About Me

My photo
Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Adoption

Did you know that we've been trying to have a baby?

We started fertility treatments last year. Even with the help of some pretty savvy reproductive endocrinologists (who swore to me that I had the ovaries of a 18 year old girl and that I shouldn't have any trouble getting pregnant again) I wasn't able to have another baby. Of course, we could try indefinitely, but the stress of infertility, the wear and tare of fertility drugs on my body and the financial strain told us to call it quits and look at other options.

I really want my family to grow.

So, we've started the process of trying to adopt. We're just in the information stages now. We're not great candidates for straight adoption because we have two biological children (which sort of puts us at the bottom of the need pile) so we're looking into fostering to adopt. Jay's aunt has three children who she fostered to adopt and I began talking with her a lot about it. I love the idea of doing this, though I admit to feeling nervous because kids in foster care always have a reason for being there... and I worry that I don't have the skills to cope with these special needs. Also, I worry that we'll have babies coming in and out of Bunny and Lila's lives, each time thinking that they'll be ours forever.

Presently we're in the information gathering stages of this. We are going to take the classes and learn as much as we can about it and then we'll see where the journey takes us. Maybe it will lead us to a new Holler... and maybe it won't. My heart is open and we definitely have room for more here.

I have to admit that I like the idea of adopting in lieu of making a new person. There are so many children out there who need loving families and we have such a great life that is welcoming and nurturing. There is little in life that I love as much as parenting. It's definitely my calling.

I think that this will be a long process, but I'm really looking forward to the adventure! Who knows, maybe there is someone out there right now, pregnant with a baby she's not going to be able to keep. And maybe that baby is being born for our family. Maybe it needs us as much as we need it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Paula Deen, I Covet You.

Okay, anyone who knows me know that I wish I was Paula Deen. I don't want to be her friend. I don't want to be her daughter. I don't want to work at her restaurant or make cameo appearances on her cooking shows. No, folks. I want to BE Paula Deen. I want to look down the barrel of a stick of butter and I want to blow its brains all over a cheeseburger or a peach cobbler or a bowl of wild rice. And I do. Paula Deen is my favorite person (yes, including my children).

Tonight I'm making chicken stew (even though it's August and our highs are record breaking. I've got these new pots and pans that I have to break in). And to pair with the stew I made Paula Deen's Cheese Biscuits. I haven't had one yet, but they look Deenlicious.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bunny's 7th Birthday Pictures!

Unfortunately, some of these pictures are weird sizes and I'm too tired to fix them now! I had to download a few of them from Jay's facebook page and they saved in a weird size. But, you get the picture!!!!

A few Gifts!

These are handmade in Philadelphia from reclaimed sweater material and stuffed with bamboo. I had a difficult time deciding which one to go with, but finally took home the monkey.
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Also, we grabbed two of Starlights as well! Bun has been very into her room lately and these are a great, colorful addition!
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On Bunny's actual birthday we had a little cake for her and she opened her gifts!
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This morning we woke up, had breakfast and headed to New York City. Our initial plan was to picnic in Central Park after going on a spree at the American Girl Store, but the weather thought differently. We were really fortunate to get a reservation at the American Girl Cafe and though I initially scoffed at the prices, I have to admit that I left impressed. The experience was wonderful!!!!!

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They had a little box of questions sitting on the table and Bunny wowed me with her reading ability and comprehension!

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Also, the food was delish!

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And then we went to see the Imagination Movers. Thanks to my bestie Siet, the Movers left an autographed poster at will-call for Bunny that said, "Happy Birthday Bunny. Think Big!" And included all of their signatures! Bunny went nuts for it!
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And Finally, we came home and Bunny was able to put on her pj's and match them with her new American Girl Doll Lisa.

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This was such a fun birthday. Bunny says that it was way better than a party and I have to agree 100%. This year we were all really able to celebrate. There was no stress or running around. Just lots of fun and love.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chickie Cake Pops

My friend Shannon suggested making cake pops, and I found this incredible recipe on Bakerella that I followed! Mine are not the perfect little spheres that they show on the website, but I think that they're just as cute!

If you're looking for a special holiday treat, this is definitely the direction to go! Mine are for Bunny's first grade birthday class celebration, but I think that they're a fantastic Easter sweet as well!

Here are some pictures from the project! I'll let them do the talkin', but if you have any questions just let me know. I was nervous about this project. Though it was time consuming, it was pretty easy and I love the way they turned out.

