Will I ever pass?

Whenever Jimmy hears "It'll be fine" from his wife, he knows better than contest or say, "I told you so" in the future. Would you like to know what I thought would be fine this time?

We went for a walk to go get the mail as a family. This is always a pleasant experience. What made this particular time so fun was that I had a brilliant plan! There is a beautiful tree in the middle of the south field on our way to the mailbox. I admire this tree, I long for family pictures on this tree. Unfortunately, the tree is always covered in poison oak. Lady Luck was shining on me today! The poison oak had vanished! I got very giddy, very quickly. Not only was the poison oak gone, the sun light was perfect. So, I bebopped over the fence and sat in the beautiful, portrait-worthy belly of the tree and beckoned my innocent daughter to sit on my lap. Jimmy expressed his concern. I replied with, "It'll be fine! If you're so scared, just take our picture." He agreed to do so... my dreams were coming true. There would be a sweet mother-daughter picture with the elusive tree hanging in our home!
First of all, Jimmy is fabulous at capturing video and taking pictures of video games... not so much with the people- so the pictures didn't come out as flawless as planned. Plus, I was wearing a hideous outfit with flip flops and terrible hair. It didn't help that the tree was uncomfortable as all get out and having a 50 pounder on your lap doesn't help with the bark riding up. But, I did it! I triumphed! The tree was defeated!
When I came home with an itchy rash, I thought nothing of scratching to my content. Jimmy, a veteran of poison oak nearly choked when he saw my going to town on my arm. "Stop! Stop that right now!" I was oblivious to his reaction. At warp speed, my husband got out he hydrocortizone and slathered up my arm with a surgeon's precision. In a split second I had come to many realizations at once:

1) Jimmy rocks the casbah for: a) not saying, "I told you so" and b) taking care of me better than I could have ever imagined.
2) The tree only attracted me because I could never have it.
3) That tree is so stupid!
4) If that tree was a person, I'd beat it up.
5) Whenever I say "It'll be fine" I should hide my self in a fox hole until the urge is suppressed.

And now, I'm typing to you on hyrdocortizone covered hands and all I have to show is these pictures...

p.s.- poison oak is still contagious when it is not showing leaves. Do you see all the withered up looking stems around us? Yeah, the withered up looking stems of poison oak are a test to weed out the stupid people- I didn't pass.


For someone who claims to hate baking...

... I have been posting a lot about it!
Kaitlin and I made these:

Are you jealous?

Bear Parade

Yesterday, Kailtin's preschool had their annual 'Bear Parade'. Talk about CUTE! All the kids pulled a box with their bear in it, while 'Teddy Bear's Picnic' played on an old school record player. It was so funny to see all the kids' different personalities. There was the little charmer, the politician, the cheerleader, the queen bee, the artist. I just thought it nuts that huge personalities were in such tiny bodies.


TJ's should really start paying me now

I am sure every family has it's 'standby' dinner... the one you make when you're too lazy to really cook, you're not in the mood for what's planned or you get home too late for long prep. Ours is this:
SOOOO EASY! I start by making a batch of Trader Joe's cous cous, which only takes 5 minutes. Meanwhile, I saute really fast- onions and garlic in olive oil. Then I add fresh tomatoes & yellow squash- season it with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Put in four fistfuls of spinach and a little italian seasoning. When spinach is sufficiently wilted, stir in cooked cous cous. (The whole wheat is AMAZING... and nutritious) top with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan- dinner in 15 minutes! So- what's your 'standby'?


Insider tip

If you are going to buy stock this year: lined paper and crayola. You'll make millions. About one dollar for every picture Kaitlin has drawn today...


What is it with me and birds?

