Monday, December 31, 2007

Random Bits

When Jack rides on his scooter he peddles with his left foot and his right foot is on the scooter. Dean peddles with his right foot. It’s as automatic as the sunrise.

When dealing with a Lego kit, Jack wants to put it together exactly as directed. Dean claims he wants to help but really only wants to make off with little pieces to build his own thing. Once it’s done, Jack isn’t so interested in playing with it. For him, the entertainment is in the building. Dean wants to play with the completed project but will often take it apart and redesign it to fit his own vision.

As I have mentioned before, Jack loves to help me cook. Last evening, after I had chopped some fresh basil and fresh oregano Jack leaned down to smell the oregano and then got this beatific expression on his face, sighed and said, “mmmm, it’s minty”. I leaned down for a sniff and sure enough, it has a minty scent. Is it possible I have a budding chef on my hands? Oh, that would be amazing.

The other day Dean said to me, “I know how you can tell me and Jack apart. Jack’s eyes are like circles and mine are like almonds.” Really. Where does he get this stuff?

We had a babysitter last night so we could go to our friends’ house for a little after dinner party of appetizers and karaoke. I got forced into singing “Achy Breaky Heart” of all the ridiculous things. I love to sing but get embarrassed doing it in front of people I don’t know. It’s silly but I still care too much what other people think. It’s something else Jack and I have in common.

Dean has a remarkable singing voice, full of emotion and vibrato. I love listening to him sing but he gets self conscious if I ask him to sing and then he uses a baby voice or a silly voice. So, I just have to enjoy his singing when it comes naturally and make sure not to let him know I heard him. I vividly remember singing in the back seat when I was not much older than Dean - I’m sure it was loud and off key - and my dad turned the volume down suddenly and it was just my voice. I still remember how embarrassed I got. I don’t want Dean to feel like I’m trying to catch him or embarrass him. I just want him to sing. Not that I think my dad was trying to embarrass me - it’s just how I felt.

The boys are playing well together this morning. Finally. I love sitting here watching them with their heads bent toward each other, talking about how they’re going to play, what the game is. “And then, you pretend like you fell off the boat? And I’ll come to save you?” It’s so beautiful when it’s real.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Long Overdue Christmas Post

Buche de Noel

Brotherly love

Ready, set, unwrap! Note the time in the upper left corner.

We cleaned up as we went otherwise you couldn't see the boys.


Jack tells me that his favorite present was the Leapster and Dean's favorite is his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle "Donatello" and the weapons that accompanied it. His favorite weapon is the ninja stick. He demonstrated how it's used and in his sweet, sweet voice told me how you use it to "choke" someone. Nice.

The day began at roughly 6:01am. We forced them to wait until we at least got the coffee brewing. We just aren't civilized until we've had a cup 'o joe. But oh, it was magical. Their exclamations of surprise that Santa ate the cookies and drank the special Christmas milk (eggnog) and the reindeer ate the carrots! And all the presents! They covered the floor under the tree, blocking the path from the living room to the dining room.

After that, it was pretty much one big adrenaline rush that hasn't really ended. They haven't napped in days - except for Dean. He finally was so tired yesterday that he fell asleep in the shopping cart and slept for over 2 hours. They've been mostly at each other's throats with brief moments of affection and I am sort of looking forward to going back to work. Except, I don't really want to go back to work - I just want them to go back to school!!

And now, I'm thinking about 2008 and my hopes and goals for the year. But that will have to wait until later as the morning is getting away from me and I'm late for the shower.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Conversation

Dean: Daddy, did you see this? (Shows him 2 feathers each with a heart strung onto them)
Daddy: No, they're very nice. Where did you get them?
Dean: I made them. One is for me and one is for Mommy. Do you know why it has a heart on it?
Daddy: No, why?
Dean: Because I love Mommy. She's all the Christmas I need.

Southern California Snow

First we dump the 'snow' on the boys.
Then they make snow angels.

Dean takes a break.


Jack takes a leap.

Spidey makes an unexpected appearance.

Spidey and Robin take a tumble.
Jack and Dean in the box.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Unexpected Gifts

I received a call today from a friend of mine whose son went to the daycare with the boys. She told me that her son wondered if we'd like to drop off Jack and Dean at their house to play for a couple of hours so Tom and I could have some alone time together.
Why, yes Frank thanks for asking!

So, we dropped off the boys and we went to the movies! We haven't been to a movie together since the late 1900s so this was a great gift. We saw "Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street".

What's black and white and red all over? Sweeney Todd. I love me some Johnny Depp and he didn't disappoint. The production design was amazing - black, oily London filled with corrupt characters, the only color the splash of red when Todd works his blade on his unsuspecting customers. Helena Bonham Carter was equally good and Alan Rickman plays a perfect bad guy as the judge who ruins Todd's life.

Three hours later, we were picking up the boys (to their disappointment) and heading home. I'm glad we took them up on the offer and that all our shopping, cleaning and laundry was already done. I'm not very good at taking advantage of these kind of opportunities. Even today, my first impulse was to say no. But with no pressing chores nagging at me, what reason was there to say no?

As we drove to the theater, I felt almost giddy. I am so excited about Christmas this year, thrilled to be done with all the shopping and wrapping but looking forward to seeing the boys' faces as they open their gifts. I feel so lucky.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Last night Jack came into the kitchen and offered to help me make dinner. As he scampered off to wash his hands, I thought about how he could help. When he returned, I told him he could slice the mushrooms. I cleaned them for him and he sliced them using one of these:

When he was done, he asked what else could he do? I told him he could chop the onion and garlic using one of these:

Then, I handed him the cleaned green beans and showed him how to trim them. He trimmed the ends and snapped them in half (except for the long ones, he wanted them to stay long). While he did that Dean stirred the onions and garlic in the pan. And added salt. Pinch after pinch of salt. Until I realized what he was doing and moved the salt. I must have caught him in time because it was fine but I wonder how much salt he would have added if I hadn't?

It was really nice having them help me. Jack asks a lot of questions "why do you pound the pork chops", "why do you put the onions in", "why do onions make you cry" but more amazingly, he remembers what I tell him. When Tom got home Jack told him what he helped with and explained that onions get really sweet when they cook for a long time. Dinner was delicious and we had great family time at the same time. By the way, my new favorite food is Israeli Couscous:

It's creamy and delicious, especially when cooked in chicken broth.

Mind over matter

Due to what I believe was a simple miscommunication, I found myself stuffing bottles of wine into festive bags for distribution to various staff members. The bottles weren't from me but a simple offer to help turned into something much bigger and, once offered, help isn't something to be rescinded. So, I stuffed while I quietly fumed. Every few moments I would remind myself that this is not a big deal, that I'm being a good team member, that good deeds do not go unnoticed. I maintained a calm serenity despite my initial frustration.

I returned to my desk many cases later and clicked on my Buddhist meditation of the day (kindly distributed to me by my home page Google). It said "Turn your mind away from things which are not permanent."

How perfect.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cooker Girl

I love to cook and recently I've been recording cooking shows to give me new ideas. One of my favorites is Everyday Italian with Giada DeLaurentiis. Sometimes Jack watches with me. If you don't know who Giada is (where the heck have you been?), just google her.

Or - here's a picture:She's pretty. Sometimes Daddy likes to watch with me, too.

Anyway, so the other night Tom was tucking the boys into bed and he later told me about the following conversation that he had with Jack:

Daddy: You're so lucky to have such a nice mommy. She's nice and pretty and she's such a good cook.

Jack: Well, she's not the best cook in the whole world.