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Happy Birthday Bunny Holler


I do not know how it's possible that Bunny is going to be seven years old tomorrow. In all seriousness, I am in disbelief that seven full years have passed from the day that I held her in my arms for the first time. I'll never forget when I saw her little, tiny, perfectly round, toothless mouth stretch open to yawn after just being born 2 or so hours before... and that little yawn was the most beautiful thing that I've ever seen.

This year we decided not to have a party. Tomorrow is Bunny's actual birthday and she's going to school. She'll have a special breakfast and I made chickie cake pops for her to share with her classmates. Then, I'm making her favorite dinner and she can open her gifts. On Tuesday, Jay and I took the day off of work and Lila is taking the day off of school. We're taking the girls into NYC to the American Girl store so that Bunny can choose a doll and some accessories. Then, we're picnicking in Central Park and heading to the Imagination Movers show at 4. I can not wait!!!!!!



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hot Dog

Dear Hot Dog,

Why you gotta be so good? And yet still be so bad?

In this case, I wish that ignorance could shield me from the ere of a big, plump, greasy hot dog, smothered in ketchup and nestled snugly in some sort of bleached, white-bread bun.

Once, every decade or so, I get a larger-than-me, out-of-control craving for a hot dog. When i was pregnant with Lila I spent my sixth month eating only hot dogs. I could easily eat five of them (Sam's Club size... NOT Oscar Meyer) in one sitting. I gained 12 pounds that month and walked away from my ob/gyn with an earful about nitrates. As it turns out, I might have just as well spent my sixth month of pregnancy with a heroine syringe in my arm while doing keg stands.

So, I quit hot dogs.

But in recent days something has come over me. I feel a need growing inside of me. On Saturday morning I bought the hot dogs. And tonight I made my family a baked lemon chicken with potatoes and steamed broccoli.

But I ate hot dogs.

And I loved every bite.

I hate myself for it. But I just can't help it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pet Boarding

So, today we were having a follow-up extermination some work done on our house and we needed to board our pets. I decided to let Sidney be a shop dog and took her to work with me for the day. She enjoyed six hours of treating everyone who walked through BGES's doors like an intruder who she dared to protect me from. It was actually quite sweet. By the end of the day she had chilled out a little bit. All in all, I know that it was less stressful than going to the vet and I suspect that she even had a good time and liked some of the attention.

The cats got to go to the vet. As many of you may already know, we have Pandora who is older than old. She was born in 1994! And.... SHE'S NEVER BEEN SICK IN HER LIFE. It's likely that Pandora will live forever. She's basically a long haired lump. She has one particular chair in our house that she loves to sit on (don't ever sit there. even if it's empty. If you sit there you will definitely have a pandora fur butt and I will not feel sorry for you because you've been warned.) But don't worry. It won't be empty unless we're all in bed. When we are in bed Pandora will come up to sleep near my head. Outside of moving those two times each day... she must eat and use her litter box... but that's about it.

Then there's Sherbert. He hates people. He was a stray kitten and we rescued him. I am 100% sure that he considers us the enemy, would kill us if he could and believes that we are holding him captive in our home. For a long time we considered giving him away or to a shelter (he attacks). But after awhile he became a little, orange, hostile family member and can't help but love him. I set up quarters in our house where he can be alone. I put a bed and cat cube up on top of our hutch and he spends most of his time there.

When we leave the cats at the vet for boarding, they always take a picture.

Here is Pandoras:
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Here is Sherbert:
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I was not exaggerating.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Organic/ Wheat-Free/ Peanut Butter Dog Treats

photo-198Sidney is a finicky eater when it comes to dog food, so I know these must be good. She's had three of them and still wants more! They were so easy to make that I had to share the recipe! Just mix all of the ingredients, knead the dough and then break it into small balls of dough. roll them out and cut with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

As a note, the dough was too crumbly to roll into one big sheet. It would have been very cracked. But the small balls worked well... so no complaints here!

2 cups of rice flour
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk

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If you're interested in making your own pup treats, I suggest checking out this website. It looked like there was a lot of good information there. I especially like the thought of freezing low sodium chicken broth in cubes and bringing them outside on a hot summer day!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Little Bear Will Make A Sailer of You...

Father Bear (while working on a crossword): I need a word that rhymes with itchy, Little Bear. Can you think of a word that rhymes with itchy?

