Friday, December 23, 2011

Holy Woowza

Man, talk about some serious traffic. I thought I'd address some comments made on here as well as on Facebook.

So first of all let me address the monetary stuff. Yeah I get paid, but I could die, the likelihood of that happening is slim, but it could happen, I could also loose my uterus, have a stroke, or a myriad of other pleasent things. Even if that doesn't happen, in a few months I won't be able to bend over to load the dishwasher, do laundry, or see my toes. Let's also take into account the physical toll this takes on my body as well as the emotional toll on my marriage, being pregnant has it's moments of greatness but it also has some seriously sucktastic stuff too. And then of course there is my $6 a day ice cream habit, that is still many months away, but it's coming. I also recognize that most of these are first world problems, so yeah I get compensated, but there is no way I could do it if it were for the money, it's not THAT much.


Now to the good stuff.

That is awesome - good for your friend! Is she planning on breastfeeding (well, pumping?) and donating that as well? Yes, I'm a saint, I know, I am hoping to be memorialized after this, whatevs, if you heard me cursing last night at my hen night you would definitely think differently. Back to the question at hand, the parents haven't made any ovation regarding breast milk. I nursed my son until he weaned himself, but for over half the time he was nursing I had to pump on one side, plus the parents live in another country, so I don't know if it would work.

Hmm this is Interesting...i am currently considering becoming a surrogate myself. Where did you get information about becoming one? Im looking at The Surrogacy Source right now. I am using the same company a friend of mine did when she donated her eggs. I will have to check with them to make sure it's OK for me to use the company's name, I'm sure it is, but it's Christmas and I don't want to get a lump of coal.
 

Do you plan to stay in touch with them after the baby is born? You should read the book THEN CAME YOU by Jennifer Weiner I just C&P'd weiner in my blog, I wonder how many great searches from 13 year old boys I'm going to get now. To the point, I don't know what will happen communication wise. It really depends on how our relationship develops. We may turn out to be great friends and I'm their new hag, and we're like BFF's 4 Life, or it may be that we exchange Christmas cards, school pictures and see each other during our travels. Who knows, but I can't wait to find out.

I'm SURE there is a musical somewhere featuring a mexican gay couple. There is not, I have checked.

So, not much is going to happen in the next 10-14 days, so please put this in your reader, but don't check every day with baited breath and be so disappointed when you don't see my lovely words typed perfectly with my amazingly painted grey nails. (Seriously though this nail polish is fabulous). If you choose to do so, have a Happy Christmas, if not have a great Sunday. 




-Mary-Tyler


 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Some BIG NEWS!

So I've taken a break from blogging because this thing is about to go into a whole new direction. John and I are going to be gestational surrogates for a family that can't have their own kids. OK, so are your jaws on the floor? I'll give you a minute......ready to move on?

John and I talked about doing this before Brooks was even a thought, but you have to have given birth to be a surrogate. Duh, oh naive one. Once Brooks turned one year we opened the door and reached out to an agency. After 5 months, we are ready to get knocked up. Here's the process so far.

Contact agency and fill out paperwork akin to getting top secret federal security clearance. This is of course necessary to make sure you are not a total weirdo. Then send all of your medical records from kindergarten through birth. Since I'm fat, I also had to do a glucose test. Once you pass all of this, you go for a medical and psychiatric evaluation, I was concerned about the medical eval, but my friends were apparently more concerned with my psych eval, I don't know how good these friends are when I think about it. Once I found out that I passed all of these, we were sent the profile of a couple, on paper they seemed great, so our profile was passed along to them. Then we met.

I can't even begin to tell you how awkward the meeting was. It was like a blind date and job interview at the same time. Have to figure out in an hour all the nitty gritty of what we both expect during this journey, as well as legal stuff, and then of course are we even going to get along. Fortunately, we seemed to get along swimmingly. After the formal meeting we went to a coffee shop and talked about our family lives, careers, and other bullshit fill in the blank stuff.

Before chronicling any of this I wanted to make sure it was OK with the parents first, but I am going to give them pseudonyms, something cool like spy names like Boris and Sebastian, but maybe that's just pretentious, but we'll go with musical names since that's more true to my form,  they will be referred to as Kander & Ebb (totally a musical theater geeky reference).

A few last things, this child will not be genetically mine or John's. They will be using an egg donor and one of their sperm will be used to fertilize. I'm just the oven, the vessel to grow the babe. I've been asked how am I going to be able to hand over the baby? That's easy, it's not my baby, again, I'm the vessel, the oven only. I'm excited to go through pregnancy again, and help out a family that can't conceive on their own.


OK back to convalescing, I have strep throat and Brooks has an ear and throat infection. I'll keep ya'll posted on details.







Monday, November 14, 2011

The Great Noonie Caper

First and foremost, a noonie (noon ee) is the name for Brooks' pacifier. So get your head out of the gutter this has nothing to do with boobs.


The caper was quick, well as quick as toddlers can move, and started so innocently with kids banging on the sliding glass door. Then the culprit swiped Brooks' noonie and ran as quick as her little legs would go. Upon reaching the precipitous of the step up into the dining room, the culprit had to actually crawl to the top. The victim was hot on her heels, fussing the whole way, that is until she required assistance, there was a pause of game until she regained her footing. Once she was up, the chase and fussing were back on. The culprit toddled all the way across the house and only slowed once she came up on the rocking house, she mounted her steed to make a speedy get away when the victim finally caught up to her, he was able to retrieve the stolen noonie. He promptly placed the noonie in his mouth and the fussing ceased. The culprit was last seen giggling her way into the sunset.

We miss Miss K and I think she enjoys teasing Brooks.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cleaning + toddler = not fun

We make almost all of our cleaning products except for the bathroom, I use heavy duty stinky awful chemicals in there. So I like to clean it while Brooks is downstairs or sleeping, this way I can have the fan on and then let it air out before he is exposed to it. Today I did not have this luxury since John wasn't home and The Dude decided that sleeping was for babies. After trying unsuccessfully to put him down for a nap twice I threw caution to the wind and decided to clean.

Thinking to myself, "OK, I can handle this", I'll open his room, we just brought a bouncy horse up this morning, he'll be SO enthralled by that thing that I'll be able to spray, scrub and aerate before he notices that I'm not in his room. Why oh why do I dream up such fantasies, I'm always disappointed. This is how it all went down.