Daddy: Well, maybe not the best in the whole world but she's right up there.

Jack: She's not as good as cooker girl.

It's true, you know. I'm not as good as cooker girl.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Back in September, Tom gave me a gift certificate good for 2 cooking classes at this quaint little place. My first class, on tamale making, was tonight. It was really fun and I came home with a dozen tamales. But that's not what this post is about.

This post is also not about driving home from tamale class in the rain through towns with which I am unfamiliar. Suffice to say, the older I get the more I want to stay within a small circle near my house. But, that's not what this is about.

Here is what this post is about. I walked through the door tonight, trying to be quiet so I didn't disturb the boys, and as I walked past their room, Tom gestured for me to go in. Dean looked at me and said in the sweetest voice, "I wrote your name" and handed an envelope to me with my name on it. "Open it", he said. Carefully, so as not to rip the paper, I opened the envelope. Inside, resting between the folds of blue felt was a pair of earrings, long ones made of a dozen sparkly hearts all lined up in a shimmery row. "Do you know why there are so many hearts", he asked. No, I said. "It's because that's how much I love you", he said.

I don't ever want to forget that moment.

Monday, December 03, 2007

NaBloPoMo Recap

So, yeah we couldn't get our wireless router to work on Friday night and that's why I had to phone in the haiku. But c'mon, at least it was a Haiku! I mean, doesn't that prove I was thinking?

I was disappointed. Not that I had anything particularly brilliant to write; I was probably just going to recap the month (yawn) and write about what I would do differently. Some of the other blogs I read had themes! Themes! That's smart. I wish I had done a theme. Like Twin Tuesday or Wonderful Wednesday? Or Thinking Thursday. Snapshot Saturday?

I had other big plans too like publishing a reading list but the only thing I managed was the link to Shelfari and then I couldn't even remember all the books that I've read. I also planned on doing a recipe each week but I didn't pick a day to do that so I had to do it randomly and then I'd forget.

I liked the challenge of having to post every day but I don't think the discipline made my posts any more creative or inspiring. Instead, I just kinda felt like I was late for my assignment and oh crap what am I going to do? I'll just toss this photo up on the web and write a cute tagline for it. Then I felt guilty.

That said, I'm glad I did it and I will sign up for it again next year with a little more structure.

Right now, I'm enjoying not having a deadline.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Haiku for the final

A Haiku for the final day:

Internet is down
On NaBloPoMo's last day
Disappoints blogger.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Ever notice how you can be just minding your own business and suddenly, something comes along and triggers a memory? Maybe it's a song that you hear on the radio or a scent that wafts near you and then, without realizing it you're reliving an event or just a period in your life. Hopefully, it's a happy period.
I'm thinking about this because of my previous post with the recipe card for Calamari Sauce. It was written 15 years ago by my friend Mary Beth and her handwriting took me back in time, when I was struggling . . . struggling to find myself, to figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. It was a time in which I desperately wanted my relationship with Tom to work but I didn't know how to be me because I wasn't sure who I was. Looking back, she seems like another girl - someone I knew once who was fun and nice but a little insecure and needy. At some times I was just the kind of friend you needed, the kind who will drop everything and help you move and take you out to get your mind off your sadness. At other times, I was the wrong kind of honest and probably hurt my friends because of it. I'm not proud of her.
My evolution has taken years and still, I'm not done yet.
Meanwhile, I marvel at the way memories come flooding back - the writing on a recipe card that reminds me of old friends, old ways.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Calamari Sauce

Once upon a time I was a waitress in an Italian restaurant which is where I met my friend Geri. We spent a lot of time complaining about bad tippers, sneaking looks at the good looking boys, and disappearing into the alley to have smoke breaks at every available opportunity. One year the owners decided to bring in a new chef and revamp the menu. Geri fell in love with the new sauce that came with the Fried Calamari. An obsession was born! The recipe is below along with an excerpt from the email that accompanied it. Enjoy!

I just had to scan the actual recipe card for you. Because you know a recipe with a provenance is always more interesting. So this recipe originally came from Mi P____ Mary Beth wrote it down for me, probably about the time I was living in the "fishing cabin" in Pasadena. From there it came with me to Silverlake. and then I lost track of it. I moved to Alhambra. Then last year I moved to San Diego and there in a box full of kitchen gadgets, I found it.....dusty, coffee stained, yellowed, Hallelujah! and now it has a place of honor, magnetized to the refrigerator. The actual card has been around almost 15 years. The recipe doesn't give directions on how to prepare the ingredients so I'll just say "Chop everything up finely and mix it together" Voila!
I remember being just MAD about his sauce so consequently found out its also good on fish or chicken or with shrimp as an alternative to cocktail sauce. Also you can mix it with black beans, corn and tomatoes for a light side dish/salad AND THEN, if you have a little left over you can add mayo to it and it becomes a completely different (but still delicious) sauce, or dip for veggies or chips etc.
Geez good thing I got over this obsession huh? Hee hee.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jack's First Love Letter

I found this in Jack's cubby at school. It's from a girl who went on to kindergarten this year and this was her parting note. It is written on a postcard from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the picture is "Apples and Grapes" by Claude Monet.

Jack -
I will remember you forever and I will miss you. I love you Jack. Thank you for everyday for holding the swing. You're the best buddy ever. I hope one day I can have a play date with you. If not I will still love you forever.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Overheard this morning

Dean: What's an emeny?
Jack: Well, if you were a good guy and somebody else was a bad guy? Well, then you're anemone.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Meet Kate

The newest addition to our family . . .

She joined us today. She's a purebred, AKC registered Border Collie. She is gorgeous and very, very sweet. Her owner couldn't keep her anymore and we just happened to see her ad on craigslist right after she posted it. Lucky us.

Besides being super sweet, she's also really affectionate and very smart. She fetches and can catch a frisbee. She loves to play. She also did fine by herself while we went to Uncle Peter's and Uncle Julian's for dinner.

We're pretty happy.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Twist and Shout

This has been such a nice weekend that I'm actually disappointed that tomorrow is our last day. In the past, 4 days off in a row might have made me a little crazy. But this time, even with all the whining and bickering, I am really enjoying our time off together. Maybe it's because I am letting the chores go a little. Yes, I have noticed that the floor needs sweeping and mopping - I just don't care about it right now. I would much rather spend that time playing a game with Jack or watching a movie with Dean.

I played Twister with the boys today. Nothing will tell you you're getting old like a good old fashioned game of Twister. Really.

We spent a lot of the day in the backyard kicking the soccer ball around and watching them climb the peach tree. They also helped Tom trim the lemon tree and gather oranges from the orange tree. Then Jack made orange juice.

We cut Tom's hair, then Dean's and Jack's. For some reason, despite Jack telling me yesterday that he needed a hair cut, they did NOT want to get their hair cut. They each turned out really cute, in spite of themselves.

We had a very late lunch today so when Tom left this evening for a basketball game, we just ate cereal for dinner. Then we settled in to watch March of the Penguins. Jack was asleep almost instantly and after I put him in bed, Dean and I curled up on the couch and fell asleep.

I know, this post is all over the place but I'm in a little sleepy haze so, to me? it makes sense.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Leggo my Legos

Hey you know what? Legos are really fun. I'm not even being sarcastic right now, which is rare for me. The boys got 3 different lego kits for their birthdays. The first one I put together for them was a Star Wars Startrooper ship. Then I put together a fire truck and fire helicopter. Tom caught me this morning putting together the fire helicopter. The boys kept asking me why I wasn't letting them help me. Truth is, I was having fun doing it all by myself. I'm a little disappointed that they only got 3 kits - only because I wanted to put more together.

