30 April 2009


I have a nightly ritual. I put the kids to bed, grab a few chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk and curl up on the couch to watch a chick flick. I have watched Notting Hill (twice), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and now The American President. This movie always makes me smile.

Speaking of making me smile... This guy:
from Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Holy cow! I kept grinning at the tv screen like an idiot. Just grinning at him. I might have even giggled once. And then I had a dream about him last night. Not anything racy. Just a sort of adolescent I-think-he-likes-me kind of a dream. But I still feel like I have been unfaithful to Jonathan while he is toiling away back in Virginia.

29 April 2009

the third day

I am so tired. But I stupidly put on Notting Hill and so now I have to stay up to watch the entire film. I love this movie. I think I like it more each time I see it. I just laugh out loud at Hugh Grant's character.
But I have to say, who has friends like these people? I mean, I love my friends and we hung out a lot, but these people are forever having dinner parties. Who has that many dinner parties?

Speaking of my friends, Blue was playing some elaborate pretend game in her room tonight involving her feeding sharks. She kept coming in, updating me on the progress of the shark's mealtime. And then she mentioned Olivia was helping her. "And not Olivia the cartoon," she told me, "but Olivia your best friend. Olivia and Katherine are both helping me feed the sharks."

Oh, wait, this is the part where I always cry. The whole "... just a girl ... standing in front of a boy ..." scene. Sigh.

I miss Jonathan so much. I got an email from Andrea today and she was saying how awesome it is that Jonathan and I have been together for so many years and we still hate being apart. And it's so true. How many people never find what I have found?

The kids really miss him too. They keep asking when we are picking Daddy up from the airport, even though we made a paper chain. I put Daddy's picture by Lion's bed and I think that helps although tonight in particular he was very moody. He kept saying he didn't want to be all alone in his room. That he wanted me to stay in there with him. I told him I was going to be right downstairs, watching tv and he kept saying, "But I can't see you down there!" So finally I put my picture by his bed, too. He is asleep now.

He was playing in the backyard with Blue today. All the snow has melted and it was in the seventies today! So they were running around like maniacs in the yard. They are so loud! It was a bit awkward, because Lion has these Happy Meal toys he got a while ago. We're not sure who they are supposed to be so Lion calls them the Green Guy and the Black Guy (because they are green and black). Anyway, he was running around the backyard pretending the Black Guy was after him. Yeah. It was a bit awkward. I am sure the neighbors were wondering what was going on. Because here are a couple of things I overheard Lion yelling to Blue:

  • The Black Guy is chasing me!
  • I'm gonna get that Black Guy!
  • That Black Guy runs very, very fast!
  • Blue, I just caught that Black Guy and threw him in a bag!

27 April 2009

alone, part deux

I woke up to find five inches of snow on the ground this morning. So I panicked and used a broom to brush the snow off of the children's garden.

Also Mabel chewed part of my bathroom rug in the night; damn dog.

I am eating like a kid this week without Jonny here to see it. My dinner tonight, after putting the kids to bed: a bag of movie theatre style popcorn and a mug of hot chocolate with squirty whipped cream. (If my stepmother reads this, she will probably gag.) It was soooooo good at the time but now I feel like ass.

26 April 2009


Jonathan left this morning for Virginia. We are finally evicting our tenant in Richmond.

Sigh. So he will be gone for a week. And I already miss him terribly. I am a bit codependent, I'm afraid.

Okay, that's bullshit. I am completely codependent!

So the kids and I got up at 4 am to drive him to the airport. And I was amazed at how well-behaved they were! They just got up, stumbled out to the car and didn't cry or complain. Such good kids.

Blue took a long nap today, but the Lion would have none of it. So, as a result, I got no nap either.