Read a few books with Brooks in his room so he knows (yeah right) that this is play or quiet time not sleep time, because every 16 month old is this rational, right? As expected after reading he goes over and jumps on his horse and shows me how it bounces, makes noise and spins. Great, plan is working! I slip out and next door into the bathroom, grab spray, sponge and go to work. All of a sudden, *thud thud thud*, the sound of 21 pounds of toddler coming into the room. OK, not time to lose it, he's not interested in me and my toxins. Then I feel tiny hands beating on my back followed by hysterical laughter. Time to re appropriate toddler, back to his room, "look how pretty the zebra is, can you show me how to jump on it?" This works he goes to town bouncing like, well a toddler. I run back to the bathroom and no sooner do I kneel to start scrubbing then I feel his tiny little hands again. *sigh* So maybe if I scrub really fast it will be better, the fan is on, the door is open...oh until the toddler decides that an open door is not a good idea. Next 10 minutes was spent getting up and opening the door, running over and scrubbing some, getting back up and opening the door, all the while trying to distract the Dude from the poisons I'm using to clean. I'm throwing toys at him, not literally at him, but in his general direction, tossing them out into the hall so he'll run after them, all of this isn't working. Instead of taking my normal 15-30 minutes to clean the bathroom, today's clean clocked in at 1 hour and 20 minutes. I should be grateful that it's clean (ish) and he didn't inhale or eat too many chemicals. Small victories right?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I want to hate her, but can't

Michelle Duggar, that is. I really want to not like the woman, but so far I just disagree with some of her decisions, BUT she seems like a really good mom. The kids seem to be as well adjusted, well as well adjusted as sheltered kids can be.
I don't understand why so many people are up in arms about how many kids the woman has. She's not even close to the Russian woman who had 69 kids and never a single birth. Talk about some stretch marks and lack of elasticity. Of course the Russian woman was a peasant and it was 1725, I bet they could share the same wardrobe.
Oh well, good luck Michelle, may the doctor's have steady small hands.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Installment #5 - Gluten Free Edition

When I was breast feeding Brooks had a gluten intolerance, so I had to eat gluten and dairy free. I learned to cook and of course bake gluten free. It's really hard to find gluten free recipes that don't have 50 million ingredients so it makes everything cost 100 million dollars. This recipe is affordable, albeit more than "traditional" baking and EASY!!!!! There was no difference in texture or taste, and approved at a party this weekend, by glutenites and glutenless alike.

Gluten Free Fried Apple Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups gluten free baking flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup + 1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder (notice this is NOT baking soda)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup butter (room temperature NOT melted)
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon applesauce
1 egg

Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix sugar, milk and applesauce. Using a mixer slowly add dry ingredients, once incorporated add egg. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes scraping sides once or twice.

If you look at the "regular" recipe, there is not a big difference, which also means there isn't a big difference in the taste. I served these again with the maple frosting and it was VERY well received. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween 2011

What's the point of having a kid, if you can't dress them up in ridiculous costumes for Halloween, that is until they say "I want to be Batman" for the 3rd year in a row.

Add caption Last year, I stressed for the longest time about what Brooks would wear. One night I was lamenting that our son was going to be in an "ordinary" costume and I was such a failure since my mom always my brother and I awesome costumes, John suggested that he go as Hamlet. DONE! It was really funny, no sewing invovled except that I made him spats since he didn't have black shoes.


This year I thought I had the perfect costume Don Quixote, put a pinwheel on the dog and it would have been great. Then John, the theater designer suggested "American Gothic". We needed a female so I asked Miss K's mom and she LOVED it. I was able to borrow a jacket for Brooks, and cut off the color on a shirt for him so he would have a Mandarn collar. I quickly made Miss K's dress and apron, John made the back drop and we were nerdily ready.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Installation #4

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

Why chocolate chip cookies and not just chocolate chips you ask, because who doesn't love a chocolate chip cookie and who doesn't love a cupcake? If you answered "me" to either of these questions, please step away from the blog.

I made these using a mini muffin tin only, I tried them using a bigger one, but they were really rich and I didn't enjoy them as much, so please note that when making them. These are by FAR the easiest I have made.

The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

1 cup semi sweet Chocolate Chips
2 1/4 cup(s) unsifted flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1 cup(s) (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup(s) sugar
3/4 cup(s) packed brown sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoon(s) vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup(s) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and line mini muffin tins.

As with all of my recipes please make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature. I used a stand mixer for these with the paddle attachment. Mix flour, and baking soda in a bowl. Cream butter on medium speed add sugars and blend till fully incorporated, add eggs one at a time until full incorporated, scrape down bowl if needed (it will be needed so just do it). Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the flour mixture, once it's all in you'll probably need to scrape down the sides of the bowl again, on slow speed add vanilla and milk. Once you have everything in and blended add the chocolate chips. Mix on medium speed for just a few seconds until everything is good and mixed in.

Fill muffin tins and bake for 10-15 minutes, which means I baked mine for 13 minutes and they were perfect, but who puts 13 minutes in a recipe? Let them sit in the tins for a bit before placing on a rack to cool. I couldn't wait for the rack and stuck mine in the freezer, but you didn't hear that from me.

Icing

1 stick room temperature butter
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Again using my trusty stand mixer I whipped the heck out of the butter, put the stick in the bowl, walked the dial up to high and let it run for 3 minutes before adding anything. Once the butter had lots of air, I started adding the sugar in 2/3 cup increments, of course use low to start and walk it up to high, I let it whip on high for 1 minute between installments. I know this takes forever, but it's so amazingly awesome that it is worth the extra time, I SWEAR!!!! This recipe makes a bajillion, so you may want to half it the first time, unless you are having a bajillion people over, in which case, this is the way to go!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

I am gifted at finding the hardest way.

Since shopping is one of my most favorite activities ever I love sharing this with my son. Of course instead of popping into a store I now plan on an hour at an store. With this in mind, I usually do my shopping online and then go into the store to pick it up. This is not always the case, but especially so with electronics.

Brooks needed a white noise machine, all summer he had his air conditioner, but since we have a freeze warning tonight we knew that last week we had to make a change. I researched online first and found nothing that I liked, so I decided to get a docking station for my old iPod. Everything I was finding had better sound quality than I needed, which is my polite way of saying I couldn't find anything cheap.

