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Monday, April 30, 2012


It's been a coon's age since Todd and I had a date night just to ourselves. True, last month Alex went to her grandparents' house for an overnight, but that was for my triathlon, and nothing about getting up at 4am to go do 15 miles' worth of varied sports is very romantic. Badass, yes, but not romantic.

Anyways, in a last minute sort of conversation with Todd's mom last week, it was decided we'd do a date night Saturday evening, and have Alex sleep over with Todd's folks. Initially we were going to get dressed up, go out for dinner and then have a night on the town. We took a nap Saturday afternoon to prepare for this, but after waking up and lying there, we realized we had absolutely no desire to go drop $100+ on over-salted, calorie-rich restaurant fare and then pay for costly drinks we could just make at home with the stuff we already had.

So we decided we'd have a date night... in!  And boy, did we ever. For $50 we got fresh flowers (um they are totally mandatory on date night), champagne, shrimp for an appetizer, 2.5lbs crab legs, some corn on the cob and a Caesar salad kit, amazing Tucsan style bread, and some hoppy beer for Todd.

Before our feast, we took some cocktails and grabbed Patton for an evening stroll around the neighborhood, enjoying each other's company as well as some one on one time with the poor dog. Then we came home, quickly boiled and devoured our shrimp cocktail, washing it down with icy champagne, and got to work on our dinner.

It was quick, easy, and left the kitchen in relative cleanliness. We ate outside, enjoying the balmy night and some great salsa music, and talked the night away. We did a little dancing, too. It was so wonderful just focusing on each other, and spending some much-needed and much-loved time together. We weren't dealing with traffic, rude waiters, long lines in bars, loud people and louder music, and we didn't blow a huge amount of money.

Instead, we had a kick ass date night, and to top it all off, we slept in until 11am on Sunday. As Todd said "when date night starts with a nap and ends with 11 hours of sleep, you know you must be tired." It was a roaring success and I can't wait to repeat it next month.

And yes, I totally said coon's age up there

Friday, April 27, 2012

Say Cheese!

She loves her parmesan. I put it in the cart at Trader Joe's and she demanded to hold it. Then she proceeded to gnaw on the corner, completely disregarding the wrapper. So I unwrapped it. She ate about a third of the damn thing before we even got home.

At the car, I flipped open my camera phone, said "Say cheese!" and she paused in her chomping, looked up and made her "Say cheese" face, and this is what I got.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Zucchini Noodles!

They're so easy, especially if you have a mandolin with a julienne blade on it. If that's the case, then you just slice them lengthwise, but be sure to use the hand guard because HELLO, that would be bloody.

If you don't, you could use a vegetable peeler and make long flat zucchini "ribbons" and then stack them up and slice them into noodles.

I made these noodles last night, and then did the same with two potatoes. I rinsed them, then added them to a skillet with a bit of olive oil.

I like to add some water whenever I do hash browns or home fries. It quickens the process and keeps them from over-browning. Chicken broth is delicious as well. When the potatoes were basically finished, I then added my zucchini noodles.

Yum! We had these last night with that pork tenderloin and maple juices recipe I blogged about not too long ago. They soaked up the excess sauce and with a bit of parmesan added, they were absolutely divine. We're having pad thai tonight and I can't wait to sub the rice noodles with zucchini.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Workout!

My back hurts and I just sat down after cleaning the house post-party, and comforting a hive-covered little girl, so forgive me if I decide not to go over to Todd's desk and riffle through papers to find one of his workouts. Instead, I will share something that has gained quite a bit of popularity online, something I first heard of through my friend Kat.

It's the Harry Potter workout!! Woohoo!

Now this is a workout I can get behind. And if you're doing a marathon, do the workout for the first four movies, and then do this Harry Potter drinking game for the next four. Have fun!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Easy Party Recipes.

So we had Alexandra's 2nd birthday BBQ bash this past weekend, during which we forced our friends and family to mingle outside in 100 degree weather. But we installed a mister system and served a buttload of alcohol, so it was worth it.

We had some delicious sangria and jalepeno poppers, along with some hot dogs and a rice dish, and our awesome friends brought loads of delicious side dishes to help keep our parties recession-proof, as Charlie would say.

Since I'm still exhausted from this party of 50, and can't think of anything interesting to say aside from "My back hurts really bad," I figured I'd share a couple of recipes, namely for the sangria and the poppers.

Holy Sangria, Batman

4 bottles of red wine
4 bottles of white wine
1/2 bottle of Bacardi O
2 cans smashed pineapple, juice included
3 large oranges
3 lemons
2 limes
4 cups ginger ale

Add the first four ingredients in a giant receptacle. Using a knife, spiral-peel your oranges and cut up the fruit. Put both the peel and fruit chunks into the sangria. Cut your lemons and limes into wedges, give them a half-hearted squeeze over the sangria and toss them in, too. Refrigerate this stuff overnight. When you're ready to serve the sangria, add your 4 cups of ginger ale. Add a big ice chunk to keep it cold especially if it's going to sit outside all afternoon. Serve over ice. DELICIOUS.