I took Kailtin on a field trip today as part of a preschool choir she attends. The trip was to a living facility for the elderly that I used to work at as an activities director. As the children were anticipating their performance, they were able to explore the main living room a little bit. Some of the kids were enthralled by the two cockatoos happily chirping in their cage. And then it all flooded back in my mind.
Before Jimmy and I were married, I had landed an awesome job at Concordia. Who would ever be fortunate enough to play for a living? Yours truly. The living facility is a non profit, so there were always state programs to bring special things to the residents.
One particular program was an aviary. A sweet man came with a huge glass case filled with tiny yellow winged things to brighten up the residents. We were able to enjoy these birds for one month on one condition- someone had to be responsible for the fowls' care. As the young bubbly activities director, I was handed the responsibility.
After some time, I had learned to love the birds sweet chirping outside my office. The residents seemed to enjoy it to. I loved having a key to the aviary- I felt so powerful. (I was 18, I had my first office and parking space- one more key just added to the monster) The birds' one month visit was soon coming to an end. I would miss the little guys. Then I realized, I've never held the birds before! How are they going to know they're loved?! I had failed in my utmost mission, to share my compassion with the birds! There would be a solution right then!
So, at five minutes until going home time, I snuck out of my office, got out my handy-dandy key, and reached my chubby arm into the aviary. The birds flew around like crazy at the sight of an arm so close them. Look! They're so excited they can't stay still! So, I reached around to tenderly cradle one of the sweet things and it could barely contain it's longing to be held. The bird was so thrilled, that it flew out of the aviary in it's full joy to alight itself on a resident. Well, the resident may have been happy to see the bird, but not so much the deposit left on her blue tinted hair. I scrambled after the little guy to put him back in the aviary. And what do you know? He flew away! The bird continued to fly from resident's head to resident's head, meanwhile a young naive lady chasing after it. I do recall jumping over a couch at one point. My boss came out of her office at the commotion. She looked at me in a way that is completely indescribable, but I'm sure there was some laughter hidden somewhere deep inside. The frantic running continued for another ten minutes, all the while exciting a new senior citizen. I finally called on a higher power to get the bird. I said a little prayer... and what do you know? The bird landed on the shoulder of my boss. Lucky me! She gently picked up the bird, took away my key and put the bird back in the aviary. I never got the key back... frankly, I'm surprised I got to keep my parking space.


I'm a problem Solver

Our local supermarket has a fantastic deal-Buy 2 gallons of milk for less than the price of one! Who could possibly pass up this deal? Not me! I'm all about the bargains. Even though we always drink one and one sixteenth of a gallon before the milk goes bad, it seems like a steal to me. I had made a pact with myself this time. I will drink all the milk, even if it kills me... I tried so hard. Extra cereal was consumed. Moo juice was gulped between meals, but to no avail. We were approaching the 'best by' date of the milk at what seemed to be warp speed. I had to think fast! Now, I know how much I hate baking, but I put my own welfare aside to take one for the team. I baked 2 dozen of the most delicious fabulous cookies... with broken pieces of See's candy instead of chocolate chips... because I never bake, I never have chocolate chips on hand- but I ALWAYS have See's candy! So, not only did I single handedly save our family from utter milk destruction, I used ingenuity in the process. Now, that's a smart cookie!


I'd like to thank the academy...

...actually, Noah's Mommy, over at Project Mommyhood
Look what I got!
So, girls, this is how it works... Upon acceptance of award, one must say ten honest things about themselves and bestow award to seven other bloggers that represent an honest and opinionated voice in these days of spray tans and uncomfortable shoes- well, enough about me...not really, I have to tell you ten more things. Here goes:

1) I have to eat, shop, clothe in even numbers. I hate odd numbers, they're bad for my juju... which explains the four instead of three cookie conundrum. Unless, of course, the number is 11- then I'm okay.
2) I have to be able to SEE my bookmark somewhere in my peripheral vision when I'm reading, or I can't concentrate on the book. I must know I can stop at anytime and not lose my place.
3) Comments make me happy. I check my blog multiple times a day to see who really loves me.
4) I never wear big earrings and big necklace together. I learned that from Salma Hayek.
5) I will never use 'lol'... I don't know why it drives me crazy to use acronyms. Instead, when I'm chatting online with buddies, I will type, 'Heehee. or HaHa. or if it's really funny HAhahahahHAHAHAHAHAHaaaaa!!!!'
6) I love cooking, yet hate baking. Whilst cooking, one may prod the food along- baking, not so much. Once it's in the oven, I HAVE NO CONTROL over whether or not it gets done. So what do I do every time? Open the oven, touch the food. Not done yet? Open the oven, touch the food. This procedure continues as I extend the cooking time each time I let precious heat out of the hot box. Thus, no baking... unless I'm sick.
7) Green and pink will always be my favorite color combination... yet my favorite color is indigo.
8) I know I won the lottery in the husband department. He doesn't know he's lost yet... I'm waiting for him to wake up one day and say, "What happened and why do I have this huge bump on my head and why in the world is there a club on the floor? wow. This fur butt flap is awfully uncomfortable..."
9) I'm still training myself to walk in my favorite pair of shoes. Trust me, there will be a HUGE post when I accomplish walking anywhere in them.
10) I love reading, but I refuse to join a book club. It's like high school all over again. If I don't choose the book, it won't be good. Even if I've read it previously and loved it. Lead me unknowingly into change and I'm fine... tell me you want me to do something- I'm not budging. I like to know I have a choice- and if I don't have a choice- lie to me.

Here are 7 bloggers on which I would love to bestow this award:
Actually, I don't know 7 people... so I'll pick three:
1) The Bear Den- I love how Lynda tells it how it is.
2) Lisa Hiserman- The 'Maddie fell asleep in the laundry room' post is by far one of my favorite posts of all time!
3) Pricess Vespa- anyone with a Spaceballs picture is good in my book.


So, after much deliberataion

and watching of old home movies, I've come to the conclusion that I am a complete and total dork. Jimmy and I spent much of last night looking at old home videos of me in high school, us dating, newly married and Kaitlin as a baby. During the videos I would say ridiculous things like, "I wonder what Kaitlin's thinking... I can't wait until she can talk!" Upon further inspection of Kaitlin's expressions, I know exactly what she was thinking- "Get that freakin' camera outta my face!"
As we were screening all the movies, I kept saying to Jimmy, "Am I really that annoying? Have I always been such a brat?" His stunned silence was very reassuring... I'm sure Jimmy didn't know what he was in for when we first got married- he's stuck with me now! Mwahahahaahaaa!!!!!

Here's an old video from high school that proves the whole first sentence of this post to be true. I went to high school in Rhode Island, where the Italian heritage is very prevalent. My friend, Ciara, is a riot in this video! She plays, Antonio, a spaghetti sauce spokes model by day and club hopper by night. I play Maria, an Italian chick he picked up at the hottest club. We were always having car problems...



I tend to take things to the extreme... Example? I made a playlist list of 'favorites'... well, I suppose in my vocabulary favorite=every song known to man. I was informed by the nice people at playlist.com that I had exceeded my limit of songs and proceeded to erase some of the songs from my playlist. Not fair! And they erased the songs that are my absolute favorites!

Get a playlist!
Standalone player
Get Ringtones!



I totally started updating my cooking blog again!
Check out the side bar --->
and press the button that says, "Never trust a skinny cook"
All I have to say is, YUM-O!



It is Januray 19th, people! Please read this post... if you can't manage to take them down by V-Day, you shall be banished to the midwest and be forced to live in a trailer with your face airbrushed on the side. Have fun with that, Dorothy.
By the way- Blue, really? BLUE?!?!?


Fetish, much?

As we were driving down into town tonight, Jimmy asked if I had buckled Kaitlin's seat belt.
"Of course I buckled her seat belt! Did you not see the letter she wrote to me? You know the one that says, 'you are the greatest mom'?"
And then I recollected a time long ago when I was a new mother...