Finally I found an am/fm radio with a docking station and crap speakers, oh well only $30 we're running with it. Then I have to find the right white noise to download to the iPod, we're not talking brain surgery people just static, but I made it as complicated as possible. I listened to different types of static for over an hour before I decided on one and then downloaded it. Then I couldn't get it onto the iPod, so I spent another hour trying to figure that out. Finally John stopped the madness and said that we needed to put the kid to bed.

We take the new long sought after radio upstairs and get it setup, then John and I argue over what will play on it, I am insisting that a lullaby will be fine and John disagreeing. I turn the radio on and it defaults to an AM station which wasn't coming through, the only thing coming through was static, lush mind numbing static. The HOURS I spent researching everything and downloading and trying to get everything to work for free AM station not coming in. When am I going to learn that sometimes the easiest way is the best way?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Advantage of our little city

Our little city had a Halloween parade and we totally forgot. We were coming home from dinner when we saw people all over the main drag. Since we didn't have enough time to get down to the parade AND change Brooks we decided to just go. Of course we were asked what his costume was, so we went with gay sailor. He was already dressed for the part, we of course just put a hat on the dog, and we were set.





Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Installation # 3 - Wednesday Edition

Pumpkin cupcakes with Salted Caramel Icing

While looking for pumpkin cupcakes I came across this recipe. I tried to tweak it, make it my own and nothing helped, the recipe is PERFECT. I recommend you follow it to a tea and make no changes or alterations.

Then top it with the salted caramel frosting and you will die. Like heaven in a paper wrapper. This is the most requested frosting I've ever made.

Salted Caramel Frosting

Step One
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoon course sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
To make the caramel use a regular non coated saucepan, do NOT use a non stick pan. Make sure you have the half and half and butter premeasured and ready to go. Add sugar and water into saucepan over medium high heat. Stir occasionally while the sugar melts, once it melts keep stirring until the sugar boils. It should turn an amber color, but be careful and don't let it get too dark. Just so you know mine never boiled, and turned out fine. Once the color is right or boils remove from heat and add half and half and cream and whisk vigorously and immediately, but also stand back the sugar is going to bubble and steam. Whisk until everything is incorporated and you have a nice syruppy mixture. If you have any hard clumps return the pan to a low heat and continue to whisk while breaking them up (um, yeah every time for me!) This usually takes between 5-7 minutes. Once you have the right consistency add salt and stir. Allow caramel to cool to room temperature, do not put it in the fridge unless you plan on thawing it out later, which is a total pain in the ass.

Step Two

Take the 1/2 cup of butter and put in electric mixer and whip for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cups confectioners sugar, incorporate and then whip for 1 minute, add caramel, mix until incorporated. Add last 2/3 cups confectioners sugar, again, mix until incorporated then whip for 3 minutes. Then slather all over everything! Not only are the amazeballs on the pumpkin cupcakes, but they are beyond sinful on last weeks fried apple ones. Everyone will want to know when you became awesome, seriously they are asking me this, should I be offended?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Uppy and Hiya

He's talking!!!! OMG, now I know he'll never stop, but today I'm OK I'm over the moon. He's been saying "Erica", who is our next door neighbor for about 3 months, but I can never get a video. Now we have videographic evidence that my son can say, "Puppy" and "Hiya". Yeah I know puppy sounds like Uppy, but it's beyond cute.


video


video

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peer Presurre - The Toddler Years

Brooks was really crabby the past few days, like really crabby, like full out temper tantrums at the drop of hat. The first few were funny, but hearing him scream at the drop of a hat gets really old really quickly. He was wearing on me, I was almost to the point of a crying tantrum myself. I sent an email to my friends to see who was available and to rally the troops. I needed back up.

Amanda emailed and asked if we wanted to take a walk around town, YES! Brooks threw a tantrum getting into his stroller, fun times. Finally he fell asleep on the walk, I was so grateful for a little Brooks silence. We walked all over our little town and worked up an appetite. Brooks was still asleep when we went to one of my favorite restaurants. He woke up right as our food arrived and I was dreading another tantrum. I knew he would be hungry and might not want to eat what I had gotten.

Then it happened, he wanted everything Amanda's son Gavin was eating, including a carrot. The kid eat an entire baby carrot. WHAT!?!?! He was perky, in a good mood, blowing kisses to everyone and smiling ear to ear, just like Gavin (sans blowing kisses). But lightening doesn't strike twice, or does it....

A few hours later my friend Eva came by with Aedlin, after playing for a bit the kids were both hungry. I mentally prepare for the food struggle. He goes into his high chair and John pulls out peas, black beans and corn, he's not interested in any of it, that is until Aedlin starts grabbing for it, then he wants it all. The man is a pea eating machine, shoveling black beans into his mouth like the starving man he is not. He had a charcoal like residue on his face the rest of the evening.

Today without any of his friends, he was back to his new normal, total food refusal, with the exception of Chick fil A nuggets, pizza (how I'm hiding veggies), and french fries. *sigh* at least he's cute.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Installation #1


Yes, I know this is a stupid title, but I couldn't think of anything better. If you have a better title, let me know. John thinks that these are the best cupcakes he's ever eaten and the friends that have tried them agree. No for the deliciousness..........

Spice cupcake filled with fried apples and topped with a maple butter cream

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 1 teaspoon white sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup butter (room temperature NOT melted)
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cups applesauce
1 egg

Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix sugar, milk and applesauce. Using a mixer slowly add dry ingredients, once incorporated add egg. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes scraping sides once or twice.

Fried Apples

1 granny smith apple
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Core the apple and cut into even SMALL pieces. Put all ingredients into a frying pan on medium heat cook, stirring occasionally, cook until apples are soft, but not mushy. Usually about 5 minutes, but this will depend on how big or small you cut them. Use a fork, they shouldn't break and should be a little crunchy in the middle.

Cooking and assembly instructions

Preheat oven to 350F
Line or grease 12 muffin cups
Using a mini ice cream scoop, place two scoops in each cup
evenly distribute fried apples into each cup
put one more scoop in each cup

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean
Allow to cool completely

Maple Frosting

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter (softened)
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 Tablespoons milk
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar

Using a mixer with the whisk attachment whisk butter on high for 3 minutes, add 2/3 cups confectioners sugar, slowly mix until incorporated then whip on high for 1 minute, add syrup, milk, extract and mix, scrape sides of the bowl, add last part of sugar and mix to incorporate, then whip on high for 3 minutes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sick Days

Brooks started getting sick while I was at a wedding on Saturday evening. Fortunately my parents were here with him and John got home earlier than expected around 8pm. The dude was so pitiful, all congested and coughing these old man coughs, so not cool.

