Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Free Range freak-out!

On the way to work this morning, I finally had a few minutes to myself and turned on my favorite morning station, hoping to rock out to something mindless like "Ice, Ice Baby." Instead, I hear the show host going on and on about "Free Range Parenting."

OK, I consider myself a fairly educated mommy when it comes to all these different philosophies. I've read "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and weighed the pros and cons of Ferberizing my baby.


Apparently we all were raised free range, before it had a term - and before cable news networks started running commercials warning you that your kid's soccer coach is a pedophile.

So I read up on this new "movement" and was appal ed to find stories like the mom who left her kid at Bloomingdale's in NYC and let him find his way home!

Now, I don't consider myself to be an uptight mom by any means. I allow the 3-second-rule (though I just read that I might as well had let my kids ride the subway alone!), we observe almost daily "naked time," during which Mitchell can run around like a maniac, yelling, "Look, I'm a naked ape!," and I even let him play on the back patio alone - door and windows open and me talking to him every few minutes. Heck, the kid even has his own knife and likes to help cook.

I hope to allow my children to enjoy some of the fleeting joys we did as kids. I've already introduced the hula-hoop, we collect bugs and we even potty-talk in the car. But I think I have to sit out this new round of "parenting."

Water, water everywhere!

After a long night - one that included an hour-and-a-half long feeding at 2 a.m. (thought these had passed!) - Paul kissed me goodbye as he headed out the door to Salt Lake City. (I should clarify that he's going for work, not to support the LDS!) The morning started smooth enough. I ironed my clothes, took a shower, made bottles - the ususal.

Went up to wake Noah, who was already awake rolling around in his crib. He greeted me with his signature smile and "Momma, Momma." Then the rivers began to flow! While changing into a fresh diaper, he peed. All over the floor. And my pants. And the fresh diaper. And my pants. So I grabbed another fresh diaper and a towel. Cleaned up the floor, took off my pants and started to put on the fresh diaper. Well, that little sprayer can move pretty fast, as he peed out the side I had not yet fastened - and onto my leg. All the while, he's grinning and cooing. Finally got him in a diaper when Mitchell comes in and announces "My shirt and pants are all wet." Sure enough, he had wet the bed. So, it was off with his jammies and bedsheets and into the tub. Noah crawled around on the floor while Mitchell got the world's fastest bath.

Everyone finally dry, we headed down for Mommy to get some pants on - can't leave home without 'em. Hopefully the day gets better. But, from the looks of the sky, there might be a littel rain on Mitchell's Fiesta Parade (check back later for pictures).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Liquid Languish

I've begun my liquid diet today, in preparation for tomorrow's colonoscopy. (I know, you wish you could have this much fun!)

So, I left the house this morning armed with juice, bouillon cubes and an already grumbly tummy. I think it's psychosomatic hunger pangs - you know you can't eat but you're hungry anyway. I'm typically not a breakfast person, so I know it's just to annoy me even more.

I'm supposed to join an interior designer for lunch today to talk about a project she just completed, so I know it will be delish (whatever she's having, that is). I'll bring along my cubes, just in case the waiter looks at me like I'm nuts when I order soup - broth only, please.

Please raise a glass of chicken broth to toast my sanity and wish me luck tomorrow.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lower Expectations?

I know I expect too much of myself, but is it so wrong to expect of others?

Today I went by to pick up some personalized notecards I ordered a few weeks ago. I've been thinking about who I'd write first on my sassy little cards with their lime, turquoise and brown stripes.

Well, I pick them up and my name is huge and centered - not at all what I requested. The sales person's response was that unless it was misspelled or the wrong font or color then too bad, so sad. Let's see if I go back there!

Then, I ran into the pottery store down the way to pick up a sketch of Noah that I was rooked into ordering during a recent birthday party. It doesn't look anything like my precious Noodle and the lady drew my hands in it (duh, I had to hold him still for her to take his picture, but I didn't want my hands in the drawing!). Ken, my boss, summed it up "It's just not the happy Noah we all know." The eyes and mouth are all wrong.

So, I question: Should I just lower my expectations?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Foodie Mommy: Samosas and meatballs

So my little sous chef Mitchell has been very helpful in the kitchen this week. We've made an international array of new recipes. Mmmm.

Mitchell really liked forming them into triangles and pinching the edges closed. Ours didn't look nearly as nice as the photos, but I now know my little epicurean likes curry. (We added way more curry than called for and left out the peas.)

Quick and Easy Samosas

from Real Simple magazine

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 cups (about 16 ounces) refrigerated mashed potatoes
1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
1 15-ounce package refrigerated piecrusts
1 jar mango chutney (optional)
Heat oven to 375° F.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 8 minutes.

Add 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the potatoes and peas.