Kaitlin was still a small baby in a rear facing car seat. I had taken a fabulous trip with her to the mall. After many purchases we headed back to the car for a long drive home. I was thrilled by the recent purchases made, but most of all a tiny pair of the cutest shoes I have ever seen! Upon returning to the car, I ripped the plastic ring holding the shoes together with my teeth and put those adorable shoes on my adorable daughter. The result was stunning! Was it really possible to have two of the most beautiful things in the world in California, never mind my car? Happy with my triumph, I merrily drove home. When I got into the back seat to release my little diva, I realized the distraction of gorgeous shoes had made me neglect to strap my own daughter into her car seat! Hmmm... they were really nice shoes...
What's a post about shoes without some eye candy? And no, these are not the shoes I put on my baby... I'm pretty sure they don't make Louboutin's in child's sizes.
p.s.- I have written 11 posts about shoes and counting


Guilt Soup with a side of awwwww, anyone?

As I was busy blogging (read:ignoring my family), Kaitlin came in the office to give me a letter. I am used to these letters, as I get them nearly every hour, on the hour of her waking existence. Brushing Kate off only worked the first few times, so I finally huffed, "Okay... thank you, I'll read it right now." So, I proceeded to open the clumsily wrapped letter and found this:
I lOvE you
yOu arE tHE

Usually the letters involve a single scribble. She has never written a single word! Now she's writing full sentences! I cried... and took a picture for my blog.
p.s. Kaitlin would like me to mention the hearts painstakingly illustrated around the border.


I am an avid fan of Snippet & Ink. I know I've already gotten married, but I am so twitterpated by the beautiful colors and brilliant new ideas that people now do for weddings. I plan weddings in my head all the time (mostly for Melissa) but, my day dreams could never come close to the weddings in this blog! Check out this post- and be sure to watch the video link attached, because that is what makes it so wonderful.
*photo from Snippet & Ink


In every child's DNA...

...must be an overwhelming urge to sprawl out in any bed that is not their own. We were adamant when Kaitlin was a baby that she would never sleep in our bed. Never, ever... and then she learned how to walk.
The first night Kaitlin crawled into bed with us is a memory Jimmy and I still laugh about. We had been removing all the throw pillows ready to hop into bed when I screamed in sheer terror. There was character from the horror film, The Grudge, standing at the end of our hallway staring into our room. The long, unkempt hair, covering the face and an unrecognizable stare from the little gangly body. Oh, no! IT's coming to get me!
Jimmy just started laughing uncontrollably and went to pick up our little sleep walking girl. I thought he was going to bring her back to her own bed. Much to my dismay, Jimmy felt it only necessary to have me cuddle with Kaitlin as penance for thinking she was a scary figure in a horror movie. Heart strings sufficiently pulled, I acquiesced... Waking up approximately twenty two minutes later with a foot severely jammed in my trachea made me rethink the 'not from a horror movie' thing. Sweet Jimmy graciously brought The Grudge's moneymaker back to her own bed. And that's the beginning of many nights with an elbow in the lower back... drool on my forehead... a head butt in the nose... yeah, good times. Needless to say, I did not have a peaceful slumber last night- but, I did get to sleep with a movie star!


And the winner is...

April! I swear, it was totally random!!! I just can't believe April was pulled! I put numbers on slips of paper and drew a number.. I didn't even know who won until I counted down! Well, April- congrats and have fun picking what you want. I have three menus to choose from:

Pan seared salmon with citrus glaze on a bed of wasabi mashed potatoes and corn & shitake ragu topped with miso sauce


Corn spoon bread with bbq pulled pork, crisp onions and horseradish dijon aioli


Roasted vegetable curry with basmati rice table

All dinners are accompanied by a salad course and dessert... plus, because it's YOU- blue cheese stuffed grapes. Congratulations and let me know what you choose!


Smart girl...

When I dropped Kaitlin off at school, one of her friends said, "Kaitlin's mommy, I like your shoes. They're pretty." That one is going places...


I am 100 posts old!

Children, gather 'round for a tale from my youth...

