Cooking for one is no fun!

Now that the big kids have gone back to their Dad’s for the school year, and Tommy has left for the sandbox, it’s really quiet here.  We joked before everyone left that August was the month of “leaving” and that September would be the month of “peace”.  Well, it’s not even September yet and it’s already Too. Darn. Quiet.

In addition to it being too quiet, there is too much food in this house!  What an adjustment to go from cooking for 5.5 people to cooking for just 1.5!  Turns out just two chicken breasts actually last me four days.  I do not like to eat the same thing for four days in a row (unless it’s a Chopped Chicken Cobb Salad from Panera).  A head of broccoli that used to disappear in one night now sits in the fridge so long I end up having to throw it out.  That 5 pound bag of potatoes started creeping me out with all of its’ eyes staring at me every time I open the pantry!

I did manage to grill some chicken burgers the other day and made just a few homemade “fries” to go with, and a fresh salad.  Unfortunately, the romaine has already started to wilt because it’s not being consumed quickly enough.  At this rate, those Panera salads are easing themselves into becoming part of my daily diet.

Today I cooked a homemade pizza, one of my favorites!  I take a thin crust, top it with a glaze of olive oil and italian herb seasoning, a thin layer of pizza sauce, mozzarella, green peppers, onions and turkey pepperoni.  To top it off, I sprinkle more italian herb seasoning on top and bake it at 425 for 10 minutes.  It’s really quick and delicious.  However, since I made this for lunch, I didn’t feel like cooking for dinner.  Yes, there were plenty of leftovers of this pizza.  Who wants to eat the same thing for 2 meals a day?  Not me.  So…I had to run out to drop some stuff off anyways so to Panera I went.

Doesn't this look WAY more appealing?

Besides, cooking for one (and a half) is no fun!

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Learning to socialize from a 12 year old

I was on my way back home yesterday on a flight from DC to Atlanta when I saw a young boy being escorted onto the plane by a flight attendant. He is what is deemed an “unaccompanied minor” by the airlines. As he walked onto the plane, I could see his face was still wet from tears he shed while telling his father goodbye. His eyes were all red, and he looked really scared. My heart broke for this little boy, and made me think of my three children I had just dropped off at their dad’s the day before.

I wondered why his father wasn’t flying back with him. I wondered why his mother didn’t fly up to DC to go get him. I know that children over a certain age fly unaccompanied all the time, and it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. This little boy seemed so clearly upset and bothered by being alone. There was another unaccompanied minor that was sitting next to him. She was a very confident looking young girl…she looked younger than he was, but I would soon find out that was not the case. The flight attendants warned both of the children to stay in their seats when we arrived in Atlanta so they could escort them both off the plane. Afterwards, there were a few moments of awkward silence. I felt sorry for the little boy…I figured he was probably embarrassed about crying and now too shy to talk to the little girl seated next to him. I felt sorry for her too. I thought she probably was scared to talk to him for fear he would burst into tears at any moment. My thoughts of pity for the two of them were interrupted by the sound of their chatter!

The little boy apologized for the crying and explained to the little girl that he was just sad because he was leaving his dad’s and didn’t want his summer vacation to end. He introduced himself as Ryan. Ryan then went on to ask the girl what her name was, and she answered. They talked about Harry Potter, iPods, Angry Birds, school, sports, summer break, where they each lived, who they had been visiting, divorce, siblings, cousins, step-parents…they didn’t stop talking the entire flight. I was reading my book and overhearing lots of the conversation because they were seated directly across from me. By the end of the flight, I was just feeling sorry for myself…I had NEVER had the courage to strike up a conversation with a complete and total stranger, and then continue that conversation for a full hour and a half. It’s not that I’m stuck up and don’t want to talk to anybody…and in general I believe that most people don’t take the initiative to strike up such conversations because they don’t want to be seen as a pest. I don’t want to bother anybody. The man next to me might just want to sit in peace and read his newspaper (most likely he does!!). That’s all I usually want too! On the flip side, I really don’t get out much and should take the opportunity to meet new people when and where I can.

All in all, it’s pretty ironic that I learned something about socializing and meeting new people from some 12 year old boy that I initially thought was a shy, awkward kid…he sure proved me wrong!

I am now “that lady”

I may have been 7 or 8 years old the first time I was exposed to breastfeeding.  I was on an airplane with my mom and grandmother and I remember seeing a woman nursing her baby.  I saw a breast, felt my cheeks flush red, and quickly looked away.  I had never seen anyone do THAT before!  What on earth was she doing?  I can’t remember if I asked my mom or grandmother any questions about what I had seen.  I was probably too embarrassed to ask.

Fast forward 25 years…I am now “that lady”.  I have flown many times since my youngest was born.  I always nurse in public while traveling…in the airport and on the plane.  I really have no choice.  When my baby is hungry, I feed him.  It really is as simple as that.  This attitude isn’t limited to our travels…it’s an everyday way of life.  I have been blessed to never have encountered any rudeness or dirty looks as a result of me nursing in public.  I’m discreet, but I will not pile up blankets on top of my baby’s head…I live in Florida where it’s hot!