I looked up his symptoms on Dr. Google and concluded that he had croup. A virus that just needed to go through him and we just needed to wait out, but he started getting worse and John was coming down with it. Off to the hippie doctor we go just to rule out pneumonia.

An hour before his appointment he was in his car seat asleep and started coughing, he couldn't get a deep enough breath to cough. I panicked, if you know me especially when it comes to him I don't panic. If I paniced with him everytime there was cause I would have had a heart attack by now. So this was my time, I was due. We had just arrived at John's school and I scooped him up and we went straight to a shower. Once the steam from the shower started going and he started walking the congestion cleared up a LOT and he was able to breathe deeply again. I can't imagine having to go through what parents with special needs children go through on a daily basis. To listen to your little one in distress regularly is beyond comprehension.

By Tuesday John was fully in the throws of the illness and since he had worked a bunch of extra hours he decided to close down the shop at school and take off the rest of the week. Wednesday and Thursday turned into recuperating days. We unfolded the sofa into a bed in the living room and camped out there. All three of us, resting and relaxing, catching up on reading and TV. It was glorious and I was convinced that it helped me stave off this plague, then I woke up this morning to a throat of razor blades. Oh well nice try, maybe next time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Granola

Let me start off by saying that I am not a food blogger, but if you know me, you know I love food and I really enjoy baking. I tried several recipes out first and combined about three and added my own stuff to make this. I had wanted to make something with pumpkin for a while, but not your everyday, run of the mill muffin or cupcake (although I did both of those). I had been looking for a while at making our own granola and weighing the cost benefit to just buying it. Cost wise, it's about the same, flavor wise I'm about to blow your mind!

Pumpkin Granola

5 cups rolled oats (not quick)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp pumpkin
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz dried cherries (standard size bag)
1/2 cup almonds

Preheat oven to 325F, line a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides) with parchment paper.

Mix the oats, and spices together in a large bowl. When you think your bowl is big enough get a bigger one. In a medium sized bowl wisk together brown sugar, honey, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla until fully blended. I used homemade applesauce so mine wasn't smooth, but if you are using store bought applesauce this should be a smooth mixture.

Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and fold to cover all the oats. Folding I found to be the best method, as you don't want to break up the oats. Once the oats are moist add cherries and give a few final turns.

While this is cooking you want to chop or slice your almonds. If you decide to chop them, this should be a very rough chop and the pieces rather large.

Spread mixture onto lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stir and bake for another 20 minutes. Once it's done add the almonds, and stir. Let cool on the baking sheet or put in an open container, but not one that is deep as you want the moisture to finish releasing.

So you aren't opening a can of pumpkin and having a bunch left over this recipe can be doubled and just use the entire can of pumpkin. But make sure you have a HUGE ASS bowl for the mixing.

When you're done, you get this....mmmmm....so good. Our house guest this week as asked for it several times. You can eat it as cereal with milk, or on top of yoghurt, I even put some into some pumpkin flavored pancakes for a little crunch. Store in an air tight container and enjoy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Meet Famous People


Wow! I can't believe it's already Monday. The end of last week feels like a blur. A friend of mine got married and we had all the wedding festivities to attend. When I say "we" I mean me, well me and my best friend from Paris. I got to see him three days in a row, spend copious hours chatting about everything under the sun, recreating my senior prom (he was my date), and barely wiping a smile from my face for a minute.

In all of these lovely festivities I got to meet cheftestant Jen Carrol from Bravos Top Chef season 6. One of the amazing parties was at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Philly where Eric Ripert's 10 Arts is housed, where Jen is the Chef de Cuisine. I was beyond excited to meet her, as I'm a big fan, but she's also leaving 10 Arts. I'm hoping she stays in the area so we'll be able to eat some of her deliciousness in the years to come.

She was so petite, not that I imagined her to be large, but much smaller than I pictured. She was also incredibly nice. She asked if I knew where I was going, (I didn't) and showed me to log of the evening's events and their locations. THEN she walked me to the elevators which are clear across the lobby. I was trying so hard not the be "THAT" person, but she was kind enough to stop for a picture too.

PS, if you follow me on twitter, you have seen this picture but check me out at blogfilledlife

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Do they have a support group for this?

So I think I have a problem, a shoe problem almost an addiction. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Before Brooks was a he, he was Cletus the genderless (to us) fetus. I always said that if I had a girl that I would dress her very gender neutral until she had an opinion on her clothes. Then I had a boy and had to buy clothes and shoes for him. I again said I didn't want color to really play into his wardrobe, which is pretty expensive for a newborn. Totally doable, but pricey. Then he became a toddler and the cut and the look of the clothes are more boyish no matter what the color. Two weeks ago at the library he was in a red and white striped romper and sandals and was called a girl by almost everyone. I don't care, really I don't. What I do care about are his shoes.

The boy has some shoes, and right now my favorite shoes are by a company out of Austria called Superfit. Through hand me downs and a gift he currently owns 3 pairs of their shoes and they are BEYOND awesome. They stay on his foot, have a nice supportive but flexible sole and come up a little on his ankle to give this new walker a little extra support. So when Brooks "needed" (I use that word very loosly since he currently has 5 pair in rotation) a pair of black shoes I went straight to them. It took me FOREVER to figure out the brand name, but that was my own damn fault. Once I got it though I was hot on their trail.

I looked all over the US and Canada for a dealer or distributor, none. OK, the website was coming up a little wonky so I emailed the company. I was told they didn't have any dealers or online sources over here, but they are all over Europe. SCORE!!! I have friends, including Brooks' god-father in Europe. I find the pair I'm looking for and then find the shop near my friend's house. This is all working out way too well, He's visiting this weekend for a wedding he can just bring them and then I don't have to pay shipping, this is Brilliant.

Apparently shops in Paris don't usually have websites, I'm not sure if this is commonplace in all of Europe, but that's how it is there. I track down the shop's number, look up a few vocabulary words to refresh my French and dial their number. The shop keeper was lovely, I told him I lived in the US and spoke a little French and that I could understand if he spoke slowly, which he did, not like I'm hard of hearing slowly, but like I don't really speak your language and I'm getting every third word kind of slowly. His shop carries, the brand, style and size for Brooks. Done and done. Email all the specifics to the friend and he will pick them up on Sunday.