Jalepeno Poppers

40 jalepenos
2 packages neufchatel
20 strips bacon, halved
Tin foil

Cut off the stem ends of the jalepenos and clean out the seeds and innards with a paring knife. Blink a lot cause the spice of the peppers definitely gets in the air. Once they're all clean, take a butter knife and use it to insert about a tbsp of neufchatel into each pepper. Then wrap half a bacon slice around the pepper and wrap that in a piece of tin foil. Put them on a hot grill for about 15 - 20 minutes. They will be temperature-hot as hell so definitely let them cool a bit before devouring.


Oh what the hell, here's another recipe.

I Have No Time Rice

1lb basmati rice
2 cans corn, drained
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

Cook the rice. Add the corn and beans. Top with salsa or hot sauce. DONE!

Friday, April 20, 2012


I haven't talked about the pets in awhile, and since Bingley's favorite things to do are getting shit stains on our comforter, biting my daughter and drinking water out of every water receptacle except his own damn water dish, I think I will focus on the vastly more noble Patton.

Look at that face. Happy, eager to please, desperately hoping you're about to throw a stick. Loving, emotionally invested in the family, doesn't get shit stains on the comforter. Doesn't even get on the bed or the leather sofa because he is so smart. Just the ratty-tatty sofa in the TV room. That is Patton's domain, his lounge, his bed now that we lost patience with the shredded dog bed he was systematically dissecting all over the house and yard.

Anyways, there's a certain reason I'd like to talk about this dog, aside from all his awesome and exasperating qualities. I want to talk about his stoicism. Hell, the stoicism of all dogs but since Patton is king of all canines, this post is for him.

I finally broke down and washed the big guy about a week ago, and since the inside of my cement-floored house looked like a make out van complete with shag carpeting and furry walls, I decided I'd brush him while wet, then walk him to dry him off, then brush him AGAIN.

I wish shedding made money. That's how bad it is.

Anyways, so I'm outside brushing him and the fur is coming off in damp clumps that look gross enough to warrant Alexandra's shrieking and screaming "OH NO, POOPIES!" which was hilarious but also, sort of true. Fur poopies? I got to his back legs, his butt basically where all the fur just poofs out, and I went to work. Naturally, he fidgeted in place, looking back constantly to see what I was doing. But he never moved. He never put a paw out of place. He just let me work my magic, brush brush brush, shake the fur off the brush, eventually use my hands to remove the fur, fur is wet still and sticks to my hand, I start feeling like Alexandra does about the fur poopies, back to brush brush brush.

After several minutes of this routine, I happen to glance down at Patton's back legs, and I see blood. Not gushing or anything, but I had definitely nicked both his legs. This poor dog, whose stupid mom was brushing him with a metal loop brush too close to the rear, um, foot thingy, stood there and took it. Never growled or snapped at me. Never questioned my authority (which is a big deal with German shepherds). I felt so mortified, and immediately stopped and gave him like five dog bones and tons of wet damp-fur kisses.

I think the issue was the wet fur; it wasn't as voluminous and therefore the teeth of the brush were getting through it all, down to the skin. I still cringe when I think about how horribly it must have smarted. And he just sucked it up and stood beside me the entire time.

That right there is a perfect example of how wonderful this dog is. We have video of him play fighting with the cat, lots of growls and open jaws and putting whole kitty body parts in his mouth, but always gentle. And to top it off, while he's lying there not killing the cat, Alexandra is treating him like her Wonder Horse, and is sitting astride his back, bouncing mercilessly up and down. Basically he was playing nanny to both of them, keeping them entertained and safe. Well, until he got fed up with the cat and left the room, toppling Alex over onto the rug.

I love you Patton, P-Man, Big Guy, Pa-tatten, Da-gah, Goddamn Dog, Get Out Of The Kitchen and all your other illustrious nick names. I am so sorry, and I promise to always use gentle strokes around your back legs, and to never brush you while wet again. Also if you get muddy prints on my clean kitchen floor tonight before Alex's party, holy hell.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Maple Juices


Finally, right?!

I got this out of my Cooking Light cookbook and made this ages ago and Todd went apeshit over it, saying HE would take a photo of his dish because he felt that strongly about the necessity of my blogging about it and spreading the joy. So that's how good it is.

Pork Tenderloin with Maple Pan Juices
serves 2 - 4

1/3 cup diced onion
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, divided
1/4 cup maple syrup, divided
2 tbsp sake (I used rice vinegar)
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/8 tsp pepper (do people really measure pepper in such a small dose? Just go for it, I say)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
Cooking spray
1/3 cup chicken broth

OKAY, SO. Combine onion, 2 tbsp juice, 2 tbsp syrup, sake, soy sauce, pepper and garlic in a large ziploc bag. Add pork to the mixture and marinate in the fridge for two hours

Preheat oven to 400. Heat a cast iron or other oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Remove pork from the bag and keep the marinade handy. Add pork to the pan and cook five minutes, browning on all sides. Place the pan in the oven and cook about 25 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove pork from pan and keep warm.