Sadly, a friend of mine (who does not breastfeed) has encountered negativity–while traveling.  She was on her way home after visiting me and her 9 month old daughter was asleep in her arms in the cradle hold.  A young boy (between 8-10 ish years old) was seated next to her.  The boy’s mother made a big scene and complained to the flight attendant that she didn’t want her son sitting next to that lady while she’s breastfeeding.  My friend got a little angry.  She was obviously not breastfeeding, and lifted her baby away from her body to prove that she wasn’t, which, in turn, caused her baby girl to wake up.

All I can say is that I’m glad it wasn’t me!  I’m pretty sure I would’ve told the woman where she could go and how to get there.  I’m proud to be “that lady who breastfeeds her kid in public”.  I’ve nursed at church, the mall, the beach, various restaurants, public parks, my kids’ school, the doctor’s office…practically everywhere!

Gawk all you want…maybe you’ll learn something!

The Dog Days (of summer) are *almost* over

Boy, this summer is sure winding down quickly.  I’ll be taking the kids back to Maryland in less than 3 weeks, and they’ll start school just a mere 10 days later!  The time has flown by again this year.  I’ve got a list a mile long of things that we need to do before they go back home…doctor appointments, clothes shopping, visits to the library, and hopefully squeezing in a couple or three more beach visits before they leave.  I’ve started on this list…Karissa wanted these “design your own” Converse All Stars, so they’ve been ordered.  She’s been poring over the Justice for Girls website all summer, carefully selecting all the clothing she *needs* for her first year of middle school.  The boys are SO much easier.  They honestly could care less about clothes and shoes.  However, Nathan has been hovering around the front door all day, waiting for the Fed Ex man to show up with his iPod Touch (his only wish for his birthday…which is August 19th).  Jacob…well…Jacob would be content with some new legos or some sort of action figurine.

I remember when it was back to school time when I was young.  I couldn’t wait to pick out my new set of clothes from the JCPenney fall catalog (I’m talking EVEN into my high school years…am I showing my age??).  It might’ve been 90 degrees on the first day of school, but gosh darn it, I HAD to wear those new jeans and new sweater on the first day!  I got giddy over new pencils, pens and notebooks!  I remember the swarm of people that would flood Peoples Drug and Dart Drug (ok, now I really AM showing my age) to pick up their packets of loose leaf paper, bottles of glue, and 3-ring binders the evening after the first day of school.  One thing that has changed for the better is that schools typically hand out supply lists before school starts, some as early as the last day of school prior to the new school year.  This at least gives parents some time to plan ahead and prepare!

Along with the end of summer also comes the end of my peace and quiet…since school is starting, so will the phone calls riddled with complaints about how “expensive these kids are”, “Don’t you know how much school supplies cost?”, and the “You really need to send me more money, who cares if you pay your child support?”  I usually just chuckle under my breath and say…”Welcome to my World…how does it feel”…etc., etc., etc.

I think the video says it all….love this song by Florence and the Machine.

Take two Midols and call me in the morning

With my daughter fast approaching her teen years, and right smack in the middle of her “tweens”, the drama is ever ensuing at our house.  This morning, I walk into my bathroom to find a host of toiletries belonging to her on the countertop, accompanied by her used bath towel lying on the floor, and a trail of her discarded pajamas and underclothes.

“Karissa!!”, I yelled across the house.

“What?”, she yells back.

And, so the drama begins.  I ask her what all that stuff is doing there, she gives me her answer with a sprinkle of tweenage attitude, and then I. Get. ANGRY.  My head starts to roll and bob at the same time.  Then I breathe.  I’m still upset with her, but rather than yelling, I try to reason with her, and a lecture begins.  Bad move on my part.  More attitude is spewing from every pore on her body.  She is rolling her eyes, about to cry, bobbing HER head.  It is a battle of wise estrogen versus the novice estrogen.  Girl, I brought you into this world…yadda yadda yadda.  Meanwhile, had my mother not been in the other bathroom blowdrying her own hair and could’ve seen/heard what was going on…she would have been LAUGHING!  At ME!  Ha!  I think she would have called that karma.  Or paybacks.  Either way it’s a witch with a “b”.

Later (like 20 minutes later), my daughter is walking through the kitchen and proceeds to drop her iPod Touch on the floor.  Given, it was a complete accident, but it still cracked the entire screen to the point it’s not usable.  In the process, she gets a pin prick amount of blood on the tip of her finger, and you would’ve thought somebody just stabbed the poor child.  She needs a Band-Aid, I absolutely have to get her a new iPod Touch because CLEARLY it’s my fault that a) she dropped it, b) Apple didn’t make it with a stronger  screen to begin with, and c) pretty much everything is Mom’s fault, so this must be too.  So, as I am telling her that I am in NO way going to fix it for her, I’m looking online to find the info for Apple repair.  This is otherwise known as “caving”.  I’m famous for this.  Yes, I totally caved.  I started thinking that I had paid almost $250 for this product just 3 short months ago for her birthday.  It’s an investment.  I actually just ordered another one for my soon to be 9 year old for his upcoming birthday yesterday.  I can’t just let it be trash.

However, this behavior on my part has created what looms in my daughter as her sense of entitlement.  I really need to learn to stand my ground.  I have a hard time with that, mostly because I am only with them for such a short time and I want our time together to be as peaceful and enjoyable as possible.    I will be working on that.

And so begins what will be a series of dramatic mornings, that rollover into afternoons and evenings.  This will be the story of my life, so long as she is with me (and probably alot of the time she is not) until she is at least 30.  Thank goodness I’ve only got one girl…so far!