Sunday rolls around and I get a call from my friend, the shoes which are 12,95€ on Amazon France are 60€ at the shop, that's around $80. That's way to steep for baby shoes, unless they are dipped in gold, but then they would be too heavy, so it's a lose lose. I tell him never mind and decide to order them from Amazon France. They won't ship to my house, but obviously they ship to my friend's. Order placed 15 minutes later, easy peasy. Until I wake up the next morning and there are two emails from Amazon France saying that the shoes are on back order and will be delayed by 4 days. This will not work at all, since that has them arriving right in the middle of my friend's visit to the US.

So back on the hunt for black shoes for my son that aren't sneakers, have a sole, but a flexible one, don't cost $80, stay on his foot and don't look stupid. He may not be wearing anything that doesn't coordinate with his brown shoe collection, until his god-father comes home for Christmas and brings the kid shoes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In-betweensy

What do you call your child when they are no longer technically an infant, but not into full toddler-dom? He's over a year, which qualifies him as a toddler, but he's still crawling like an infant, he's inbetween. What do you call him an todfant? Indler? Come up with a new word? But what word best describes a little dude/ette who isn't running around like a maniac but crawling around and getting into everything, the sweetest most adorable pain in the ass ever (I don't think this goes away).

It's the inbetweens that kill me. Right after he started rolling over and being less of a lump around 4 months, I was very cautious around him with the lump-esque babies. Now I have to be careful with him around other infants, ones that are mobile, but aren't running like him, or when he's around toddlers and older kids where he needs to be protected. Does this cycle ever end?

I feel like when he's 4 he can play with 8 year olds, he won't be at the same place emotionally or physically, but at least he'll be stretched by them in both areas. When's he's 8, he'll be able to play with 4 year olds, because he's going to be a very careful, thoughtful and conscientious, and think through everything before he acts. This happens right, because I care and because I put everything on the interweb, right?

Monday, September 19, 2011

I deserve Hazard Pay

It happened to my Dad last January, and me yesterday. We pulled our boob muscle, a.k.a. pectoral or pectoralis major which majorly sucks. My dad thought he was having a heart attack when he had his, now I know what it feels like, and it's awful. Why is this blog worthy? Because of the nature in which this injury occurred, reaching behind us to attend to Brooks while in the car.

Unfortunately this job (nor my father's as grand-parent) comes with workman's comp or hazard pay. We're going to have to remember this when it's time to renegotiate our contracts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Major Changes

Three weeks ago tomorrow our sweet Geraldine went to the big dog park in the sky. She was 15 and her health and quality of life had seriously deteriorated over the past year. She could no longer go down the stairs in the house, which meant she was relegated to the first floor. She also was getting sick at least once a week. There was a whole laundry list of issues some worse than others.

Neither John nor I had ever had to do this before. I drove down to his parent's house and his dad met me there. I dropped her off, kissed her good bye and left. He waited and brought her back to his house and buried her next to his dog and cat that had passed the year before. So we'll always be able to visit her, but I miss our sweet Jellybean.

The following week my parents met us in Annapolis for my birthday weekend, and to pick up Nanette. After getting back from the beach Nanette, bite Brooks and then bit me. If you know Nanette you know that she is "touched", she suffers from severe anxiety. Her anxiety had gotten so bad that we could up her meds one more level and that was it. My parents have been asking for her to come and stay with them for a while, and it just seemed like the right time. We are desperately hoping that our Princess will come home next fall, but I'm having my doubts.

She is living the sweet dog life. She goes grape picking with my dad, out to breakfast with him each morning, chinquapin hunting, sleeping at night in their room or lounging on the back of the couch. She might decide that she wants to stay at summer camp and not come back to boarding school. We are thrilled that our Princess is thriving, it's all we ever wanted.

So, in two weeks we went from 3 dogs, a cat and a baby, to 1 dog, a cat and a baby, it's still nutso here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Bitch that is Karma

You know how you pop by a friend’s house and it’s not spot on clean and it makes you feel like you’re a not a total failure. Then when you’re leaving your friend says, “oh would like a homemade banana muffin”, the equal playing field just got squashed, you totally just got trumped. Then the friend says, “oh and they don’t have sugar, but they do have dairy, is that OK for him?” Translation; “I know you feed your son those organic pouches, he must want something homemade.” This started out as a seemingly innocent comment, right? Then you remember that you invited this same friend like 4 times out to eat forgetting during each invitation that this friend was on an elimination diet and only eating green beans that month, and all she’s doing is sharing the fruits of her labor and love. I’m such a jack ass.

Before realizing my jack assiness I came home and made a bunch of homemade things, biscuits with broccoli and tomatoes and a little cheese, applesauce, and mixed veggies. I’m going a thousand miles a minute in the kitchen before I realize that I’m competing with my friend. She has no idea that this is going on though. It was all subconscious. Why do we do this, especially women, especially with another woman that I consider a close friend.

I slowed down and cleaned up my kitchen, competing and comparing myself the whole time to Zoila, I’m her biggest fan. Just then I caught a waft of the apples and cinnamon and was able to stop and smell the fruits of MY labors. I took a deep breath, slowed and sat down. My back was barking at me like a mad dog. I played a round of Angry Birds and collected myself. A few minutes later the oven beeped that the muffins were done, I took them out and put them in the fridge and went to bed.

Guess who didn’t like my muffins OR applesauce and ate another of my friend’s muffins? Can you say karma boys and girls?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Make sure things are multi-purpose

One thing I have learned in my 13 months of parenting is try and find as many uses for everything your child needs as possible. They out grow everything so quickly that the more uses it has the more valuable it is to you. Take for example Brooks' new potty. (Yes, we've decided to call it a potty since so many others do and when it is crunch time we don't want there to be confusion.)

First of all, I got him the potty because he has shown some interest in toilet learning, well at least interest in the toilet. We got one and we will place him on it daily just to show him how to use it. Well I guess Brooks has other ideas for the use of his toilet right now.....


step stool











toy carrier, yup his blocks are in there














and then he sat on it on his own volition

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

He's learning body part names

Brooks' friend Gabe has known where eyes, nose, mouths and ears are for months, he can show you on himself and you. I've been trying to teach Brooks these sames words for a while now and he hasn't gotten them down. I point to my nose and say "nose" and he open hand punches my nose, it has really put a damper on my desire to further this part of his education. But I am happy to report that the other night we discovered he has learned a body part name and will point to it when you say the word...his penis.

