Thursday, January 31, 2013

When A Little Drool Slipped Out

Burl's been limping for two and half days now, so naturally we took a little trip to the pediatrician.    We were just there on Monday for Fern's little ear infection, and the doctor was kind enough to give Burl a courtesy check in his ears as well.  The doctor found two long-eared bunny rabbits living in each of Burl's ears.  One of them winked at the doctor.

Our doctor is good like that.  While waiting for him feels crazy, as my kids like to go wild in the little confined rooms, the doctor brings mystery and awe when he walks in the room.  They are fascinated by his tools and how he carefully and kindly gives them a check.  

Today, Burl was sitting on the bench with his getting-skinnier little legs stretched out while the doctor was doing the doctor thing.  Burl just sat there and stared at him.  His mouth was hung open (like my side of the family does best) and he was so still, and then I noticed it: a little drool slipped out his mouth.  He was entranced.  I was in the corner trying my best to stop from laughing which turned into violent, quiet shaking laughter.  Burl never noticed the drool or the scene that I made. 

Thankfully, his limp is not the dangerous limp and we just have to keep an eye on him.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Climbing Gym Members Of The Month

Hi, my name is Meg and I was the co-member of the month at the climbing gym.  Alongside my brother, Joseph, we were interviewed and our answers were posted on a little bulletin board at Urban Rocks Gym.  Pretty big deal, if you ask no one.  In true form, we didn't take it seriously and had fun with the questions.  The full interview has never been seen until now.  It's lengthy, but it's fun.  Here's the full interview:

Full Name: Margaret Courtney 
Nicknames: Meg, Megatron, Bossy Meg, Large Marge
How long have you been climbing?: 8 months.
Favorite local restaurant: Canyon Grill
Favorite local crag: I've only been to Fosters and Leda once.  Climbing outside takes so much effort for this stay at home mama.
Favorite local climb:
Favorite Quote: Can I get Biblical up in here?  Bible verses are my jam.

Full Name: Joseph Andrew 
Nicknames: Broseph, lil Joe, “Frat Guy,” Flail Lord
How long have you been climbing?: Started in 1998 quit around 2001.  Got serious again in January 2009 (high correlation with the opening of Urban Rocks).
Favorite local restaurant:  Lamar’s
Favorite local crag: Will always have a soft spot for Fosters.
Favorite local climb: Duh, Ethnic Cleansing at Fosters....pretty much as good as it gets! Also, I have to give a shout out to Blond Ambition at Sunset. 
Favorite Quote: “Why do they put the Gideon Bibles only in the bedrooms, where it's usually too late, and not in the barroom downstairs?” 

Meg:  Since Joseph has been climbing longer than you, would you say your perception has changed about how good he was before you started climbing till how good you now think he is that you climb and actually know the full extent of how difficult it is?Absolutely.  Watching him climb on slopers is pretty crazy.  I watched him climb something at LRC and was in awe.  Don't tell him though, I wouldn't want to feed that ego.

Joseph:  What do you think about being able to share something like climbing with your sister?  It’s a new experience.  We are completely different people and have always had completely different interest.  In fact, the last thing we had common interest in was New Kids On the Block.  And we all know how that ended.   It will be nice to have another belayer. 

Meg:  What are some long term climbing  goals for you? Goals: get outside more often to climb with my baby daddy.

Joseph:  Have any projects yourself?  I got some at just about every crag.  That’s the good thing about excelling at punting-I will never run out of projects in Chattanooga.

Meg:  Do you feel like someday, you will surpass Joseph in pure climbing skill? Only if he is bound to a wheelchair.

Joseph:  What is your favorite style of climbing?  Sport, bouldering, trad, gym? Definitely sport.  I only boulder when I can’t con any of my friends into sport climbing.  Most climbers claim to view the gym as a “necessary evil.”  I love it.  I really enjoy coming to the gym after a long day in the cubicle, letting out the stress, and trash talking my friends.

Meg:  How about you, Meg? Sport climbing.  The higher the better.

Meg and Joseph:  Any interest in ice climbing? M: Not in the least.  Too dangerous and WAY too cold.  Joseph tried it in Korea.  The night before he did it, he emailed me his will.  J: 
No interest.  I ice climbed in Korea.  I walked away with bruised elbows and a bruised ego.  I don’t even like ice in my scotch.