Of course, Dean has already taken apart the Startrooper ship because he's way more interested in making his own creations. He makes very intricate ships with a lot of detail. Jack builds solid, square structures, tongue hanging out of his mouth while he concentrates.

It's a beautiful, sunny day with temps in the mid-70s. I'm listening to the Ditty Bops and the sound of Legos rattling in their plastic bin.

Another great day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm sitting on my couch in a triptophanic coma - I just made up that word and I like it.

We had a great day. We spent the day at the Sullivan's. The kids played really well together, Colleen and I cooked, and the men watched the game and smoked cigars.

I'm too tired to be clever.

I will write more tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


To say I was tired last night is an understatement. It's a good thing I posted when I did because I was doing a little surfing after that and I was dozing off then! I laid down with the boys when they went to bed - me spooning Dean and Jack spooning me. Next thing I knew, Tom came in when he got home and I got up. My intention was to chat with him a few minutes so I followed him into our bedroom where he was changing clothes. But after snuggling up with those two little boys, I was a little cold so I slipped into bed just so I could warm up a bit.

I woke up at 5:00 this morning. Makeup still on, hadn't brushed my teeth, still in my clothes. It took me a minute to figure out what had happened. My foggy brain finally figured it out and I looked over to see that the alarm hadn't been set. I turned it on and dozed for a few more minutes then got up and met my friend for a run.

I really needed that sleep. And that run even if we only did a few miles, it was nice being outside in the early morning fog. So peaceful. I can breathe today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

At My Age

Well, after trying for several years to lower my cholesterol level to a more acceptable number, my Doctor and I finally came to the conclusion that I can't do it consistently without going on medication. Hello, my name is Kelsi and I am now an official member of the crestor family.

Why do all the cholesterol medications end in -OR-?

Anyway, despite my best efforts at eating a diet low in fat and exercising regularly, my numbers prefer camping out in the 240 range and my Doctor said that AT MY AGE I need to go on medication to bring the numbers down.

At my age, you can't be too careful.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I was planning to write about the surprise AAA guest to the boys' birthday party but instead I think I'll write about how fun it is to take two brand new 5 year olds to Disneyland 3 days before the Thanksgiving holiday. We went on a Monday because, you know, it's less crowded.


We left at 7:00am because we wanted to beat the traffic. Luckily, it being a holiday week and all, traffic was lighter than usual. But, oh it was crowded at the park. Despite having snacks in the car, the boys were still starving and I had a caffeine withdrawal headache so we stopped in at the bakery. I insisted that the boys eat their chocolate chocolate chip muffin and some of the cinnamon roll before they could have their Mickey Mouse cookie. you know, 'cause I want to make sure they're eating right. After we got them hopped up on sugar, we went to Tomorrowland and went on the rocket ship ride, which ended up being Jack's favorite ride. Then onto Fantasyland and the Mad Hatters Tea Party which was Dean's favorite.

After that, we went into Toon Town and let the boys play in Goofy's house and Chip 'N Dale's treehouse. They had a ball.

We left the park before the parade because I wanted to miss the traffic (still took us 2 hours to get home!).

Jack fell asleep at dinner and Dean fell asleep on the way home from the restaurant.

I think it's safe to say they had fun.

Grandma goes home tomorrow and I know the boys are going to miss her very much.

So am I.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


After the boys opened a few presents yesterday morning, I spent the next 2 hours preparing sandwiches for the party. I managed a 5 minute shower and then packed the car while Tom was out buying balloons and party favors. We headed over to the park to meet the bounce house guy with 70+ cupcakes, bags of chips, cases of soda, water, juice, a helium tank, balloons, balls, vegetable platters, fruit plates, pinatas, and, of course, plates and napkins. I had my permit from the city, just in case. Mom was in charge of bathing the boys, getting them dressed and bringing them to the party.

We got to the party and there was the sign on Section 2 with my name on it. There was also the Persian mafia camped out on the best picnic tables in the area. Immediately, my blood starting boiling. I paid for this park. First, Tom and I just walked around the picnic tables, looking around and glancing over at the squatters every now and then. Eventually, we approached them and told them that we had rented the section and that they would need to leave. And then they just said oh, we're so sorry, we didn't know and they packed up their stuff and left.

Yeah, right.

Of course they argued! Despite the permit I held in my sweaty hand, despite the sign which clearly proclaimed that I, Kelsi ...... had rented the section and that all picnic tables (all 30 of them) were for the exclusive use of my group from 7:00am until dusk. They still argued and puffed their cigarettes and the more they argued, the more my blood boiled and I so just wanted to call the park ranger or my friend the cop and kick them out. But, my husband is good cop and above all, wanted to quit wasting time on this and get our party set up. And, he's generous so he told them that they could stay, even though we had exclusive right to the entire area, we would allow them to have their gathering but they had to move from the best picnic tables. They grumbled a bit and spoke to each other in a language I don't understand, and then I said to Tom, so, should I call the city? And they looked at us and grumbled some more and then Tom said, well we need to set up our party so I'm going to move your stuff for you while you figure out what area you're going to set up in. And they grumbled and puffed on their cigarettes and spoke their language and I got on the phone with my friend Peter and went over to my car and made a big show of being pissed off while I carried supplies over to the tables. One of the grumblers left in a smoky huff, one of the grumblers good-naturedly helped Tom, and the one with the red tattoo of a cross on his forehead glowered at us while he puffed away.

They eventually ended up at the far end of the picnic area which was just perfect for me.

It didn't stop their bratty kids from trying to get in my bounce house while they cast sidelong glances in my direction. I didn't have to worry about it, though.

The kids just told them they weren't invited.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


The house is a mess. We have 40 cupcakes left over, 5 huge bags of chips and a case of soda. I am beyond tired - we all are.

The party was a success and I have a few stories to tell like about the Persian mafia and why AAA was a sudden party guest but it will have to wait until tomorrow when my mind is more clear.

For now, let me just say that my precious little babies are now five years old.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Last day of 4

Next year, I'm ordering the sandwiches from Gelsons . . .

Today has been exhausting. Up early to get some laundry done, off to the grocery store to get the food for tomorrow's party, then home to put away and have lunch, then off to the party store to buy the pinatas, then dropped off kids and grandma so I could get my hair cut. Thankfully, Mom made the cupcakes while I was getting my hair done. That really helped. Once I got home, we headed off to the park where I was supposed to meet a woman who is looking for a home for her 2 dogs but she never showed. Then we went out to dinner. The service was terrible but the kids were good and it was nice to sit down even if my dinner of eggs, sausage and toast came out as 3 courses. Jack was so tired he fell asleep on my lap.

Now it's 11:15 and just Mom and I are still up. We iced the cupcakes and packed them up. We wrapped the presents and finally, we can go to bed. But of course, I had to post first.

5 years ago today, my doctor came into my hospital room and expressed her amazement that my contractions had slowed, finally after 2 months of total bedrest and magnesium sulfate. It was one of the best days I had in the hospital. She seemed relieved to have gotten me through the scariest weeks of my pregnancy. She told me that she'd get me to 34 weeks and then wean me off the mag. We'll schedule your c-section around Christmastime, she said confidently.

That night, Tom stayed in the room with me. He had demo'd our bathroom that week (after all, babies weren't coming until Christmas) and the dust was too much for him. I remember going to bed that night feeling like I'd done my job. I tolerated the mag, the catheter, the complete bedrest, no showers, no baths, lying flat on my left side with 3 monitors strapped to my belly, getting blood taken every 8 hours - for the safety of my babies, I did that. I fell asleep easily that night.

