Monday, August 30, 2010

Conversations with Chatty

It's amazing how conversations with Chatty can drive me to tears ...

Yesterday afternoon ... screaming at me "You are wasting my time, I am ready to read now ... you never let me do anything fun.  Only Bia gets to do fun stuff ... I can't take this anymore ... I don't want to go to my room ... I hate reading ...." (this went on forever for 30 minutes or more yesterday afternoon)

Last week in the car ... "Mommy I really miss Pap-pa Little (my grandfather who passed away last year). Remember when we went to visit him to say goodbye? We have that picture of me with him on the fridge. We should always leave it there so we remember him. He is in heaven with God now like an angel." 

Friday, August 27, 2010

8 Random Questions from Sass

I was tagged by the fabulous Sass to answer her 8 questions.  I kept forgetting to post the answers and then remembered when someone started doing something that is my most current pet peeve!

1. Your most recent pet peeves?
People clipping their nails at work!  Seriously do you not have enough time at home to take care of your personal hygiene.  There is more than one culprit here in my new office and every time I here that clip -clip - clip I want to strangle them.  Don't be surprised if you see the headline "Tax Person Goes Postal Over Personal Hygiene"

2. Favorite guilty pleasure?

It used to be John and Kate Plus 8 - sad but true!  The funny thing  is Chatty loved it too.  I think she loved watching all of the kids.  No I have not watched Kate Plus 8.

3. Have you ever faked an O? Don't lie!
Anyone who tells you they haven't is lying in my opinion!

4. If you could be famous for something, what talent would you choose?
I am going to copy Sara a little and say a Baker ... I would love to have a cool bakery business (ala Sprinkles but more than just cupcakes)that was featured in Southern Living and wedding magazines.  It would enable me to hire that personal trainer and chef to work off all of the excess "tasting" pounds.  .. Hey the founder Sprinkles and I graduated from the same college so maybe I have a chance?!

5. Would you rather be invisible or be able to fly?
Definitely flying.  If I was invisible I would be afraid I would hear people say bad things about me or people I love because they didn't know I was around.  That would suck.

6. What are the top 3 things every relationship needs?
Love, Respect,Trust, Communication .... I know that is four but I am cheating.

7. Who do you think is the most annoying 'big' blogger?
I only read a few "big bloggers" and like them.

8. Do you love me?
Of course - what's not to love about Sass??? 

So I am supposed to tag 8 more people, but I am too lazy and can't think of any good questions!  It's Friday and I have a ton of stuff to get done at work.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's Going to be a Long Year

First grade is tough on the parents (yes I know I said this in Kindergarten).  20 minutes of reading a night, spelling words and other small amounts of homework are doing me in (Mr. ESPN too!).  I hope we all make it through this year in one piece.  It wouldn't be so bad if Chatty wasn't so stubborn - yeah what can I say - so much like her mama!  That and she doesn't like to be wrong or not good at something - once again a mini-me.  Isn't it frustrating to see yourself in your child???  Oh my word!  To make matters worse we have soccer practice starting tomorrow night and I am the official Team Accountant.  Not only that I offered to be part of the Room Mom Committee (three of us are sharing the duties) for Chatty's class and teach Sunday school every other week- what am I doing?  I have become the yes woman!  Stop me somebody!  Dee blogged about this not too long ago.  Yep apparently I am the same way! 

OK I think I need a glass of wine and then I am going to bed!  All of this volunteering is making me tired! 
Wouldn't you over-volunteer for these cute faces??? 
I blame them - it's all their fault!

Cool reflection in my dirty window behind them

Majority of the pictures were like these last two ...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Favorite Pizza Joint

The ESPN family has a favorite restaurant - Oregano's.  It is a fun "loud" place that is perfect for our family.  The girls request we go there almost every time we go out.  Since it is a favorite ESPN hangout, we like to take our friends and family there when they are visiting.  It was no different when Grandma and Grandpa were here. 

Some toys while we wait courtesy of the restaurant

Grandpa and the girls

I am not sure what is up with Bia and her smiles??

You can get an idea of the attitude Chatty has been giving us
lately based on her look in this picture. It isn't pretty people!

On the way home with her barking puppy.
Mr. ESPN killed the puppy in the wash this week-he's so nice!

Totally unrelated picture but just to give you an idea of how hot it is in the desert.  When I got into my car the other afternoon I looked at my dashboard and saw the following temperature.  Granted this was in direct sun (no shade) and there is very little humidity (which helps some but not a whole lot)!  It feels like sticking your head in an oven and that is no exaggeration!