Lila: (nonchalantly) BITCHY...

Little Bear: Itchy?

Lila: BITCHY.

Me: Lila, what did you say?

Lila: BITCHY!

Me: Uhhhhhhh... you know that's a cuss word, right?

Lila: (appearing to be annoyed says sharply): Yes. I know.

Me: Okay, well, please don't say that in school.

So, there are some cuss words that we say and some that we don't. We don't use the word "bitch" in our house. It seems like Lila actually thought that it was likely that Little Bear suggest that his father write the word "bitch" on his crossword puzzle. And this didn't seem to phase her or seem unusual to her at all.

This conversation was too surreal for 7AM

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lila Singing (In SPANISH)

videoLila loves Spanish.

We were in bed tonight and I managed to record her singing one of her school songs.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's Keeping Me Busy

Moso Bags.

Moso bags are occupying my every-other thought these days. Awhile back I suspected that Bunny may have some mold in her room and I freaked out. She kept waking up with a stuffy nose and sore throat. We sell these little air purifying bags at work called Moso Bags. They're bags that are filled with bamboo charcoal that absorbs environmental pollutants and odors. They're one of our big sellers. People kept coming in for them and then coming back to buy them for their sisters and mothers and college kids and classroom and office and so-on. They're only $9.99 so I picked one up for Bunny's room. Within a day of putting it out I noticed a huge difference in the air quality in her bedroom. It just felt lighter and cleaner and easier to breathe. Needless to say, we're satisfied. Even when I hosted V's baby shower, I was sure to include a Moso bag in her gift basket so that baby J would have one for his nursery.

Well, the word is out.

There's a living natural magazine that wrote an article about Moso and listed us as the place to get them. We're just this itsy bitsy little store and we're getting major orders for Moso bags. I'm the shipping person, so I worked to fill as many as I could yesterday and am going in early today to try to get more out... and then looking forward to another shipment arriving (which we should deplete almost immediately. )

Anyway, if you're a stock buying person... buy stock in Moso Bags. And if you are an allergy sufferer... pick up a moso bag.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lila Is Angry At Imaginary People (In SPANISH)!

1.) Don't mind how messy my house is.
2.) Try to ignore Sidney, who is persistently trying to convince me to put my candid camera down to toss her ball.
3.) I am not sure how much of this is actually Spanish and how much of this is Splila-ish.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baby Gaga

So, there's a place in London that's making Baby Gaga, an ice cream made from the breast milk of 15 women. That's interesting, right?

Initially, I admit, the thought turned my stomach. I mean, I am not really interested in eating anyone's breast milk. Also, would never have used a wet nurse for my children. It's just not something that I am comfortable with. I'm sure that there are great arguments for wet nurses and I'm not debating that usefulness of them. It's just something that makes me feel uncomfortable. (How many times can I use a variation of the word "comfort" in one paragraph?) I am pretty sure that my discomfort is based in ignorance.

After all, it's not actually any different (outside of being healthier) than drinking cows milk and eating ice cream made from cow's milk. The difference is all mental.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you try it?


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Big Dilemma

Here's the problem, I do not know where I want to live.

Suburb? City?

I think, in part, I get caught up in what-I-think-I-should-want.

There are people out there who will talk your ear off about how the city is no place to raise children. They'll tote the common suburban ideals: safety, big yards, great schools and family community so convincingly that I feel I'm doing my children a grave injustice by living in the city. I feel poor. I feel weird. I feel... well, BAD about our choices. But for every suburban warrior, there is another person who says, "there's nothin' like city living." And of course, this is true. Because we live in the city, my kids are exposed to more culture and more diversity. The trouble is that with this culture and diversity comes a few rude awakenings. They see more poverty, homelessness, drug abuse and other general crime. They deal with crowding. They see people who are clearly nuts and experience the helplessness of not being able to help and the confusion of not understanding why. They live in a smaller space without an attached dwelling (there's no such thing in philly. Everyone shares walls) and don't have a big yard to move around in.