'Course, I didn't make it to Christmas, did I.

But here we are, 5 years later and I can't imagine my life without them in it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Busy day & no time

Busy day & no time 4 a proper post. I will have a nice long one 2morrow 2 make up 4 it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Comfort Food

I promised I'd post the recipe for the homemade Mac 'n Cheese so here it is:

8 T. butter (reserve 2 T. for topping)
6 T. all-purpose flour
3 3/4 C. warm milk
salt and pepper
4 C. shredded cheese (I used 2 cups fontina, 1 cup parmeggiano reggiano, 1 cup aged monterey jack but sharp cheddar works, too)
1 lb. cooked macaroni
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 6 T. butter over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the flour and stir constantly for about 4 minutes. It should look foamy; that will ensure that the flour gets cooked. Whisking constantly, add the warm milk about 1/2 cup at a time. Add a pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper. Add 2 cups of the cheese and stir until completely melted. In a large pot or bowl, combine the cooked pasta and the cheese sauce and toss. In a buttered casserole dish, alternate pasta and sauce with reserved shredded cheese in 3-4 layers. Top with crumbled Ritz crackers and dot with reserved 2 T. butter. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and brown on top.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm Sorry

First of all, let me apologize for the half-hearted, lame post of yesterday. I know I disappointed my most loyal readers (Eddie) and for that, I am genuinely sorry.

Let me make it up to you today by showing you this:

That's Daddy's "Special Hat" lovingly made by Dean. In the last picture, Dean is singing to him. It goes a little something like this:
Daddy has a special hat
special hat
special hat
Daddy has a special hat
'cuz he's a special guy.

He wore the hat last night as he ate dinner and promised Dean that he would wear it today on the train. My kingdom for a picture of that!

Anyway, I have no excuse for last night's lame post other than it got late and so I phoned it in - literally. And, I accidentally sent before I was done. So, what I meant to say last night was . . .
the boys are completely oblivious to the fact that their Grandma is at this very moment flying across the great plains and due to arrive around 4pm. I can't wait to see the looks on their faces!

I also wanted to mention our new tradition. I've mentioned before that Dean's giving us a little run for our money. It's all or nothing with him - he's either 100% sweetness and light or 100% dark spirit. He's committed, I'll give him that. Lately, he's been a little mean. Quick to anger and lash out without trying to resolve conflict by talking it through or asking for help. I realize some of this is due to his age and that, to some degree, this behavior is normal. However, he's quick to use his fists and quick to call people names and that is completely unacceptable. So, I've really been focusing on getting him to use his words, giving him examples, explaining to him how hurtful it is to say "I don't like you" instead of "I didn't like what you did". Still, it's a constant battle. My adult brain just doesn't understand why I have to keep repeating this over and over. It's teaching me patience all right but he's the one that needs the lesson most, I think. Back to our new tradition - last night at dinner I suggested that when we're gathered together we should go around the table and say what we like about each person at the table. I went first.
Dean, I really like the way you sing.
Jack, I really like the way you whistle.

Then it was Dean's turn.
Mom, I really like when you buy me yogurt.
Jack, I really like the way you share.

Then, Jack's turn.
Mom, I really like when you buy me yogurt. (Original, that one)
Dean, I really like your stories.

So, you see what I bring to the table. Clearly, they're only keeping me around for the dairy products. Some things never change.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Shh... Boys don't know that

Shh... Boys don't know that gma is coming 2morrow. Tonight, a new tradition - saying something nice about ppl @ d

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In Which Our Heroine Realizes She's Not the Only One

As we returned home from a birthday party today, my cell phone rang. Remembering my momentary lapse in reason from the other night I simply answered "hello". To my surprise, it was the same parent from the other night. I recognized the British accent immediately.

Oh, didn't I mention that? Yeah, besides all the other reasons why she couldn't be my Grandma (2 time zones away, after midnight, etc. etc.) --- she's also British.

My Grandma's not British.

Anyway, so this other mom calls to tell me that they went to the park for our party and no one was there and then she looked at the invitation and realized it was yesterday and she was so sorry that they missed it and her son was so disappointed.

I said "hey, the party's next Saturday! You're not a day late, you're six days early!"

And then I did a little happy dance that I'm not the only Mom who's just trying to make it by the skin of her teeth.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

In Which Our Heroine Almost Messes Up Again

The countdown began as soon as I got up this morning, at around 7:00. Get up, put a tv show on for the boys, make the coffee, get a load of laundry in the washer, wrap a birthday present, empty the dishwasher, make the oatmeal, back to the laundry room - you get the drift. That's my typical Saturday but I was especially mindful of the time because we had to leave at 9:30 for a birthday party and I wanted to get as much done as possible before we left.

I was about to get into the shower when I thought maybe I should check the invitation one more time just to make sure it was from 10-noon and that's when I discovered that yes, indeed it is from 10-noon. ON THE ELEVENTH! Sigh.

The boys were a little disappointed. But they rallied. We ran some errands and then spent an hour at the park. The good news is the present is wrapped and ready for tomorrow and most of the weekend chores are done. Tom and I went through the cabinets in the kitchen tonight and threw a bunch of stuff away and then reorganized the cabinets. It looks so much nicer.
I made homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. It was amazing. I'll post the recipe tomorrow. I got the basic recipe from a Saveur cookbook but instead of using sharp cheddar, I used a combination of fontina, parmesan reggiano, and a dry monterey jack that was super-aged so it has almost a sweet flavor. Absolutely decadent.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Y'all, I'm tired and I have one of those coughs - you know the kind where you're compelled to cough even though you aren't producing anything. I hate those. Both Tom and I have this cough which is no surprise considering the boys have had it off and on for 2 weeks now. And, I have to admit, it's making me a little loopy.
For instance, last evening I sat on the couch and sleepily surfed the net while Tom put the boys to bed. When my cell phone rang, I didn't recognize the number but could tell it was local. As I was answering it I thought to myself that it was probably one of the parents calling to rsvp to the boys' birthday party. I answered and the person on the other line said my name. And do you know what I did next?
I said "Grandma?"
No, of course it wasn't my Grandma. She lives 2 time zones away and it was midnight her time and it was a local area code.
So, that's what I mean. I'm a little out of it.
Who was it? Oh, it was one of the parents calling to rsvp to the boys' party. Imagine that.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pumpkin Dessert

With Thanksgiving approaching faster than you can say Holy Turkey Batman!, I thought it would be nice to share a Pumpkin Dessert recipe courtesy of my Momma. Enjoy!

I don't have a name for this dessert but it's a great alternative to pumpkin pie. It's quick and easy and people absolutely rave about it.

Can of Pumpkin (29 oz)
3 eggs
12 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 1/2 C. Sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t. ground clove

Blend above ingredients, pour into 9x13 pan sprayed with Pam.

1 box Yellow Cake Mix
1 C. melted butter (or margarine)
1 C. chopped pecans

Sprinkle cake mix over pumpkin mixture followed by nuts. Then drizzle melted butter over entire mixture.

Bake 50-55 min. (or until slightly browned) in 350 oven.

Of course serve with whipped cream: Cool Whip or Redi-Whip is acceptable but I prefer the real thing.

1 lg. carton Heavy Whipping Cream (dairy section)
1 t. vanilla flavoring
Sugar to taste

First whip cream until thickened in chilled glass or stainless bowl using chilled beaters.
Add vanilla and sugar, continue whipping to desired thickness. From high peaks to clotted cream - your choice.