Here's hoping Fall comes soon!  I can't take much more of this heat!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Recap - First Day of First Grade

The first day of First Grade was "great" according to Chatty, which is good since she has to go back tomorrow, and the next day and the next .... She even had homework on the first day.  They have to read 20 minutes a night on school nights and the parents have to log it.  I sat with her tonight - she did great for the first 15 minutes and then it went downhill - QUICKLY!  I told Mr. ESPN that homework should be split between the parents so we each get to experience the joy and frustration of reading with Chatty.  He wasn't too overjoyed with the prospect!  She is getting very good but gets to a point where she doesn't try and it drives me nuts.  Wish us luck!

Anyway a few more pics from the first day because we all know 3 isn't enough.

Can you see the big hole in Chatty's mouth from all the missing teeth?

Chatty and her buddy JR at the bus stop
They both lost several teeth this summer

My sweet little Bia

First Day of First Grade

How the heck did this happen?  I can't believe Chatty is starting 1st grade today.  It seems like yesterday she was just learning to walk and talk (yes there was a time when she couldn't talk - amazing huh?). 

Being the wonderful mom I am, I woke her up a little early so Mr. ESPN could take a few pictures of us together before I left for work.  Chatty was excited for her first day and didn't mind getting up a bit early to make mommy happy.   Not only is it the first day of school, but she got to ride the bus and lost another tooth (three in a row up top are gone) and received some cash from the tooth fairy.  Great way to start out a new school year!

Yes the backpack looks huge

Me and my baby!

Bia had just woken up - amazingly her hair wasn't too bad
Not sure what is up with Chatty's smile

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Observations I Have Made ...

Some random/boring observations I have made this week while traveling in Minnesota:
  • Most men/women don't understand elevator etiquette; You wait until everyone exits the elevator before you get on.  Men should allow women to get on/off before them if they are entering/exiting on the same floor
  • The Mall of America is overrated to me.  I am not a fan of a huge mall that is filled with a lot of random/crappy stores.
  • The Mall of America has a large Nordstroms with lots of lovely merchandise
  • Minnesota speed limits are slow
  • Afros are not becoming on me
  • Fountain Diet Cokes in MN don't seem to have enough carbonation - this observation has come after ordering fountain Diet Cokes in several eating establishments
  • You can't buy beer/liquor at grocery stores in MN, you have to by them at the liquor stores next door and they aren't open on Sundays.  So different from the desert where you can buy it all in the grocery store 7 days a week.
  • Sauce has a great chicken, pine nuts and Gorgonzola salad.  They are only located in the desert and Minnesota - weird coincidence.  I have eaten there twice this week - the same girl waited on me both times.
  • Women don't wear baseball hats to my gym location here in Minnesota.  I guess because none of them have afros, they don't need to wear them.  Must be nice!
  • I thought there would be a lot more Targets here since they are headquartered in Minnesota.  I have only seen one so far and it wasn't even a SuperTarget.
  • If it storms tomorrow like they are predicting, my flight will be delayed.  I am hoping the weathermen/women are wrong - in reality how often are the right on?
  • My baby is starting 1st grade next week ... I am getting old ... but I already knew this
  • I can discreetly post random things on my blog during meetings and still pay attention.  Talk about multi-tasking.
  • Tomorrow's Friday - woo hoo!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's Only Wednesday???

This has been such a long week and it is only Wednesday.  As much as I love a few moments/days away from my kids - this is a little too long.  I flew in on Sunday and don't fly home until Friday night. Not my kind of fun.  Eating takeout in your hotel room gets old (especially when your pants seem to feel tighter by the day even though you have been to the gym twice since you have been here).  To top it off we worked until 8:30 last night - insane!  Not to mention it is super hot and humid here which equals Brown Eyed Girls Mom With an Afro!  I feel like Monica on Friends when they went to Hawaii (I think I referenced this last time I went to a super humid climate - it's a recurring issue for me) - it isn't quite that bad but it isn't good!  I get spoiled living in the desert. 

Last night when I talked to the girls Bia said she wanted to go back to the airport.  I don't think she understood that I got on a plane after they dropped me off at the airport - she thought I was still there - bless her heart!  I told her she could come back to the airport Friday and I would be there.  And poor Chatty - she's a mama's girl most of the time and told me when I left that she wished Daddy was leaving and not me ... last night she had a meltdown, in fact all three seemed to be having one when I spoke to them on the phone.  Hopefully today is going better for all of them.  I think Mr. ESPN was looking forward to going to work today!  Over half way through ....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Doing it Alone

Last week Grandma and Grandpa were in town visiting.  The girls had a blast with all of the attention but I think Grandma and Grandpa were ready to get home to recover.  My children are a handful!  As if grandparent detox wasn't bad enough with both parents, I am making Mr. ESPN do it alone.  I left yesterday for hot and humid Minneapolis.  You betcha!  I didn't get a chance to dowload all of the pics from their visit but here are a few.

