Friday, December 31, 2010

'Twas The Night Before Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Two creatures were stirring
And they said...

"We isn't up to anything mommy - honest!"

Of course, I beg to differ – although I will admit I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were around the tree. As someone pointed out, they're kids not cats but I wasn't so sure. I thought they might turn into cats at the sight of a tree to climb. Turns out they're kids after all, so scenes of pulling babies out of a tangle of branches mercifully never happened. Nate used his touching finger for the most part (I really must get to this in a future post btw) and even Seth who is more inclined to approach life with his grabbers fully extended (and grabbing) was remarkably subdued. I was almost a little disappointed.


- L.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hi Everyone!

– Uh... Nate?
– Er... yes, Seth?

– What's going on here? Who 'dis lady?
– Umm... well... 

– 'Dis lady not mommy, yet something strangely familiar here.
– No, she not mommy. She gives pretty good cuddles tho'. 

– I have to say I is most vexed 'bout 'dis non-mommy person. Is like someone I met long, long time ago but can't quite place.
– You have to admit she smell kind of nice too. 

– Yes, OK. Smells good and cuddles is pretty good too. You got a point, Nate?
– *giggle* Hi everyone! I is playing a joke on Seth. I know who 'dis nice lady is the whole time. 

– OK. What is going on here?
– I'm sure I doesn't know what you mean. 'Dis not seem perfectly normal to you? 

– 'Dis thing here. With the hands! And the feet!! And...
– And?
– Hey, wait a minute... 

– ... it's Gamma Rita everyone! I can't believe you not figure 'dis one out Nate. And now that I solve the mystery all by myself I can finally say "Hi everyone!" just like old times. So here goes... Hi everyone! It's us – and it's Gamma Rita too!
– *sigh* You is crackerjack sleuth alright. 

- L.

And Just Like That... We're Back!

... Or as Nate and Seth would say, "Hi everyone!".

It's been a very busy few weeks over here getting ready for the boys' first Christmas. The shopping, the wrapping, the (baby-safe) decorating, coupled with a host of new tricks and moves AND a visit from Hurricane Gamma Rita left me with zero time to blog. I've spent the last couple of days furiously sifting through a mountain of photos, videos, stories and memories and I think we're about ready to get back to business as usual. Bear with me while I get you all caught up. Hope you're all still feeling festive!

- L.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Prayers Please

Baby Mason was born September 1st, 2010 with a heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. His condition was discovered at 20 weeks gestation. TOF, fortunately, is rarely fatal in utero, but his doctors and parents would need to wait until he was born to find out how soon he would need surgery to help repair his heart. You can read Mason's story here.

His surgery date was set for January 19, 2011 and his family had been making preparations for an extended stay many hours away from home.

Last night Mason and his mommy were transported by plane to the Medical University Hospital in South Carolina (MUSC) after doctors discovered Mason's blood oxygen levels were perilously low. His condition is currently stable and his surgery is scheduled for this evening. His mommy posted an update this morning about their ordeal.

Please keep Mason and his family in your prayers tonight and over the course of the coming days. I cannot fathom how scared they all must be.

- L.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

More Random Acts Of Domesticity

I have a favorite recipe that I used to make quite a lot, especially during the cold winter months. Of course, that was pre-babies when I could afford to spend 2 hours preparing and cooking dinner. In fact, I thought the days of enjoying some of my favorite recipes were long gone – until I discovered the wonder of using a slow-cooker that is. It's a magic device that makes my dinner for me, quietly doing it's work all day while I am busy chasing babies.

After a couple of recent successes with pot roast and beef stew, I decided to modify that favorite recipe of mine so it could quickly and easily be prepared slow-cooker style, with prep work that requires no more than a 5-7 minute commitment at a time (because if you have 2 or more little ones then you already know you are lucky to get even that).

Without further ado, below is the recipe for The OP's Braised Chicken and how I did it. Of course, if you don't have babies to chase after, you can probably get your prep work done in one shot. Or not. It's up to you.

•   •   •   •   •

The OP's Braised Chicken

Step 1: Prep your veggies* the night before. I sliced up half a white onion, 1 green pepper and 1 orange pepper (a yellow pepper is also a nice option). I tossed everything in a large bowl, covered the bowl with plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge. I was able to pull off this amazing feat while the boys were busy having their nakey time. No one even noticed I was missing.

*Optional: 1 or 2 chili peppers, sliced. I find one gives a bit of kick without being too hot – although I am a self-admitted lightweight about these things. If you like it more than kicking, better add two.

•   •   •   •   •

Step 2: The next morning I prepared the yummy marinade while the boys crawled around exploring the kitchen. If attempting this yourself, exercise caution so you don't step on any babies. Then get busy and mince 3 cloves of garlic and place into a bowl. Add:

• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 generous tsp. paprika powder
• 2 generous tsp. curry powder
• 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/8 tsp. ground cumin 

Take a moment to breathe in the wonderfully fragrant aroma from the marinade you just made, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave on countertop. Retrieve babies from whatever imminent kitchen danger you were unaware existed until just now. Retreat to nursery with said babies.

*BTW, if you're planning to take pictures of your efforts, try not to use a shiny reflective bowl like I did (unless you want an inverted image of yourself among the spices that is). Spices, I might add, that resemble an inverted version of this. Spooky. 

•   •   •   •   •

Step 3: I managed this last step by throwing some Cheerios at my babies after their lunch. Cheerios are a great diversion, btw. While they were distracted, I quickly salted, peppered and browned 2 chicken breasts in a little olive oil. One or two minutes per side and you're done. Place in bottom of crock-pot and brush with roughly half of the marinade you made earlier. Looks pretty good already, no? 

Pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth around the sides of the chicken. Toss the veggies you prepped the night before with the remaining marinade and add to crock-pot. Top with 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, including juice from can. 

Cover, set your crock-pot on low and enjoy the next 8 hours with your babies. 

The finished result: 

Prior to serving, remove chicken and gently pull apart with a fork. Top with veggies and reserve liquid to your liking. Serve alongside or over rice (Basmati goes well with this dish). Makes at least 2 very generous servings.


- L.

PS. Or, if you prefer, here is the recipe minus the mommy rambles (click to embiggen):

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Future Olympian: Rhythmic TP Event

– Oh hi everyone. You is just in time to check out something I been working on.

– Is my rhythmic gymnastic routine. I like to start with a big flourish. 'Dis always a crowd pleaser. 

– Next I move on to complicated looping part. 

– I say it complicated, but let's face it... I is making this look easy. 

– I is still working on big finish, but I imagine you is pretty impressed with my routine so far. I sit here and await applause and big scores now. 

–... while I work on thinking up my next trick. Keeping mommy on her toes is a full-time job you know.

- L.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


– What's dat you up to Nate? It look very interesting.
– Oh, is very interesting. I think. If only I could reach 'dis interesting thing I would know for sure.

– I is helping you now. 'Dis looks very interesting indeed.
– Mmmph. Can... almost... reach... it. *grunt* 

– Uh... Nate? I think we is not the only ones that is looking at something interesting.
– What you mean? Is just you and me and... 

– Oh.
– We is busted.
– Yep. 'Dis what busted look like alright. 

•   •   •   •   •

Mommy note: A belated Happy 10 Months to my sweet conspirators (for the record, I did take these pictures yesterday). And in case you are starting to think I let Nate and Seth run around nakey 24/7, it was the only time I was able to catch these two together on their big day – after I remembered to charge my camera battery that is. Oops.

- L.