Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Afternoon in Pleasantville

The house has this rare "perfect mom" feel to it today. Clean wood floors and newly vacuumed rugs (clearly someone needed a little alone time), a running dishwasher, the hushed sounds of a snoozing baby playing over the monitor and the smell of baked oatmeal with raspberry and walnut wafting into the playroom.
Clean floors! Rejoice! Perfect for a game of Boggle...or, to stare in confusion at this thing that your parents call a game, but doesn't seem to be a game at all...

I love that moment when batter becomes baked good. You mix your eggs, milk, flour, sugar etc. grease the 9x13 and place this promising pan of gloppy goop into a preheated oven. I am so impatient in those first few minutes (this is why I do best with cookies--10 minutes to bliss), but I find, each time, that the wait is SO worth it. As soon as I catch the first tantalizing whiff of my baking treasure, I shift into relax.
Fresh out of the oven. Baked Oatmeal with Raspberry and Walnuts

Right now, the aroma of cinnamon, brown sugar and raspberry is making a lovely introduction. With it comes the giddy excitement of a three-year-old who was promised sweet things if listening ears proved to be "on" and the contentment of a mom who rarely gets to make such promises--not because of poor behavior, but because of limited time to do things that moms are supposed to do.

Soon the dishwasher will need to be emptied, the rug will be a less than chic dog hair shag, the baby will cry and the oatmeal will be gone, but, for now, I'll just enjoy the perfection.
Baked oatmeal, will you marry me?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Heaven is a noisy vacuum cleaner

I am confused by my relationship with the vacuum cleaner.

I hate having to use it, because I know that there is a definite time commitment that I'm making once I turn it on.  I can't just vacuum " a rug", I have to do the entire room, furniture included.  Having two shedding dogs creates a need for a wall to wall, floor to ceiling approach to hoovering.  If we didn't vac, we'd be up to our ears in hair within a week.  Seriously, it's awful...and gross.  It's awfully gross.

Once I'm done vacuuming, I instantly feel better, lighter, more carefree.  Minimal dog hair=maximum positive vibes from mom. Long term gains.

Today, however, I became aware of yet another gain in "pro" list of the house cleaning pro/con debate. 

Everyone leaves you alone.

No one bothers you when you vacuum. In our house, both dogs and Hen seem to be afraid of the thing, Alice is still too young to be affected at all but she's not inclined to army crawl her way towards the noise and Mike knows to stay out of my way. Usually when I'm vacuuming it means that I'm totally stressed out and fed up with the dog hair tumbleweed rolling across our wood floors and gathering in the corners of our rugs. Mike is no dummy.  He steers clear as soon as he hears the whoosh and whir of the vac.

I've just finished the living room and am feeling calm, cool, hair-free.  Thank you vacuum cleaner. You are my ally, my counselor, my superhero grime-fightin' machine.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Your own personal Internet

I sent this message via email to a few of my co-workers last night but am now realizing that it's totally blogworthy. We should probably quote crazy politicians more often.

Greg made my life sunnier when he casually used the phrase "series of tubes" in our iPad meeting this morning. And so, since I feel it's been far too long since we first were touched by the wise words of former Sen. Ted Stevens (may he rest in peace). I am sharing the following in its (near) entirety:

Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.
[…] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Is this thing on?  Helloo-oooo?  Anyone still out there?

Radio silence for just under a month, and it's not that I haven't thought about the blog. I'd like to say (or, more aptly, I had prepared to say) that I've been so busy with my "40 bags in 40-ish days" project that I haven't had time for any other recreational activities.


I have actually crossed a few things off the list, and am pleased with the progress of decluttering.  It got a little overwhelming there in the beginning when husband, inspired by my commitment to organization, decided to purge all of the basement clutter into the living room/dining room/porch.  Most of it has found its way to the Goodwill, or back to the basement, save for one lonely box of Kitten's 3-6 month clothing which just can't seem to get back to its home.  (ha!)

I can't really recap a month of stuff.  Mike completed his final of four summer classes. It still astounds me that he spent the past few months as both a full-time stay at home dad AND a full-time grad student.  Amazingly we still got to go on a nice long vacation and he got straight A's (along with much praise from all of his professors).  I couldn't be more proud of him!

Hen has been doing things that are decidedly "very Hen".  He's still golfing, also playing baseball and making up a lot of really clever jokes. He's memorizing his favorite songs and books and asking us how to spell certain words (uh-oh).  This week he moves into the next room at daycare--the room that you turn four in--I can hardly believe that my boy is this big. It's just not possible.

