Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mommy shakes her groove thang

Ah, the endless quest for balance. It's so much easier said than done. Between trying to spend quality time with my little guy so that he doesn't think our daycare lady is "momma," having some grown-up time with the hubby so we have things to talk about other than baby poop, working full-time, and oh yea, trying to still be the same ME I was pre-baby (what's with the guilt associated with this part?!) -- I decided it was high time I got my butt back to the gym.

Now, full disclosure. It isn't just the baby I had 10 MONTHS* ago that has kept me from the gym. No joke, I broke a bone in my foot from the sheer weight of trying to look cute in heels when prego (lesson learned). That little faux pas has kept me from jumping around on my feet for months. In the meantime, I've been attempting to keep my muffin top in check with stroller walks around the neighborhood after work every day. While I'm probably not burning the Halloween candy calories, these strolls do help me kill a few birds with one stone on the balance-quest - I socialize with a fellow neighbor-mommy-friend, spend time with T-man, AND get some exercise in.

However, I miss the gym. And the classes. And the cute yoga pants I had a good excuse to wear. It was definitely time. This was the week to take the plunge. It's a little embarrassing to think of swiping my membership card and seeing ZERO historical attendance in the past, uh, year - but hopefully they didn't judge me too much.

Finding a class was harder than you might expect. I wanted to time it so that I could manage to pick up T at daycare, get him home before the Hubs got home from work, and be back home again before bathtime. My old step class? Gone (yes, I know this fad went out with the 1990s, but I'm still a holdover, ok? Shoot me.). My old cardio kickboxing class? Gone. Zumba. this is something I figured I could work with! I danced for years and years and took exercise classes pretty consistently - so a dancey aerobics class is right up my alley. Or was. It appears momma's got no rhythm. And she's limping today from tweaking her knee while trying to shake her booty. I'm not sure how the two are connected either. Don't judge. Obviously, momma needs some wine to get her groove on aerobics practice.

*Uh, that means my little newborn is 10 months old already. How does that happen?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oh, crap

WHY does my child poop in the bathtub?!  I mean, seriously.  It doesn't get any less gross the more she does it...and then she sits there pointing at it and screaming, "she-shaw!!" (she only speaks Chinese, in case you're wondering).  Of course the hubs grabs Audrey out of the tub and calls "not it" so I'm stuck w/the mess.  (Yes, we have a very mature decision-making process in this house).

And let me just take this opportunity to say "yay" we have zero blog readers!  And I think we've accidentally been tracking our own page views and thinking we have followers.  Awesome.

Stuffed heads

You know you've lived in Texas for too long start decorating your child's room with animal heads. Stuffed ones. Sort of as if grandpa was hunting stuffed animals and chopped the head off his prize "find" to bring back home to his grandson.

To be fair (and ok, a little proud of T's -- aka my -- New York bloodlines), I did discover this precious wall decoration in my personal Mecca, Bloomies. And this retail visit to the Most Wonderful Place on Earth was on my last trip to New York*, so it can't really be a style choice attributed to a "I've turned country" thing. However, I also admit, that the two friends I was on this shopping trip with might have looked at me like I was a little bonkers when I was fawning all over these stuffed animal heads on the children's level of our dear store. I assure you this stuffed fauna is totally and utterly adorable. In a non-redneck way.

The stuffed animal head wouldn't fit into my suitcase to take it back home, but lucky for T, his Great Aunt just moved down to our neck of the woods from the City** and was looking for an excuse to spoil him. She knows a good purchase when she sees one.

Check it out - cute right?

*Don't even ask how much I miss Bloomies. Instead, ask about joining my personal email campaign to the company suggesting why the retail operations of the Most Wonderful Place on Earth need to expand to Austin. I've been stalking the biz dev team since I moved here, people.

**Which now means that my entire family of New Yorkers calls Texas home. Pause for the enormity of that statement. It's pretty darn awesome.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's for dinner tonight

My in-laws were visiting over the weekend so the hubs and I decided to whip up some lasagna since it's great for groups and really, who doesn't like lasagna?*  We went all out and even made the sauce from scratch, rather than using canned tomatoes and paste, but it tastes good either way.  Our only "oops" was forgetting that the sauce had onions AND the lasagna recipe had onions, so, it was a bit heavy on the onions...nevertheless, I think it came out pretty well.  I know there are a million lasagna recipes out there but I'm partial to this one.  We used sausage but you can do any kind of meat, or spinach for the vegetarians:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