We always said we weren't going to make up names for genitalia before we had a baby. So the first time Brooks touched his penis we said, "that's your penis" just like we say "that's your nose" or "stop poking me in the eye". A few weeks ago, like many guys, he started making sure it was there during bath time. When he would do that, in a funny voice we would say penis, this voice made him smile, then laugh and then it became a game.

I am very proud of my son for learning the proper nomenclature for his appendages, or at least this one. I am more than grateful though that he hasn't figured out he can get to it while clothed, hopefully he won't read that here and get any ideas. Back to working on vocabulary, maybe tomorrow we'll work on something he can do in public.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Well, he's not a vampire

Brooks got another two teeth just 36 hours after popping another bottom tooth out. They are on the top and bicuspids #1, according to the dental charts that I scoured the Internet for. Seeing them come in before his canine teeth made me quite anxious. First, I knew that his chances of becoming the replacement for Robert Pattison in the remake of Twighlight in 18 years were over. Secondly what if there isn't enough room and the canines come in and then they can't finish coming in because there isn't enough room and his mouth is all jacked out and he's grumpier than he is now and I get less sleep than I am getting now and and and and and and.......This is when I hurried an email off to some friends. A few hours later I got a response, "Just asked my friend who teaches Dental hygiene at insert school dental school. She said there shouldn't be any spacing issues and kids don't need to go to the dentist till 3. Just do normal brushing routines and all should be fine." Phew, relief, now I can stop thinking in run on, stream of conscience sentences.

PS, can you imagine if I drank caffeine?

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Gift Guide of Sorts


So what do you get your husband's cousin, who is also an artist and lives in NYC and has everything she needs and wants, for her birthday a big one at that?

The best present money can't buy.







I labeled some of the
finer points of the picture too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vaction 2.0

Hope that my last post didn't make you think that I didn't have a good time after my last post, because I really had a nice time. So many people together allowed us to have 2 real dates and 3 kayaking dates. We had several trips to the beach, biking, kayaking, pool and lots of family time. Here's what we did.




Brooks got to meet Lowly and take him for a ride. Yeah we paid 3 quarters for this 30 second ride, not exaggerating.




We ate our favorite food, crabs, well Brooks didn't, but he has 11 more months to start liking it or he gets traded in.






Gave and got lots of smiles







Saw some beautiful sights, but worked for it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vacationing 101

Vacationing with your kid is so different, (duh…) but vacationing with your partner’s family AND your kid is a THOUSAND times different. There are so many dynamics involved more than just personalities.

First, their history, they have all the stories. Remember when Uncle Joe fished that pair of underpants from the pond? They all laugh and you’re sitting there going, “Is there a nail salon nearby? What’s for dinner?” oh, yeah funniest story ever, please tell it again. OK so it’s not really that bad, but you feel on the sidelines occasionally even after 5 years of marriage and 4 years of vacationing with his family.

Secondly, they have their traditions. How am I supposed to know that Mondays are pancake breakfast, Tuesday is shopping day, Wednesday is beach day, Thursday is pool day, etc.. One night eat out, then we take turns making dinners, then the last night take out.

You all get the point. There is no way to know this ahead of time either. You have your own traditions, desire to create new ones, and your way of doing things, until you get together with 5 other adults and a very opinionated 4 year old. How does one adjust to this? Roll with the punches, I guess. I say I guess since I have NO.FLUCKIN.CLUE. I tried to do my own thing, while being available, but I am completely unable to be this flexible no matter how hard I try.

This year I will practice more yoga to be more flexible for next year.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Griswold's Go to the Beach

Being married to a carpenter has it's advantages and disadvantages. If you've ever heard the expresion, "The cobbler's wife has no shoes", yeah that's pretty much us, except in all honesty I have some really nice shoes. John got a wild hair a few months ago and decided to build kayaks. He started in on the first one and asked a few days into it, it I would like it. I later found out that this was so he could iron out the mistakes on mine and his would be better looking. I don't care, I have a custom made kayak, no over head light or finished ceiling in my bedroom, but I am now the proud owner of a custom kayak. Open cockpit, light enough for me to carry alone, I get to name it (I think "Ship" is what I'm going with), and chose the color.

John finished up his kayak a week before we left for vacation, this past Saturday, he launched it on Thursday and was MORE than pleased with himself when it didn't take on water or sink. Now the dilemma, we don't have roof racks OR kayak holders. No problem for Mr. Crafty, a.k.a. John, he took 4 rachet straps and made roof racks by wrapping them through the inside of the car and over, then made the kayak holders out of wood and foam. While describing this to me I really thought that my husband was brillant, and was picturing a lower tech version of this. I had NO idea that what I was actually going to get was THIS!



















OK, not the end of the world, I mean after we all we are driving the beat up car and it's only a 2.5 hour drive. Pride swallowed.





Saturday morning we load up the car. We decided to take John's car since it has more trunk space and that is a high commodity when 3 adults and a cloth diapered baby are traveling in one vehicle on vacation for a week. Everything had to be done in a specific order, trunk loaded, kayaks loaded, then the bikes put on. Oh, did I mention that we decided to take our bikes? Two cross-over mountain bikes, WITH a baby seat attached. John's modelesque cousin models the beauty of the vehicle that will transport to a week at the beach.


Besides looking like idiots driving to the beach, there was a serious flaw in the plan; rain. The faux roof racks bent the rubber casing around the door and when it started raining the rain came in the car. It came in the door and ran down the ratchet straps and dripped all over us both. We grabbed napkins and tried to prevent any further dribbles to no avail, as they were saturated almost immediately. We pulled into a drugstore to buy some papertowels, while in there decided that something with some more absorbance might be better, bonus if it has adhesive, yup, maxi pads. They weren't pretty, but did the job. We went through 17 of them in 2 hours, but were nice and dry with a great story.




























Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Different Spin

I had a lovely post planned with pictures of the house and no mention of my child, then the Today Show blew it for everyone.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44104472#44104472

Starr Jones, I used to not hate you, but I might now. Who the hell do Savannah Guthrie and Starr Jones, think they are? The two without kids are against nursing in public, even saying that there needs to be modesty in public. Brooks never nursed with a cover over him, and he still doesn't. Doesn't mean the whole world has seen my nipples.