Wednesday, November 07, 2007

An Interview with Jack

What's your favorite movie?
I don't know. (later, when I asked Dean and he answered "Dumbo", Jack answered that it was his favorite, too)

What's your favorite color?
All of them.

What's your favorite TV show?

What is your favorite food?
Mashed potatoes. And yogurt. But not mixed up.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A superhero.

Follow up question: Which superhero?
Shooting Star Power Man.

What's your favorite book?
Little Bear

What's your favorite treat?
Cake with icing but not the stuff under it, just the icing.

Who is your best friend?
Mommy. (kissing up for sure!)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A ball, crayons, hersheys kiss,

A ball, crayons, hersheys kiss, paper, emergen-c, spirograph ruler, lipstick. What do they have in common?

Monday, November 05, 2007

A rant on Day 6

I was going to post about how I've been thinking I need to be more "in the moment". I have a tendency to toss off "How are you" as I'm passing someone without waiting to hear their response and it's something I want to change in myself. So, I had this plan to write this feel-good kind of that would be the impetus for me to live in the moment, to stop and listen when I'm talking to people.

But first I had to call Cigna to make sure the tests that I'm supposed to have tomorrow morning are covered by my insurance. I do this even though my Doctor's office assured me that I didn't have to call. You see, I know my insurance carrier quite well. Despite numerous assurances, I may still get stuck with the bill. I don't want to risk it. This is what I pay $70 a week for - so I can do all the legwork.

After waiting 10 minutes to get through their lovely "automated" help menu, I was told that they couldn't assure me that I wouldn't have to pay because it wasn't a contracted facility. Even after I explained that my husband had the exact same tests done at the exact same facility and Cigna paid, they couldn't assure me of anything. They asked for the date of service which, not surprisingly, I didn't have at my fingertips.

I called the medical facility and asked how they planned to bill it because if they bill through the contracted physician, then Cigna will pay. But, if they just bill through the facility, then Cigna won't pay.

Does this make any sense?

I found out Tom's date of service and called Cigna back. All they could tell me then was that they paid the physician on that date of service but they couldn't tell me what they paid for - the actual testing or the consultation with the physician.

Still, I received no assurance that my insurance company will pay. After 40 minutes of phone calls.

My "in the moment" feeling right now is not very healthy so I'm going to try being very OUT OF THE MOMENT!!!!

Deep, calming, cleansing breaths later . . .

Day 6 of NaBloPoMo.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pictures and Clarification

As promised, a cool picture. We went to Newport Beach yesterday, spent the day on the boardwalk, went to a great steakhouse for dinner (boys were amazingly well-behaved), then back to our hotel room where we fell asleep early. Well, the boys fell asleep late and me and the daddy fell asleep early.
This morning after breakfast, we went back to the beach so the boys could play some more.

They were soaked and covered in sand but boy did they have fun.

Also, I set up mobile blogging (from my cell phone) so I can blog a bit when I'm on the go. So there's truly no excuse to miss a day, right? Anyway, the cryptic messages from yesterday were sent from my cell phone. I went to Santa Monica in the morning yesterday to have my running gait (form) analyzed. Then, the trainer gave me some changes to incorporate into my regular running routine. The changes should minimize my risk of injury and make me a more efficient runner. Not likely that I'll break any records, though.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

We r in newportbeach ab

We r in newportbeach ab out 2 have dinner. Got some great pics today which i will post tomorrow when iget back.

In santa monica 4 running

In santa monica 4 running gait analysis. ~sent while on the go

Friday, November 02, 2007

Interview with Dean

Dean, what is your favorite color?

Brown and violet. Mixed together. It makes sulfur.

What is your favorite movie?

Mike Mulligan.

What is your favorite food?

Indian. Remember when we went to that Indian restaurant? It was so good.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A chef. So you can come to my restaurant and I will cook dinner for you. And when I see you walk through the doors then I will say HI MOM.

And my table will be ready for me?

(Nods) And it will be rainbow colored and no one else can sit there.

I love you Dean.

I love you so much Mommy.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Top Ten List

Top Ten Worst Things to Hand Out on Halloween:

  1. Crackers. I don't care if they are in the shape of bones, it's still lame.
  2. Make your own Balloons! Right. Or just put the sticky stuff in another kid's hair. Great.
  3. Toothbrushes. I know you're a dentist but if you handed out candy maybe you'd drum up some more business?
  4. Pencils. Same as toothbrushes except handed out by teachers.
  5. Clackers. Don't do this. Violators will find me standing in front of their houses at 2:00am clacking. Get my drift?
  6. Pretzels. Unless they're chocolate covered and filled with peanut butter.
  7. Candy bracelets/necklaces. There's something a little gross about eating candy off of skin, even if it's your own.
  8. Gum. This is just a safety hazard. Also, see number 2.
  9. Whistles. See number 5. And the worst thing to hand out on Halloween?
  10. Gift Certificates to Hometown Buffet. Seriously.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend Warrior

It was just the other night that I sat at the side of their bed and marveled at their size. Two boys who used to share a crib with lots of space to share, now sleep in a queen size bed with legs outstretched, just a foot or so from the end of the bed. Sometimes they split the bed horizontally with Dean stretched out across the head of the bed, laying across all pillows and Jack will sprawl at the foot of the bed. Other nights they share their bed like a married couple, legs intertwined, faces tilted toward each other. Some nights they spoon, the one on the outside with his arms wrapped around the other.
It was just Thursday night that I sat looking at my boys. Tom came in and wondered what I was doing. They're not babies anymore, I said.
Friday night Jack was running a fever. His breathing wasn't normal. Jack breathes silently, with little movement. I decided to sleep with him, in case he needed me. A short time after I laid down with him, he woke up coughing, scared. He sounded like a wounded seal. We've been through this before, he and I. I gathered him in my arms and carried him to the bathroom. Soon, the bathroom is steamy and I'm holding him, rocking back and forth, memories of this dance running through my mind. In times past I would take him outside and lay on the chaise, letting the cool night air soothe his lungs, whispering to him what he was like as a baby to soothe his mind. This option was unavailable to us because of the fires of the previous week. There was still too much smoke in the air. One of the reasons he was having this cough in the first place, I believe. After 30 minutes in the steamy bathroom, we went back to bed. His breathing was better, still not great. We fell asleep. I dreamt that I was being chased.
Two hours later he woke again, coughing, sounding worse than before. Mommy! His voice sounded cracked, hoarse. Again, we headed to the bathroom. This time I contemplated taking him outside. Maybe the air wasn't as bad as I thought? I didn't want to risk it. We stayed in the steamy bathroom for another 30 minutes but his breathing wasn't much better. I tried settling into the recliner thinking maybe if we were propped up he'd be able to breathe. It didn't help. I knew there was a bottle of prednisone (steroids) in the fridge. I've been cautioned by the doctor to not give it to him unless he's wheezing. I'm holding him in my arms, he's hot and he's wheezing. I lay him on the couch and go to the kitchen. Carefully, I read the instructions, afraid in my sleep deprived state I'm going to give him too much. I gave him the prednisone and tylenol for his fever. I pulled him into me, he rested his head against my chest.
So many nights we spent on the couch when they were babies, sleeping on our chests.
We fell asleep on the couch.
Today? He's all better.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Let the Games Begin!

Um Kelsi?
It's the daycare.
Jack has a fever of 100.1 and Dean just threw up.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chicken Tagine

This recipe came to me by my friend Jeanne. She says that it's a favorite in her house and even the kids like it!
Thanks Jeanne! Miss you!

