternate universe in which you have to relearn the most basic things, like when to cook dinner?), I enjoyed my lasagna while he threw apple sauce all over the place. But it was one of those nights that I didn't care. The poor hubbs came in from work exhausted, and I kept trying to work out how I could put the toddler down while the sun was still up and still have time to watch E! News and The Bachelor. The result? The child was put down at 9:05.

I want to cherish these days of chaos. I really do. That might sound crazy--especially coming from me. Deep down, I love order. I love organization. I love neat labels. But a neat and tidy life? I don't think one exists. Without applesauce and worms and dirt and death looks at deserving nurses, life might be kind of boring.

And what's a sidekick for if not for adventure?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hilarious Mom Moment

I've had strep and (yesterday) a 24-hour migraine. Yes, it's been a lovely weekend.

It's also been a weekend full of sitting on the couch and watching movies (don't judge).

The toddler has just started getting to where he will watch movies. He loved Despicable Me because of all the rockets, and so I thought he would enjoy How to Train Your Dragon because of all the fire. (In case you don't know of my son's obsession, he talks about fire all.the.time.)

In the movie, the young boy brings fish to his pet dragon, "Toothless."

Well, we have a vent between our bedroom door and the garage door. And when the heater comes on, we laugh and say, "It sounds like a dragon in there." We've gotten used to it; it's one of the precious home noises that no longer freaks us out.

We had finished the movie, and I had shuffled into the kitchen to stare at the enormous mess around me (who wants to clean when you're sick!?). The next thing I knew, the toddler came in and asked, "More goldfish?" I obliged and gave him the goldfish, not thinking anything of it.

Lo and behold, he takes a goldfish, crosses the living room, and holds it out to the vent saying, "Hi, dragon. Hi, dragon."

I couldn't really burst out laughing because I felt so sick, but it was hilarious! He timidly pressed the goldfish right up to the vent, to our own "dragon" who comes on when it's cold outside.

Is there anything more fun or more hysterical than having a toddler? I don't think so! :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I finished. Finally. Today, I completed my Master's degree in Professional and Technical Writing after defending my thesis.

Ironically (or not), my graduate thesis defense was much, much easier than my undergraduate defense. In fact, it was even enjoyable!

Yes, I was a total nerd and took pictures of the room (before anyone got there).

The hubbs took me to Chick-fil-A afterward to celebrate. I told him, "You know what? I really never thought I would finish this." He just laughed, but I was being serious. I'm so glad that I've stuck with this degree--it has definitely opened many doors!

I'm so, so, so elated to be finished!

And, shhhh! Don't tell!.....I dedicated my undergraduate thesis to the hubbs and surprised him. And I'm doing the same thing with this thesis. I've dedicated it to the hubbs and to the toddler--they have been my biggest/best/constant supporters through graduate school!