Combine the rest of the juice and syrup with the reserved marinade and the chicken broth in a small bowl. Add this to the pan and put the heat to medium high. Scrape up the tasty browned bits from the bottom. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmering for five minutes, or until it's slightly thick. Serve the pork with the sauce over it. YUMMO. We had ours with steamed broccoli and garlic, and oven roasted potatoes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Workout: Childbirth!

Since today is Alexandra's birthday, what better time to share the ultimate workout, the story of her birth?

I wrote this April 23rd, 2010:

Friday the 16th we went to our weekly OB appt at 4:15pm where, due to some cramping with contractions that morning, we decided to go ahead and get my membranes swept. She said she gave it 48-72 hours. An hour after we got home, I started getting pretty intense contractions, strong enough to make that morning's cramping seem laughable. We chalked it up, at first, to the typical cramping side effects caused by the membrane sweeping, and we used them to our advantage and practiced our Bradley Method labor relaxations. When they continued well past 9pm, we realized labor was underway. We were too excited to be sleepy but went to bed around midnight. I didn't really sleep. Finally at 4am I told Todd I needed a hot bath, and it was time to start laboring.

At this point my contractions were about 45 seconds each, 6 minutes apart. They required focus and relaxed breathing, and they were painful but they were also very manageable. I called my mom since the time difference made it a little less jarring, and we talked excitedly through several contractions before I told her I needed to concentrate. Awhile later I called my dad, around 5:30am. 

We labored at home for ten hours. Todd... Todd was my knight, my hero, and just thinking about all he did makes me want to cry. He was at my side the entire time, and if he was off doing something like eating, peeing, packing our bags, the moment he heard me start my laboring sounds, he was there in an instant, calling out "I'm right here, baby, you're doing great. I'm right here." We labored in bed and standing, Todd holding me and supporting my full weight as he held me from behind. His body provided excellent counter pressure for my back, which had begun to ache with each contraction. 

I took several baths, and we walked around the house, laboring against the pool table, in each others' arms, and on the bed. There was a moment where Todd was holding me, swaying back and forth with me to some natural rhythm we found, and it was such a powerful, sexual, sensual and romantic moment. It's so hard to explain, but it was just beautiful. We were having the experience we had wanted, home, the birds chirping outside our bedroom, the sun filtering in with a hazy glow through our blinds, the comfort of our own bed and the familiar creaking of our old wood floorboards underfoot. And it was just Todd and me, the two people who brought this little buddy into existence, the only two people who truly knew this little being already.

As the afternoon went on my contractions kept rolling in harder and faster, and at this point I was full on moaning, loud and low, to get past the pain. I always thought it was weird in birth videos when the women would do this but now, I completely understand. It really, really helps. Around 2pm we headed to the hospital. At this point my contractions were 90 seconds each, 3 minutes apart, and I would frequently, much too frequently, experience double peak contractions which, for those who know, are just mind blowing. The pain was already creeping up towards the Excruciating end of the spectrum, and I was starting to doubt my ability to achieve a natural birth. I didn't think I could handle much more, but it had been so long, ten hours, surely I was closing in on transition. 

We got to the hospital and my father was there waiting to drive the car to the parking lot and since my contractions hurt far less on my feet, we walked up to labor and delivery, and I declined the wheel chair. Once at the check in station, I experienced rolling waves of contractions but now they were much shorter, most likely due to the adrenalin of the trip and walking. Adrenalin slows down labor (so always stay relaxed, ladies). Our doctor, Dr. Valenzuela, was on call and sure enough, after Todd laughed, she pulled open the door behind the check in station with a big grin, saying "I thought I heard Todd's laugh!!" and it was a happy moment. She was on call and would be there for our birth. We proudly announced that we were in labor and had been at it since 4am (though honestly, it had started around 6pm Friday). Everyone was extremely impressed, and after what seemed like an eternity of ridiculous questions, I was taken back to get checked.

Lying there, getting strapped to the monitors without any pillows to support my aching, contracting belly, was absolutely horrible. There were other women there but none who had labored the length we had, and I was the only one crying out. Dr. V came in and checked me.

I was a four. A sorrowful, gut-wrenching, crushing 4 centimeters. I had been at 3 almost 24 hours earlier, and it had taken me all that time to progress one solitary centimeter. Needless to say this did absolutely nothing for my morale, and I started to seriously doubt everything. I miserably thought to myself how self doubt and surrender is supposed to be an emotional sign post of transition (starts around 7cm), not of a meager 4cm.

Todd did his best to boost my spirits, talking about how natural alignment plateau can hold on for hours but can give in just one, and to not look at all those hours as a waste. My body was doing what it had to do to get ready for little buddy, and we had to do the same. Oh, I just... I just cannot explain how amazing he was. My heart fills with this yearning, stretching love when I think about how valiant he was during this whole experience.

I was strapped to the monitors again and I really have to reiterate just how excruciating this is when you're going natural. You must lie in a certain way, and must stay there for 20 minutes each time. The Doctor came in and noted how the baby's heartbeat wasn't accelerating/decelerating properly with the contractions, and wanted to put me on an IV of fluids. For Bradley this is a bad sign, because it sets you up for more and more interventions, not to mention it keeps me tied down with the IV. Todd asked for ten minutes to just see if the baby did what he/she had to do without the IV and the doctor and he actually had a bit of a super-mild bickering over it. And what do you know? After ten minutes, the baby did its job and the heart rate started it's ups and dips as needed. After the agonizing 20 minutes were up, we were able to move around.