On the other hand, they have an unbeatable charter school in the city. Not only do I feel like my children are getting a top notch education, but I also feel that they are both part of something important. If we moved to the suburbs and lived in Cherry Hill, NJ or Voorhees, there's no doubt that they'd have a good school... but their classmates would be mostly white and come from families that were sitting in an economic middle. Not that this is bad. It's not bad. I just don't think that it's good either. I like the fact that my kids go to school with an incredibly diverse body of children. Some are coming fro extreme poverty and some are coming from extreme wealth. We fall in the middle. I like the fact that rather than making up the status quo, our family becomes part of the diversity. I feel that being exposed to this sort of racial and socioeconomic diversity gives my children an education that goes beyond books and blackboards. They learn culture and they learn social conscience. They learn tolerance and they don't have to stretch themselves far to accept differences because they aren't growing up with a ton of people who come from families that are just like theirs.

And then there's the matter of bedbugs. They're all over this city. If I have to go through it again, I will likely die. DIE. I'm serious. DIE. Bedbugs are the hardest thing that have ever happened to me. And they are spreading like wildfire in this city. Everyone has them or has had them. They're in everyone's neighborhood. They are becoming resistant to the chemicals and people are having a tough time killing them.

What to do... what to do...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Best Dog Treats Ever...

Sidney Holler is not a stereotypical dog who will eat anything and is always hungry. When it comes to food, she's a bit of an elitist. Frankly, I've never seen her like a dog treat. Milkbones are beneath her and Snausages turn her belly.

As a get-well gift I grabbed a box of organic Planet Dog treats from work. They're the first treats that I've ever seen her enjoy. We have been keeping them on the table of the desk that sits next to our couch and I noticed today that she's even started helping herself!


Fun With Egg Cartons

I wasn't feeling so well yesterday, so we spent the whole morning, afternoon and evening at home! We baked cupcakes and found a fun crafting idea!

I've been saving our egg cartons for awhile. I cut them apart and then the girls painted them.

Next we covered a wire hanger with yellow yarn and strung the painted egg cups upside down like flowers.

Lila loves the way this craft livens up her white bedroom wall! Spring is a'comin!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Day

Again, I just haven't been feeling so inspired lately. I haven't been knitting or writing and the only cooking that I've been doing is obligatory.

I had a WONDERFUL Valentines Day though. The day before, our family met another family from the school at the zoo and had a really nice time there. Then, the girls and I made heart shaped rice krispy treats to take to school the following day and prepared the potted succulents that they chose for their teachers. They woke up to Valentines Day breakfast on heart plates and bowls that I bought to surprise them and their valentines were on the table. I sent them off to school with their treats and bundles of valentines. When I got to work there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for me. Even one of my coworkers gave me chocolates. Then, when I got home I made a heart shaped chicken pot pie and homemade bread. Delicious.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cat Refuge

Philadelphia has a pretty big stray cat problem. It also gets really cold here with giant build-ups of snow which can be fatal to our feral friends.

This year, I took advantage of my new backyard and built a little cat shelter. I took a big Tupperware container and turned it on its side. Then, I lined the inside with old blankets and towels.

It's been sitting out there all winter and finally it has an occupant. I can hardly withstand my glee. There's a big Tom cat that's taken up residence in my little cat shelter. As soon as I discovered him I began putting food and water out. But today, when I saw him in the backyard I noticed that one of his back legs wasn't working. He wouldn't put it down and was hopping around the yard. I hope that he's okay! I mean, I can't exactly catch him and take him to the vet, so I put a new bowl of food out with a fresh bowl of water and hope that he'll have a safe place to stay tonight.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Feeling Indulgent

I never cease to be amazed by the incredible role that Sidney plays in our family. Her surgery went well and she can come home tomorrow at 4:30. They found two lumps in one of her mammaries and a large cyst in her uterus. Oddly, they think that her body was tricked into a false pregnancy which caused her hormones to go wild and caused the lumps.

Even though we have the cats, our house felt empty when I got home tonight.

I've been a bit of a wreck this past week, which is why I haven't been writing. Nothing terrible happened, I just had a lot of small obstacles and a large case of pms. I'm waiting for the simple lull of boring monotony to send waves of soothing routine over my life. Which brings me to this: I have never been very good at processing stress or unpleasantries. How do people get good at this? Is it just something that you're born with? It's always my tendency to run when the going gets tough. As I get older and more rooted in the life Jay and I have made, my choices become fewer and fewer in the running department. When stress hits I seem to melt into a giant weepy mess. Part of this is the hopeless pressure of being trapped in whatever situation I'm stressed out by. I don't like conflict and I don't like feeling as though I have to deal with things that I do not like. I just want life to be simple and easy. I want to be able to pay my bills. I want my family to be healthy. I want to feel safe. I want to buy presents for my children. I want to have a few good friends who I love and who I know love me back. I want to watch tv shows with my husband and occasionally drink a glass or two of red wine. I want a phone and a remote control that both work when they have new batteries. I want friendly neighbors and a nice backyard. I want to leave work feeling like I did a good job and exceeded the expectations of my superiors. I want to be good to my body. I want to have patience with my children. I want to make nice meals for my husband and sit around and laugh together.