The highlights of my first day alone:

  • the kids both somehow got multiple splinters in their hands playing outside this morning so I spent a good half-hour tonight struggling to remain cheerful while torturing them with my tweezers
  • Blue accidentally locked herself in the bathroom tonight (with Mabel) and had a nervous breakdown trying to tear the door off its hinges
  • she scared the crap out of me because I was downstairs and it sounded like someone trying to break the front door open
  • and I couldn't find the little "key" thingamabob and a bobby pin wouldn't work so I had to use hostage-negotiator skills to calm her down and explain to her how to unlock the door
  • it rained all afternoon and it is still raining
  • I waited and waited for the rain to ease up since I had to bring the trash out tonight, and then finally gave in and dragged the trash out anyway since I don't want to be out there all alone too late at night
  • and I got soaked
  • and I stepped on the biggest, fattest, squishiest worm I've ever seen while on the patio getting the trash cans and probably woke up the entire neighborhood with my super-sonic "Ewwwwwwwwwww!"

23 April 2009

the children's garden

Yesterday we planted the children's garden in the back yard in honor of Earth Day. Here's a picture of the area when we bought the house:

It had three tall rose bushes and some random weeds. We moved the rose bushes into the front, where there were already some rose bushes and this is what the area looked like a few weeks ago:

So yesterday Jonathan tilled the soil and added several bags of topsoil and manure. We went to Lowes and Wal-Mart and picked out some plants. Because the seeds we planted never sprouted. Well, Lion's morning glories grew like crazy but none of the others did. So we bought Blue some daisies since her daisy seeds were duds. And Jonathan bought me a hydrangea to plant in the center of the garden. (I have always wanted a hydrangea!) And I picked out some purple petunias and some little white daisy-like flowers to fill in the edges. And then (just because we love making pico de gallo) we got two cilantro plants just for fun!

Jonathan and I planted the flowers (and herbs) with help from the kids. We put Lion's morning glories in the corner so they can grow up the post for the deck.

Then Blue and the Lion helped me water everything. They are very good gardeners. Their main job will be to help me water the garden every morning. And to keep Mabel out of the garden.

So here is the children's garden now:

Notice Mabel lurking around? We put a little bunny statue in there to stand guard. But it doesn't seem to be doing its job.

22 April 2009


My husband cracks me up. He just reached across my lap to grab a big handful of my popcorn. And he spilled the whole handful all over me.

21 April 2009


Today was the tenth anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School. Even though we lived in Virginia at the time of the shootings, I still remember exactly where I was (at Ellen's apartment, across the street from Jonathan's apartment) watching the tragedy unfold on CNN.

The more I learn about the events of that day, the less I understand how people can do the horrible things they do.

16 April 2009

bad word

We were eating dinner tonight and out of the blue, I heard the Lion say, "Damnit."

"Excuse me?" I asked him. "What did you just say?"

He took one look at my face and said, "Nothing."

"Lion! Seriously, what did you say?"

Blue piped up, "he said damnit."

"That is very bad to say," I told them both. "Where did you hear that?"

Blue pointed at Lion. "He just said it."

15 April 2009

my little guy

The Lion and I do almost everything together. While I was making dinner last night, he scrambled to get into his sous chef pants to "help" me. He would rather go to Wal-Mart with me than stay home and watch a movie while Daddy works. He is my shadow. My right-hand man.

It makes me so sad to think that one day he will need his personal space. That, in other words, he will not want to be caught dead in Wal-Mart with his mom. Now he will spontaneously hug me in Wal-Mart and loudly proclaim, "You are my best friend, Mommy!"

I know this is a song I have sung before. And I was ruminating on this sad fact of life yet again while painting the banisters yesterday and Jonathan kept humming "Cats in the Cradle." I know. I know. I'm being maudlin. But I cannot help it. It's who I am. I dwell on things. (Have you met my mother?)

So last night Jonathan took Blue to dance class and I tried to sneak off and read in bed for a little while, hoping the Lion would continue playing downstairs. My little guy found me after about ten seconds, and he came into my room and climbed up onto the bed with me.