So we walked around the maternity ward just once, and I had a few contractions. Then we returned to the room and labored some more. This period of time went by SO fast which is a blessing, but another five hours went by and the pain just kept spiking and spiking. I had lost my super mellow labor that I had had at home, where the pain had been horrible but manageable. Now I could barely keep my claws into my labor, it was slipping away from me so fast. The pain was now horrible. I mean, just horrible. I couldn't keep my breathing under control, I couldn't relax my body, my labor was in control of me instead of the other way around. Todd urged me on, telling me how strong I was, how natural alignment plateau can change in an instant, and how we had SO many Bradley techniques to try. But... I wanted to give up. I didn't want IV narcotics and I kept denying them and the epidural but... it was just overwhelming me. But Todd was right, we had so much to try: thumb sucking, nipple stimulation (hey hey hey), lots and lots of walking. 

Todd got me into the shower to use the heat as a pain reliever, and it felt nice but it was nothing like what some women have described as far as relief. But at this point I was so squirmy in my labor at this point, the pain making me antsy and unable to settle into a position to let the contractions come and go. I tried squatting through my contractions with the hot water raining down on me, Todd there in his suit, holding me up and propping up my body with the strength of his legs. It helped, but then the cumbersome balance of my pregnant body made it difficult to maintain and I kept having to get up.

After the shower... I lost it completely. I'm not sure why but my contractions were suddenly a pain I had never experienced before, and I'd gone through painful jaw surgery at 17 where my jaw was completely cut through and re-positioned. This though... My God. I would not wish the pain of labor on my worst enemy, I really wouldn't. The nurses could see that what I was experiencing was much worse than it was for many other women, especially when they knew that I had labored so long, for 15 hours at this point and without drugs. I had not eaten since 9pm Friday night, had not truly slept since Thursday night, and I was completely depleted. 
I was leaning over the hospital bed, on my tippy toes, half dressed, screaming through the contractions while also screaming "I cannot do this! I cannot do this anymore, please don't make me do this!" to my poor, poor husband. The nurse with us, who had done Bradley with her first child, was very understanding and very sweet, a silent presence of support. My poor man, my poor Todd, was obviously so conflicted. He knew how important this was for us but could see how the labor was just tearing me down. 

So at 7pm, we decided to get the epidural. I was crying uncontrollably and apologizing repeatedly to Todd, while he whispered "it's ok, baby, it's ok" over and over. The staff wasn't sure why I was so apologetic, but I felt like I was letting Todd and little buddy down. I just couldn't do it anymore, though. It was an impossibility. This was such a horrible, heart breaking moment for us, and even though our parents came in to wish us well and everyone told me I was doing the right thing, it was just devastating. And I was exhausted, so utterly depleted of everything that to have this as the final blow was so gut wrenching. Todd was really broken up about it too and got emotional when he told me that he felt as if HE had let ME down, so we were both in a sort of pit of despair, each thinking we had failed the other.

But I got the rest I needed. I got a break from the pain, even though at first the epidural didn't work on my right side and got even worse when the anesthesiologist tried fixing it the first time. I even got to sleep about an hour. It was definitely the best thing we could have done, because it still took my body five hours to dilate completely. By now it was 1am on Sunday the 18th. I had labored since Friday the 16th and was finally at second stage.

The lights were all out, except for the closet light, and it was just the doctor, the nurse, Todd and me in our room which had finally become ours, had become our little nest. In near dark, we all chatted together while I pushed, letting the epidural wear off so that I could feel for delivering little buddy. But at this point the contractions were still undetectable which I was SO grateful for, since the monitor was registering them as rolling in one after another, at least one a minute. It was so wonderful, it was actually magical. We all talked about how we met our spouses, astrological signs, we made jokes and small talk, and it was like a cozy little slumber party in there. It took three hours to push the baby a few inches, but we were so thankful for that, because it made for an easy passage, nothing too fast that would have torn me horribly. 

This was just such a wonderful, wonderful time, especially after the whole epidural ordeal. It was serene and delightful, it was what we wanted. So after three hours, baby was about ready to crown. It took those three hours to get little buddy past my pubic bone. I had NO idea it would take that long to go such a tiny distance but it was the best way to go, because like I said, super fast deliveries can just tear you to ribbons. So the epidural had completely worn off by now, much to my happiness, because I could finally feel my baby and could tell when I was pushing effectively. Crowning and having to sit there, breathing deeply and waiting before pushing was almost unbearable but nothing compared to the contractions. 

Todd was all geared up to catch the baby, and Dr V had put him in his gown and booties (which he had on over his flip flops, lol), and his sterile gloves. He had to stand there with his hands clasped together, looking like a visiting professor or observing doctor, it was so cute. With every contraction I pushed with all my heart and soul, moaning or screaming loudly as I pushed to the pain, through the pain, like Dr V said. I was absolutely exhausted after pushing three hours, squatting sometimes, holding my own legs back, but man, when other ladies have written in their birth stories that they felt the urge to push and just couldn't hold back, now I know what that means! I had the rhythm down, was using moaning sounds. 

