Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Banana Pudding

Miss Lucile was known for many things during her time on this green earth. One of the grandchildren's fondest memories of her, is banana pudding. She made her own meringue (I had no heart to tell Husband that you cannot buy meringue) and followed the same recipe from the same box on the same card for the last fifty years. Her children remember it, her church remembers it, but her grandchildren- her grandchildren cherished it. They would all laugh how they hated the meringue and would get an extra big serving by scooping underneath the stiff white peeks to get the yellow good stuff.

I have never been a banana pudding fan. I have never been a banana fan. Let's call a spade a spade- it does not matter how much sugar you put on a fruit- I am still not going to eat it.

[As I sit and type, LMC has a spatula in her right hand and bowl of whipped cream in her left- eating, while showing me her tap steps up and down the kitchen. kick-ball-change-kick-ball-change-walk-walk-walk...bite of good stuff... repeat]

My first trip to the farm, MIL invited the whole family over for supper on Saturday night. Let me repeat myself: My first trip to the farm, my mother-in-law invited her four children, the three spouses,  all of her 755 grandchildren, two grandmothers, FIL's sister and husband, the neighbor's dog, and probably the mailman for all I remember. Everybody brought something- but what was on display?

The Banana Pudding with the meringue perfectly peeked and held in place by being broiled for the exact amount of time to create a quick crunch without defeating the purpose of what meringue is made to do.

What that is, exactly, I have no idea.

But I knew- I knew that if I ate nothing else on that buffet table, I was eating banana pudding. Whether I wanted to or not. If Husband and I continued to date, I would slowly show my cards about what a picky eater I am. Until then, a smile on my face... and banana pudding on my plate!

The family looked at me with questionably. Dogs have never liked me, so the neighbor's pet was no help. I was different. I was a stranger amongst their family.

Miss Lucile, though, oh Miss Lucile. Miss Lucile greeted everyone with hugs and kisses. She set down her dessert and quietly made her way over to me. I introduced myself and she enveloped me in a hug. It was one of those grandmother hugs that only grandmothers can give. I closed my eyes and smelled my own grandmother's perfume. In that moment, I felt like kin.

Since our first Thanksgiving by ourselves, I make banana pudding. It's not like Miss Lucile's- I cannot pretend that it is. In my defense, she never mailed the recipe. In her defense, I should have tried harder to get it. I make it more as an homage to the lovely lady whom I remember so fondly and her family's traditions.

I use whipped cream in lieu of meringue and have learned something about banana pudding- no one likes the meringue, but everyone asks where it is, between bites of that whipped cream.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bring on the ice cream

I knew it was coming. When I was pregnant with LMC, I had it. When I was pregnant with Bennie, I failed my test by two points and the DC doctor said that's practically passing. I took him at his word. Every visit I had with my doctor involved a conversation about diabetes and when I would become the human pin cushion in anticipation of the gd-GD.

Two weeks ago, it was finally time to take the test and receive my diagnosis. I was ready. Ready to count carbs, ready to increase my exercise, ready-- just ready to move on to the third trimester and get gestational diabetes behind me. After my test, I thought I needed something nice and healthy... and carb-y-- like a bowl of rice.


The next day, I treated my parents to lunch at a nice restaurant as a thanks for taking care of my kids. When they asked if we wanted the check, I asked for a piece of peanut butter pie. Looking at my mom, I said, "I'm going out with a bang. Won't be able to have this next week."

And then I had some ice cream after supper, because- well, in a few hours, I knew my doctor would email me with the results and the new set up.

24 hours went by and the crickets were chirping over the world wide web.

No news is good news, except when I can eat Mexican and all the cheese dip I want. Another day, I will give the doc another day before I reach out to receive my diagnosis. In the meantime, a bowl of Cheerios sounds like a good idea.

Dinner came along and that bowl of pasta was too good to pass up. It's a good thing I already planned to email in the morning...

Having satisfied my carb fix for the next ten weeks, I finally opened my email and reached out...

"Not that I want to know, but I probably should be a better patient. What's the damage?"

Since she had not responded by lunch, I figured one more hit off the ole' carb pipe wouldn't be a bad idea. French fries with a sandwich sounded ah-mazing. One please.

As I am looking at my carb friendly options walking through the grocery store, I get an email...

No gestational diabetes.

I respond with a "WTH?!"
She promptly responds with a, "I thought this was good news?"
"It is, it's just surprising. Did I scrape by?"
"No-- flying colors. You passed all four screens by at least 30 points."

SCHWING! Bring on the ice cream!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oxyclean and Sand

No one has ever claimed me as a domestic goddess. Looking around our house, I am reminded of this fact. Sometimes though,  I get a bee in my bonnet about wanting to make something from scratch. The other day, I told my mom that I was heading to the store for ingredients to make homemade marshmallows.