"This is a nice bed, Mommy! I love this bed! It's so nice! Oh, look! Your ... your ... pillows match your blanket!" I tried to smile and say, "Mm-hm" from time to time, but I was trying to read Watchmen, which Jonathan got in his Easter basket.

Then Lion leaned over my shoulder, breathing loudly in my ear. "Is that a scary book?" I think the pictures must have looked pretty scary to him.

"Yes, Lion," I told him. "This is a very scary book."

So he ran off to his room and came back a moment later with his scariest book. It's a Halloween book my mom gave him last year called Ten Timid Ghosts.

The Lion thinks the witch is scary. So we never read this book at bedtime. But last night, curled up beside me, he was feeling particularly brave. So he "read" it beside me, telling me about the action on every page. The scariest page is an illustration of the witch wearing a vampire mask.  Lion yelled, "Look! Mommy, look! This is very scary. The witch is dressed up as a scary grandpa ... grandpa ... grandpire."

13 April 2009

6 Barbie dolls

Here is the list of six for this week. It is a list of Barbie dolls I remember having as a kid.

1. Day-to-Night Barbie

Her outfit was a little pink suit and pumps for work that flipped inside out to reveal an even trashier little outfit underneath to go dancing in.

2. Western Barbie

She had bright blue eye shadow and when you pressed on her back she winked. I think this was when "Dallas" was a big hit on tv. I also had two Barbie horses, Dallas and Midnight. (Those were their names; I did not name them that.) And I had the Barbie Ranch and a little horse trailer so Western Barbie could drive Dallas and Midnight around.

3. Kissing Barbie

This little number came with a tube of "lipstick" ink. So she left a little lip-print on anything she "kissed." I remember my brother, George, also gave me a Kissing Barbie wallet for my birthday one year.

4. Sweet Roses PJ

This one was my favorite. Because she had dark hair and she smelled like roses and had an uber-girly pink ruffly ballgown.

5. Skipper
I think I just had a basic Skipper doll. But I remember my Skipper had a little cheerleading uniform that I used to somehow cram my Sweet Roses PJ into even though it was way too small because I thought it looked really hot on her. Or so I thought.

12 April 2009

Happy Easter

my insanely awesome Easter Bunny Cake!

11 April 2009

Easter Egg Hunt

The eggs are dyed. The carrot has been left out for the Easter Bunny. The cake, which will be turned into a big, coconut-covered bunny rabbit head tomorrow, is cooling off on the kitchen counter. The kids are in bed. I think they are very excited. I know Blue is. The Lion seems a little mystified by all of this. Last night, I was putting his jammies on him before bed and he was wriggling all over the place. I was a bit tired and cranky and told him to lay still because the Easter Bunny was watching him. He got very still and asked me, "Why? Why does he do that?"

"Why does he watch you, you mean?"

"Yeah, why does he do that?" He seemed a bit freaked out and I realized it is a little disturbing, the idea of some giant bunny watching your every move. So I explained that the Easter Bunny is like Santa, and he will reward children who behave well. Lion seemed reassured by this explanation. Santa he understands.

We took the kids to the neighborhood Easter egg hunt this morning.

There are so many kids in our neighborhood! It was amazing!  Lion was a little cranky (surprise, surprise) but I think that was because he wasn't sure what to do. I don't think he remembers last Easter. Luckily, he and I managed to grab some eggs the hordes of frantic kids missed as we plodded along behind everyone. Because all of the eggs were snatched up within minutes.

Blue made a new friend. A little girl who is her age and who lives around the corner from us. And Jonathan and I just love her parents! I had met the mom back in the winter at a little neighborhood boy's birthday party. And I really liked her then, but for some reason never called her. And she still has my number on her fridge, but hasn't called me either. I know she has my number there because we went over to their house on the way home, after hanging out with them in the park for hours after everyone else had left. I think Jonathan and I have made some new friends!!!!!

Tonight we had some pizza and dyed Easter eggs. I wondered, as we were boiling the eggs, how many other families were boiling eggs tonight. What a bizarre holiday.