Getting her head out was very difficult but after the labor, it didn't even register. I'd push 100 heads out before going through all that again. Anyways, after the baby's head, Todd was instructed by Dr. V to grab baby beneath the shoulders and pull little buddy right out and Todd did so with aplomb. We had our baby! For a fleeting moment, I saw the umbilical cord and thought wildly "OMG the baby's penis is blue!!" but then I realized, oh, wait, that's the cord. To see this little baby come out of me was wild, the WILDEST thing I've ever seen and WILL ever see until we give birth the next time. Todd pulled this big, long baby out of me and the Doctor said

"It's a girl!" 

Todd and I latched eyes on each other, and stared, eyes wide and big grins on our faces... A girl? We had been sure, so convinced, all pregnancy long that little buddy was a boy, but little buddy was our little girl! WHAT! Todd pulled little girl to his chest, but since he is so tall (6'7") the Dr nervously told him to get closer to me so he wouldn't tug on the umbilical cord, lol. Todd also got to cut the cord, so all our wishes were met. 

Alexandra James was born 4:27am on Sunday, April 18,2010. She was 9lbs and 21.5" with a full head of dark, dark hair and deep, stormy blue eyes. She is currently in her bouncy swing with a belly full of MY breastmilk that my body has miraculously made. 

We are so utterly blessed, and so ferociously in love with her.

She's Crafy, And She's Just My Type

Hey, wow, another post about all the cool crap I can do for a party! This time it's a craft-type thing, or at least a decorating-type thing.

I rigged these bad boys up in our backyard a few days before Alex's birthday bash:

Sorry the picture is blurry, my arms were still weak from being held over my head for two hours straight as I stood on a ladder hanging up all this sexiness.

Anyways, it's no big deal but I thought I'd share the technique for those who are inspired by their epic awesomeness and my incredible skill.

I took three strands of colored Christmas lights (or fairy lights, which in this case is a much better fit), wound one around the trunk of the tree and up one branch. Then I attached a second strand, had to run the mothertrucker through the first lantern, leaving enough length to be balled up, secured with twine, and then suspended in the center of the lantern. I left an extra long tail of twine so I could tie it to the top of the lantern.

If I hadn't tied the balls of lights up with string, and then hung them from the top of the lantern, the lights would have just fallen to the bottom of the lantern where they would have protruded out the bottom hole, looking like a prolapsed colon. Anyways. I proceeded with all four lanterns and was left with this effect. Since we had the materials, it was all free, and the light was a lot softer and more beautiful than had I just put light bulbs in them.

It was fun despite the labor involved, and I felt like a total badass that evening when I lit them up in the inky dark backyard, and viola, a fairy wonderland was created.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Well, what can I say? She's turning two tomorrow. Two years ago today I was in the middle of a 36 hour labor (25 of them drug free mind you), assuming I was having a little boy we were going to name Jackson. Todd and I studied and took 12 weeks of Bradley Method classes, so he was the one who pulled her out of me, after Dr. Valenzuela made sure the baby's head was out.

I still remember the sight of this long, long baby body coming out of me. I saw the umbilical cord and my first thought was "OMG His penis is blue" but then the doctor announced "It's a GIRL" and we looked at each other in shock. Then I said "Your mother is going to have kittens" because she had been dying for a little girl ever since Todd's brother Scott was born a boy.

She was perfect in every way. A head of black hair, steel blue eyes, 9lbs even and 21.5" long. She took to the boob like a champ, and when the nurses bathed her and washed her hair, it dried into a perfect fauxhawk. I remember putting her to my breast after giving birth to her, and looking down at this little creature I had met only moments before. It was a marvel. It felt so strange, and so lovely.

Ok, so this is lame to quote an episode of Friends, but when Rachel nurses Emma for the first time and is asked how it feels, she says, quite accurately, "weird" and then when asked for further clarification she says "Wonderful weird" or something similar, and that's precisely what it was.

 Anyways. That was two years ago. Now she's this little lady running around the house, ordering the dog to "LIE DOWN" and asking for "Baby pickles" and letting the kitten outside every time she opens the screen door. She tells us when she has a poopy diaper and asks to "cime in?" (climb in) when we put her in her car seat that is now forward facing because oh my GOD she is turning two tomorrow.

She likes to scribble but loves ordering us to draw pictures of animals and princesses. Todd's princesses are better than mine, but WHATEVER. She had her first bubble bath on April 14th 2012, and her first home pedicure last week. I want to get her a tricycle and a finger painting set, but when I told Todd about the finger painting set he had what can only be described as a small stroke or a hissy fit, perhaps. So we'll see.

She's tall and lean and has a birthmark in the same exact place asTodd's birthmark. Her hair is long and braidable. She ate about three ounces of parmesan on Sunday while running around the house so I definitely know she's mine. Sitting in my lap, while I ate my pasta, she gave me a kiss on my cheek out of the blue.