Every single website said they were "easy" and "delicious." Having learned my lesson with the corn dogs, I actually contemplated this mess I was getting into. The only drawback I saw was I needed to make a simple syrup that involved maintaining a constant temperature of 238F for five minutes without stirring.


Spending about ten days contemplating these homemade marshmallows and the thought of LMC "helping" and Bennie at my feet while the 238F syrup cooks without stirring, I set my dreams of dazzling my few blog readers aside. There were other things I could accomplish with greater ease.

In those ten days, I learned a few things:

-- Bennie likes to eat sand.
-- Sand, when eaten in mass quantities, goes right on through that digestive tract- just like everything else.
-- Oxyclean looks a lot like sand.
-- Oxyclean, according to Doctor Husband and the poison control website is 99% soda ash.
-- Crickets chirp when I hear the words soda ash.
-- Practically a whole box of Oxyclean has to be consumed for it to be dangerous.
-- Oxyclean should not be stored on the floor of one's laundry room.
-- When a mother screams NO in their large pantry at an almost two year old playing in said Oxyclean, they'll cry. Loudly.
-- Crying loudly is good, because it helps that mother look in their mouth to see if they actually ingested any Oxyclean.
-- It's difficult for an almost two year old to consume Oxyclean when they are too busy playing with it.
-- When one calls Doctor Husband and mentions Oxyclean consumption, he knows people. Apparently, Poison Control has a doctor's hotline.
-- Orange juice and a cookie is the recommended protocol. This mother disagreed, but knew better than to not follow doctor's orders.
-- Five years olds are unimpressed when two year olds play in Oxyclean and get screamed at. It gets in the way of their coloring. Until the two year old yanks the paper away from the five year old and both children are crying while mom is on the phone with Doctor Husband.

Last night, as I was attempting to make eucalyptus wreathes (easier said than done), and after Bennie got into the Oxyclean, the household is calm as we await the garage door to open and Husband to walk through the door. As I am pulling stems through a frame and attaching with floral wire- I realize that the florists of the world are safe. I am made to do many things, but making eucalyptus wreaths might as well be asking me to help a child with basic fractions.

It just doesn't work.

Out of the corner of my eye- I see a cabinet door open. No surprise there- Bennie and LMC are in the kitchen with me. Bennie reaches into the cabinet under the sink and pulls out a dishwasher tab. A beautiful, bright orange, squishy plastic pillow full of poison that makes our dishes clean.


She cocks her head and looks at me. I drop my wreath and am right in front of her, repeating myself-- NO!

chirp chirp goes the door.

In walks Husband to two crying kids (LMC thought I was telling her NO to drawing on the table. Glad she thought that; saved me a breath!), the short one holding a bright orange pillow of poison, the mother on the floor next to wire cutters and a plethora of other dangerous things that are required to make a wreath.

Perhaps the marshmallows would have been easier, albeit safer?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


As I sit and type, I have blue tape on my left arm and a bandaid from my flu shot on my right arm. Today is my dreaded three hour gdGD test. I am anticipating great things that will conclude with more pin pricks, more tests, and a new diet. Meh, not my first rodeo. 

Four blood draws + one flu shot = human pin cushion

Baby boy is steadily kicking as the sugar water I rapidly consumed an hour ago has finally crossed over and met his little body. He's a fan. Me? I am hoping to keep it down another two hours. I met with my doctor a few minutes ago and everything looks good. All my numbers are in the healthy range and he is growing as he should. I have put on five pounds. Doc asked me if I have been eating enough and I was quick to tell her about my love of steak biscuits and Totino's pizzas. Oh yeah- I am eating. It's one of my favorite pastimes. 

Husband took his BIG test yesterday-- the one that determines if he will continue to be a pediatric critical care doctor. My parents have been amazing and kept the kids from Sunday until today (Wednesday). This vacation has been a little bit amazing- I've been Christmas shopping, resting, cleaning out the guest room (future nursery), and all those things that I keep putting off. We were going to get them this morning, but with my three hour test and an open house tonight-- it looks like we might pick them up when they're teenagers. 

New baby's bedding came in last week and boy stuff is so different from the soft pinks I have become accustomed to. It's a sherbet orange and turquoise with circus animals and seersucker. Currently, the walls are gray- which makes me think they need to be painted (over my dead body, Husband is saying right now). As I round into the third trimester in two weeks, we will pull the infant bed out of the attic and break down the guest bed.  We still need a dresser- if that is one thing we lack in our house- it is drawer space. We have two dressers/chests. I live out of wire baskets and Bennie lives out of her closet. 

We have tentatively scheduled his due date for the first of February. The countdown is on- less than 90 days. SWEET!

