Things My Grandfather Told Me

My Grandfather told me a lot of things.

He told me I was beautiful and smart. I know there were times I didn’t believe him. But sometimes I did.

He told me I could do just about anything if I set my mind to it. So far, that has proved to be completely true.

My Grandfather told me that things aren’t important, but people are. He taught me to place value on the intangible things in life.

Occasionally, when I was being horrid, he told me that he loved me an awful lot, but at that particular moment, he didn’t really like me. Those words made me realize I should think more carefully about the person I wanted to be.

He told me he was disappointed in my behavior when the situation warranted. Nothing made me want to choose better the next time.

He told me I would only ever be about as miserable as I allowed myself to be. He also varied the statement, substituting words like happy, old, angry, or tired.

My Grandfather told me more than once to save my tears. “It’s OK to cry a little bit now,” he’d say, “but you’re going to need some of those tears when you’re older.”

He told me when I was making a huge mistake. Sometimes with words; sometimes by allowing me to figure it out for myself.

On the way down the aisle to meet my almost Fab Hub at the altar on our wedding day, My Grandfather told me to slow down and enjoy the walk. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about the walk to the front of the church, specifically.

My Grandfather told me that my Fab Hub was a good man. He was right. I still can’t help thinking that it takes one to know one.

He told me my Grandmother was the most beautiful woman he ever knew. He was right about that, too. She was beautiful in many ways. And when he looked at her, there was no question that he thought so every single day.

He told me stories about things he did growing up, meeting my Grandmother, serving in World War II, being diagnosed with cancer and beating it. He taught me what it means to be a person of honor and dignity. He showed me how to be a person of strength.

My Grandfather told me a lot of things. I hope he knows I listened.

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Mama’s Losin’ It
 

Epic Diaper Fail: A Babyzilla Story

A post inspired by the word diaper?

I’ve so got this.

There are some family stories that become legendary the moment they happen. They are the stories that are so completely unbelievable, that they simply have to be true. You know the kind – the ones that make people say “wow, you can’t make up stuff this good.”

It’s true – you really can’t.

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Being a new parent is all kinds of wonderful and horrible wrapped up in one sweet-smelling little package. Nothing quite prepares you for the sleepless nights or the number of diaper changes that one small little person can rack up.

When Kidzilla was born, Fab Hub and I were lucky enough to have some time off together to get to know our Baby Girl. At the time, we were both teachers, and Zilla was born right smack at the end of the school year. We had all summer ahead of us to rest, recover, and figure out what to do with this beautiful and energetic little package we brought home from the hospital. Perfect.

All too soon, though, it was time to head back to school. We knew it had to be done, but in many ways, we were nowhere near prepared for both of us to be thrust so abruptly back into our full-time routines plus run the gauntlet of new-parent experiences. During that first week of school, we were both all kinds of tired and at least one of us was stressed beyond belief trying to figure out how these new roles were all going to work together with the old ones and whether or not having two working parents was going to scar our child for life.

About two days in, Kidzilla was having a particularly rough night and needed some late-night attention. Or was it very early morning? I guess it just really depends how you look at it. Anyway, after a fast game of Rock Paper Scissors, the Fab Hub (because he really is just that Fab) took a turn at heading down the hallway to tend to Kidzilla. “Go back to sleep,” he said. “You need the rest. We’ll be fine.”

In my half-sleeping fog, I heard him pad down the hall, pick her up, and whisper to her. Yawn. I heard them settle into the rocking chair and get comfortable. All seemed well and perhaps I drifted back to sleep. And then…

“Zilla! Nooooooooooo!”

I jumped out of bed and flew down the hall to find the Fab Hub looking with horrified surprise at the child in his arms.

“What’s wrong?”

“She pooped on me. It’s evvvvvryyyyyywheeeeeere!”

And indeed, there was a sizeable amount of slimy wet baby poop outside of Zilla’s diaper and on her Fab Dad. I thought he might just cry.

Now, not everyone is so terribly upset by a little baby poop on their person. It happens. In my family, there’s been a baby around on an average of every five years from my Mom right down to the youngest great-grandchild who is now just a couple of months old. A poopy baby diaper is standard drill. It’s important to note here, though, that the Fab Hub hadn’t exactly grown up around small children and his experience with babies, diapers, and poop was limited to the three short months of Zilla’s life thus far. He was a willing partner in the diaper-changing responsibilities, but this little diaper fail was a whole new experience for him.

I quickly took Zilla off his hands. He must have been in shock, because he just sort of stood there looking stunned and asked, “What do I do?”

I suggested he shed his soiled garments and take a shower. He proceeded to strip on the spot.

“Not here!

“Well where?”

“In the bathroom! Where else?”

“Oh, OK.”

And off he went…all the way down the hall, through our bedroom, and into our bathroom dripping little blops of baby-rrhea all the way instead of just going the five steps to Zilla’s bathroom right next door.

(palm to forehead here)

Figuring we’d deal with that little problem after we got Zilla cleaned up and back to sleep, I went about the business of peeling off her messy clothes and cleaning her up. No problem, right? Not so.