Alexandra, you're two tomorrow. You're two, and I'm hopelessly in love with you. You have made me the luckiest woman, the happiest mama, on this earth. Your daddy and I are so, so, blessed to have you as ours.

Also I'm sorry I left my Bumble and Bumble shampoo pump dispenser out last night and I'm sorry you thought it was lotion and rubbed it all over your face and got it in your eyes and I'm sorry we had to hose your face off in the backyard in the middle of daddy teaching a kung fu lesson. I LOVE YOU

Monday, April 16, 2012


I've been so remiss with posting lately, and to the 4.68 people who read this regularly, I'm sorry for being so boring. I have a couple of food posts I need to do, and the pictures are on my camera but my God, do you really expect me to plug it into my computer and transfer them? I mean, how hard am I supposed to work, here?

Anyways, I've also sort of been drawing a blank about what to write. There's no big huge topic looming on my mind. I guess could do another Randoms post today, for updates such as:

Alexandra turns two on Wednesday (!!!!!)

She's started picking her nose

Todd cleaned up the back yard and it looks really nice

I've resorted to windexing my kitchen floor every other day because it gets so filthy, so quickly, and I am tired of mopping the mother fucker only for it to be utterly disgusting in less than 12 hours

I ate a ton of naughty carbs this weekend and I felt so gross and puffy last night that I looked six months pregnant

My knee is barely even hurting today so woohoo!

The bruise I got from falling at the gym is literally the size of my hand and so epic and awesome that it is a constant struggle not to just pull down my pants in public and show random strangers

I have been teetering on the edge of depression because Once Upon A Time took a three week hiatus and I'm not ashamed to admit that this weekend's episode ranks a close second on my excitement scale, right behind Alex's birthday party

Well, that was fun! Although now that I think about it, the topic I should most likely discuss is Alexandra's impending birthday. Two! In two days! We finally turned her carseat around and I am so, so happy. We put it right behind the driver's seat and I can see her in my rearview, and reach back while at stop lights to tickle her legs. She's going to be two.

I guess I know what tomorrow's post will be. Once Upon A Time!! In SEVEN DAYS AAAAAHHH!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Workout!

Let's do some van damage!

(30) Push Ups
(30) Calf Raises w/Weights
(30) Bicycle Crunches
(30) Squats w/Weights (hold weights at your hips)
(30) Lawnmowers (30 per side)
(30) Walk Outs
(30) Front Snap Kicks. (Don't tell Todd I used a non Kung Fu resource)
(30) Curl Shoulder Presses (check out that cut woman and tell yourself you can lift more weight than you think)
(30) Side kicks. Like Front Snap, but to the side and lift your leg high as you can while keeping balance.
(60 seconds) Plank.

Enjoy, you sick ass honey badgers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


1. I fell in the gym last night. Yep. I was that girl. There's this machine where you do backward/upward leg curls to get your hamstrings and glutes. You step up on a plate, rest your stomach on a padded rest and lean over, grabbing handlebars and resting your forearms on two other padded rests. Then you place one foot on the um, the foot plate, so it looks like you're about to kick a ball or something? Adjust the weight and push your foot back, activating the hammies and the butt muscles.

Ok, so the important part here is that you step up on a plate. I'd used this machine before, and so I wasn't scared. I was honey badger. I put down my water bottle, draped my towel where my stomach was going to rest, and did two sets on each leg until I couldn't fathom doing another rep. Then I got down.

By "got down" I mean I stepped down onto my water bottle, slipped off of it, twisted to try and catch myself, slammed the side of my right butt cheek into a protruding handle on the machine next to me (WHICH WAS CURRENTLY IN USE BY A GYM PATRON) and managed to regain my balance before face planting onto the floor. Did I mention this was during the post-5pm rush? Did I mention that the row of machines I was in was completely full of people so that I had no other place to hide and look busy? Did I mention that everyone was looking at me yet the only person who asked if I was all right was the man on the machine into which I had slammed my butt? Yeah, well, all those things are true. Moving on.

2. I've really managed to rein in the cussing around Alexandra. Now instead of saying "SHIT" after I say it, thanks to word replacement on my part now she says "Oh doggone it!" which is of course, adorable, especially these days when she correctly says "balloon" (instead of "baboon!!!") and "lotion" (instead of "sho-shin"). "Oh doggone it" comes out like "Oh dodogone it" or something.

However, now she's telling Patton to "LIE DOWN" and "SHUT UP" and I am like "Oh my God, I verbally assault the dog and am teaching Alexandra to do the same" so I guess it's back to the drawing room to work on sweetly telling Patton to "be quiet" before Alexandra picks up on my saying "Would you shut the fuck up forever before I pull all your fur out?" said in a stage whisper every time our neighbor slams his car door.

3. Downton Abbey season two finally cropped up on Netflix and we're already one disc deep into the series. SO happy we have this show in our clutches once more. Oh! And Game of Thrones is next on the list. Now if they could only get their crap together and put the second season of The Walking Dead on there, because I am so bored by having dreams with no zombies in them, and bored from lying in bed not wondering if the rolling shutters would hold up to a zombie attack.