Friday, October 31, 2014

The stress is mounting

I have always had a deep respect for single parents, having spent over 50% of the last six years being a widow to the hospital- I do not understand what single parents go through day-in and day-out, but I have a glimpse of it.

And it is a tough world.

Husband has, oh, you know, the biggest test of his life coming up next week and if he is not at the hospital, he is studying. If he is not studying or sleeping, he is giving me a ten minute respite from the minions we created so that I can get my weekly bath.

Yesterday, Laura texted me and asked if I wanted to go to the park. I promptly responded:

"Sounds Amazing"

The biggest blessing I have had this week is that LMC's class does not have any homework. The teachers took pity on the parents with it being Halloween week. I sent the teacher flowers and a handwritten thank you note on fine Crane stationery. (exaggeration, rather, she received an emoji text- but my heart wanted to do so much more)

Seeing Laura yesterday, I told her that I am so drained that I think I want to cry. She said GO! I've got this, go get some air. Rather, I wanted to stay and hang out with someone taller than 3.5 feet tall. So, I stayed and regaled her with my morning...

Typically, we have to leave the house by 7:40. Which means, we are in the car, backing out of the driveway by 7:46 to get us to school by the obligatory first bell. At 7:30 yesterday, LMC is still in her pajamas and I am feverishly trying to find clothes that fit. Maternity clothes do not come in stages and I am entering the third and final. 7:31, LMC finally finishes brushing her teeth and I am ready to strangle her. Knowing that Bennie is still asleep, I think to myself, "OK- I'm going to run in, grab her- put her in the car... and change her diaper when we get back from school."

LMC does not want a granola bar in the car for breakfast. Rather, she wants something... anything else that does not involve expedience and portability.

I open Bennie's door and immediately know that I am in trouble. Big Trouble.

I don't need to cut the light on to know that there is something in my future that will not make us on time. The room... smells... like a ... sheesh, well... I don't know what it smells like. Let's just leave it at bad. It makes my stomach turn and I know there is no one else who is going to handle this and time is not ticking any slower.

On the changing table, clothes stripped that need to be sterilized, I pick her up in last night's bath towel like a hobo's sack and carry her to the bathroom. There's, ahem, stuff (or any other word that starts with "S" and ends with disaster) everywhere.

We aren't in the car. We aren't backing down the driveway. We are, instead, in the bathroom scrubbing "stuff" off the baby as she is covered head to toe. Apparently, it happened early in her sleep and she didn't cry. Apparently, I kick ass a mother.

Fresh towel in hand, I scoop her up 120 seconds later and head back to the center of my demise- her bedroom. It smells... awful. Putting her back on the changing table, I realize that my stomach has turned one time too many and take off running to the bathroom- not before my arm hit the dirty diaper and it went

s p l a t

onto the floor.

Bennie is hanging out on the changing table. I am expelling last night's supper on the way to the bathroom. LMC is up front crying about a lack of waffle on her plate.

[side note: as I am regaling Husband with this story, he stops me right here and says: You left Bennie on the changing table?    .... insert crickets chirping over the phone from my end here ....  "Yes, yes I did," was about all I could get out. That and last night's supper]

After brushing my teeth, I cover my face with one of the perfectly folded washcloths on the counter and head back into the domain of stinky-ness. Bennie gets carried out under one arm like a sack of taters and a clean diaper is kicked out to the den. Naked sans the diaper- it'll do until I can get LMC off to school.

Walking and kicking with my sack of taters, I am stepping on 655 Cheerios. They are everywhere. In the hallway, the den, the carpet... strewn about. It seemed that LMC had the bright idea that Cheerios were portable, thus she could have those for breakfast.

[side note: As I continue to regale Husband with this tale, he stops he here and says, "So, I'm not coming home to a clean house?" ... nope. Not at all. Not even going to try and pretend that the Cheerios are the only disaster in this house. We carved pumpkins the night before and there might be pumpkin seeds everywhere. Yes, everywhere. My dad helped and thought it would be an excellent idea to tell LMC that we should save every single seed and plant them next year. I looked at him like he had gills and informed LMC otherwise. Tears ensued- from both mother and child.]

We pull into Parochial, two wheels spinning in the air, almost running over a pedestrian, and make the last drop off before the first bell. LMC gets shooed out of the car, water bottles and smushed Goldfish going tumbling out with her.

It was not until about 10:30 did I remember we didn't pack a lunch. By that point, I had cleaned up all bodily fluids from the morning and was sitting on my chaise lounge with bon-bons and the Cabana boy fanning me.

Always thankful that tomorrow is a new day. And afternoons aren't mornings. And that we invested in a large container of Oxiclean. Oh, and that I get my husband back on Wednesday. Very thankful for that.