Long ago, in the summer of 2008- when I was untainted by the technological wonder that is blogging- I was conversing with a dear old friend. My sweet mister had just hooked up a satellite antenna to receive the internet at our abode far, far away from any civilization. My dear old friend and I were praising the blessings of the world wide web, when the discussion of blogs came up. I gave my friend an address I had been frequenting and in moments, we were laughing together on the phone while reading the 'queen of all blogs and captain of team Edward' commentary on Gap jeans. This, dear folks, is the beginning of the end.

This is where your devoted servant handed her servitude from her darling family to the blog mistress and it's readers. There was a point where I preyed on unsuspecting fowl and became paranoid above all else... although these moments would otherwise bring shame, when posted they become jewels in the mistress' crown.

The year continued on with mishap after mishap... "all the better to entertain you with" the mistress of the web hissed. And the blog had total control of me. She watched my every move, she hid in the corners. I thought I was free from her powerful grasp, alas she had me with the release of anything with Zac Efron or Robert Pattinson or the Jonas Brothers in it!

Have no fear, I did prevail! I did conquer! Our internet stopped working. And thus, I was released from the terrible clutch of the master... for a short time...

I did learn how to control the beast nearing the end of the year by posting things like birthday invitations, wedding and engagement announcements, politics and family gatherings. It did satisfy the mistress. She was pleased with the humor and content, and I was comfortable with the loosening of her grip. I still am at her mercy most of the time, but we all did live happily ever after.

In honor of my 100th post you may enter a GIVEAWAY!

The prize is: dinner for your family, delivered to your door by me (if local) OR 1 dozen MONSTER M&M cookies delivered to your door by UPS (if not local or not wanting me to visit- no one wants a crazy lady to visit...) Just leave a comment telling me your favorite link from this post. You don't have to read every link... just pretend and pick one at random if you want! Giveaway ends 1/14/09- Winner announced 1/15/09.

Thanks for reading and cheers to another 100.


Any day warranting...

... a ride in these babies should be declared a national holiday. All hail gorgeous shoes!
Side Note: Drum Roll, please- tomorrow is post 100!


Chef Extraordinare

Chef Kaitlin graced us with her presence yesterday evening to prepare one of her specialties. Here is an exclusive photograph taken by the paparazzi.


I heart TJ's

One of the reasons we didn't move to Utah was because there is no Trader Joe's... crazy? I think not. I get a great salad mix: Butter Lettuce & Radicchio... except I hate radicchio. You would think I would just buy a head of butter lettuce, no? Well, I love having already washed lettuce and if I have to wash lettuce for anything other than thai lettuce wraps...you've lost me.
So how does 'making a salad' go at the house of Graham? Take out the bag a lettuce mix, put equal amounts of mix on mine and Jimmy's plate, trade all my radicchio for all his butter lettuce, top with desired toppings (lately have been- bell pepper, tomato, cucumber, red onion, olives, feta, pepperonchini, balsamic glaze-yum!), and pretend nothing happened. The key to success? Add toppings after lettuce heist.

P.s.- I love you, Jimmy


Nearing 100...

Stay posted for my 100th post!!!! I feel so old... not to worry, I'm in a sparkly mood today... I just googled a pair of Sugar boots I got Kaitlin for Chritmas- RESULTS are in! I paid $9.99 at Ross for a pair of $49.99 boots! With my fake 3 carat diamond ring and Kaitlin's Sugar boots- all the other preschool moms are jealous (that, and I make sure I'm listening to fabulous music each time I am in the school parking lot- windows down, of course)


When she thought I wasn't looking...

... a lady at the supermarket poured the contents of a tall beer can into an empty Starbucks cup, put on the lid and pretended she was not about to get sloshed on a caramel macchiato. Nice try, lady...


In Memoriam

Yesterday, Jimmy and I informed Kaitlin that the tree had been up long enough and we would be taking it down the following day. She cried herself to sleep. This morning, we painstakingly put each ornament away after kissing it good bye and wishing it a great year. Each and every ornament. As Jimmy dragged the poor dead tree out the door, our precious girl sobbed. She insisted on kissing the tree good bye and taking a final picture with it.

2008 Christmas Tree
December 3, 2008- January 1, 2009