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In Family, friends, On My Mind on June 24, 2010 at 9:22 pm

It’s been a little crazy here this week. We are finally moving into our new home tomorrow.

Thanks to our wild and wacky dear friends for turning over a lovely home to our care before heading out to the wild and wacky West. I will try not to hold it against you that we don’t get to keep the cat.

And you better come back and see us.

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things to look forward to:

In Family, Food, friends, In My Kitchen, In Other Words, On My Mind, Uncategorized, Writing on June 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

-new home

-being done with packing!

-being done with unpacking!

-smiles and new antics from Mr. Chunky Thighs

-date night with hubby (dare to dream)

-a vacation? maybe?

-poolside dinners with fabulous friends

-visiting J and her chickens

-visiting H and her mountains

-reading a book (woeful, woeful state of affairs currently)

-a summer free of soccer practice and dance class

-making cheese

-digging in the dirt

-getting over this ridiculous cold

-catching fireflies with M and D

-running

-yoga

-new blogging adventures…stay tuned!

Lucky

In Family, On My Mind on June 15, 2010 at 9:59 am

While scanning FaceBook messages this morning, I came across a link to this oped in the Boston Globe by a pediatrician about how babies need their mothers to be in tune with them so they can understand their environment and themselves. Specifically, babies need mothers (or anyone in loving caregiver role) to look at them, or really SEE. THEM. Cell phones were the particular culprit in this case, but we parents can be distracted by just about anything we let take our focus away from our precious (but high maintenance) charges.

The pediatrician’s piece reminded me of a time when my own distraction nearly cost my son his life. It was one of those Saturdays where we were probably trying to fit too much into the schedule. Richard had Madeleine at a soccer game, I stayed home with Dax, who was 2 at the time, to shower and get ready for a party the whole family would be attending. I got in the shower and left the bathroom door open so I could hear Dax. I noticed he came into the bathroom shortly after, but I didn’t pay much attention beyond that. Who knows what I was thinking about…it couldn’t have been that important, ultimately. When I got out of the shower, there was little Dax holding a prescription bottle with a dozen or so pills scattered about the tile floor.

I shouted, asking if he’d eaten any of the pills. He shook his head. “Did you eat any? Yes or no?”

“No.”

Right there. That’s when I should have called Poison Control, or stuck my finger down his throat. But I didn’t. I took the word of a two-year-old who probably was too worried about getting in trouble to answer truthfully. I shooed him out of the bathroom with a reprimand to never play with medicine and continued getting ready for the party.

He fell asleep at some point on the way to the party, which was normal for that time of day. But something gnawed at me about how he fell asleep. Then when he would normally wake up, he didn’t. I did call Poison Control then, who directed me to call 911.

It would not be an exaggeration to say it was the longest hour of my life between calling 911 and getting to the emergency room — we were on a private island in the Bay and had to take a boat to Kent Island where we waited for paramedics to take us to the hospital in Annapolis.

We were beyond lucky that day. The only thing that happened to Dax was that he slept for about 18 hours straight. He was hooked up to an IV to keep him hydrated and went through about 50 diapers that night, but came out without a scratch. His heart could have stopped. But it didn’t. He could have stopped breathing. But he didn’t.

We were beyond lucky. I was beyond lucky that my stupid distraction didn’t permanently damage or kill my son.

People told me I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about this event, that everyone makes mistakes. But I think I deserved a little guilt tripping. I vowed never again to let anything less important than my children’s safety distract me from them.

As I sit in the midst of LOTS of distractions, it’s good to get a reminder to SEE my children, to be in tune to their needs and let the other stuff wait for my attention if need be. I can’t take the chance of getting that lucky again.

Goin’ bananas

In Family, Food, In My Kitchen, On My Mind on June 11, 2010 at 9:28 am

Let’s just ignore the upheaval for a bit and focus on something of true importance. And by important I mean food. And by food I mean dessert, at least for the purposes of this entry. The other day I found myself unable to achieve much in the way of packing and organizing and purging, and was about ready to pull my hair out when I decided that a much better thing to do would be to make dinner. And banana bread. And spiced banana ice cream. Because really, that is how I should be spending my time.

The great thing about the banana project was that Daxieroo helped me. He can pour heavy cream and whisk egg yolks like nobody’s business. The poor kid’s been set adrift in this sea of family change, and I’m sure some of his recent craziness is a call for attention. Even just a few minutes of one-on-one Mama time can give my little guy a reset. And if it leaves a mark on his impressionable little mind of how fantastic cooking is, then all the better.

The banana bread has since disappeared, and the ice cream is hidden in the freezer until tomorrow night’s dinner at the pool. If all goes as planned, Daxieroo and I will whip up a second batch of ice cream today, probably a ginger affair. And then I might start thinking about pie.

Spiced Banana Ice Cream (Gourmet, October 2005)

Yield: Makes 1 quart
Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 4 hr (includes freezing)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise or 1/2 teaspoon star anise pieces*
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise*
1/2 cup coarsely mashed ripe banana (1 medium)
6 large egg yolks

Stir together cream, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, nutmeg, cardamom, white pepper, and a pinch of salt in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into cream mixture, then add pod. Purée banana in a food processor, then whisk into cream mixture. Bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 30 minutes.

Return to a boil, uncovered. Meanwhile, whisk together yolks in a large metal bowl. Add boiling-hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly, then pour into saucepan. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard is thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer (do not let boil). Remove from heat and force custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean metal bowl, discarding solids. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and harden in freezer, about 1 hour. Let soften in refrigerator 1 to 1 1/2 hours and then at room temperature 10 minutes.

*I didn’t have either of these and was not about to buy them so close to moving.