The longer we live in the city the more claustrophobic that I feel. Yet, I'm tired of moving around. When we moved to Philadelphia it all felt very temporary. In our third year of city living I'm pretty sure that it's not for me... but I don't really know where to go. Should we move to a suburb? Should we go back to Jersey? Should we just stay put?

Lately, I've been struggling not to feel overwhelmed and I'm not sure why. Is it just a hormonal month? Am I losing my mind? Am I trying to achieve things that aren't possible? Will I regret my choices?

I miss being entirely present for my children. Of course, I'm not entirely present because I have a job now. But this has less to do with my job and more to do with the fact that they are growing up. Though I LOVE the people who they are becoming more than I could ever express... I love them so much that it brings me to tears when I think about how special they both are... I also feel sadness and wish deeply that their lives wouldn't move so quickly. I'm incredibly proud of every milestone and yet sad that they need me less. At the heart of this is pure selfishness. I enjoyed my time as a stay at home mom because I made a career of it. I worked hard. For any difficult day that saw me pulling my hair out and dying for my husband to get home from work... I wouldn't trade one second of it. And I miss it. Even last year, when Bunny was in Kindergarten and I had alone time with Lila for the first time ever. I long for it. Even though I have always been aware of the fact that I wouldn't homeschool and the day would come when my children would inevitably be gone for most of the day, five days a week... it went too fast and I wasn't prepared. And I AM NOT READY. Why aren't I ready?

Earlier in the year we had so many changes and so much happening. The move. The big loss. The new job. The Holidays. And now it's hit me hard.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Lapse of Time

I haven't blogged all week! This is because I've had a tough week...

We scheduled Sidney's surgery for next Monday. My poor little Sidney.

Also, I have just had a bad week at work.

I'm ready for the weekend to be here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Picture of The Day

We had such a crazy day yesterday.

The girls didn't have school, I had a doctors appointment AND work and we weren't able to dig our car out of the snow (which turned out to be a blessing because most of the roads we needed to travel hadn't been plowed and had absolutely no parking available.)

After work, I promised Bunny that we'd get her ears pierced. It was snowing again and we decided to walk to the mall anyway. On our way, we cam across these humongous snowmen and we took a few minutes to stop and climb all over them!

Then, Bunny had her big moment! She was petrified but determined to do it. This is the second time that we've gone to have her ears pierced. Last time she sat in the chair and then suddenly changed her mind so we left. She's really been agonizing about it since. Finally, she did it.

I really didn't want to have Bunny's ears pierced with a gun. I have read a lot about it and wanted her to have them pierced with a needle. Unfortunately, it's illegal to take a child that is Bunny's age into a piercing salon in PA, so we were really limited and had to go the gun route. Not even the pediatrician pierces any more. We'll just keep them clean and hope for the best.

She is so happy!!!!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Dare To Dream

Tonight, while laying in bed, Lila said, "Mama. I know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be the President. Like President Obama."

I then stated all of the obvious reasons that this career suits her so perfectly and gave my support to her pending campaign.

She said, "Because if there was just one piece of pizza and there were two people, I'd just cut it in half and then both of them would have pizza. And I'd say, "everyone can just love each other now. It's okay."

Now THAT'S progress.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Day

We woke up this morning and looked out the window to see this:

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Luckily, T switched schedules with me and took my hours for today at BGES. I was able to stay home with B and L and I am so thankful. My car is snowed in and the streets here haven't even been plowed. They are just packed, icy slick surfaces that you'd be better off skiing on.

So, we started the day off with mugs of cocoa.

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And then I decided to take advantage of this mid-week break and strip the beds, clean the bathrooms and vacuum our house from top to bottom.

As soon as I was done we bundled up and headed out. It was remarkably warm, which was good and bad. It made playing more fun and shoveling a chore.

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Even Sherbert got a taste of the snow!

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Now, I'm going to make chocolate cake and homemade cream cheese frosting. YUM.

This is what snow days are all about!