Meg:  You have a couple kids, have you tried to get them to climb?  Yes, we recently brought my 2 1/2 year old.  What happened?You were there-don't you remember him slightly freaking out over the harness?  Once he got over that, he was all for it.  His favorite part was "swinging," climbing up and letting go.

Joseph:  If you had to pick one, do you think the Grey's from Zeta Reticuli or the giant Annunaki from Nibiru were the ones responsible for the homo sapiens' initial DNA manipulation to create a race of slaves to use for gathering monatomic gold? It really comes down to do you believe Adam had a belly button?  Once you figure that one out the whole world makes sense.

Meg:  Has climbing affected your lifestyle at all?  What sort of changes? Several ways!  First off, I dropped some major L.B.'s.  Hip, hip, hooray.  Second, I've met some pretty awesome people that I wouldn't have met in my normal day-to-day life.  Third, it's given me a fun, active, & snazzy place to go with friends.

Joseph:  Ever had any crazy epics outside climbing? When I first started climbing I would trad climb at sunset with Laban when he was 13 and I was 15.  I am sure we did some dumb stuff.  

Once I was doing some multi-pitch in Northern South Korea and a guy in our group brought his girlfriend with little experience.  What should have been a 2-3 hour blitz turned into a 12 hour mini epic.  All I had was a Snickers and a wind breaker.  It started raining on the rappel down and the local Koreans sent a search party out for us.  It was one of the most fun days climbing ever.

Meg:  Do you ever try to convert any of your friends to climb? Been there.  Done that.  They love me for it.  

Joseph:  Any memorable onsights you'd wish to share with us? My first lead ever Ankles Away at Fosters.  I was terrified.  Just wanted to clip the first bolt and come down but my belayer was having a conversation and not paying attention, so I just kept going.  

Meg:  Your brother, Joseph is a marvel of human mechanics, do you ever look to him for inspiration? I'm most inspired by his humility.

Joseph:  Obviously you could go on and on about this all day, but how does your sister inspire you, Joseph?  She inspires me to be extra understanding to John (her husband) when he is having a tough day.  Plus she makes the best nieces and nephews.

Meg:  What climbing area would you really like to visit someday? I want to go back to the Red, specifically the Motherload.  

Joseph:  How about you Joseph?  If you could go anywhere to climb, where would that be? Kalymnos Island, Greece.  Planning on making it a reality in May!

Meg and Joseph:  You guys grew up here, how have you seen the climbing scene change through the years? M: I'm just now getting into the scene, so I'm not a good judge.  From where I was, climbing was for the cool kids.  Look at me now, cool kids, J: I was out of the scene for a good 8 years.  When I started back I was amazed at the popularity of climbing and the level at which it was done.  Back then if you climbed 5.13 you were the local hero.  Now, goofy diabetics from the north climb that hard in head lamps!

Meg and Joseph:  favorite stone type? M: Diamonds.  J: looks so European, but then again its tough to run on.

Meg and Joseph:  Any parting thoughts?  M: In the words of someone cool, any publicity is good publicity.  Thank you, URG Staff for celebrating me and my brother for the most important month of the year by push-pinning my answers to your bulletin board. Things to ponder?  What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite. Interesting tidbits?  To get hyped up on my way to the gym, I drink green tea and play loud music with the windows down on the mini{van, not cooper}.Nuggets of usefulness?  Minivans are under-rated.  They make great climbing cars.  Wholesome stories?  I paid $80 to ship Joseph's quick draws to him in Korea.  He paid me back by getting John and me hooked on climbing.  Worth.every.penny. Tall tales?  I'm taller than Joseph. Gear recommendations?  There are some good sales at Rock Creek and the Clymb right now.Tasty recipes? I'm a pretty ballin' cook, but nothing pleases the masses like slice and bake Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. JI haven’t been sick since the Clinton Administration.  Any time I start feeling sick I just stop and feel awesome instead.  True story.

Meg and Joseph:  Any plans for Galactic Day on Friday, December 21st? M: Sorry, I'm more of a Kwanzaa girl. J: Gonna try and summon the ghost of Dick Clark so we can have a proper New Year!