While we are winding down our nursing time together this shit just needs to stop being discussed. Like gay marriage and palazzo pants, nursing in public needs to be accepted by everyone.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

*Sigh*

My cousins went home today, booooo. They had been here since last Saturday and it was our 4th summer in a row for a nice long visit. Our visits started the first year with one little girl, the next year her sister came, now it has evolved into two young women (alright one is still really a girl) visiting.

We did some seriously touristy stuff, but also some off the beaten path activities. Zoo, Please Touch Museum, Art Museum (which I learned on this trip is really beyond fabulous and I can't wait to explore more), swimming, etc. I also took them to a breast feeding event called Latchon.org, they were SO good and helpful, I can't over state how helpful they both were.
Here is a list of things I will NOT be able to do once they are gone, (bonus points if you recognize the theme)

1) Pee in peace, one of them was always there to hold or entertain Brooks, so I could just pee by myself or without listening to him scream for me.

2) Not clean up dog pee. The dogs had their own personal assistant all week and she attends to their every need.

3) Not pee on myself, seriously for the first time in a long while, I was able to make it a whole week. I guess I should give myself a cookie like when my parents potty learned me. Hmmm....now I want a cookie

4) Get laundry done. Seriously, I vacuumed the laundry room floor, because all the laundry was done and not in piles all over my floor.

5) IBe subjected to shows that focus on the letter "I" in their title, if you watch NickJr, you know what I'm talking about. Seriously the letter must be like catnip for the tweens.

6) Look at every Selena Gomez hairdo for the past 6 years. Yeah the girl is gorgeous and has fabulous hair, but she probably has a hairdresser follow her all day. No one's hair looks that good all the time.

I'm going to miss my ladies. I always have a blast with them and I hope that they say the same about me. I wish I had a picture of us together, but I didn't think about taking one. Next year though when they are 10 & 12 and BOTH taller than me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A New Thing I Look Forward To

Until recently we didn't really have a bed time routine. Our kid always fell asleep really well on his own. Of course we had our ups and downs, but for the most part no biggie. He doesn't like "reading" or as we like to call it, Brooks tearing pages or throwing books. And music seems to actually keep him awake.

A few weeks ago before we knew that Brooks was teething again, I wrote to some friends and family to see if they had some sleeping tips/techniques. Almost all of the said the same thing, get a bed time routine. So we did.

8pm: bathtime
8:20: nurse and brush teeth
8:30: bedtime

Pretty simple, to the point and so far effective, except of course when he's teething. He still goes to sleep easily but doesn't stay down, oh well, one day he'll have all of his own teeth and then I'll have to pay for braces.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How I offended the Locals

The MODG, if you don't know her, she's kinda like The Oprah, or Jesus, only I don't call him The Jesus. Anywho, she reminded me of our local fair's baby pageant contest. As the daughter of a beauty Queen, I jumped on the opportunity to exploit show off my child.

It was hotter than a whore house on nickel night, in the bingo hall on the fairgrounds. We got there early to support The Modg and her son, G. After they were robbed by Mike Myers (actual participant's name), we sat around for 2 hours. Because apparently they don't know or I don't know how old my son is, (it's them). I figured since he is 12 months he would be in the 12 month catagory, but no, they put him in the 13-16 month catagory. WHAT!?!?! How the hell is supposed to compete with walkers? But I figured we had this in the bag, he's dressed in a gingham smocked romper with race cars, I coordinated in a white shirt with blue gingham pants. IN.THE.BAG. For good luck The MODG gave me her "My Kid is the Total Package" pin, I left it on the stroller as to not seem to cocky. (You know where this is going right?) Yeah we didn't even place.

Afterwards my friend, Jonathon and I started cussing like drunk sailors. The poor white haired woman next to us almost stroked. She had this horrified expression on her face. Her expression only made me laugh harder, which is what we were doing by this point.

I called my mother in the car and told her. We came to the conclusion that for Brooks to really contend we are going to need to get a pageant and talent coach, but the real reason we think he didn't win....his lack of hair. What do you think?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Supporting Our Community

The next town over has been having their firemen's fair this week and what a better way to end the week than with some yummy carnival food. Apparently I am WAY out of touch and figured that Brooks would be able to ride at least one of the rides with one of us, but he was a few inches too short. He doesn't know the difference, but I was looking forward to riding with him. Oh well next year.
After we made a turn around the whole place we decided on dinner, cheesesteak for me and Italian Sausage with all the trimmings for John. We were both in hog heaven with our yumminess.

Our bellies full, we trotted over to the pig, duck and goat races. John was disappointed that it wasn't an inter species race. It was still entertaining and Brooks seemed to enjoy it. Before we got there I felt a little bad for the animals begin cooped up and raced all day, but they all had really nice cages that we could see, which made me feel a lot better about the situation. I could get Brooks to say "suey, here piggy piggy pig" maybe next year.



After the races we were on our way to the waffles and ice cream stand (I know, HEAVEN!!!!!!) when the heavens opened and a deluge started, John husteled the baby to the car and I husteled to the waffle and ice cream stand. The stand had a little overhang where I got some refuge when the hail started, thankfully the hail didn't last long or was particularly long. I ran back to the car, not to save from getting wetter, I was soaked to the skin, but so my ice cream wouldn't melt in my waffle. I jumped in the car and handed the deliciousness to John while I toweled off. It was worth the drowned rat look and I would do it again in a heart beat.









Brooks on the other hand opted for post dinner peas, such a good dude.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

No Arguing He's My Kid

Besides being stubborn, and loud, he's also smiley and loves music. His personality is really starting to show through.


















And apparently he likes talking on the phone, OR he sees me doing this to me. I'm going with the fact that this is a natural, innate reaction.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Disposable Toddler Dishes?!?!?!

The hippy in me is totally against most things disposable. I mean how wasteful is that? Just don't be a lazy ass, take your shit home and wash it. Unless of course you are forgetful, an idiot, or overwhelmed like I frequently am. In the past week I have forgotten 2 sippy cups. You know like $5 each. Ugh I feel so stupid. So back to the store because The Dude will only drink out of straw cups, not any of the 5 other types that I still have at home. There they are staring at me mockingly, come one Mary-Tyler 5 cups and straws for $3, you know that this is a better deal and you are idioically going to lose them anyway so you might as well save the money now. I think I cried a little as I threw the package into my cart. One of the biggest problems I've had as a parent is balancing our "hippy" values with ease of use and practicality. I envy my friends who seem all together, have no plastic, homemade foods and snacks, never forget wipes or run out of diapers. I, unfortunately am not that person. I have come to the conclusion that I have made a disposable cup out of something that is not disposable, so I might as well save the money and not have my heart broken twice.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gratitude

It's the one part of my yoga practice that I always thought was silly, until recently. As I mentioned yesterday, in a very non-eloquent post, Brooks has not been himself recently. Some days he's his normal jovial self and others he is SO clingy and whiny. Even if we are playing on the floor and I sit up on the couch he looses it and doesn't want to play until I crawl back down, he gets snuggles and we can move on.

