Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Loves her Dog... Even Still

Dear Dan,

This week, we celebrate your 5th or 6th birthday.  It could even be your 7th.  Probably not your 4th.  And who knows if this is your actual birthday.  What I do know is that it's three years since you came into our lives.

You don't have to tell me, Dan, because I already know:  this year has been a doosey.  You were just starting to get used to your sister around this time last year, when Aaron came down from the heavens and surprised us all.  I'm guessing, based on the recent consumption of one of Anna's sippy cups (yes, he ATE a sippy cup), that you're not loving all this change.

Let me state for the record-- I'm a pretty awesome dog-Mom.  You, as my dog-baby, are part of the daily logistical wrangling that currently consumes me.  And I'm proud to say that you eat, pee, poop, and get walked on a very consistent basis.

And yet.

I think we both know where I'm going with this...

I'vee been losing my patience a bit with you.

I could spend a long time explaining myself away (a woman in her thirties is very good at that), but I won't.  It doesn't matter that I can't remember the last time I slept an entire night.  It doesn't matter that by the end of the day my hips ache from constant picking up, putting down, and managing two staircases with two kids.  What matters is...

This woman in her thirties has been a little chinsy on the love.  And that makes me sad.

For your first 'birthday', I got you this:

For your second birthday I got you a new leash.

And it occurred to me this morning that for this birthday, I've gotten you nothing.  I didn't even think to get you anything.

But then again, Dan, you are not one for gifts.  A stick from the yard makes you just as happy as the most expensive dog treat.  What you want more than anything else is a good snuggle on the couch:

Dad is good at it.

So I guess my gift to you this year is to get better at it, too.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties is Slightly Excessive

I take lots of pictures.  LOTS.  Let's put it this way:  for a couple of years, I was trying to keep it so I had no more than 1000 photos on my iPhone.  I gave up on that after Aaron was born.  I'm sure I'm not the only woman in her thirties who is a bit cray-cray when it comes to picture-taking, so don't even pretend that you don't know what I'm talking about.

What can I say?  My kids are cute.  And don't even get me started on the amazingness that is Instagram.  

Last night, after the going-to-bed craziness was complete, I took some time while watching X-Factor (seriously-- how lame is that show now?!  Britney-- I expected more from you!) to go through my pictures.  I realized, while flipping through my photos over the last couple of weeks, that the picture taking has gotten out of hand.  

How do I know this?  Here is a complete collection of pictures from Anna's haircut a couple weeks ago.  I'm thinking about making it into a flip-book, that's how many pictures there are.  

 Clearly pleased.

 Thank goodness for the suckers...

The finished product.

Keep in mind this was not Anna's first haircut.  It wasn't even her SECOND haircut.  A woman in her thirties is all about documenting life, but I think I might be going a bit overboard here.  I found this particular collection so excessive that I almost deleted all 1068 pictures currently on my phone.  


Because then I watched this video again and I thought, sigh.  Excessive picture-taking is worth it.  Sometimes a woman in her thirties captures pure awesomeness:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Settles In

Bonjour Monsieur,

This week you are three months old.  Goodbye fourth trimester craziness!  Hello, schedule.

Where to begin.  Aaron, I hate to say this for fear of jinxing myself again, but I'm going to go ahead and let you know:  I HIT THE BABY JACKPOT WITH YOU.  Not that I didn't with your sister.  I did in lots of ways, ways you have not yet had a chance to reveal.  But in terms of eating, sleeping, playing, smiling, and generally just going with the flow of things...

You.  Are.  Awesome.

This is not to say that things aren't crazy.  They are.  I wasn't under any delusions that having two children under two would be easy, so when my OCD kicks in and I realize that a) the onions in the fridge are two months old or b) I haven't cleaned out the diaper pail in a reeeeally long time, I try not to let it get the better of me. I'm not sure how much easier it will get in terms of wanting to be 100% there for you and 100% there for Anna at the same time (200%... pretty sure that's not possible), but I would like to state for the record that I'm trying.  I have the unkempt hair to prove it.  

Much of this is a refresher course for me.  Anna started settling into a schedule at 12 weeks, and you are doing the same.  Anna outgrew her clothes at warp speed right about this time, like you are.  You're starting to sleep incrementally longer at night (Thank You, Jesus!). The thing that's new, the thing I didn't really know to look forward to, was how much you love your sister.

You love it when she pushes you around.

You love it when she talks to you in your swing.

You love climbing into bed with her.

And you love sitting with her on the couch, catching up on Colbert.  (Alright, fine.  Maybe Mom's doing the catching up.)

My point is that I thought I would have several years before you both would learn to enjoy each other, but it turns out you've already found your connection.  Anna insists on taking a bath with you, and she asks to give you huggies and kissies multiple times a day. And I melt clean away when she does.

