free hit counter Snacks, please!: September 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

We're going on a bear hunt!

So, we took the girls on a camping adventure this past weekend! To a "rustic cabin" in the woods, about 30 minutes from home. Let's see... aside from the battalions of killer mosquitoes and the constant sound of gunfire, I'd say it was great fun.

Yes, gunfire. Little did I know that Bull Run, the campground, was next to Bull Run, the shooting center. "I think I hear fireworks!" Lucy said excitedly. Hm. The "rustic cabin" had a microwave and mini-fridge, so we weren't exactly roughing it. But it did require a walk through the woods to pee. "Are there bears in these woods?" Lucy asked.

"There are no bears in Virginia!" I said. "They live in New Jersey."

"New Jersey..." she repeated thoughtfully.

We joined some friends from the old neighborhood, who left us briefly on Saturday afternoon to go to Target and McDonalds. (Just our kind of campers!) I think our au pair, who is German, and consequently, most resourceful, was sort of horrified that we cooked our dinner in a crock pot. But we did make s'mores over the fire (which she very capably tended.) I'd say Lucy's favorite part was the camp store (which sold out of bug repellent in 3.5 hours) and offered rubber snakes, but no real ones. (Rats! I know you're there! And I'm going to hire a snake to kill you!)

David took some pictures... To come, I promise!

In other news, I have new evidence that I need to clean the house more often. Tonight I took out the Bissell carpet cleaner -- damn you, ranch dressing! -- and Lucy and Margaret spread out a blanket a few feet away, sitting and sipping their respective milks (warm baba for M, strawberry sippy for Lu), while watching with fascination. "Look! We've never seen this before! She's cleaning!!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Where were we?

Better question: Where was I?

In Nebraska!!

I know. That was a tricky one. I flew out Sunday for a whirlwind work-related trip. The highlight: A visit to this lady's house, where I got to meet such a sweet little bunny, who hopped to the door with a big toothless smile and chocolate on her face. What a cutie pie! I hope my three crazy girlies will be so delightful when they hit the big old 5.0. (The secret, I suspect, is that the little bunny has such lovely parents, who so warmly welcomed this stranger (in inappropriate shoes) on their doorstep -- and even fed her bacon pizza.)

It's a funny thing to read somebody's blog and think, oh wow, she's so witty! and smart! and thoughtful about the world that she lives in -- and then actually meet them in person and think -- well yes, I was right.

Anyhoo, to recap, I went to Nebraska wearing my red huaraches. I meant to bring my Clark Artisan sandals as well. I forgot.

But everybody in Nebraska was so very nice that I think they didn't notice. Either that or they figured I was some kind of East Coast hippie who thought it appropriate to wear bright red Mexican sandals at ALL TIMES. (I also forgot my deodorant, which probably didn't do much to dissuade said impression.)

What else? I saw prairie grass. And corn fields. I did not eat a locally famous cabbage burger, but I did devour homemade tres leches cake with confetti jello on the side. I went 36 hours without eating a single fruit or vegetable, unless you count tomato sauce. (Reagan would. I would not.) I gained four pounds. (How is that possible??) I met one darling 5 year old (see above), and a whole classroom of darling 4-year-olds. Said one little fellow who sported a whiff of cologne and a thin gold bracelet: "I'm Giovanni. I'm funny."

All in all, I was feeling pretty good about Nebraska until I got on the plane ride home and ended up sitting next to a lunatic old lady wearing five shirts (at least three of them spotted with yogurt??) who talked my ear off for nearly 3 hours. She told me, more or less, that she didn't like immigrants. But I do! And not just for the cake. Native-born Americans are hardly clamoring to work the kill floor at her local meat-packing plant, I pointed out. Then I couldn't hear her, mumble mumble, "of course the Jews owned it."

What?? I exclaimed. "Well, it was a kosher plant, so of course the Jews owned it," she explained. Hmm. She went to the bathroom for a long time. (A heroin addict??) But once back, she immediately launched into national politics. She loves Sarah Palin. She's so straight-forward! So personable! "You're not having her over for dinner!" I shouted.

"I have to take a nap," I said calmly.

I close my eyes. She tugs my sleeve. Seriously! "But what about the 190,000 Iraqis dead because of this stupid war?" she asks.

Two hours later, I find out she's really from Iowa.

The girlies were delighted when I returned. Margaret says, "Mommmmmy! Mommymommymommy!" Josephine giggle giggles and bit my shoulder. And Lucy sat me down in the big chair for a quick read and snuggle.

Friday, September 19, 2008

But I love my little changeling

The other day at dinner, after Josephine bared her teeth at David, then giggled ferociously, and then sweetly gave a single green pea to Margaret, he said, "Do you think she's an elf?"

Well, this is certainly a possibility.

"Do you think maybe they thought, 'Well, they won't really notice?'" he asked.