Know a good Doctor and someone who is channeling her inner Eminem??

Nana and Poppa came over for dinner one night while Grandma and Grandpa were in town - holy grandparent overload Batman!  Grandpa, Poppa and the girls.

Mr. ESPN's contribution to dinner - the wine (I didn't care for it but Mr. ESPN and my FIL liked it ... you can see the strawberry pretzel salad in the back groud and this to the left.  They were both oh so good and oh so not good for my behind!

Grandma and Bia

Nana and Chatty

The Girls

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Early Mornings = Long Days

6:00 am conference calls suck, especially when you have to take them from the office which is 30 minutes from home.  When I got here this morning the front door was locked and I had to go through another entrance.  I even had to turn on the lights.  Weird especially since I work for a huge company!  I guess that means I was here way too early.  Now I am debating whether I should go to the gym after work (yes I know I should) or go home and attempt to take a nap (mind you Mr. ESPN is home today as well as my in laws and my loud energetic girls).  I am also debating whether or not I should go to Bunco tonight or try to go to bed early.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

We had a double date with my in laws last night.  The kids went to the neighbors and we had an adult night out.  It was nice but I wasn't thrilled with what I ordered.  Dessert was really good though - 5 little tasters of different desserts - tiramisu, creme brulee, caramel creme brulee, banana coconut cream and a chocolate mocha brownie thing.  It was so good!

My large fountain diet coke and Vitamin B are not working this morning, I have been up since 4:40 and am dragging already.  It's going to be a long day!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Berry Recipes

Ask and you shall receive.  I had to heist this recipe off some person's blog because I don't have my cookbook with me.  The recipe is from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, my most favorite cookbook ever!  I use it all the time.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine egg, milk, and oil; stir well. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Combine blueberries, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1 tablespoon sugar, tossing gently to coat. Fold blueberry mixture into batter. Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filling two thirds full.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar, 2/1/2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon; cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans immediately. Yield: 1 dozen.

They were delish fresh out of the oven with a little butter!  One of my other most favorite recipes in the world.  I think my mom got this from her cousin, my cousin J's mom at a family reunion.  Our family reunions always have great (not so good for you) food.  This recipe - not sure why it has the name salad in it - is an ESPN household favorite.  My friend Amy makes it with raspberries.

I pulled this one from one of my favorite southern cook... Paula Deen (she includes pineapple which my family doesn't so I removed it from the recipe below)

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix
2 cups boiling water
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries - I like to use fresh

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.

In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.

If you are like me you will love this for dessert, snack, breakfast, any time of day and it won't last long!! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

  • Although I am not a fan of mornings I am a fan of early mornings when I don't have to get kids ready.  It is amazing how much quicker I can get out the door.  The joys of Grandma and Grandpa's visit.
  • Mr. ESPN has to go through Grandparent detox alone next week as I have to go to Minneapolis.  I feel a little bad for him but then I remember the those long 9 months of pregnancy with each of the girls and don't feel guilty anymore
  • My MIL reminded me of how Mr. ESPN left me in Venice when we were traveling in Italy with them (a post for a later date) ... she asked if he was still paying for it.  Not really but it makes me feel even less guilty about next week.
  • Bia loves white cheese and green stuff (not mixed together) .... aka cottage cheese and avocados/guacamole
  • Neither of my children wanted to sit next to me at dinner last night or read them books before bed.  At least they wanted hugs and kisses from me when they went to bed - I was beginning to feel unloved!
  • It's nice having dinner on the table when you get home from the gym ... and having your clothes ironed.  Yes my MIL does both when she is here.
  • Strawberry pretzel salad is Chatty's favorite dessert (actually it is a family favorite).  Good thing Nana brought it over on Sunday night.  Chatty had two pieces for dessert on Sunday, two pieces for dessert after lunch and one piece for dessert after dinner on Monday.  She asked for another piece and I had to cut her off - that and I needed to save the last piece for Mr. ESPN who promptly finished it when he walked in the door last night.
  • We had lots of fresh blueberries so I made homemade blueberry muffins from my Southern Living cookbook and this on Sunday.  They were both delish and not on my diet.
  • Bia thinks dinner time is social hour and that she is a stand up comic, even more so when she has an audience (aka Grandma and Grandpa)