Saturday, July 25, 2009

We are the loud one's behind the glass..

Went to church tonight. Got our God on... Then I remembered why we don't make it every week. We are Catholic and since having children I have started to envy other churches with their blessed nursery. For the most part, Catholic churches do not have a nursery at every service instead they have the cry room. You would assume from the title that it is the room where parents taking their crying children. In reality it is the room where parents take their screaming children and parents go to cry . It is a glass fronted room where you can see the service and supposedly hear through a speaker, but really you hear nothing but just follow the cue of others, sitting, standing, sitting again, kneeling, "oh, are we getting up for communion?"; but are about as engaged as one can be while trying to keep your four-year old from standing on the seats, and and occupying a baby with puffs because if you don't keep his mouth full he feels he needs to show everyone how talented he is by screaming na-na-na-na at the top of his baby lungs. I am pretty sure we won't be there next week.

Now if you ask "why don't they have a nursery program" and any reasonable person would ask is because the church feels that children are part of the family and should experience the church with the family. True in theory but not in reality! You have room full of families you are simply trying to maintain and in our case maintaining ineffectively. The four year old makes is 20 minutes then he is done. So for the next forty minutes is a series of threats and the eventual time out where I or my husband drag him screaming from the "cry" room.

He is simply not ready to sit through a 60 minute service quietly despite my best efforts to come fully armed with books and coloring books and small cars. I leave feeling like a horrible and ineffective parent. In my opinion it is a real issue with the Catholic church and an issue that keeps young families from feeling fully included in the community.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Am I Boring?...I feel kind of boring?

I am new to the blogger world and my understanding of the blog was apparently very limited. I thought of as a journal, a simple page to post your thoughts so that is was I started to do. Simply (as my husbands calls them).. my musings. My blogs skills consisted of knowing how to do three things.... write and post, post a picture, and insert a hyperlink. Pretty basic. But I have been exploring the world of blogger and am feeling a bit........boring.

A co-worker's blog was a featured blog on the SITS blog and she let her friends know via facebook. That post led me to the SITS blog and through exploring their page led to a whole world of blogger I didn't know existed. Decor, poetry, motherhood, literature.. anything imaginable and I was floored.

I went back to my page and felt a little inadequate. "I need to post a some pictures. How do they get three columns? Where did they get all those cool buttons? Is the stuff I'm writing even interesting?"

A little insecurity can get the best of us, but like high school doesn't last forever. I am proud of my little start. My drop in the bucket of thought and idea. Maybe nobody reads it (except my devoted husband :) and that is OK. They are my thoughts and this is a place to put them and that itself is empowering.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Visualization Shouldn't Include the Word "Squishy"

Motherhood is humbling. My son is four-years-old and apparently four is the age of "saying the darnedest things". So along with cute phrases or mis-pronunciations such as "Mommy, look at all the American flags" (except he can't say the "L" ) he also has an acute power of observation. Today he wanted to go swimming so we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the pool. As I took off my cover-up to join him in the water he says "Mommy, your legs are squishy" Funny, funny, laugh, laugh and then he moved on to more important things like the bug on his towel (thankfully). Squishy, that only made me think of other places on my body that would qualify as squishy which led to a huge desire to eat some sort of sweet which I then thought would only lead to more squishy places, so I did abstain, and tried to visualize me being not squishy which is my ultimate goal. So motherhood is humbling, very humbling. A talking mirror didn't do Snow White much good and it certainly wasn't on my Christmas list, but I got one. Throw in a talking scale and a refridgerator that oinks and I have a trifecta of self-esteem. Oh, well. He loves me anyway as done my bouncy 7 month old baby. The day will come, I can hear it, when he will say "Mommy your tummy is so flat!".

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby food and Baby stepping...

I am trying to keep up with my goal of one entry per week and while my Dad is probably saying "yeah, right" since I have attempted such a goal in the past, I have found doubt and skepticism is frequently what motivates me to succeed.

Since there are so many various things that float through my head you might find this to be a week in summary but better they are covered briefly than not at all!

The baby food experiment is going quite well. I have been proud of my efforts and have found the it quite a learning experience. The main thing I have noticed between making my own baby food vs. buying commercial baby food is that the homemade variety is much more palatable. Upon testing the concoctions I discover they are actually quite tasty! That is a statement I would NEVER make about commercial baby food. Today I made Aidan potatoes and carrots mashed with unsalted butter and chicken stock with apples and blueberries for dessert. The potatoes and carrots were a hit but he seemed unsettled about the apples and blueberries even though this morning he devoured mashed bananas and blueberries. I am thinking it might be the texture. That has been the biggest learning process for me. My idea of a smooth texture does not exactly match his. Something I think smooth proves to be too chunky for him.