While it is true that the two babies look an awful lot alike, especially with the crazy hair, they also are different in significant ways. And much of it could be explained if we were to believe that the fairies came into their room (the windows are often open!) and dropped off a changeling.

Her pointy little chin, for example. And her ability to speak to the animals. Her scant appetite and penchant for shoes. Fairies love shoes! Also her funny little way of suddenly appearing with contraband.

"Where did you get that nickel???"


"That's right! No money for babies!"

Giggle, giggle.

Her lack of conscience! Fairies are notoriously guiltless.

There is only way to find out for sure. Throw her into a fire. If she's a changeling, she'll burn up. (This is what people say! It's not my idea!) But no, no, no. No. NO. I don't want her to burn up, changeling or no. We love our little fairy baby. (A good Halloween costume? Hm. I was thinking monkey instead.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How'd I get on this mailing list?

I got a new clothes catalog in the mail yesterday -- Tracy Porter? Ever heard of it? It appears to cater to middle-aged mothers with lots of money, flocks of white geese on their big green lawns, and a penchant for olive silk and silver sequins. (This is not me. Geese?? Try rats. Oh yes, I know you're still there. And I'm going to kill you.)

For example: See right. Tracy Porter herself tell us, "Yes, those little wild men are ours...And yes, it's a ruckus when they're in the tub! Does the bathroom get soaked...? Pretty much. As for me in silk blouses...Let's just say I'm quick on my feet." And she should be, since her "notions of rapture silk blouse" is $225. (I swear, she uses the ellipse nearly as much as I do... and I don't like that!)

Even better: See left. "date night... ...[two in a row?? really??] when John & I steal a moment away from the divine racket that our sweet spirited boys so gleefully blast us with while we are home. I know you know....." [Yes, five dots.] Like Mrs. Porter, who changed her name, I see...I do like date night. But I rarely wear a $265 glimmering tunic, paired with $185 silvered jeans and $290 "star-gazing stilettos" to the movies.

As far as I can tell, Tracy Porter is a real person(a) who lives in Wisconsin with her husband John and four sons, and designs her own clothes. (And models them in videos on her website! That part is kinda cool.) But I'm not sure. Is Ann Taylor a real person? Is Johnny Boden?

Ha! So how did I get on this list?? I just know my subscription to Ireland of the Welcomes is the reason we're hearing from St. Vincent de Paul and his peeps. And I suspect that my Cook's Illustrated magazine is the reason we get all that mail for those poor people with obsessive-compulsive disorders. But this... Did they purchase a parent list from our overpriced DC-area music for toddlers class?? Hmm.

I'm just jealous, of course.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Turn those machines back on!

With the recent news of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy and the dismal reports that my own 401K sends me periodically, I'm wondering if I should try reading Business Week instead of People. I mean, is it bad that everything I know about the markets I learned from Trading Places??

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lucy plans ahead

"Maybe someday we'll get a dog," I say to Lucy. "A dog?" she repeats with great interest. "But not now," I hurriedly add. "There is somebody in this house who would not like it at all! And that's Kitty Cat!" "Oh yes," Lucy agrees. "She would say, 'oh no, oh no, oh no!'" Lucy pauses. "But maybe when Kitty Cat dies... then we could get a dog." "That's true. Maybe then," I say." Silence. "But I think I'm going to die when Kitty Cat dies because we are both 3," Lucy points out. "Oh no! You're going to live a lot longer than Kitty Cat! She's a cat and you're a person. She might live to be 15, but you'll live to be 100!" I tell her. "And then you'll be dead," Lucy adds. "Yes. I will be dead," I say sadly. "And then I will be a Mom," Lucy says. "Yes! You will be a mom!" "And the babies will be big sisters!" Lucy continues. "Wha? No, the babies will not be big sisters. They'll still be your little sisters." "No. They won't." "Yes, they will." "No, they won't." "Yes, they will, Lulu. Even when you're 42 and they're 40, you'll still be their big sister." Silence. "But, when you are dead, I will be their mom. I will take care of them," she explains. "Ohhh. Well. What a relief! I'm glad you'll take care of them," I say. "But you need to show me where things are," Lucy says. "You mean like where the grocery store is?" I ask confused. "Yes, and where the shoe store is. They will need shoes," Lucy says. "Okay. I'll show you. And you're going to cook dinner then?" "I don't know how to cook dinner!" Lucy protests. "Well, you can go to restaurants," I assure her. David steps in: "Mommy can teach you how to cook!" "No," Lucy says flatly. "We're going to restaurants."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And I had the veal.

What's wrong with me? Every Christmas I take the girls to the UConn cow barn, where we let the babies suck happily on our cold fingers, and chew on our sleeves with gummy mouths, and leave their foamy white breath all over our LLBean fleece. Oh, that one is a frisky one! Ooh, and this one is so shy... What a sweet little cow!