Chicken Tagine with Pine-nut Couscous (Sunset Magazine, March 2007)

Most people think of traditional Moroccan tagines as being long-simmered lamb dishes. When prepared with quick-cooking chicken thighs, they're actually relatively fast to make. Fragrant spices give this dish vibrant layers of flavor, and the cooked-down dried fruits create a silken richness. Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 bone-in chicken thighs (with skin)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 small dried red chiles, such as arbol
1 teaspoon salt
15 dried apricots, halved
15 pitted prunes, halved
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs plus 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 cups couscous
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest

1. Heat oil in a 6- to 8-qt. heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn over and cook 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining chicken and set aside.

2. Drain all but 2 tbsp. oil from pot and reduce heat to medium. Add onion and sauté until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, black pepper, cardamom pods, chiles, and salt and stir to combine. Return chicken to pot and add apricots, prunes, 2 cups chicken broth, and parsley sprigs. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 40 minutes. Take pot off heat and remove parsley sprigs and chiles. Remove skin from chicken.

3. In a covered medium saucepan, bring remaining 2 cups chicken broth to a boil. Turn off heat, stir in couscous, cover, and let sit 5 minutes. Uncover pan and fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in 2 tbsp. minced parsley, pine nuts, and lemon zest and toss to combine. Mound couscous on a platter. Top with chicken thighs and pour sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. parsley.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

CALORIES 793 (40% from fat); FAT 35g (sat 8.5g); PROTEIN 46g; CHOLESTEROL 124mg; SODIUM 1043mg; FIBER 6.2g; CARBOHYDRATE 75g

Sunset, MARCH 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Pastusky Tales

At dinner last night, Dean informed us (me and Jack) that he heard from one of the kids at school that if you kill a pastusky bug that it will come back to life and kill people.

Jack was terrified. He didn't want to let on how scared he was but his eyes were big and round and he just looked at me with this worried expression.

Later that night, they were tucked into bed with the door open and my promise to check on them every 4, no 2, how 'bout 3 minutes. I went into the living room (which if you know my house is about 10 feet from their bedroom door) and fired up the TV. About 30 seconds later Jack comes over to the couch and in the smallest of voices tells me he's scared.

I told him he should be! The pastusky bug is known to be one of the most ferocious insects in all of blogland!!

Just kidding. I wrapped my arms around him and whispered that I needed to tell him something. Pastusky? No such thing. It doesn't exist.

But, don't let Dean find out about that, ok?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sick Day

Jack is sick today so I'm staying home with him. He's acting fine but he had a fever that started last night and lasted throughout the night. Dean is staying home, too but he's not really sick. He was coughing a lot last night but that's probably partly due to the Santa Ana winds that are whooshing through the valley.
Even illness manifests differently in these guys. For instance, Jack just acts very tired and sluggish when he's sick. His cheeks flush slightly, his eyes darken and get glassy and he always complains that he has a headache. He loses his appetite (unless it's dessert) and just wants to lay down. Last night, he only had a few bites of rice and some butterscotch pudding. Of course, during the day he was fine. He helped Tom trim the rosemary bush and played football with me.
Dean, on the other hand, wilts the second he doesn't feel well. He can't hide it at all. Heat radiates off him, he falls apart at every little thing, and he cries a lot.

I'm hoping that Jack's fever stays away and Dean's cough doesn't get any worse so we can be back to our regular routine tomorrow.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Dean: Mom? Do you know what a pastusky bug is?
Me: Uh, no.
Dean: Well, the pastusky bug is a little bug and it goes in your thumb here (points to thumb) and it travels up your arm and your body into your brain (emphasis his) and you know what it does? It puts the think in your brain. An' then? After it puts the think in your brain, it goes back down your body and out of your thumb and it evacerates. It does! It just disappears!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pizza Party

Dean's pizza had a pesto base (fresh basil, parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, garlic and olive oil) with three cheeses: fontina, mozzarella and parmesan and a sprinkle of dried oregano on top. Baked in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. It was delicious.

Jack's pizza was a marinara base (jar of Newman's own Garlic and Basil marinara) with three cheeses: fontina, mozzarella and parmesan with dried oregano sprinkled on top. Also baked in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. It was also delicious.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cauliflower Au Gratin and so much more

These recipes are courtesy of my brother, Chad. In my dream world we would live close enough to one another that we could collaborate on dinners together. He would be dancing around the kitchen, singing a goofy tune and taking long gulps from his Guinness - all the while effortlessly throwing together a delicious meal. I would be sitting back, taking notes.

one word: Cauliflower Au Gratin
simple, hearty vegetable side dish popular in southern France.

1 head of cauliflower.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups hot milk
4 ounces cubed Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mornay Sauce:
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook slowly for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. The mixture should get foamy or frothy but not brown. Add the hot milk and whisk vigorously until smooth. Season and return to the heat and boil for about 1 minute over medium high heat. Remove from heat, add cheese and stir until incorporated completely. Makes about 2 1/4 cup.

Cut a head of cauliflower into florets. Steam until it falls apart, drain. Mash cauliflower in a casserole dish and sitr in Mornay Sauce. Sprinkle shredded parmesan and crisp under a broiler for 2-3 minutes.

two more words: Cazuela de Cabra
Warm tomato and goat cheese tappas dish (or appetizer) popular in Spain.

6 medium juicy tomatoes
1/3 c. dried basil - (or 1/4 c. fresh minced basil)
3/4 stick unsalted butter, cut into pats
8 oz plain white goat cheese, softened and mixed with 1/4 c. dried chervil
1 loaf crusty french bread, cut on the bias into 1/2 inch slices
1 small jar prepared pesto

Tomato basil beurre-blanc sauce:
Blanch tomatoes in a heavy sauce pan for about 1 minute (until skins become loose). Drain tomatoes and shock with ice, remove skins and return to heavy sauce pan
Add basil (if dried, wait if fresh) and cook over medium heat, about 10 minutes or until tomatoes have broken down - remove from heat (if you're using fresh basil, add it now). Wisk in pats of butter until it is all incorporated, and the sauce turns from reddish to pinkish.

Pesto toast:
Brush bread with pesto and flash under a broiler until crisp

Final prep:
Place cheese/herb blend in a mound in the middle a gratin, or shallow casserole dish. Pour tomato basil beurre-blanc sauce around the perimeter of the cheese mound (like a moat). Broil for 2 minutes, serve with pesto toast.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rustic Mediterranean Chicken

Rustic Mediterranean Chicken Accompanied by Roasted Brussel Sprouts (serves 2)

Mediterranean Chicken

2 T. Olive Oil
2 Skinless/Boneless Chicken Breasts
Small Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
1 Garlic clove, minced
½ C. White Wine
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 C. Chicken Broth
½ C. Pitted Kalamata Olives
1 T. Capers
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme

Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts, season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides then remove and hold on a plate. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Lower the heat to med-low, add the white wine and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the canned tomatoes, including juice followed by the chicken broth. Let reduce for 5 minutes then add the chicken breasts back into the pot. Let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add olives and capers, oregano and thyme. Simmer another 5 minutes. Sauce should be fragrant and thick.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

¼ C. Olive Oil
1 lb. Brussel Sprouts (with outer leaves removed)
6 Pearl Onions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet w/ aluminum foil.
Rinse brussel sprouts and pat dry. Spread the brussel sprouts and pearl onions on the cookie sheet, season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables. Toss with your hands until the vegetables are all well-coated with oil. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with Basmati rice, if desired.

