Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Really, I CAN cook!

About a month ago, we had a team building exercise here at work. It was probably one of the most fun activities we've had in long time. There were about 40 of us in the kitchen of our cafeteria. We were all given the same ingredients and had to whip up a meal that would be judged by our resident Chef (highly trained and award winner), the VP of HR, and the VP of our department. We had steak, potatoes, and the secret ingredient: brussel sprouts. We had access to anything in the kitchen.

Our team chose to do a pepper crusted grilled steak, mashed potatoes, and however you cook brussel sprouts. We also sauteed peppers and onions as well as mushrooms in bleu cheese to top the steak.

At first, we were at a loss. What to do? What to do? So, I whipped out my phone (thanks, company, for giving it to me) and looked up how to make brussel sprouts - which I've hated the whole one time I've tried them. We put them on to boil and then found some bacon. After frying up the bacon, we crumbled it and added the 1/2 boiled sprouts and a bunch of walnuts to it. We then popped it into the oven to bake.

Then, we set about chopping peppers and mushrooms while I covered the steaks with pepper and kosher salt. It looked like way too much pepper, but I was just doing what Bobby Flay or Jamie Oliver would have done. (See? TV can be instructional.) Potatoes were boiled and veggies sauteed while we grilled the steaks.

The result? Our team WON! Two of the teams were very close, but what really put us over the edge? My steaks!!! They were perfectly peppered! Yay for us! And the brussel sprouts? LOVED them! Maybe it was the bacon. Maybe it was the bacon fat. Maybe it was the walnuts. Whatever. I'm totally making these bad boys again!

Time to shave

A few days ago, Meatball and I were snuggled up on the couch watching something on TV (probably Chitty-Chitty-friggin'-Bang-Bang). I was wearing a tank top. He turned to me and said "Mommy, you have pokies (whiskers) like Papa!" Oops - time to shave my underarms.....

But, I like YOU....

The boys are SOOOOOOOOOOO into Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang right now. So much so that I'm frequently called Truly Scrumptious and Bub is Mr. Potts. Peanut doubles as Jeremy and Meatball as Jemimah (?). So, last night, I was UNINTENTIONALLY singing my "theme" song, and the Peanut joined in. I then told him that I was Truly Scrumptious. He said no (which is weird because he is usually the one who eggs it on). So, I insisted. He stood his ground. I was not Truly Scrumptious yesterday! So, I asked him if I was Mr. Potts. No. The Toymaker? No. Baron VonBursterberg? NO! "Mommy - you are my mommy! I like it when you're YOU!!"

Things to do

Last night when I was brushing my teeth, Meatball was going potty. This is what he had to say to me (and yes, he actually counted them off):
"Mommy. You gotta' do some things.
1: you need to brush your teeth.
2: you need to spit
3: you need to look in the mirror at you
4: you need to be afraid of sharks"

I must admit that a little bit of toothpaste spittle landed on the mirror.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You're different...

We went to the park to play with some other gay parents and their kids last weekend. We've been a few times this summer, and we've had a really good time. We go partly because we want the boys to know that there are lots of other kids with families like theirs, but mostly we go because the boys really need to have some playmates, and there are precious few in our neighborhood. Also, they still do not go to daycare or pre-school, so they really need the interaction. They are getting much better about sharing the playground equipment with other kids, and they are losing some of their inhibitions.

We've played with E* a few times now. He's about a year older than the boys. He and his daddy are both quite nice, and E* lets us push his trucks around in the wood chips and tries desperately to get us to understand how to play soccer (his dad is quite good at that).

Well, last Friday AFTER mommy stopped Meatball from peeing right in the middle of the playground (yes, he was dropping his drawers right there to the east of the slide), we were playing trucks with E*. As if it was just occurring to him (and maybe it was), Meatball looked at E*, reached up and touched E*'s ear, and said "You have brown ears." No mention of E*'s brown nose, fingers, knees, arms, cheeks, or toes. Just his ears. E* replied with "That's because I'm brown."

And that was the end of that.

Difference. Recognized, noted, and then disregarded.

It was sweet, really, until I found that it was bittersweet, too. It won't be long before someone tells the boys that they are different because their family is very different. It won't be long before some idiot's young child will say hurtful things (learned from said idiot) to them that will make them feel like outsiders. Someone will always be telling them that the people they love are rotten. (I know because I hear those messages constantly, and if they listened hard enough, my family would hear them, too.) Then, they will be hurt, and angry, and they'll want to be hurtful back. They will have to grow up - possibly faster than their peers - and that makes me sad.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ow! I need a bandage

For some reason (Grandpa, maybe?), both boys need a “bandage” when they get hurt instead of a Band-A*d. Everyone I know calls it by its brand name, not bandage. Grandpa is the only person I can think of who would say bandage. Whatever…

We went for a walk on Sunday night. It was a horrible walk. First, there are some new dogs up the street – pit bulls – who are very aggressive and come right up to the fence to snarl, bark, gnash their teeth and generally spread bad vibes throughout the neighborhood. Their owner got mad at us because her dogs were barking up a storm. Stuff it, lady – I’m trying to drag two dogs and two toddlers away from your rabid, ugly animals – don’t give me your shit. Then, we stopped at the corner to look for cars before crossing the street. As we debated which way to go (I let the boys decide if we go right, left, or straight ahead) we were surrounded by a swarm of wasps who just happened to be nesting in the pole that holds the stop sign up. So, I hurriedly drag everyone across the street again. Next we pass another house with two unleashed German shepherds in the front yard. They, of course, start growling and creeping up on us. Their owner called them off, but not before I have to drag everyone along further.