Unroll the piecrusts and cut each into 6 triangles. Place a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture in the center of each piece. Gather the corners of the dough and pinch to form a point. Pinch the seams to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Bake the samosas until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve with the mango chutney, if desired.


We "upgraded" the recipe by using lamb, as suggested. We also mixed the spices into the meat instead of sprinkling it on top like the recipe instructs. Nothing gets Mitchell more excited than the prospect of touching raw meat. (He's so strange!) Last night, I came in and he was eating the one leftover meatball cold, dipping it into hummus. He lovingly offered me a bite. I love my little foodie!

Spiced Mini Burgers with Couscous Salad
from Real Simple

1 10-ounce box couscous
1 pound ground beef
Kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 scallions, trimmed and sliced
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, quartered
1 seedless cucumber, sliced into half-moons
3 tablespoons tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 8-ounce container hummus (optional)

Place the couscous in a medium bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups hot tap water over the top. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Form the beef into 12 small 1/2-inch-thick patties. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the cumin, and oregano.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook to desired doneness, 4 minutes per side for medium.

Combine the couscous, scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the remaining oil in a large bowl.

Divide among individual plates. Serve with the burgers and hummus, if desired.

Upgrade: Turn this dinner into a Mediterranean feast by using ground lamb instead of ground beef and stirring 1/4 cup crumbled Feta into the salad.

Baby Whisperer

My friends Kristin and Dave had a beautiful baby girl the day before Easter. I've enjoyed a few evenings over there, snuggling her and rocking her to sleep. And, of course, I offer plenty of new-mom advice (wonder if I'm driving them crazy yet!).

It's so calming to hold a little baby. And, it's funny that you can find that same peace and serenity holding someone else's. (You're probably wondering why I don't just go home and hold my own. Well, since they're both so mobile, there is very little serenity in my house!)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Update from the Land of Crazy

Well, I've managed to fail at yet another resolution. (That's why we make them, right, so we have fodder for our inner critics?) I've not updated the world with my musings and stories of crazy kiddos in quite a while.

So, we'll just start over with this past week:

Quotable Quote of the Week
Mitchell: "Big Foot has hair all over his body, just like you Daddy."

The View from the Road
While traveling down Stone Oak Parkway on Thursday, I saw an almost-bald man shaving his head with a Norelco. No lie!

From the Mouth of Babes: I want to be ...
From time to time, Mitchell gets stuck on one topic of conversation. And when I say stuck, I mean that he goes back to the same topic over and over again. It can be funny (and it can be maddening!) Yesterday on the way to church, he announces that he wants to be Hans Solo for Halloween. The list goes on from there ...

  • Hans Solo
  • Luke Skywalker
  • a Termite
  • an Ant
  • a Transformer
  • an Autobot Transformer
  • Spider-Man (always makes the list)
  • Big Foot

Repeat, repeat, repeat - but not always in the same order

Does Big Foot Really Exist?

I don't know, but he's alive and well in our house, thanks to Discover Channel specials. We watched two this weekend, and now Big Foot is all Mitchell can talk about (see "Quotable Quote" above and "From the Mouth of Babes" above).

Strange side note: In the evenings, we like to sit outside on our patio and have dinner, look at the stars or just hang out. Most evenings, we hear this very strange noise, and we have no idea what it is. Paul has dubbed it the "ooda-walla bird." This really upsets Mitchell for some reason, so he's decided it's a "night-time parrot." While watching Big Foot this weekend, one of the experts played a sound clip of a supposed Sasquatch - lo and behold, it's the ooda-walla bird! Maybe Big Foot does live on the other side of that big fence. It would explain a lot.

Funny Video

We attended Paul's former office's department picnic yesterday, and Mitchell hula-hooped for the first time. Sort of.

Oh yeah, I have another child!

Sweet Tooth

Noah is getting his very first tooth, and he's not too fussy (thank goodness!) about it. I doubt you can see it in the photo, but he's just so darn cute that I had to share! (Of course, it wouldn't be a photo of a Gannon boy without food on his face!)

I Get Around

Noah has developed his own unique crawl, which is kinda like the crawl stroke in swimming - only my land shark uses it to get all around the house. Before Noah stopped at the line between the carpet and tile, but now he's realized that the tile is crawable too. Nothing is safe - not even poor Max!

Mmmm, ice cream!

Noah tried ice cream for the first time yesterday, and, of course, he loved it! There is very little food this kid won't eat. I take that back - I've yet to offer him something he refuses to eat! (He must get that from me!) We're now eating "Stage 3" foods, and he wants a taste of everything on my plate. He loves refried beans (he is a true Texan) when we go out to eat, and he tries to feed himself. (Potential dirty video to follow - check back soon!)