Meg and Joseph:  What do you want for Christmas?  M: I'm pretty lame and I might have to beat myself up for this one, but Mama just wants someone to build her some furniture.  J: A Power Wheel Jeep.....for my nephew!

Meg and Joseph:  If you could decide what technology is released to the general public, what sort of propulsion system would you have developed immediately? 
M: It's almost 2013, where the hell is the hover craft? 
J: Something that utilizes one’s own gastrointestinal system....if ya know what I mean.
Meg and Joseph:  Would you rather be attacked by a bear sized squirrel of 20 squirrel sized bears? M: I stand at a solid 6 feet, so give me that that bear sized squirrel.  J: 
I’m not a fan of a death by 1,000 cuts so I would say a bear sized squirrel.  Although, it would suck to say “Here lies Joseph, died at the hands of an angry Squirrel.”

Meg and Joseph:  Any good stories from childhood you guys would like to put down for the record? M: When I was 16 and Joseph was 14, he got me to drive he and his friend to Sunset to climb.  I just sat there and tried to act outdoorsy while Laban taught Joseph some climbing stuff.  He was teaching him to belay trad climbing.  It seemed normal at the time, but knowing what I know now, I can't believe no one was hurt. J: 
I used to climb everywhere as a baby.  Once my dad came home and I had climbed to the top of the roof of our house.   I also enjoyed climbing into the laundry dryer.  So to teach me a lesson my dad shut me in the dryer and turned it on.  Probably explains a lot. 

While my brother pretty much hated being up on the bulletin board, much less sharing this with me, I love it.  It gives me street cred by association.  John thought it was hilarious that he's been climbing there for years and never been asked, but I'm there for a few months and am up on the board.  I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Joseph.  He's been climbing since before he got that once chest hair.   

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Stomach Bug Of 2013

Oh dear heavens-to-betsy.  We all got it.  Thank you for those that commented, texted, and facebooked some words to me on that last post about having sick kids.  Having sick kids is nothing like being sick with sick kids.  

Friday was as bad as it got, which luckily went ok.  That was the day we all threw up, but somehow we were staggered.  Fern got early morning dibs, I got hit around lunchtime, John got it at the kids' bedtime, and Burl got it right around midnight (again).  I really don't remember much about the details of that day besides a little conversation I had with Burl:

me: {puking in the trash can}
Burl: What dat, Mama? Dat frow up?
me: Yeah, buddy, it's throw up {puke some more}
Burl: {laughing} Ew! Dat Yucky!!!
me: {still puking}

 Two days of no throw-up calls for a family picture.  hip-hip-hooray! 

John and I have noticed something about this stomach bug: either it hits adults harder or we know how to work it to get more sympathy.  John and I were worthless during out time in the tummy-slammer, but our kids barely acted sick.  Fern was a little pitiful, but Burl was a mountain of energy.  He wanted to play all the time.  

I have vague memories of Burl begging us to play with him but not being able to move a muscle.  It's still a blur (or a mental block).  He got very creative in his play and even came up with a game perfect for us: we would lie on the floor of his room and he would cover us with a blanket.  He would toddle about with a flashlight and talk about how there were no monsters.  This was a game he called Camping.  He was so proud of it.  He set the stage (his pillow and blanket on the floor), beckon one of us to his room, we would gather enough energy to hunchback-walk in there, and he would proudly show us the set up.  "Look, Mama, camping! da-da!" 

Here he is today (I was feeling much better) and he really wanted me to sit on his sleeping bag so he could pull me.  Even though he pulled with all his might (and tongue), he had to settle for pulling a stuffed animal.  This kid's got heart.

Little Fern was just pitiful.  She just needed sleep and snuggles.  She has slept until 10:30 for the past few days, which is about the pitiful-est thing!  When she wakes up, she just wants to be snuggled and gently entertained, which snuggles and gentle we can do.

Both the kids favorite part of the day was bath time.  We definitely turned that into a very prolonged activity.  I get that though.  When I'm not feeling good, a warm shower is one of the best places to be.  

We also have a shout-out to give!  We've had a side of runny-nose to go along with the stomach bug (bonus!), so I splurged for the "plus lotion" tissue.  The cheaper ones were lined laced with Vicks.  Holy moly! it's like rubbing your nose with a soft, smooth halls that leaves you a little high at the end.  It was weird at first, but I'm totally used to it by now and I'm digging it.  Shout out!