“Zilla, no! Oh nooooooooooo!”

The Fab Hub came running down the hall at top speed.

“What happened? Is everybody OK?”

And then he saw it.

There was baby poop everywhere. You see, in the midst of the poop and the stunned husband covered in said poop and the total new-Mommy exhaustion, I failed to remember one very important detail. If a baby has just shit herself silly, it’s probably a good idea to cover up her precious little tuchus while cleaning her up. Just in case.

Zilla had, of course, pooped at precisely the moment I grabbed her little feet and lifted her butt up off the changing pad to wipe away the last of the first poop. Please note that when a baby has a bowel movement of the baby-rrhea variety in this position, what you get is projectile poop. Forceful projectile poop. Poop that sprays out of the baby with such power as to burst forth in an arc-like path hitting every spot from said baby to the changing table, the lamp on the changing table, the wall next to the changing table, the floor, the rocking chair, the floor on the other side of the chair, and finally the closet door on the opposite wall of the room. Miraculously, the only thing in the room that was untouched by the arc of flying poop was the Mommy, frozen in place watching it sail overhead.

We both stood in stunned silence, our mouths wide open. It was our first week back to work, we were exhausted, Zilla was (clearly) not feeling well, it was 2:30 in the morning, and our Daughter’s bedroom was covered in poop.

We burst out laughing.

I can only think that we did so because if we hadn’t, we would have sat right down and cried. As we laughed, I looked over at the Fab Hub and discovered that the man was naked. Remember, he had gone down the hall to take a shower when Zilla let loose poop number two.

“Hon. You’re naked.”

“What?”

“You’re naked.”

He checked. He was indeed naked.

“Oh, OK.” And off he went, presumably to get dressed and find cleaning supplies.

I got Zilla cleaned and settled in her crib and the Fab Hub returned with cleaning supplies…sponges, brushes, Clorox wipes, carpet cleaner. He brought an arsenal.

“I didn’t know what we’d need so I brought it all,” he said.

Good call. Zilla cooed pleasantly in her crib while we got to work on the room…we wiped down the table, the lamp, scrubbed the walls (oh, did I mention they were painted a lovely shade of eggshell?), wiped down the closet doors, went after the upholstery on the rocking chair (tan, by the way)…we worked for more than an hour and then turned to the carpet (yup, also tan). We discovered, too, that there is such a thing as too much Resolve carpet cleaner and it is nearly impossible to get rid of all those suds. We were both down on our hands and knees at 4:00 AM scrubbing the daylights out of the carpet and found ourselves laughing once again.

My heart swelled with love. We were both pitching in to deal with Zilla and the poop. We were not crying or screaming at one another. We were going to be OK. I looked over at the Fab Hub, wanting to say something, only to discover that he was down on his hands and knees…scrubbing away…still completely naked.

“Oh my God! You’re still naked!”

What?”

He checked, found this to be true, and yelled “holy shit!”

And that was the part where we lost it completely.

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Mama’s Losin’ It
 

 

 

The Ten Best Meals of Our Marriage

As difficult as this is to narrow down to a mere ten, I was intrigued enough by Stasha’s Monday Listicles topic to enlist the help of the Fab Hub to help me try. This family loves good food and we have had many good meals. But if we had to pick ten of the best meals of our marriage, these are probably the winners.

Some of these were one-time deals; others are things we enjoy eating over and over again. There are some personal favorites and some shared. But each of these has a special place in our hearts (uh, stomachs). You’ll find that they are about so much more than the food (although that’s usually pretty good, too).

And so, in no particular order, here we go…The Ten Best Meals of Our Marriage. Continue reading “The Ten Best Meals of Our Marriage”

Brave

Have you seen the movie Brave?

Last summer we took Kidzilla to see her first in-theater movie and that was the one. I am not a huge Disney Princess fan, but this one worked for me. This princess, Merida, is reluctant at best. She wants no part of her mother’s arranged marriage plan; when the competition to win her hand gets underway, Merida comes up with a clever scheme to compete for her own hand. I like this girl.

One of my favorite scenes in this film is this one below, where Merida snags a day off from her mother’s grueling princess preparations and heads out for the day with only the companionship of her beloved steed, Angus, and her trusty bow and arrow. The song is fantastic.

When we first saw Brave, I cried like a baby through this scene. Why? This girl reminds me so much of Kidzilla… I can’t explain it, really. All sorts of things make me teary since she came along. Continue reading “Brave”

CSA Pickup Day Pasta

I’ll bet you’re thinking that this pasta is going to have tons of farm-fresh veggies in it. Nope. Actually, none. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Pickup has been a lot of fun. We are seeing a much wider variety of veggies in our CSA delivery lately. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen cabbages, summer squash and zucchini…

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cucumbers, some long skinny eggplant, green bell peppers, yellow peppers, a jalapeno pepper or two…

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ridiculously large scallions… why yes, they are as wide as my stove. Try putting those in the refrigerator drawer!

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We have more basil than we know what to do with – especially since my backyard basil is also going crazy. Notice the absence of the huge piles of salad greens! I actually had to buy kale at the market this week.