On to his sister. Oh sweet Alice. Alice is phenomenal.  No, really, she is.  She is phenomenally huge, phenomenally smart, phenomenally cute.  We've changed her middle name to Phenom, that's how outrageously phenomenal this kid has become (or, arguably, always was). One fun development over the summer has been Alice's increasingly sassy attitude. She comes from sassy genes (long line of 'em), so this shouldn't surprise us at all. When a student recently asked me "How do Henry and Alice spend their day?" I thought for a moment and then said "Henry plays every sport known to man, stopping occasionally to request sustenance and Alice makes sassy faces and sounds while army crawling around the house looking for things to eat...not always edible things, just 'things' in general."  This is still accurate.

As for me, life has been busy with increased numbers of visitors to campus and preparations for the fall. I'll be traveling, which I can't even talk about yet because it means that I'll be away from my kids and hubs for a period of time and I haven't yet come to terms with that reality. Aahh!  Stop talking about it!! Since part of my job has involved social media and writing (a part that I absolutely adore) my excuse for being absent has to do with the "work-life" balance that I try so desperately to find. Writing/blogging was feeling very "work" to me for a while, and I just needed a break. I'll post more about that later, but will say quickly that I'm REALLY excited about new developments at work and am looking forward to doing more in the area of marketing and communications.

Well, that's it.  Back to the kitchen to clean up dinner mess and gather things for tomorrow. Thanks for hanging in there while we were incognito! Good to be back.

Monday, August 1, 2011

40 Bags...40(ish) Days

I have been totally uninspired this past week. Maybe it's due to post-vacation blues. Maybe it's the exhausting, imposing, heat and humidity keeping my creativity at bay. For whatever reason, I just could not write this week.  Come to think of it, I couldn't do much of anything this week.

I am pushing myself out of this hazy, heat-induced, post-vacay creative slump. Pushing, I say. Yesterday, out of the blue, I remembered that cute little summer "to do" list I created back in mid-April (when I was sleep-deprived and crazy). Damn! It's August! I've done next to NONE of those things.  Summertime fail!! Recognizing an opportunity to get my "push-out-of-slump" on, I selected a few of the things on this list that we had yet to do and confidently wrote them up on the blackboard in the kitchen as our to-do for the week.

1. Make a kite & fly that kite 
2. Go on a bug hunt with Hen
3. Goodwill bag
and as a "maybe if you have enough time": 4. Make ice cream

Perhaps a bit high from the excitement that comes along with actually doing the things you say you'll do (shock! awe!) I took one of these tasks a bit further.

Behold! Forty Bags in Forty(ish) Days! (the "ish" because I know myself too well)

Forty locations throughout our home (including vehicles).  In each of these places, an opportunity to declutter. It's simple, really. I go to the cabinet under the kitchen sink and I take everything out, isolate and organize the stuff that we use/need, donate what I can, ditch the rest. Some locations are easier than others (basket in first floor bathroom is a five minute dresser, a different story) but having all of these locations more organized will certainly help us feel less frazzled.

With that said, I'm going to go select a few of these on the list that I can take care of before Kit's nap is over. If there is one thing I enjoy more than making random lists, it's crossing things off of them!

Monday, July 25, 2011

We're Baa-aaack

Guess who has returned from va-caay-caaay?! That's right, our favorite little friends, Hen and Kitty. A week in the Outer Banks at Finis Terre (Latin for "End of the Earth") leaves us sun-kissed and in a bit of a beachy daze.  This was the perfect vacation, and the first with Liam and Alice, which made it especially wonderful.

There are many things that I enjoy about the beach. A general disregard for time is one of them. Keeping time at the beach matters very little. The clock doesn't limit our activities or dictate where we must be and when we must be there. There is not "9 o'clock" or "half-past three" at the beach. When you want to eat lunch, it's "lunch time", when you want to go to the beach, it's "beach time", when you want to nap, it's "nap time".  You're saying, "Hey, time, I really don't care that it's only noon and that I ate breakfast, oh, two hours ago, I'm having a margarita." It's my favorite part of beach vacation (second only to the memories we create with our family...and the aforementioned loose rules regarding how late it must be for one to enjoy a cocktail).

As for our schedule-loving kids, they did quite well. Naps still happened (for Kitty, at least...Hen held out for most of the week) and food was ready before bellies could eek out the first grumbly growl. Hen was a huge fan of beach time and took to the ocean like...well...a fish know.

I took a ton of instagram photos throughout the week and posted many to my facebook page, but I've put many of them into a slideshow (previously posted) and included photos that Megan and Brigid snapped.  Hope you enjoy a little recap of our week of relaxation. If you haven't vacay-ed yet this year, maybe it will inspire you to do so!

Finis Terre 2011

Little slideshow of some of the photos taken throughout the week.