**I’ve only had a spoonful of this and it packs a whallop — very flavorful.

Musing with Mayzie

In Family, friends on June 9, 2010 at 7:31 am

Mr. Chunky Thighs


My kids are on to me. Why else would they keep bringing me Horton Hatches the Egg for a bedtime story? Of course, I’m faithful to them 100% as sweet Horton the elephant is to his egg. But lately, I’m identifying with lazy Mayzie bird.

Lazy Mayzie gets tired and cramped sitting on that little egg. She needs a little vacay. She needs a little Palm Beach.

Yup. Palm Beach is sounding good about now.

I love my children, really I do. But after a year’s worth of pregnancy and newborn sleep-deprivation, I’d like a little vacay myself. Or at least 8 hours of blissfully uninterrupted sleep. Or even a break from soccer games and dance recitals and class picnics and Chuck E. Cheese birthday parties for kids I’ve never met. They are really getting in the way of my social life. How are Daddio and I supposed to take that crazy romantic getaway while I’m lactating? How can I plan a girls’ beach weekend when I’m juggling preschool graduation and slumber parties and humongo boxes of diapers?

Like I said, totally cramping my style.

But then my precious M looks at me with her gorgeous brown eyes as I send her off with Daddio to the dance recital. “You’re not coming?” she asks.

“Of course I’m coming silly!” My heart all melty gooey.

And there it was, the reason I’m not flying off to Palm Beach along with Mayzie. I like being Mommy to my kooky little bunch. And yes, as some of you are sure to remind me, Daddio and I DID go for number three. We knew what we were signing up for.

We were signing up for getting pooped on by Mr. Chunky Thighs while eating breakfast, dance recital rehearsals that take up half a Saturday, and painfully dull preschool soccer matches.

We were also signing up for waking up to gurgly “ah goo”s from a face full of sunshine, for handmade birthday presents with lots of glitter, and the expectation that we’d make any dance recital, 100 percent.

I’m a little cramped and tired sitting here on my nest, but I’ll pass on Palm Beach for now.

Thanks anyway Mayzie.

a to-do list of sorts

In Family, Food, friends, In My Kitchen, In Other Words, Writing on June 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Here’s what’s on my mind, important and not-so-important items for the week. Does everyone else’s list look something like this or am I a bit ADD?

-what ice-cream to make before packing the ice-cream machine
-order photos
-how many playdates I can schedule for Dax this week
-Strawberry Festival bike parade
-buy kids bikes to ride in the Strawberry Festival
-freecycle bikes that are too small for kids
-when to make crawfish etoufee for some grateful (and some not-so-grateful) friends
-run 3x
-100 pushup challenge
-schedule writing date with T
-writers’ association meeting
-rechedule dentist appointments
-floss teeth
-pick strawberries at Larriland
-order mom’s belated birthday present
-figure out father’s day plan for R, dad
-Alice in Wonderland
-dinner at the pool! dinner at the pool!
-finalize rental lease
-pack, pack, pack
-purge, purge, purge
-CSA box
-cook, I should cook, what should I cook?
-write a couple of decent blog entries, as in, better than this one 😉

Fuzzy head: when the smart girl gets dumb

In In Other Words, Uncategorized, Writing on June 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Smart girl’s going wingy dingy.
What’s that you say? I don’t understand.
My mind is swimming, brimming with details and ideas and tasks
To be wrestled to the ground.
All those loose connections have me wishing
For a nice little calculus integral
Or a policy debate.
Those things seem so manageable by comparison.
Fuzzy head’s running all over.
But I won’t try to rein it in.
Not yet.
Let it run a little crazy,
A little hazy.
Fuzzy head might see things that clear head won’t.

Silver and gold

In Food, In My Kitchen on June 1, 2010 at 8:55 am

A long long time ago in a land far away, I was a badge-hoarding cookie-peddling girl scout in the inimitable Sarah Schoeffler’s troop. In addition to fighting over snacks and which color acrylic tumbler we’d get for our Hawaiian Punch, we girls did some pretty cool stuff. The Schoeffler clan can throw down when it comes to outdoor activities, so we camped and canoed and sailed our little hearts out.

This funky fountain is in Sarah Schoeffler's amazing garden now. It wasn't there when we were running around in our little green and brown uniforms, but I like it.

We also sang some pretty gooby songs. Like this one: Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.

I always had this image of little gold and silver coins tucked away in a pocket when we sang that one. And sometimes I’d wonder why I’d bother with the silver when I had the gold. Gold is better, right?

Somewhere along the line I must have imposed that image of the coins onto the friend part. Why would I bother making new friends when I’ve got the old? Well, now I know why. The whole silver and gold analogy only takes you so far. The new friends become old friends I wouldn’t trade for anything.

The friends I mentioned in my last post started out as acquaintances (aluminum? bronze?) from a playgroup when our oldest kids were toddlers. I didn’t really make an effort to befriend them at the time, and I don’t really know why — I’m a snot? Lazy? Shy? Eventually, our paths came together with more common interests like triathlon training and preschool and food and soccer and such. Over the last year, I’ve grown closer to these three women and had one of the best years of my life despite various challenges thrown at me.

Today I kick myself for not getting to know these women better sooner, especially since two of them are moving out of state (not pouting here, not gonna do it). My loss. So I’ve been trying to keep myself more open to new friendships. The woman whose Facebook status updates always make me laugh, the quiet mom at my son’s preschool who had a baby a month before I did — I’m going to ask them to join me for a cup of coffee. There might be silver there. And maybe gold.

When my daughter was in preschool, she learned a second verse to the old girl scout song: A circle is round, it has no end. That’s how long I want to be your friend.

So true.