4. After some slight setbacks (Chinese takeout, Greek Easter celebration, Easter itself, anyone?) I am ready to get serious about doing this Paleo diet. I noticed the other day after eating one of Alexandra's cheese sticks, in a fit of post-workout starvation, that I felt really gross and uncomfortable afterwards. Since I had eaten it in a lettuce wrap with nothing more but chicken, and since I eat chicken nearly every day (don't get me started on lettuce), I'm concluding it was the cheese. I actually don't eat a lot of dairy, and after the initial "OMG GIVE UP MY CHEESE??" it dawned on me that the only cheese I'd truly miss is parmesan which, as a hard cheese, isn't nearly as hard on my system.

Anyways, I've realized that what I don't want to give up are these: parmesan, pad thai and legumes. I know legumes are only edible if cooked and therefore off the Paleo list, but since I won't be eating a raw grean bean or yam any time soon, I'm counting them in. Pad thai, mmm. I love the noodles but they're not necessary. The sauce though... I don't know off the top of my head what is it in, but I won't give it up, no ma'am. Not even if it's full of flour and soy.

I did realize, however, that I also need more tools than just the internet for this one. I want to get a Paleo book, and then a Paleo cookbook. I need to be armed with more than just a 3/4-hearted desire to make a switch and nothing more, especially since we still have all these breads and crap in the house (you can only push a man so far; asking to take away his quesadillas is too far, I guess). So on payday this Friday, I'll be hitting up some bookstores.

5. You guys, I cannot BELIEVE I fell down at the gym. There is this huge raised ugly bruise on my side-butt and I would have had Todd take a photo (real close up so the bruise was all you saw) but then, everyone would know that was my butt, and I guess a photo would just add insult to injury (literally).

See you tomorrow for Wednesday Workout! And no, it won't include falling on your ass in a room full of strangers.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Alexandra has always had a pretty head of hair, but these days the length is getting epic. I did this braid the other night after combing out her washed locks, and was blown away by how long it had gotten. I don't think I could ever cut her hair unless she asked for it. It's so lovely. It's also more proof of how quickly time flies.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Inka-dinka-pink indeed!

Today was one of those blissed out days. I only lost my shit for like 1 second while rushing through Alexandra's breakfast so we could hit up the zoo with our buddies Amber and her son James, but aside from that, not a single hiccup.

Like I said, we went to the zoo, and we fed carrot sticks to a big giraffe. Let me tell you when they say giraffes spook easily and don't like to be touched, they mean it. That giraffe regarded me with ill concealed suspicion unless there was a carrot in my hand. Anyways, I fed him one stick and Alex did too, brave thing she is (Todd says her chi is vigorous - which I guess is why she can run around in winter with no pants and socks on and feed enormous creatures without nary a thought).

Afterwards we tracked down a hard shell kiddie pool and a new suit, though after she pooped we just tossed her back in the pool naked as a blue jay. And the most wonderful thing happened: I broke out the sunscreen for her, and she smelled like summer for the rest of the day. After her nap and my bike ride, our neighbors brought their nephew over for round two in the pool and ham and crackers in front of youtube animal videos.

I just... It was lovely. Lovely weather, lovely time with Alexandra, loveliness all around. And to top it off, this happened:

Did I tell you that today was blissed out?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday Workout!

Sorry I missed a WW last week, I was still high off the triathlon and then did that kickass barbell class that I am going to do tonight. But just because I have a new obsession at the gym doesn't mean I shouldn't post workouts I've done for your enjoyment. So here goes!

(10) Dive bomber Push-ups
(10) Scissor Leg Lifts (10 on each side)
(10) Dancing Crabs (the second version shown in the video, not the sissy ass first version)
(10) Rows with Dumbells
(60 seconds) Flat Horse stance

Repeat those sets three times, and then rejoice that you are finished.

Feel the burn!

Did I just say feel the burn?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The #*%&$ Who Screamed At Me.

I biked to the gym last Wednesday to do a barbell class, which was so rad I can't even explain it to you, except for the fact that I was sore until yesterday. Seriously. It was so amazing. I am going to go tomorrow, too.

Anyways, the important thing for this story is that I biked there. It was a 5:30pm class, lasting an hour, and the second I staggered out of the gym, I realized I was losing daylight fast. So when I came to a super busy road while on my safe little sidestreet, it became apparent that waiting to cross would mean I'd eventually be biking in the dark, and as a person whose bike doesn't have any lights, and as a person dressed in gray, the exact color of both the twilight sky and the asphalt below, that wouldn't be a good thing.

So I pedaled down the busy road to then hook a right and travel down the even busier, bigger road, aptly titled Speedway. I was hauling some pretty decent ass, at least for someone who had just taken a barbell class for the first time in their life.

A few weeks before the triathlon I finally got out to do some street biking, to overcome my fear of riding with cars. And I'm glad I did. It's been about 20 years since I last rode on major roads (I had been riding with my dad back when I was like 12), and come on, man, cars totally kick ass when it's car vs. bike. But I wasn't too worried; I was focused more on beating nightfall than worrying about cars. Which now that I type it, sounds totally stupid.