And then. And then! I eat them. Yes I do.

Usually just once a year for Christmas Eve dinner, which is sort of like a native whale hunt. Special dispensation for tradition. So I don't feel guilty. I'm basically ordered to participate by the tribal Chief, who is known regionally as Ma. But this year, oh-ho! David and I went out last weekend for our anniversary (that would be the sixth anniversary, traditionally celebrated with candy, iron and sugar -- please see: molten chocolate cake with artichoke marmalade and sugar-spun mountain. Yes, artichoke marmalade!)


I had the radicchio salad with gorgonzola and pears. And the aforementioned chocolate cake with artichoke marmalade. (yummy. really!) And, in between... the tender baby cow stuffed into raviolini.

Anyway, I don't feel much guilt -- mostly I am proud that I haven't descended into real cannibalism. Because, if I could, like not so much if we were in a plane crash in the Andes, but more like if I were crazy, I might actually eat Margaret. She has such nice meaty thighs! If a baby cow is delicious... wouldn't she be even sweeter? Braised? (or has her delicate milky flavor been ruined by Oreos and tomatoes. Maybe so. yes. definitely. Oh! What a relief!)

"We'll eat you up we love you so!"

Name that quote and I'll give you a smelly marker.*

Lucy is too big to eat. And Josephine is too skinny. She's like the goblin in "Hungry, Hungry, Hungry" -- a book that we bought in Ireland a couple of years ago. "Why have you got such skinny wee thighs?" asks the wary little boy. "Hungry, hungry, hungry!" shouts the green goblin. Then, when the goblin threatens to eat him, the child kindly offers him a jelly bean instead. Answers the goblin: "That will do nicely. Thank you very much."

Oh, what polite company!

Anyway, back to the cows...

We also had the olive oil ice cream. V. nice!

*I won't really give you a smelly marker. One, that's a really easy quote. You haven't really earned it... Second, I use them to self-medicate for work-related ADD. A little yellow is quite invigorating.

More from Lucy

"My batteries are dead!" she says, as she bicycles up the *slight" incline around the corner from our house. "You have to push me!"

"Your batteries?? Where are your batteries?"

"Inside my legs! In the bones. Right in the middle. And right now they're dead," she concludes sadly.

Friday, September 5, 2008

More on poop

Uh-oh! I smell something stinky! "Margaret! Do you have a poop in your diaper??" She shakes her head, says, "Neh!" and points to Josephine, who is climbing on top of the Dora kitchen to sit in the sink and rattle her pots. "Josephine! Margaret says you have a poop in your diaper!" Monkey jumps down, grabs her tushie between her little hands, and skedaddles out of the room, giggling wildly.

And she does have a poop in there!

The babies have colds. I have to put them to bed with their headbands on... otherwise they wake up with that crazy hair glued to their cheeks with snot. You curly-headed people know what I mean, right?

And here is what Lucy says, "If you don't make me strawberry milk, I won't be your friend." Oh really?? Girlfriend...

Things I have learned about Germany:
They don't eat cookies.
They like whole-wheat bread (of course!!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

odds and ends

Let's see.

Lots has happened since August... Margaret has a new favorite word. It's coooKIE! And Josephinie has a new favorite word too. It's WOOwoo! (Like the little barky pugs who live next door.) And Margaret has a new favorite song, which goes like this: Baaaa-BA! Baaa-BA! Bababababbaabba! BABA! And Josephine has a new favorite song too, which goes like this: Neh! Neh! Nenehnehenheh!

Still no sign of conscience from her.

We spent a little time over the long weekend with friends at the hippie-dippie pool. Who are these people who let their kids run around naked?? Shame on them. And I know, even though they're making noise about diaper rashes, that they're just lazy with red sangria.

Finally! Our not-so-secret suspicions that Margaret and Josephine actually ARE the cutest babies on the earth have been validated. We let them out of our sight for a minute. or two. And they're surrounded by paparazzi!

What else? We celebrated Mema's birthday with mini-muffins and crepes. And we -- that is, *I* -- continued my assault on the English ivy in the front yard. Don't worry. I wore my hurricane boots, which are impervious to sewage, acid and rats. I think, THINK, that maybe when our yard looks better, our neighbors will talk to us.

And... Lucy started a new class at school yesterday, one where she says, "There are no naughty boys." Well. Thank goodness for that. (Last week, I went to pick her up and there was a boy on the playground who announced, upon my arrival, "Where's MY stupid mother?" Um. "Excuse me, do you know which class that naughty boy is going to be in? Is he going to be in Lucy's class? Because I would prefer not," I patiently asked THREE teachers, before one reassured me that no, he was going to be in a special class for naughty boys who disrespect their mothers and who shouldn't be anywhere my sweet Lucylu with that kind of attitude. We don't need that in our house! No we don't!)

Okay. That's it.