Summer is coming quickly to a close. It always does. I have started thinking about school starting and what I will teach the first six weeks. The first six weeks is the toughest for me. Over the summer, as expected, I get out of my groove. I have to get back into the flow of teaching, of knowing how long an activity will take, and how to transition smoothly from lesson to lesson. My biggest mistake usually is I overestimate my student's capabilities. I always assume they know how to do something and then I discover usually through frustration and grumbles that they don't know what I am talking about. The first structured piece of writing I do is an analysis paragraph. Really, just a paragraph. We start with short stories and after reading one they write a short analysis paragraph. A topic sentence, supportive sentences and a closing statement. Really, just a paragraph. I always model one, go over the structure of my topic sentence and how I found support and how to close. Then they are supposed to write one of their own and the usual response is blank stares. " How do I start? What am I supposed to do? " Then I remember, " Oh yes, they know nothing". Grumbling does nothing, saying " I know you did this last year" makes no difference. I must backtrack and baby step them through it. I must walk them through writing a topic sentence, walk them through finding support. Two- three hours of teaching time devoted to a paragraph. But that's all right. They have to get their groove back too and they always do.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our Round Top Escape

Food Stop Lockhart:
According to my husband, any Texas road trip isn't complete without a stop at some hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint. Therefore we hit Smitty's BBQ in Lockhart, Texas. You walk into Smitty's and order your meat right there at the pit. The heat from the exposed fire warming my legs on the already 103 degree day. They serve your meat on butcher paper with a couple of knives and good old white bread (absent are any forks). You then head inside to order you sides . I was skeptical at first. " I don't get a plate. I have to eat with my fingers! Where is the sauce?" I thought for sure I couldn't eat without sauce but I was wrong, plain wrong. I scarfed it down. The sweet pickles were home-style thick-cut and tasted exactly like the ones my mother canned each summer. Cold sweet tea served in one-size only massive cups- we both got refills. The ribs were by far my favorite, but the sausage and brisket were by no means disappointing.

Also worth mentioning is Lockhart's picturesque downtown. It is a traditional downtown square with various storefronts its gorgeous courthouse taking the center spot. It was straight out of To Kill a Mockingbird and I fully expected to see an incarnation of Atticus Finch leaving that courthouse and if I had looked hard enough would have surely found Boo Radley's house and maybe even a Scout and Jem.

Even though Lockhart added about an hour to our drive to our destination of Round Top and forced us to deal with Austin traffic it was well worth it!

Final Destination- Round Top:

Each spring and fall Round Top holds a massive antique fair spreading over 15 miles. Round Top, which has a population of like 81 (the sign said 77 but I am giving it a little room for growth :) apparently gets 20.000 visitors. Kevin and I both talked about how we would like to go to a spring or fall show but decided it might be nice to get a feel for the area by going during a less busy time and therefore decided to plan our weekend getaway during the summer when they have a much smaller antique weekend.

I found the town and the area absolutely charming and refreshing. Not just refreshing because we got relax, sleep-in, nap ( I took a two hour nap!!) and leisurely eat dinner, but refreshing regarding basic humanity! We rented an adorable refurbished farmhouse which was furnished straight out of Country Living. The proprieter, Beverly, had emailed telling us the key would be in the lock and it was! Dangling in the lock for all the world to see.

Further adding to this belief was Royer's Cafe. Royer's is a busy and popular cafe which only seats 38 people and so frequently there is a wait. Well on the porch is a cooler of cold soda and beer which operates on the honor system. Drink as many as you want while waiting and when you get your table give the waitress your bottle caps or soda tabs so she knows how many you drank. At the gas station the sign said "Customers, let us see your face so we can turn on the pump for you." Apparently all it takes is an honest face to get gas. Everybody waved to you as you drove on the roads. For a over-citified girl like me it was wonderful!

Overall the trip was wonderful. We looked at the stars. I read my book. Had some good eats. We searched for vintage treasures and came home with some fun finds. The place had no TV reception (we did watch a DVD), no cell phone signal (had to go into town), no internet connection. We were unplugged and we loved it!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Aidan has been eating solids for about two months and has proved to have a voracious appetite! Owen, my four-year-old is a picky eater. His repertoire of food choices is very narrow: PB&J, ham and cheese, applesauce, and the occasional hotdog and chicken nugget. We are constantly battling dinner time because frequently Owen does not want to eat what I have cooked for dinner. My goal with Aidan is to try to incorporate some of the flavors from the family dinner and thus have been experimenting with making my own baby food.

My first attempt involved zuchinni and summer squash. I was making a favorite of Kevin's and mine, Grilled Vegetable Tostadas. This recipe includes grilling zuchinni and summer squash, so I took a portion of both, steamed them in the microwave and pureed them with a hand blender. I then blended them with a little of left over sweet potato. Aidan eagerly ate the concoction while Owen complained and nibbled on a tortilla! Now I guess I shouldn't get too excited, Aidan is only seven months old but with motherhood, it is the little victories that sometime make a stressful day a little brighter.

Another issue I have been facing as I take on the challenge of making my own baby food is equipment. I had been eyeing a remarkable gadget called the Baby Beaba. This is European creation that steams and puree's in the same bowl. This concept has me mesmerized and if it hadn't been for the steep price tag I would have purchased immediately, but the $150 price tag kept me at bay. So instead I took stock of what I had at home. I have frequently steamed vegetables, especially the long-baking squash, in the microwave and found it very convenient, time-saving and not detrimental to the taste. So knowing this and then discovering while cleaning out my cupboards my hand blender which I picked up years ago at a garage sale I was able to solve my problem without any extra expense! I can steam in the glass bowl and puree in that same bowl!

In all my experience preparing my own baby food has been very rewarding. While I will still continue to use some commercial baby food occasionally but at the same time blending in flavors from the dinner table I hope to create a less fussy and sensitive eater.