Anyways, about two major intersections away from my turn off, I'm in the zone, pedal-pedal-pedal, when some stupid bitch SCREAMS bloody murder right as they zoom past me. How mean, how absolutely cruel, right? The rudest. Not so much. It made me jump, that's for sure, but I had a good grip on my handlebars and didn't so much as swerve. I kept my eyes focused ahead and I saw the car whose passenger had shrieked at me.

And here is where it gets worse: that horrible person turned around in her seat to see if I had fallen. On a busy road, three lanes going each way, she was hoping she had scared me enough to make me fall off my bike. I was so incredibly angry. Todd later reminded me that had I fallen, I could have fallen into traffic and been run over by a car. And while I was wearing a bike helmet, I don't know if that would have made much difference.

After she had turned to check on me, the car took an abrupt right turn off the road. I had sort of been looking forward to passing them during a red light, but now I was terrified they were waiting for me in the parking lot or something. Luckily they weren't, and I got home not only without additional incident, I also got there with sufficient light, although it was very close to nightfall.

It just makes me wonder about people. It makes me absolutely angry, and offended and more than a little scared for how monsters like that woman will treat my daughter and future children. Who does that? Who hopes to cause an accident on a busy road for some innocent, unsuspecting bicycler? Who has such little regard for others?

I can take the high road and hope she has remorse for it at a later date, or to thank God that I'm not someone low like her but I gotta be honest, a small, dark, vindictive part of me hopes they got a speeding ticket or the shit beat out of them or something. I realize this in some way lowers me to her level, but that's the honest truth.

I wonder too if listening to my ipod would have made a difference; would it have drowned out her scream, rendering her attempt even more impotent than it actually had been? I figured that riding on a busy street would require full attention. And I always thought constantly wearing earbuds and drowning out the world removed you from it in some way, cocooning you from interaction with others, in a negative way.

Now I am realizing that self inflicted isolation from this world can be a safety precaution, and that makes me sad.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I love shutters

Ok, so I know there's all this talk about the zombie apocalypse due to some pretty gnarly side effects of using fucking BATH SALTS as drugs. But that's not what kept me up Monday night for a sadly large chunk of time, freaking out over whether or not zombies are coming.

I posted awhile back about that zombie show The Walking Dead, and in that post I mentioned, perhaps braggingly so, that it hadn't even given me nightmares.

Well, it hasn't, not really, but it makes me so jumpy when I'm lying in bed and can't quiiiite get into the sleepy state. Then I think about zombies eating a horse or zombie kids or being stuck in the house, fearful for the lives of my baby, husband and me. And then my eyes fly open, and I panic. How will we get food? Shell is real close but it's on a corner of two busy streets, there will be so many zombies out there. Will the dog have to shit in the house? Our backyard is fenced, and the zombies in The Walking Dead are nice and slow and can't figure shit out, but in 28 Days Later? In the words of Bridget Jones: Fuuuuuuuuuuck because those zombies run faster than I do towards a bowl of pasta and a glass of red wine.

Which brings me to the subject of this post: shutters. More specifically, our fabulous, super rad, rolling shutters. When those bad boys are down, the house looks like a fall out shelter, which makes me so, so happy. One night, lying in bed, I was talking zombies with Todd -- mind you we haven't watched an episode of TWD in months. Like, months and months -- and I told him that I really wished we had shutters over the door. But those would be electronic ones and I guess since the backdoor slider's shutter once got stuck and needed repairing, it could also be a dealth trap BUT STILL. When your house can go into post-apocalyptic shut down mode, all of a sudden two securty gates and a shitload of locks seems like child's play.

I've talked with my dad about sleeping up at his, my mom's and stepdad's place (yeah you read that righit), but the windows are so big and so unguarded. There are acres of quiet, dark desert all around them, there is no big smelly German shepherd protecting them, and did I mention there are no rolling shutters up there?!?! I was a basket case at the very idea.

I love my shutters and I highly recommend them to anyone, but specifically to parents. There are a few current situations in our country right now of children being abducted from their beds. Regardless of the parents' potential involvement, for a child to be snatched from her bed... That is just unimaginable. That is torturous fear. Soon after one of the cases came to light, my father called me and asked if I was ok. I said yes, of course, it's a tragedy but why would I be freaking out? And he kind of brought up that anxiety I had had, and I said "Oh! Dad, you're forgetting: ROLLING SHUTTERS."

So last night, I was somewhat content; if we woke the next day to a desolate landscape marked with the shuffling, dead-eyed walkers, well hey! We have our shutters! Although a few times we've forgotten to close the shutter's in Alex's room 100% of the way, and she's woken at like 7am to the sunlight sifting in through the cracks. By the way, that's another added bonuse: that baby sleeps like a champion  in her dark, cool, zombie-free safe room.

Anyways, since we've sometimes flubbed with the shutters in her room, I freaked out AGAIN and, at around 12:30am, I shook my husband awake to ask, beg, PLEAD WITH HIM: "Are Bug's shutters all the way down? ARE THEY?" in a panicked stage whisper. He assured me he'd checked them three times before we said night night. There's a difference between checking shutters to ensure against attacks by zombies and checking shutters to ensure a longer night's sleep, but I guess many parents would tell you that the severity of the situation is pretty even.