Not that greens are a bad thing…we just got a bit overwhelmed for a couple of weeks. Fab Hub and I were discussing the greens earlier this evening. We think the reason the greens became so overwhelming is likely because our overall consumption of greens dipped a bit in the weeks right after school ended for the summer…just in time for the arrival of the CSA greens. Silly.

Anyway, back to the pasta. We have figured out that making dinner on pickup night just doesn’t work well. Pickup is from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. If we deliver Super Sister’s vegetables before going home, it’s well into dinner prep time. If we stop for a treat at the awesome little ice creamery near the farm, we’ve made ourselves deliciously not interested in dinner. Again, not necessarily a bad thing. Every girl should learn the delightful pleasure of having ice cream way too close to dinner time on a hot summer afternoon.

About two weeks ago, I found a pin for Creamy Crock Pot Spaghetti from Picky Palate. My Lovely Italian Grandmother is probably turning somersaults in her grave…creamy and Crock Pot are most assuredly not words that belong with spaghetti. Like ever.

But this stuff haunted me for days. Mostly because it was intriguing, yes. But also because somehow the stuff in the photo looked exactly like grade school cafeteria Spaghetti Friday spaghetti. You know the kind – you’ve had it. I loved that spaghetti. Or the way leftover spaghetti looks in the fridge in the middle of the night when you grab a couple of cold forkfuls right out of the bowl. Admit it – you’ve done it. It’s different than regular spaghetti at dinnertime. It’s…thicker? Saucier? Whatever it is, it’s leftover cold spaghetti and it is fantastic.

We decided that CSA day was the perfect opportunity to try this. Turns out we were right. Go over to Picky Palate and get the instructions – you will not be sorry.

It works just like Jenny says it does, almost to the letter. I did make a couple of changes out of necessity. For example, she used ground beef and I only happened to have ground chicken in the freezer. She used chicken broth; I had some beef to use. (Please, Mom, stop cringing.) Other than that little switch and using angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti because I grabbed the wrong box at the market, we followed the instructions just as given.

The result? Amazing. Photos? Not here. While spaghetti in a bowl is really not too exciting, Jenny’s photos at Picky Palate sure do look inviting. The front photo is really what sold me on this.

It is indeed just like the Spaghetti Friday stuff and/or middle of the night forkfuls of leftovers. Perfect. I did not have to heat up the kitchen. Fab Hub did not have to stand in the blazing sun to grill. Dinner was ready precisely at the moment we wanted it. My two cents about the process would be to watch your time carefully. My slow cooker runs hot, so this was more than ready in two hours rather than the three indicated. I’m sure the angel hair cooked more quickly than regular spaghetti would have, too.

Overall, this is a pretty fantastic find and I am certain we will make it again. Would I do it in the heat of July? Sure, why not – it’s a nice, comforting home-cooked meal with zero fuss and no heat spike in your kitchen. But where I see this really working is a snowy winter afternoon…snow day dinner! Toss it in the slow cooker mid-afternoon before you watch the 2:00 PM snow day movie double-feature or before you head out to build a snowman and dinner will be hot and ready precisely when you want it to be. This qualifies as serious comfort food.

What about all of our beautiful farm fresh veggies? Fear not. Many have already done their duty and I have plans for the rest of them. My trusty little Vitamix and I have several goodies waiting to post. Check back later!

In the meantime, what’s your favorite comfort food meal or your best option for keeping the kitchen cool? Share!

Headstones and Homesteads

I ran an errand to the mall today and ended up sitting at my Grandparents’ grave site.

I don’t know why, really. I’m not much of a grave visitor.

I had a rough day today. But I’ve had other rough days and none have sent me running to their grave. Perhaps it is just that I happened to be by myself this afternoon and wanted just a few more minutes of solitude before switching gears from day job Me to Wife and Mamma. It’s never good to bring the day home.

So I pulled into the cemetery and quickly found their bench.

 

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Continue reading “Headstones and Homesteads”

A Standing Date

On the night they met, my Grandmother told my Grandfather that he was crazy.

I’m pretty sure she told him that many more times over the course of their life together, but that night was the first – at least that’s how I remember the story.

My Grandparents were practically babies when they met – 14 and 15, I believe. They met on a snowy New Year’s Eve in an alley downtown in a year when it was still safe to walk down an alley downtown after dark. A different time… She and her friends were supposed to meet up with some boys they knew at a New Year’s Eve gathering, but either someone didn’t show or the plans changed so the girls left. He was walking around town with his friends, “looking to find some gals” when the two groups crossed paths in that alley.

 

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My favorite version of their story is the one he told so many times… Continue reading “A Standing Date”

Sunday Dinner

I cried over my dinner tonight.

It wasn’t that it was horrible. In fact, it was quite good.

Roast beef cooked all day in the slow cooker until it fell apart with just a touch of the fork. Fluffy mashed potatoes with real butter and real milk whipped up just so with the electric mixer. Sweet corn with just a touch of butter. Homemade pan gravy from the meat juices. Good old-fashioned Sunday dinner. Perfect.

It tasted just like my Grandmother’s.

Continue reading “Sunday Dinner”