You think this is bad... wait till she starts dressing you up like a girl.  (P.S. Sorry about that, Johnny.)

We made it three months, Mister Buddy.  The temperature is cooling, the sun is going to bed earlier, and I may or may not have already planned out your Halloween costume.  You get awesomer and awesomer every day, and things are only going to get better from here. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Makes Beef and Broccoli

I am married to the pickiest man alive.  I could tell many, many stories supporting this fact. Let's just say that my husband has one pair of ripped sweatpants, one pair of broken glasses, and the SAME PAIR OF SHOES from J.Crew from college (college!) because he would rather have something old and ragged than something new that he doesn't love.  In some ways, this has worked in my favor.  L's gift-giving is second to none. In others, it's reeeeeally annoying. 

Case in point:  Food.  L likes what he likes.  His pickiness, coupled by the fact that his Mom makes the best Chinese food on either side of the Mississippi, has made mealtime... challenging. 

Until... B and B.  B+B.  Beef and Broccoli.

(Our priest, Father J, marrying us. Pretty sure the vows said something like, 'To love, honor, and make beef and broccoli at least once a week'.)

A woman in her thirties gives credit where it's due, and in this case it's due to the Williams Sonoma 'Asian' cookbook.  I have only modified the recipe ever so slightly.  Keep in mind that I haven't eaten red meat myself since before Clinton was President, so you'll have to rely on my husband, Mr. Picky McPickerson, to tell you how good it is.  I will say that it is his most requested dish, and if I ever want something, it's always a good idea to soften L up with some good ol' Bee and Bee.


1/3 cup water
1/4 cup Oyster Sauce (I like House of Tsang because it pours easier than the other brands)
3 tbs La Choy Low Sodium  (Kikkoman is a dealbreaker in the C house)
2 tbs Sherry Wine (fun fact-  anytime a Chinese recipe calls for wine, Shao Hsing or whatever, just use Sherry.  It's close enough and you can find it anywhere.)
1/2 tsp sugar
Splash of sesame oil
Lots of pepper
3 tsp flour (the recipe calls for 1 tsp cornstarch, but that leaves the sauce really runny.  If you like that, then go for it.  But Mr. Pickypants prefers the texture the flour gives.)

1.5 lbs steak (I don't know the first thing about cuts of meat, sorry), cut into cubes
1 package Broccoli Wokly

(Don't judge me.  Buying regular broccoli and cutting it myself is obviously cheaper and not all that hard.  I justify this purchase with the fact that this bag contains the EXACT perfect amount of broccoli- not a floret to waste.  But do whatever floats your boat.)

Mix up everything but the steak and broccoli in a small bowl.  You'll have to press the lumps of flour out with the spoon so it mixes well, sorry.

Heat up your wok or pan or whatever, and add a couple tablespoons of corn oil.  Then put in the steak and cook it up about half way how you like it:

 (Apparently there is a science to this.  I just cook it until it's only a little pink.)

Add the broccoli and sauce:
(The recipe says to cook the broccoli separately, but I am far too lazy for that.)

Mix it up and cover for about five minutes or so, until the broccoli is cooked how you like it.  This is how Picky Pickeroo likes it:

And there you have it.  Serve it over rice, obviously.  (Calrose, if you're interested.)  If you're L, douse it in Tabasco.  If you're normal, eat it as is.

L doesn't know it, but tonight's B+B is going to cost him one of those cute new striped sweaters at Banana Republic.  Bon appetit!

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties, This Summer

Summer is winding down, L is back at work, and we start our Fall schedule this week.  I started to get a little sad last night thinking about how nice Fall is here, but how it only lasts a short while, and then we start with the endless winter.  And then I thought, man, a woman in her thirties needs to plan a vacation somewhere warm.  But then I thought, oh yeah... two kids under two.  Not happening.

Koh Samui with my girls, circa (what feels like) 100,000 years ago

So we didn't get to go on vacation this year.  Or last. Or the year before that.  But before I started to go into full sorry-for-myself mode, I reached for my phone and started flipping through my pictures.  I realized that this summer I might not have sipped a cocktail while watching the sun set:

Koh Krabi, BK (before kids)

I did go on vacation.  Not the kind I might have planned, but the kind my kids loved.  So here it is, a tour of all our summer play:

Inspecting the new sprinkler system

Amazing ourselves with our stamp talent

Doing the 'happy to be at the library' dance (Anna, remind me someday to tell you the story behind this picture.  It involves almond cookies.  And then your brother.)

Pool party at the neighbor's house

Sidewalk chalk (in a tu-tu, obvi)


Checking out the sky at outdoor yoga

Dancing (Mom's signature moves)

More sky checking-out (while Anna plays with rocks)

Dinosaur riding

And grass-rolling

In other words, I didn't get the vacation a woman in her thirties might have wanted.  But it was the best summer ever.