Then, the real mess begins. Almost everyone on this block has removed the grass from their park strip and replaced it with something that doesn’t need water like bricks, cement, or rocks. Many of them also have big decorative boulders on the park strip. The boys like to sit on, try to push, climb on, run around these boulders. This night was no exception. They climbed and laughed and since it was only about 18” tall, they began to jump off of one of them. I was distracted for a brief second, but I turned around just in time to see Meatball fall off – right onto his forehead and face. (He gets his grace and coordination from Bubba, I swear!) I drop everything just in time for the screaming to begin.

I picked him up and he was bleeding a bit (nothing gushing) and a big ol’ goose egg was already formed right below the hairline. He also scraped below and just to the side of his left eye. Poor little guy! He screamed and cried for a few minutes while I held him, tried to collect the dogs, and argued with Peanut about the fact that he wanted to turn left and I wanted to go home. “Finally, I convinced him to be my helper and carry Meatball’s baseball cap…”

We headed home – now with a screaming toddler in my arms – past the German shepherds, past the wasp nest, past the snarling pit bills. Finally, we had to cross the street again, and I wanted to hold Peanut’s hand. He had stopped crying by this time, so I asked Meatball if he could walk across the street. “I really shouldn’t, mom,” was the response. But, he did…

By the time we crossed the street, he was singing a song, so I knew that he was fine, but he looked horrible. We got home and went right into the tub because that’s how he wanted me to clean the wounds. Fine – it was bath night anyway. After a while, Bub came in to see us since the walk was so short and since we didn’t say anything when we walked back in the house. Upon seeing his poor little face, she – of course – flipped out. “I think that we need to take him to the emergency room!” She is nothing if not (overly)concerned. He was, however, reciting his address and half of his phone number at this point, so I figured a trip to the ER wasn’t really necessary. In the end, he was held and coddled and loved all night long. A couple of Lightnin’ McQueen bandages and an ice pack later, and he is feeling fine, but has learned how to work it in order to get popsicles, strawberry milk, and whatever TV show he wants.

Fast forward to the next day. Bub was applying a new bandage to Meatball’s face, and who else should have a problem? Peanut, of course. We’re pretty sure that he was sick of all of the attention being shown his brother. Bub gave him a bandage and said that she would help him with it as soon as she was finished cleaning up Meatball. Apparently that wasn’t fast enough because when she turned around, Peanut was sitting on the couch with NO pants and NO underwear. He was in the process of applying the bandage to, well…. “Mom! My penis is broken!”

Poopin’ on da Potty!

With the exception of a few early morning accidents, we are officially potty trained. YAY! It happened just like everyone said it would: when they’re ready, they will do it. Of course, the fact that we waited FOREVER to start time is another story. All I know about that is that everyone needs to be on the same page: kids, parents, grandparents, etc. We all weren’t.

Anyhooooo, last night, Peanut took off like a shot from the TV room headed straight for the bathroom. “I gotta’ poop!” he hollered. So, I go in to make sure that everything is fine and get to the door just in time to hear him say “Get outta’ there, poop; you’re stinkin’ up the joint!”

Monday, August 9, 2010

brain freeze

At 47 years old, Bubba just had her very first brain freeze today. Really. Very first brain freeze, ever. Dontcha think that's freakin' WEIRD?!?!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

funny boys

Every once in a while, both boys will say "Oh! What did I'm thinking?"
Cracks me up every time.

While reading bedtime stories a couple of nights ago, I pulled out Pinocchio.
Peanut: Oooo, Vinocchio!
Meatball: No, Binocchio!
Peanut: No, VIH-nocchio!
Meatball: No, BIH-nocchio!
This went on every time I uttered poor PIH-nocchio's name through the whole book. At one point in the story, Meaball pointed to the pictures and said "Look, mom! BIH-nocchio's nose is getting older and older and older!"

Friday, August 6, 2010

First baseball game

Thanks to Nana, we got to go to a baseball game for free last night. The boys were looking forward to it because Bubba and I had been talking it up for a week. We got there early so that I could go and say hi to some old friends.

Then, we found the balloon lady who made some blow up swords. Then, we got hot dogs and soft pretzels, fries, and a cheeseburger. THEN, the snowcone guy walked past our seats. Finally, the cotton candy girl was in the area. It was a junk food extravaganza. And, the boys had a blast. (Here we are eating our very first cotton candy. Mommies wouldn't allow it until now, and will reconsider it in the future!)

We only lasted through the 3rd inning because the Peanut hadn't napped all day, but we did manage to see Bumble, ride the train (while giving high-fives to people on the sidewalk), and wash our hands a million times in the echo-y stadium bathrooms (screams echo really well in there!).

It was a fun night.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

But for the grace...

I briefly shared the bus stop yesterday with a man carrying three very big garbage bags full of crushed aluminum cans. He was headed to the recycling center on 33rd, and from the looks of things, was having a hard run of luck. We chatted, and he seemed very intelligent, polite, and kind. All the while, I was reminded how lucky I am to have a job, a home, a cute and healthy family. All of that could change in a heartbeat, and it's good for me to remember that.

I'll donate blood today because I know that my health could be taken from me, too, at any time. I hope that my small donation can help someone (like the dad in critical condition after being hit by teen talking on a cell phone yesterday), and I hope - but surely cannot guarantee - that it won't be me next time. But for the grace of god/fate/good luck/aligned planets go I.

Black Toast Tuesday

Unlike the stock market crash of '29, black TOAST Tuesday is that morning when you realize that you forgot to dial back the toasting level knob after hollering "Get down from there" for what seemed like the 84th time the night before.