We've had two days of no puking!  If we go for a third, then I'm going public!  Everyone cross your fingers and say a prayer, because we would love to bust out of this joint.  Gotta roll, it's Downton time!

There Ain't No Menu

For those that check in every Sunday to see what I'm cooking, basically I'm talking about my dad and Lauren, I won't be posting a menu this week.  Our house is getting over the stomach bug and we're taking it one meal at a time.  No planning here.

Tonight we sat down to enjoy our first meal as a family in days.  The kids barely ate anything, but John and I enjoyed our soup and fruit...until thirty minutes after the meal when both our stomachs started to hurt.  One meal at a time here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Throwing Up Crazy

Well, we've been hitting the illness pretty hard around here.  While I like to think I'm good in these circumstances, I'm starting to think that I'm not that great at it.  My strengths are these:

I'll give you pain meds if you ask for them or not.  Just a little somethin' somethin' to take the edge off.

I'll wake up quickly in the middle of the night and jump into action if you're bad off.  While a little cry hear or there will barely awaken me, a few random screams and I'm up.  Burl ralphed for the first time this week.  He picked up the stomach bug (along with 3 others) from the church nursery.  He was vomiting and I was all about helping him.  Fern did a hacking cough in the middle of the night and I was up like a flash checking to see if she had gotten the bug.  Not yet.  

I'll remember what I wanted when I was sick and get you the same.  Juice, crackers, it's all yours babe.  It doesn't seem that long ago that I had the stomach bug (about 10 years ago), and it still haunts me.  Any illness that will make me feel totally comfortable hugging the john and  sprawled out on the bathroom floor like a bath mat is an illness that I'll never forget.

I'm not put off by throw up. Everywhere.  Burl's thrown up on five occasions, and not one of them has been into anything.  Bed, floor, carpet, couch, and me.  None of those bother me.  I was a little put off that last time though.  I thought we were all done with the stomach bug.  I took some time to myself to go tinkle, when I was interrupted by Burl.  He walked in the bathroom looking horrible, and before I could figure out what was happening, I was covered in projectile vomit.  One has not lived until they've been puked on while sitting on the pot.

On top of that, the kids have really runny noses and sleepy eyes and a need to be semi-lethargic.  But Mama knows that a huge helping of television is just what a kid needs.  Baby Einstein and Curious George are on pretty regularly around here.

I'll also let you do whatever indoor activities you want.  We're doing a lot of painting these days.  While painting pictures isn't that interesting, mixing colors is a big deal to Burl.  

Sometimes I'll ask him to tell me about his picture.  This one has snakes (obviously) and a painting of me.  That red blob that resembles a kangaroo is me.  On the top left you'll see a snot sticking out, which Burl calls my nose.  That tail thing on the right is my bottom.  That's a direct quote from my first born.  Ah, the love.

Here's what I'm not good at: being sequestered from friends.  While our days are filled with whining and toddling, we are pretty stuck here at home. Alone.  (Despite a few "We're Better, So Let's Go Places" Attempts.  That was my bad.)  I'm in my home and in my head a lot, and I'm starting to get anxious.  The things that aren't done around here are starting to talk to me.  I'm hearing voices.  From checking on our life insurance policy to finishing the trim in the den, my mind is racing on things undone.  

Last night, I went for a run and cleaned out my napkin collection and that temporarily did the fix.  This afternoon I added one of the kids' goats to our plant and for some reason all those things made me feel better.  Then, they made me feel crazy because they make me sound like a control freak who should get out more.  Run. Organization. Silliness. Those are the things that make me feel better.  I'm like an addict that has to get a fix.  This sick thing is not for me.  I'm not the best Mama in these circumstances.  Any words of wisdom?  Any helpful advice?  I'm all ears.  Please, talk to me.  No, I really mean it.  Mama needs to talk about it!!! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fern's First Accident

Little Fern has had a bit of a rough week.  Not major rough, just a little baby version of rough.  