12 ounces ground beef, ground pork, or sausage
1 cup chopped onion
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 7.5-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed (optional)
6 dried lasagna noodles (I use 9 and do a third layer)
1 beaten egg
1 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley (I leave this out because I'm cheap and fresh herbs are expensive)
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1.) For the sauce, in a medium saucepan cook the meat, onion, and garlic until the meat is brown.  Drain the fat.
2.) Stir in the undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, fennel seed (if using) and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.) Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles for 10-12 minutes or until tender but firm.  Drain the noodles; rinse with cold water.  Drain well.  (I lay them out on a cookie sheet so they don't get all stuck together before assembly.)
4.) For the filling, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese and the parsley (if using).
5.) Layer half the cooked noodles in a 2-quart rectangular dish.  Spread with half the filling.  Top with half the meat sauce and half the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers.  If desired, sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top.
6.) Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 8 servings.

You can also make this ahead and refridgerate for up to 24 hours, you just need to bake it a little longer.

*So who doesn't like lasagna?  That would be Audrey, who gave it one sniff and promptly chucked it off her highchair table and onto the floor for the dog to eat.  Sigh.  And so she remains in the 15th percentile for weight...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A roarin' good time

In preparation for the Little Dude's very first Halloween, the Hubs is trying to teach T how to roar. Like a dinosaur. His costume looks a little alligator-like, but we've determined (by Googling it) that we did, in fact, buy him a dinosaur costume. So now the pressure's on. He's got a little over a week left to learn how to roar like a T-Rex.

And he's trying. Of course he is. I've said it once, I'm sure
I'll say it until he's at least a pre-teen and his parents are no longer "cool." Daddy does it, T imitates it. Only, of course, it's his own take on the "dinosaur roar." Instead of an adorable little-kid-copying-animal-noises sound, T makes the universal sign for "I'm choking." We had to warn our daycare provider that when T isn't making crazy faces, he is now crawling about looking and sounding like he's gagging on marbles.

Why can't the Hubs teach T to do something give his mommy hugs?

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Yesterday we ventured out to the Fort Worth Zoo and it was crazy-packed.  I should have figured as much but for some reason I thought going at 3:00 p.m. would spare us the crowds.  That would be a no.  Audrey spent most of the time running wild, getting knocked over by strollers, and generally ignoring every animal we tried to show her.  I made the hubs chase after her while I tried to soothe my migraine with over-priced water ice (#fail).

Anyway, as we were enjoying all this family fun I noticed that every other person at the zoo was pulling their kids around in a wagon.  As in, those big plastic red wagons, you know the ones I'm talking about?  Or the more traditional wooden ones with slats and a metal base.  I thought I was having deja-vu after seeing the exact same thing at the Aquarium about a month ago.  What is up with that?  Is this some kind of TX thing?  This is definitely not something I remember seeing on the East Coast, except maybe here and there on a sidewalk in a cul-de-sac.  And I couldn't help thinking - is it really practical?  I saw several parents trying to maneuver them up and down stairs (usually by asking all the kids to get out, walk up/down the stairs, and then pile back into the wagon) and in general they just look heavy and bulky.  I'm thinking I'll stick with a stroller but feel free to enlighten me, fellow Texans.    

Monday, October 17, 2011

He wants them...I know he does...

T might not be able to use his words yet, but I know he's got his Momma's fashion gene. He wants these. No doubt about it. He's looked at me and his eyes said "Please Mommy!"

The Hubs might think it's a slightly crazy purchase, but I know deep down (ok, really really deep down) he must love that T dresses like his Mini-Me. Even if he'll grow out of them in a month.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


It's finally (and probably temporarily) fall here in TX today - 67 degrees! Fall is my favorite season so still dealing with temps in the 90s and no foliage here (yet at least) has been an adjustment for me. The funny thing is that the stores are decked out like it's the middle of winter with sweaters, heavy coats, and boots for sale. There's just something strange about drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte in 90-degree weather but I suppose I'll adjust.

Anyway, to celebrate I decided to make pumpkin bread, one of my fave fall treats. I wish I could say I used raw pumpkin that I carved myself and organic cage-free eggs...but canned by WalMart is more like it. For anyone interested, here is the recipe:

- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger or ground cloves (I used ginger)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, the brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and ginger or cloves. Add pumpkin, milk, eggs, and shortening. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed till blended. Beat on medium to high speed for 2 minutes. Add the 1 cup flour; beat until blended. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.  Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

And yes, I will likely eat the entire loaf by myself. Don't judge.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A stink face only a mom could love (sort-of)

So, it's true.