If it's Sunday

It must be football.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Under Construction

Look for some additions (you might have noticed some already) to the blog! As part of my commitment to NaBloPoMo (which is nothing really, I just have to promise to post every single day for a month - p'shaw), I'm going to make a few changes to the blog. The overall color scheme and set up will stay but there will be some new features that will hopefully, help me get through NaBloPoMo without resorting to posts like this:

Today I got up and went to work.

You'll thank me later.

False Alarm?

When I picked up the boys yesterday, Dean was happily playing with the girls - B, her twin sister S and their friend E. When we were in the car and about to drive away, the twin girls were walking to their car with their dad. I lowered the windows so the boys could say goodbye and the girls waved back and yelled "We love you!".

Dean's ego has been saved.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And so it begins

When I got to daycare today Jack ignored me. I waved and he just turned around and kept playing with his friend. I turned toward the back corner of the backyard to find Dean. He was by himself on the treehouse. Suddenly, he climbed down and started running toward me. He flung himself into my arms and buried his face in my shoulder. He seemed upset. I asked him what was wrong. Well, he said, no one wants to play with me so I'm playing by myself.
Oh, that hurts. I didn't think I'd be dealing with this yet. Especially since he's a twin. I thought he'd be thrilled to get to play by himself! He went on to tell me that he wanted to tell B_____ something but she wasn't listening to him. I looked over at B_____ who was playing with her twin sister and another little girl. I tried to explain to him that sometimes the girls just want to play together and may not want to do what he's doing. He didn't care. He still felt slighted. Then he asked me to follow him all over the backyard to see this treehouse? And this one has curtains? And this has curtains, too? Look at this! You get the picture. Finally, I told him it was time to go but no, he wanted to show me one more thing. Off we go back to the treehouse where he was when I arrived. He showed me that he could climb up the ladder to get up to the treehouse but there's an opening in the "fence" that surrounds it and he could jump from there to the ground (it's only 4 feet high).
I gush about how impressed I am. He's so strong, etc. etc. He goes to E__ (one of the girls with B_____) and wants to know if she'll come with him to the treehouse so he can show her a trick. She just looks at him and walks towards B_____ and her twin sister. Dean turns to me, pride injured, and says accusingly, "See what I mean!". He stomps up the ladder to the treehouse and announces, "No on will play with me!".
I look at him and say, "I'm playing with you".
He looks at me and with a sheepish grin says, "Oh. Right."


That's me committing to posting every single day in the month of November.


I promise you that by December you will be so sick of reading about what I ate for lunch that you'll be begging me to never do this again.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Quote of the Day

From Dean to his Dad:

Do you know what "weirdo" means?

It's dough that is weird.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Goofy Boys

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oh the wailing

Last night Tom put the boys to bed. He readied their toothbrushes, read the books, did the requisite chatting, then said good-night.
Then the wailing started. Dean, over and over and over, "Daaaaaaddddeeeeeeee". Repeat. Again.
Next, Jack comes out complaining because Dean called him a name. I told him that Dean was just cranky (totally bipolar last night) and he should just ignore him. He goes back in the room and then he starts wailing, "Moooommmmmmmeeeeeee". Repeat. Again.
All together now. . .

So. I go in, they scramble to me as I climb onto the bed, each trying to get as close to me as possible and if full body contact isn't an option, any body part will do. There are arms wrapped around my torse, legs wrapped around mine, heads buried into my chest. I don't know where one child ends and the other begins.

Why are you so upset, I ask? Dean answers first. "I'm sad because I just don't know why things have to change? Why does the moon have to come up every night? I just want it to be daytime". Whoa - where to start? I tell him that night time is when his body rests so it can keep growing big and strong. Sleeping allows his brain to rest and grow so he'll be smart and kind. I tell him that change is a wonderful thing and that each day is another opportunity for him to grow, to learn, and have fun and that he should enjoy every single day.

Then Jack starts crying. What's wrong, I say? He tells me, "I just don't want anyone to ever die." Ohhhhkaaaay. Another doozy. I tell him as gently as possible, "Everyone dies. Dying is a part of life and there's nothing we can do to change it. The best thing we can do is enjoy every moment of our lives, cherish our time with our loved ones, and have fun with our friends."

We fell asleep. Jack with his head nuzzled against my chest, his arms around my waist, our legs intertwined and Dean spooning him with his head tucked into the back of Jack's neck, his arm resting across Jack's body with his hand lying on my hip.

Oh, I love them so much it hurts.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Evening Conversation

Dean: Um, Jack?
Jack: Yes?
Dean: Well, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Jack: A dad!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday and I just got this email from my mom.

Dear Kelsi,
Wow, it's harder to believe that you're 38 than it is to believe that I'm 58! I mean, how could I have a 38 year old child?

It seems like only yesterday that we were walking through Eastland Mall, you a blue eyed, curly blond haired little toddler and I overheard a woman behind me say "Oh, I always wanted a curly blond haired baby. All of mine were bald." I just looked down at your little head bobbing up and down as you were doing your best to keep up - you were "too big" for me to carry - or so you thought and I thought, yeah, I really am lucky - but I'd be just as proud of a bald headed one!

Was it really 35 years ago when I told you to put on your raincoat before we went somewhere? For whatever reason you hated that little clear raincoat with pink raindrops and matching hat. You asked "Why". I said because it's raining outside. You ran to the door and because the rain had just stopped you said "It ain't raining outside". To which I replied "It isn't raining outside" in an effort to correct this bad habit you had picked up. You then countered with "Oh, you was just kiddin'?" I know you've heard this a million times but I love the story!

Watching you and Jeff Redick duke it out in the sand box when you were 5 while his mom and I watched from the kitchen window. Then, just as suddenly, threw your arms around one another's shoulders and walked off - whatever you got angry about over as suddenly as it started.

Then, later on watching as you competed in gymnastics and diving with determination etched on your face. Wearing your Jordache designer jeans with pride when all the other girls were wearing Gloria Vanderbilt. All the while understanding deep in your heart that I couldn't afford to give you what the others had - blazing your own trail all the while.

And the day you left for CA. Oh, the day you left. I felt like my heart ceased to beat. I couldn't breathe. But yet, I knew, or felt like I had, anyway, prepared you to go your own way.

And now here you are, a confident, self-assured mother of the cutest twins I have ever seen. Respected at your place of employment, by Tom, your friends, neighbors.

I am so very proud of you. I just can't believe that I have a 38 year old daughter. Where has the time gone? CHERISH EVERY DAY.

Happy Birthday.

I love you.


Thanks Mom. I love you, too.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More from the Archives

March 23, 2005:

Dear Jack,
Have I mentioned how devoted you are to helping me? Last night I was washing my hands and you pulled the towel off the counter and had it draped across your hands, just waiting for me to finish. As soon as I turned the water off, you said, "here Momma, dry". On laundry day you gleefully sort the clothes into piles and help me put them in the laundry basket. Then you trek out to the laundry room with me and throw the clothes into the washer. You wouldn't dream of making me carry the empty laundry basket - you hold one end and I take the other. You march us right into the bedroom and put the next load in the basket. I guess this helpfulness is a byproduct of your thoughtfulness. I feel like we're partners sometimes. Just you and me, tackling the dirty house and dirty clothes. It's a wonderful character trait - I'll try not to exploit it!

I love you.