It all started last Monday during bath time.  She LOVES the bath!  After she's eaten enough at dinner, she will start pulling on her clothes while saying "ba bime," her version of "bath time."  Anyways, she is always so careful and so safe with her moves, but this one time her feet just slipped out from under her.  She fell and hit her mouth on the side of the tub, chipping two teeth. The chips are small, thankfully.  

We might have them filed (for safety), or we might leave them.  We haven't decided yet.  Anyways, I did the math, and Burl was the same age as Fern when he fell and cut his forehead open.  So here's my joke that I keep saying, "What is about my kids that at 14 months they hurt themselves and permanently damage their physical appearance?!?"  I say it all crazy-lady-like which makes is funnier.  I guess.

Then, she cut a new tooth and it really seemed to bother her.  We haven't had much trouble with teething with either of the kids, but this particular tooth seemed to really hurt.  One night she was so upset, we brought her in the bed with us to sleep.  That is The.Best. and almost the worst night of sleep.  Our babies have always slept in their rooms since night one, but there are those extreme situations where they are just so pitiful that they need some company to rest.  We love it.  Baby breath, soft snuggles, and a little hand grabbing at my face in the middle of the night are all part of the fun of having them in the bed with us.  The sleep, not that great.  

One thing is for sure: none of this has slowed her down.  She is still her little quiet, adventurous, exploring self.  She still goes and goes and goes.  It's fascinating to watch her go all day long.  She's always on a mission.

Hopefully, she's on the mend.  For now, we'll just keep kissing and loving on her.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This Week's Menu

When I think about food this week, I want to complain about Whole30.  It's no fun to do, and I'm sure that no one out there wants to read it.  Let's just keep it simple.  I started posting my weekly menu here as a combination of many reasons: I have my recipes linked in one spot, I see what I've been making, I get to browse old menus for ideas for when I get stuck.  Here it is, what we're eating this week:

Roasted chicken, sauteed green beans, rice styled cauliflower
Pintos, sweet potato fries, broccoli

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rice-Style Cauliflower

Thank goodness I have a supermom of a friend who is doing this Whole30 thing as well.  She is like Sherlock Holmes when it comes to finding good recipes, and she is swift to text and facebook me when she finds them.  (Nova, I'm talking about you!)  She has sent me recipes for spinach artichoke dip, pancakes, rutabaga hash browns, and, of course, rice styled cauliflower.  She said her whole household devoured them! I thought I would share the recipe here.

Things to know about them:
1. They make great leftovers.
2. My kids loved them (I feel bad because I called it rice, somewhat tricking or teasing them to try cauliflower.  Next time, I'll be upfront with them because I'm not one for hiding foods.)
3. John only so-so liked them, but he ate them.  He'll eat anything, but won't give his stamp of approval on everything.  (That stamp being a label called "make again.")
4. I made this along side roasted chicken and used the juices from the chicken on top of the cauliflower.  This added some serious awesome flavor!
5. This recipe is not my own.  Nova found it online and can't find where she got it.  It's so easy, she sent me the recipe my memory.  
6. I ate three helpings.  Yum.

Here ya go:

olive oil
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper
cauliflower, riced*

1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Add onion.
3. Saute until translucent.
4. Add cauliflower.
5. Cover & reduce heat to medium low.
6. Wait 5-8 minutes.  
7. Lift lid and wa-la. 

*To shred the cauliflower, we used our food processor with the shredding attachment.  We cut the white parts into chunks and shredded the pieces in batches.  I think that finely chopping it or shredding it by hand would work.

Move over Velveeta  you're not the only way to make cauliflower appealing.  My mama friends and I got your number.  We've got this vegetable thing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Looking For The Dove & Olive Branch

This post is brought to you by Bacon, Dryer Fuzz, & Rain.  Well, they're not paying my anything to write this, but those are the themes of my days lately.  We're a little bit happy, a little bit rowdy, a little bit vitamin D deficient (that's the vitamin we get from the sun, right?), and a lot of bit ready to get outside and play.

I'm not one for blogging about the weather, but good gracious!  It's been raining for at least a week straight and that is so rare for us.  We played outside a little bit last week during the breaks, but this week I'm just trying to stay dry.  Actually, I don't know how much outside time we would be having if it was sunny and cold because I don't like the cold very much.  I just don't like being rained on as I run for groceries.  The picture above is pretty telling of our days.  Good old fashion play.  

