Just Heather

Rachael and I met up with Ang for dinner Wednesday night. They graciously agreed to eat at Texas Roadhouse so baby could have her cheese fries (which, by the way, he finished off as soon as I got home!)

I never gave a lot of thought to meeting people you “met” online before except in making fun of my mother-in-law’s ex-husband #5. There is just something about blogs that is different. Sure, they are highly edited—few people reveal everything. But the snippets you do get are very real. I said last year when I met Rachael that she is exactly what I pictured. Ang, also, is exactly who I thought she would be. It didn’t at all feel like meeting someone new. It just felt like joining friends for dinner. Which, I guess, is exactly what it was.

Yesterday I managed to “sleep in” a bit. I got up at 8:15. This is the exact same time I always get up, but usually the last hour consists of my lying in bed with my eyes squeezed shut trying desperately to ignore the pitter patter of little feet as they fly between bedrooms. I get the occasional burst-in of “Are you awake yet?” (NO!) and “Whachu dooning?” (Mommy’s still sleeping!)

On this day, the girls didn’t wake up until just after 8. It is amazing how refreshing and rejuvenating 1 extra hour can truly be—especially coming on the tail end of a kid-free weekend. It didn’t stop me from being flat out exhausted by noon, but it was nice nonetheless. At least someone else now knows just how exhausting my everyday life is.

A few Lexie quotes from the girls’ return after their 2-day visit:

  • I can’t believe how tired I am.
  • Do you know how early they got up?
  • I didn’t have a minute to myself all weekend.
  • I don’t even think I showered while they were there.

Welcome to my life!

Conversation with my little sister, Lexie, who is taking my girls for the weekend—for the first time ever, I might add:

Me: You aren’t planning to take the girls to the dress shop with you, are you?
Her: Yes.
Me: Do you want me to come with you?
Her: No, why?
Me: Have you met my kids?
Her: It’s only going to take a minute.
Me: Yes, a minute—with you stuck in one place surround by pins while my girls run wild around a bridal shop.
Her: They won’t be running wild. They’ll be sitting still behaving.
Me: uncontrollable laughing
Her: What?!
Me: more giggling wildly Have you met my children?
Her: They’ll be good—that’s how they get to eat McDonald’s.
Me: Okay, maybe you’re learning this mom thing.
Her: I had a plan! Don’t make me look like an idiot.

I’m not much of a cook—wait, that’s not quite accurate. I cook all the time, but I’m not so big on “from scratch” cooking. My motto has always been “If you make it at home, it’s homemade.” My home-baked goodies are courtesy of Pillsbury and Betty Crocker. I do tend to use a lot of fresh meat and veggies in my meals, but I cook nothing elaborate. As a result, it is very easy to get stuck in a rut, cooking the same meals week after week. I’m not an adventurous eater, but I’ve been trying to branch out a bit.

Chelle posted an easy Egg Muffin Sandwich recipe the other day. She, of course, made her English muffins from scratch. When I decided to try it for Spencer—who stops at McD’s for an egg mcmuffin every single time we’re awake early enough—I bought a package instead. I had fully intended to use her recipe—really, I did—but the sale price on the packaged goods called out to me louder than the full price on the yeast I needed for the homemade variety. I think they turned out decent, though I don’t do eggs so I wouldn’t know personally. My big clue is he’s been taking them to work for breakfast every morning and not heading straight for the fridge when he gets home.

As for dinner, I’ve become rather addicted to All Recipes in the last few months. Did you know you could search solely in the “Quick and Easy” category? I picked up on that real fast. You can also search by ingredient if you have something you want to use up before it expires. Last night, I fixed Chicken and Dumplings. I’ve never made them before since dumplings require actual work so when I found this recipe that called for my favorite doughboy I just had to try it. Of course, I didn’t have any of the actual ingredients listed. I’m famous for substitutions (yet another great feature of AllRecipes.com).

Instead, I made a close facsimile with what I had on hand:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • salt and pepper (I had this one!)
  • 1 11-oz package of refrigerated breadsticks

The breadsticks took longer to cook than the biscuits would have, but I liked the way it turned out. In fact, I’ll be having the last bowl for lunch. Poor Spencer is stuck with a turkey sandwich for about the gazillionth workday in a row. I’m working on a solution for that one, though with the fresh lettuce from our garden he doesn’t seem to mind too much.

I buy fresh fruit constantly. My girls love it, as does Spencer when he remembers to actually eat it. Next to diapers, it’s probably my biggest grocery expense. I have my limitations though—I still won’t buy it unless it’s on sale.

We will sometimes have apples and oranges, sometimes bananas and strawberries, but there is always fresh fruit on hand. This week I hit the motherload—apples, peaches, strawberries, grapes, and blueberries were all on sale. I stocked up, thinking I’d be tossing fruit by Saturday. It’s nearly gone and we’re not even halfway through the week. These people are insatiable!