As I was getting the salad ready for dinner, Blue announced: "That was not the real Easter Bunny we saw today."

I asked her what she meant and she said, "It was not the real Easter bunny. There was somebody inside of that bunny. I saw their neck when they hugged a girl."

Lion was listening with his eyes wide, so I explained that the real Easter bunny is magic and he only comes around on Easter Sunday and that the bunny we saw today was just someone dressed as a bunny for a photo op. But a big huge part of me felt terrible lying to her. Especially since we have a strict "No Lying" policy in this house. But they are only little (and they only believe in magic) for such a short time...

Later she told me she saw the Easter bunny out the window. That he looked back at her and then headed left. Left, she repeated, as if this were significant. And also that the Easter Bunny is as large as Mabel. That is one big bunny.

The Lion ran to the window, too, but he didn't see any Easter Bunny.

06 April 2009

seven years!

Blue returns to school and ballet this week after a week of spring break. What a long week, with me sleeping and lying around blowing my nose and the kids playing and fighting indoors to avoid the falling and melting snow. I am slowly returning to the land of the living and the kids are returning to their normal routine.

Today is Jonathan and my seventh anniversary!

We are making a delicious dinner tonight to celebrate. It is a recipe from The Log Cabin, a family-owned seafood restaurant in Stafford where I used to bus tables as a teenager. Leila got the recipe while she worked there and now it is a family favorite. It is very easy but it is very decadent, so Jonny and I only make it on special occasions.

Log Cabin Velvet Shrimp
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup finely chopped green onion
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Chef Paul Prudhomme's Seafood Magic seasoning
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound peeled, deveined fresh shrimp
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons water, optional
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Muenster cheese
16 ounces hot cooked rotini pasta

Saute green onions and 1 tablespoon of the Seafood Magic in butter. Cook about 1½ minutes. Add garlic and shrimp. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add 1 cup of the cream and the remaining Seafood Magic. Stir and scrape any browned bits off sides and bottom of skillet. Cook about 1 minute and add remaining cream. Cook 1 minute, or just until shrimp are plump and pink. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon and set aside.

Whisk cream mixture over high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, then add a little water (if desired) and cheese. Cook 1 more minute or until cheese has melted and is incorporated.

Return shrimp to skillet. Stir to coat shrimp with sauce and remove from heat. Serve immediately over pasta.

Happy Anniversary, honey!

05 April 2009

sniffle sniffle cough

I have been fighting a cold all week. And by "fighting" I mean lying in bed, sleeping almost all day and then all night. Jonathan has been amazing - letting me sleep all the time, taking care of the kids, making dinner and managing to get all of his work done ahead of schedule. Have I mentioned I am married to Super-Man?

He is flying back out to Virginia for a week at the end of the month. We have a tenant in Richmond who has not paid us rent in for ever. I have complained about her before and so now, unfortunately, we have to evict her. Grrr. We have tried to be patient and understanding, both of us knowing what it is like to be completely broke, but I think she is just in way over her head now and has no hope of getting caught up. And we really need her rent money to help pay all of our mortgages. So. There you have it.

So I will be very lonely and frazzled and sleep-deprived that week. I hate sleeping without Jonathan. Every little noise sends my heart racing. Even with our alarm system, I still sleep with one eye open. Plus the Lion talks in his sleep. Actually, he yells in his sleep. "Get out of here, Blue!" "Leave me alone!" He is a very angry little guy when he is sleeping. In his dreams, he kicks some serious ass.

They started swim lessons this week. Blue had been taking lessons this fall when we lived in the apartment and I finally found a place up here for her to take lessons indoors. And Lion, since he is potty training (finally) is taking lessons too! His first lesson was awful. He screamed and yelled almost the entire time. But the instructor was very patient and said he did fine, no worse than most first-timers. She warned me that his second lesson will be even worse, since he will know he is going in the water, but that by his third or fourth he will be fine. I hope so! He is very loud and did I mention this is an indoor pool? So it is very echoey in there!