March 22, 2005:

Dear Dean,
Your new favorite movie is "The Lion King". We've watched it almost every night for the last week. When I can't sleep in the middle of the night, I hear "Circle of Life" cycle through my brain. Daddy and I went out to dinner on Saturday night and I was able to make 2 references to the movie through the regular course of conversation. Anyway, you love the movie and it captures your attention completely. But, you are afraid of the hyenas. As soon as the first hyena scene comes on, you curl your body into mine and twist your face into my chest. I ask you if you want me to turn it off but you say, "NO". It's gotten to the point now that you anticipate the scene coming and start grabbing for my hand to pull my arm around you more tightly. It gives me such a warm feeling to know that you feel safer in my arms. I hope I will always be able to make you feel safe.

I love you.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another from the Archives

A note I wrote to Jack on March 9, 2005:

Dear Jack,

You are such a thoughtful boy. Whenever you get something for yourself, whether it be your milk or juice or a cracker, you always bring one for Dean. Every morning, the first thing you want is a breakfast bar. So, we go into the kitchen and open the cabinet where we keep them, I hand the box to you and you pull one out. Then you look at me and say "Dean-na?" and pull one out for him. Then you go to Dean and say, "here Dean-na!" and give it to him. It's so charming, but what makes it even more charming is the way you say Dean's name. Well, this morning we went into the kitchen to get your breakfast bar, you pulled one out for yourself and Dean, then we went into the bedroom where Dean was getting his clothes on and you said, "here Dean!". That's the first time you said his name without the "na" on the end. You're growing up so fast. Slow down, love.

I love you so much.


From the Archives

A note that I wrote to Dean on February 17, 2005:

Dear Dean,

The other night I was sitting on the couch and you were very intently placing stickers on my face. There were a few on my cheeks but most ended up in the same place, time after time, on my forehead. You had a very concentrated look on your face with just a hint of a smile. It took great focus to peel each sticker off the paper and place it on my face. I started laughing and you stopped working at the sticker you were trying to remove and looked up at me and said, "dis funny?" with the sweetest look on your face as if you had no idea this was a funny thing. I said, "yes, this is funny" and you started laughing - then put another sticker on my forehead.

You are such a sweet boy.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


The boys will enter kindergarten this time next year. Last year at this time I thought "thank goodness I don't have to worry about school yet". Well, now is the time to start thinking about school for next year. I've talked to the daycare owner at length about this issue and her advice was to research my neighborhood school. Go visit, go to the open houses, etc. Private school is out of the question due to the cost. After school care is obviously a factor since I work until 5:00 every day. It was all a little overwhelming. On the one hand, I am grateful that the boys will be starting school together - this little twin team. Even if they're in separate classes, they'll still see each other before and after school and at lunchtime. They're less likely to be picked on since they'll protect each other. On the other hand, the thought of these two little boys in a sea of other, older kids just scares the crap out of me. It is so easy for them to become lost. I have a year to get used to the idea. In the meantime, I did a lot of research on It turns out that my neighborhood school is ranked 8 out of 10 and is one of the best elementary schools in my area. That's good news! This particular school also participates in an after school enrichment program in which kids can get extra help with reading, math and science or be involved in sports and recreation activities, arts and crafts, and music and drama. It also provides a safe place for children after school is over until their parents can pick them up. An added bonus is that my neighbor's daughter is one of the teachers there and has been since her own children attended. I am beginning to feel a lot better about this and even a little excited for this next milestone. I called the school today and found out that they will have an open house in August '08 for incoming students so we'll be able to see the school, meet the teachers and administrators, maybe some of the other parents, etc. The boys are always asking me when are they going to kindergarten? What is their school like? What does it look like? Several of their friends from daycare have started kindergarten so they're very curious. They also expect that they'll reunite with their friends when they start school, not realizing that they're all attending different schools and will be in different classes. I've told them that they're so lucky to have this year to be the "big" kids at the daycare and that their teachers are going to be spending extra special time with them this year to get them ready for school next year. This will be good - to have them in a public school, to have them close to their home in their neighborhood, to know that they'll have opportunities to explore creative and physical activities - I feel a lot better.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Long Weekend

I have so much to tell you! I really wanted to have pictures to go with this post but I was too tired to upload the photos and besides, it's so unbelievably hot here right now. It's just sick. But the weekend - it was delightful! Other than the wretched heat and burned up television - delightful.

Friday the boys came to work with me. First we visited the cereal bar where they ate bowls of cocoa puffs - food I would never allow them to eat at home. Then, they each took a cup of lucky charms, or charmies as Jack calls them, back to my office. Along the way, we stopped in the coffee lounge (aka Caffeine Patch) to pick up a couple of bananas - which I ended up putting back later because, really, fruit? Puh-leeeze. There's cocoa puffs! And charmies! Then, I found a tv w/ dvd/video player and wheeled it into my office. The boys and I ambled down to the library and grabbed a couple of movies, came back to my office and they curled up on my couch to watch. Is it any wonder they love coming to work with me? We stayed until after lunch and then, since I had wrung out all patience and quiet from them, we headed over to Colleen's house. We spent the afternoon visiting while the kids played, then hit the pool in the late afternoon. Jack was swimming really well and even Dean tried swimming in the jacuzzi.

Saturday was World Food Day #2 with Peter and Julian. This is something Peter and I want to do on a regular basis - we pick a cuisine from another part of the world, pore over cookbooks to decide on our menu, do the shopping and all the cooking together, enjoy our meal together with Julian, Tom and the boys. Our cuisine this time was "Tapas". We had grilled pork brochettes marinated in a turkish spice blend with lemon zest and juice, olive oil, parsley, and garlic, broiled dover sole presented with a drizzle of fried garlic, chicken tenders served with a sauce of plums, raisins, apricots, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and walnuts, mixed bean salad (fava, green, and peas) served cold with a dressing of olive oil, garlic, and mint, and potatoes mashed with heavy cream, camembert cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Dessert was 3 different flavors of sorbet - mango, coconut and chocolate. It was AMAZING! So delicious, fairly healthy (except for the heavy cream and cheese) and surprisingly simple. We are researching cuisines for World Food Day #3.

Sunday we headed back to Colleen's house for an afternoon of swimming and eating. Again, Jack was doing amazingly well in the pool. He's becoming more adventurous. Dean is perfectly content to float around in his swim vest. There were so many people there that we felt it was safer to have Dean in a vest and besides, he's so much happier that way. When Dean is ready to swim, he'll do it. But right now, he just doesn't care and all I want is for him to be safe and to enjoy himself.

We had no plans on Monday. I was in the middle of finishing up the work I had started on my closet (love to purge!) and Tom was cleaning. Suddenly, there was a high-pitched whine coming from the living room. Tom asked me where the sound was coming from then lunged for the power strip into which our television was plugged. The sound ceased. Then the odor hit me. Not a good odor. Tom took the television outside to test it. Sure enough, that was the culprit. We turned on fans and opened windows and doors. Did I mention it was nearly 100 degrees? Ugh. As if on cue, Colleen called to see if we wanted to come over to help eat her leftovers and swim in the pool. Thank you! So, we did. We left windows and the back door open, fans blowing and the air filter at full blast, and left. When we got home last night the smell was gone and the house was only 97 degrees. Yeah. Anyway, at Colleen's, Jack was swimming from the steps to me and back again. I told him I wanted him to start doing that so he would get used to getting back to a safe place. That way, if he ever falls in he knows that he needs to look for the steps or the side. It was really great to see him getting more confident. Even swimming completely underwater and diving his head down far so he can get deeper in the water.

Finally, we got home last night with just enough time for the boys to have baths and go to bed. It's safe to say they were absolutely exhausted from the weekend. For the first time in weeks , Dean stayed in his own bed all night long. As for me, I couldn't keep my eyes open past 9:30.

Anyone got a spare TV?