I’m not complaining—well, too much anyway. At least it’s healthy and not bogged down with sugar. Sugar is something my kids just can’t handle. They don completely different personalities and become these monster children I can’t believe I spawned. Fruit is sweet—but not too sweet. It’s good for you—but not so good that it’s really a vegetable. And it’s something the whole family really enjoys.

Now if only they’d let me eat some now and then. That’s what I get for being so picky as to demand clean food—there’s probably an entire bowl of fruit salad littering my kitchen floor.

I completely devoured 2 books this weekend—neither of which was the book the entire rest of the country devoured. I’m on my library’s waiting list for that one. They’ve got 10 copies and I’m 19 on a list of 30 or 40. If I don’t have it by next weekend I’ll pilfer a copy from one of my sisters. (BTW, sis…if you still have the 5 books you borrowed from me last year, I’m really tired of watching the others tip over in their empty space.)

For now, I read the first two books in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (the third is also on reserve). Teenage chic lit, sure, but I actually enjoyed them. I think she very accurately captures the kinship and emotions of teenage girls. I wanted to read this series for two reasons.

  1. My sisters have been after me to read them for months. I sometimes feel so disconnected from them—being 7 and 11 years older, and hours away—that I tend to grasp at things we can share. Books and movies are a big one.
  2. I wanted to see the movie, though my sisters didn’t wait for me to catch up. I have this thing about reading the book first when a movie has been made from it. The catch is, if I have read the book I usually end up hating the movie. It never turns out quite like I pictured it in my head.

For such tiny things, babies sure need a lot of stuff! When I first found out I was pregnant, I made about 10 different lists—stuff we need, stuff I want, things to do right away, things to do before she’s born, and on and on. I’m a list maker. Spencer’s a list follower, which works out well. The big list of Stuff We Need was rather large and expensive. It included all required baby paraphernalia (Brenia used a lot of Stacia’s old things and they were not looking fit enough to last a third child) and a van. Yes, that’s right, I’m joining the club.

I think I’m the last mom in the county who does not drive a mini-van or suv. I resisted for so many years. Alas, it seems resistance truly is futile. State law still requires Stacia to be in a booster seat and no way are 3 carseats fitting in the rear of my Cavalier. Rommie’s cute, but she’s not so big. Here’s the one I’ve picked out. Saturns make me feel safe, plus this one comes with a DVD player standard! They call it a Family Utility Vehicle so I can still cling to the hope that I will not, in fact, own a mini-van. I’ll call her Serenity. He’ll call her our FU Van. Either way she’ll be large enough to hold all those kids, and the stuff that comes with them.

It’s really too bad we hadn’t already bought one, though Spencer is holding out for the ’06 model that comes with an iPod line-in for the stereo. We sure could have used it on my Toys R Us shopping spree! I had heard of some great clearance baby deals that coupled with some in-store coupons meant huge savings. Some people actually managed to get highchairs and travel systems for free. Since I was, of course, still asleep when the store opened I wasn’t quite that lucky. I did manage to find a few much needed items for a much smaller than budgeted price.

We are now the proud owners of this highchair, travel crib, carseat/stroller system, and bouncing seat all for the bargain price of $200, which I’d like to point out to you is less than the original price on the carseat system alone. Shopping is fun! Of course, there is still a lot on our list of baby needs, but this helps a lot and gives us more budget room for the smaller things. Is it bad that my list for #3 is longer than my cousin’s list for their first? I’m sure it’s just because she doesn’t fully grasp the concept of how much crap these little things need!

I set the crib up that night because it was the last one and had no box. I wanted to be sure everything was in working order. The kids were so excited. I took it back down and packed it away last night. All day, Brenia has asked “Where’s Rory’s bed?” Having baby stuff around makes it so much more real to a 2-year-old. I’m thinking we need to seriously get to work on that Stuff To Do Before Baby’s Born list. Having the room all setup and ready a month or so early would really help with the adjustment. She’s such a routine child. When something changes, it takes her weeks to get settled—which unsettles the whole household. It will be unsettling enough to suddenly have more kids than I have hands. Anything we can do to speed up her adjustment process ranks high on my list of priorities.

All day yesterday I couldn’t remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday. Imagine my surprise to wake up this morning and discover it was still Tuesday. The slow moving week has made me realize something, though—school starts in only 37 days! I really think it’s the constant bickering that makes the days drag on. I honestly can’t wait to separate them again. I would never have thought with such an age difference, that they would fight like cats and dogs, but you’ll see I mean that literally from one of yesterday’s “conversations”:

Stacia: (singing) I know you; I walked with you once upon a dream. (repeat. over and over again.)
Brenia: Stop singing that song!
Stacia:: (singing)I know you; I walked with you once upon a dream.
Brenia: Stop it! Hssss!
Stacia: Grrr.