Because of this behavior I have been trying to keep him very busy with lots of different activities, the local children's museum, the pool, playgroups, parks, etc and whatever. I'm trying to wear him out socially, physically and mentally, so when it is time for bed he crashes. I try in desperation daily to minimize his tears but I feel that I have had more days like this








and fewer days like this







Then I hear about families like The Roth's (warning graphic and heart wrenching) in Ponchatoula, LA. Several of my friends down the Louisiana way informed me of this family and their plight. Their hourly struggles are more than I will go through in a year. And yet they persevere. They cherish every moment with their son, knowing that it could be the last.

Once hearing about Tripp, (also my brother's name) I really started to check myself daily. I have always cherished every kiss and cuddle, but it's harder when he's crying, or fussing. I have decided that everyday when my son isn't at his best I need to appreciate that he has the ability to express that and that I have the chance to hear or feel. No matter how trying a day we have I am grateful for every second I have my son. It is harder during the "tough" times to remember that, but as of late I have made that my priority. So unless I am getting ready to pee on myself (which we know happens), wreck the car, or burn down the house, I'm going to stop and give him an extra cuddle, because I can.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Inconsistancy

Brooks has another tooth. We had NO warning that he was getting this one. He started waking up in the middle of the night and was inconsolable. The best part, he crawls out of his room and down the hall towards our room and doesn't make a peep until he's at our doorstep. I wonder if he knows that we'll come in there and try and put him back in his room. Smart boy.

After two nights of staying awake for 2 hours trying to get him back to sleep, we decided to take two nights off of and when he wakes we've been bringing him back into bed with us. Two steps forward and 3 steps back. We are getting some pretty good snuggles in the mean time. Silver lining, huh?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Like Father Like Son

While I was showering today Brooks figured out how to crawl in AND out of the tub. No biggie since he was only in a diaper and cover. When I got out of the tub I stripped him down for a little naked time. After a few minutes we toddled over to the toilet, put his hand on the lid and peed on the side. It was SO funny, that I didn't mind that there was pee all over the floor.

Monday, July 11, 2011

First Birthday - Food Edition

Well, it's over. I'm calling it a smashing success. It was chill, the food was good, (mmm Qdoba), but most importantly it was filled with love. About 40 people came, mostly locals, but John's family came up from all over Maryland.

Firstly, I hope that Brooks has fond memories of his party since he won't have another till he's 16 or we uber wealthy and can hire people for everything. We did have the food catered, which, by far was the smartest decision EVER. I love Qdoba, and for a casual event they rocked our socks. I did make all of the ice cream for the sundae bar and the cupcakes. I got a little over zealous with the cupcakes and made 70, thankfully I begged employed my mom to do the icing and I had cupcake toppers which made the decorations minimal, which was another fantastic decision.

I'm going to brag for a second on my mad cupcake skills.












Tell me these aren't drool worthy. On the left my version of the Oreo cupcake, and the right is a chocolate chip cookie in a chocolate cupcake.

I was looking for ideas for the Oreo cupcake, I scoured the internet and talked to people. I found lots of recipes with the Oreo on the bottom and batter on top, or chopped cookies in the batter, but it was my non baker brother that came up with this idea. I separated the cookie and placed the side with the cream on the bottom, cream side up. Poured some white cake batter in the tin and then placed the other half on top of the batter then pressed it into the batter. When you bite into the cupcake the cookie has softened some which allows you to taste the cookie and the cake. I topped it with a little bit of cream cheese frosting and some Oreo crumbles. Between you and me though, I think these taste SO much better without the frosting.

The chocolate was an overload and so good. The batter was chocolate sour cream from here. I used my small ice cream scoop and did two scoops per tin. Before hand I made some chocolate chip cookie batter, using the same ice cream scoop I scooped the batter into balls and froze them individually. Once the tins had batter I pressed a frozen cookie ball in the middle, and immediately put them in the oven. Baked for 17 minutes,(in retrospect they should have baked for 15), and voila, yummy chocolatey deliciousness. In all honesty though, these are best warm, frosting is optional. My neighbor and husband have deemed these the best cupcakes they have ever eaten.

As I mentioned I had the main food brought in from Qdoba. They have their catering stuff down to a tee. The package comes with the chaffing dishes, plates, napkins, utensils (both serving and eating) as well as the food. Using them actually saved me money, since we were doing tacos anyway. I know that we will use them again.

I've gotten an email from the photographer with the pictures from the party and I hope to be able to post some of them tomorrow. So stick around and see the cuteness overload from BabyPalooza.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First Birthday

Brooks’ birthday is in 5 days, (did you hear my tears?) and I have been feverishly planning his party. John gave me free reign on the planning, but has been helping me by keeping the Dude in the evening. Oh, the Dude, he has recently become possessed by a super clingy, whiny, crying, pain in the ass, not all the time, but he losses his shit if one of us leaves the room, he can be held by the other, but God forbid one of us needs to pee. Sorry for the tangent, but I don’t want to belittle John’s role in this party, because it’s huge.

A couple of months ago I came up with the idea of doing a puzzle party, and we created invitations made out of craft foam that fit together. The invitation was glued on top of the foam and then cut into four pieces, recipients were mailed the pieces so they could put them together to get all the details. Pretty creative, huh? I feel that we set the bar pretty high with the invites, and I didn’t want the party to fall short.

We decide on a menu that fits with our puzzle theme, all of the food fits together or in something, so tacos, burritos, a sundae bar and stuffed cupcakes. I then start perusing the internet for inspiration and ideas and come across this DIY sundae bar. Pretty amazing huh and it’s just a concept. JUST A FREAKING CONCEPT, this woman put in all this time in and creative powers towards a concept and this is what I have to compete with. Shit! Fortunately I’m married to a designer and together we have pieced together some AMAZING stuff. Yeah I stole a bunch of her ideas, but go back and look at them, they are flucking brilliant.

Pictures to follow, but not till Monday, have a great weekend