One upside to the indoor time is that I'm getting creative with the kids.  By getting creative, I mean that I bought two boxes of noodles for the kids to use to play.  I even let them dump them out and use my measuring spoons and toys and spread them out in the den.  I'm a wild Mama and I'm hope for mother of the year on that activity.  

Completely switching topics and upgrading the conversation,  What this Whole30 diet lacks in bread and cookies, it totally makes up in bacon.  I made bacon, eggs, and sauteed spinach for breakfast this morning.  The kids loved the bacon, so much so that they were completely quiet while they devoured the pieces.  I snapped a picture of Fern and the glisten from the grease is right there on that chubby little hand.

Speaking of dryer lint, we're really rethinking how we use our space.  We were sick of the washer and dryer being efficiently beside each other, so the dryer was moved to the dining room.  Just to shake things up.  Not.  The dryer started making this awful noise on Monday (aka, laundry day) so no clothes were washed.  John is really awesome and resourceful when it comes to this stuff, so he pulled it out and took it apart and diagnosed the problem in 35 minutes.  He ordered the new part and it arrived today.  I'm so excited to do laundry, sort of.  

We have had to redefine what "dirty" means around here, but just temporarily.  I will not become one of those women who hates the dryer or feels like Americans are too clean.  Not yet at least.

Need some baby eye candy?  Here are a few pictures of the babies.  They were all dressed up for my mom's "little party at the restaurant," so I put them in the chair together and snapped some pictures.  Burl is all about NOT taking a picture these days.  He either hides, looks away, or makes funny faces.  This is his rowdy face and his sad face.  Fern just thinks he's funny.

Those two are sweet, alright, but put them together and I just can't handle their cuteness.  

Here I am, being all crazy during nap time.  I'm eating rice-styled cauliflower with chicken.  Whole30 goodness right there!!!  It makes me giddy, and I'm going to share the recipe tomorrow.  It's incredible!

Until next time, send me any funny Noah-and-the-ark jokes about the rain.  My favorite so far was, "Hey, I just saw a guy with two of each animal.  What's that about?"  

Catch you on the flip side, peeps! Bacon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cousin Dinner, 2012

I can't believe I haven't blogged about one of my favorite nights of Christmas this year: Cousin Dinner.  We range in age from 31 to 15 and just about all of us are a rowdy good time on our own, but get us together and the laughter is epic.  It takes us all of 30 seconds to get back to where we left off.  With about half of us living out of the city, it is a rarity that we are all together at one time.  I'm not going to get all mushy about how much I love seeing them.  That would be totally weird, because that's not how we roll.  If I would get all mushy though, then I would explain how for the longest time it was me, then four boys.  While we had fun playing hide and go seek and taking over McDonald's play areas, I really wanted a sister or girl cousin. My grandmother would pray that I would get one girl in the family and, lo and behold, the next four cousins were girls.  Really awesome girls.  I loved it.  We have a great combination.  I'm so proud of each of my cousins!

The Highlights of the evening were:

{laughing as my little brother and younger cousin decide that there wasn't enough room at the "big table" and pulled up the kid table and chairs.}

{seeing Burl get that it was a time to be fun and rowdy}

{watching both my babies, mainly Fern, get totally absorbed with Alex, my youngest cousin.  They were so happy just sitting in her lap.}

{finding random pictures of funny faces on my camera after leaving it with the girl cousins}

{welcoming Whitney to the cousin club.  She's our second addition, the first being my John 9 years ago!  She brought me flowers and a handwritten card for it!}

{snapping pictures of Burl feeding a noodle to the least receptive but very willing cousin}

{playing several crazy rounds of Pictionary and cracking up the whole time}

{my favorite: retelling the same stories we always do like it's the first time we've heard it.  and laughing the whole time!}

These cousins of mine, they're the best.  Hopefully, they enjoy the dinners as much as I do.  I can't wait until they're all here again so we can have another night to laugh!

sidenote: I forgot to get photo cred on my last post.  Last week, my cousin, Abby, babysat while I got my hair did.  She helped herself to my camera and took a few pictures of little things about my house.  It was fun to see what she snapped.  It was more fun to hang out with her when I got home. ;)