Babies really do take note of everything we do. And every reaction we make because of what they do. I'm pretty certain it's gonna be real interesting when T starts to learn to talk!

T watches his dad. Like, uber carefully. I don't rank nearly as highly in terms of the "must copy everything this cool person does" but that's ok, I'm not holding too strong of a grudge. The Hubs doesn't seem to quite realize the power he holds, so he's not always the most careful with his baby interactions. Case in point is his version of a laugh. He makes this funky looking squashed-up nose thing. It's endearing on a grown up. It might be a little funny looking, I know, but hey, it's not like the Hubs is laughing hysterically very often. (Surprising right, because he's married to me and I constantly remind him that I am the best joke-teller of all time...riiight). So anyway...all of the sudden, voila! T is making this weird imitation of his dad, complete with funky sound effects and everything. So we laugh at him. How could we not? He's downright funny looking when he does it and it's pretty obvious what he's trying to do. Parenting A-ha#1: BIG MISTAKE. Don't laugh at what you don't want to encourage! T is now convinced that the way to our hearts is through this terrible looking and sounding expression. He does it and does it and does it. NON-STOP.

Did we permanently block his chances of being voted "best smile" in high school at the tender age of 8 1/2 months? Is my future daughter-in-law going to cringe at her otherwise completely perfect husband's wedding pictures? How in the world can we unteach this damage to his cute face?!

See for yourself....It's bad, people!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mothergoose Storytime

Since I'm relatively new to this stay-at-home-mom thing (I was previously working full-time), I'm continually looking for things to get me and Audrey out of the house that are a) within our nap schedule b) relatively close by and c) not insanely expensive. This led me to the local library where I signed us up for Mothergoose Storytime last month. The class meets every Monday for 30 minutes and basically we sing songs, read stories, and the kids run around and play. Although in Audrey's case she refuses to participate in the "free play," instead waiting until we are supposed to be quietly reading before taking off across the room screaming "da da!" Awesome. She also cries during parachute time which makes no sense to me since that's the most fun part if you ask me! Anyway, despite these little bumps we keep going back because Mommy needs to get out of the house sometimes :)

Now comes the funny/awkward part. Because we live in a heavily Indian part of town, 99% of the other parents/kids in the class are Indian. Nothing wrong with this, however, as part of every class we go around the room and sing everyone's name out loud. Guess who can't understand anyone else's name and has to mumble through them all under her breath? Uh, that would be me. And it doesn't seem to get easier as the weeks go by. Although this past week I discovered that the misunderstanding runs both ways when one of the other parents asked me, "Is Audrey a boy or a girl?" (Um, for reals?) Maybe I need to up the girl factor with her or something. I thought the hot pink pants and matching onesie were a dead giveaway but said parent seemed rather shocked at my reply ("Oh!"). Time to dig out the barrettes? Well, judge for yourself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No sneezing allowed

I got back from my long-awaited trip to NY last week and promptly came down with a cold. Darn airplanes and recirculated air. (Oh, and darn sharing of an entire tube of cookie dough with friends who recently had colds...but the eating of the cookie dough is a long-standing tradition so I will ignore that part. I digress.)

Not only did this cold make its rounds through my entire family (wonderful), it also led to the discovery of a strange little kiddo quirk. T is TERRIFIED of me blowing my nose. ABSOLUTELY, completely, what-am-I-doing-to-this boy scared to death of nose blowing...Tissues might as well be tools of torture, they are such hysterics-inducing things.
I can admit it, it's a tad strange. He'll grow out of it eventually, right? You don’t hear of too many (any?) grown-ups with tissue-aphobia, so I’m counting on the likelihood that T won’t be one of them. At least I can be assured he won't be the kid in school who sits at his desk and eats his snotty tissues for fun (oh come on, we all had one of those sitting next to us growing up...I sure did anyway).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

So....Here we are...

We're two college friends who seem like we've been friends for eons. Even though we've never lived closer than a few hundred miles apart since college (real life is SO inconvenient sometimes), we've learned that life is better when shared!

Happy or sad, embarrassing or mundane, our circle of friends hears (and shares) it all. (Lucky or not for our hubbies?) We count on each other to entertain, support, whine to, and advise, so we thought it would be fun to share our little "adventures" in a blog!

Happy reading!

Vickie & Erika