Thursday, July 29, 2010

Garden greatness!

It hasn't been quite a month since my last garden post and it's amazing how things change in such a short time! Remember I was worried about my corn and sunflowers? And so happy that they were actually knee-high by the 4th of July? Well, 25 days later and this is what we have...
Knee high? Hell, the sunflowers are at least 8 ft. tall! I have never seen anything so big and beautiful! I do, however, have a small infestion of caterpillars, GRRRRRR!
I removed three leaves with large colonies like this and then sprayed the whole plant with garlic water. Caterpillars supposedly hate this. I also sprayed my corn silks with a healthy dose as well!

And what about those lovely, little black-eyed pea and okra plants?
They're HUGE! The okra is over 7 ft. tall! I have NEVER in my life seen okra plants this big! I mean they aren't really even okra "plants" any more, they are TREES! They are finally producing and I think I will have enough to make a pan of fried okra this weekend! Woo-hoo! The black-eyed peas are really putting on as well. I harvested enough last week to make a full pot! We shelled them then I put them in a pot with some turkey bacon, garlic and a smidge of butter. They were firm, yet tender and just bursting with flavor! Lucky for me, the vine is covered again and I'll be making another pot this weekend! Have I mentioned lately how much I love my garden?!?

Almost a sunflower!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting old bites!

OK, I'm not even 40 yet (at least not quite) and I'm falling apart! My eyesight is tanking, my fingers hurt when it rains, I could swear I'm having hot flashes and my knees are KILLING me! I always had high hopes of being one of those MILFs with a hot bod and an attitude! (The attitude I've got!) Sadly, the knees, not to mention the kids, have kept me from the serious exercise I need to achieve that rockin' MILF bod by the time I'm 40! Time is ticking away and I'm getting desperate. Desperate enough to see an orthopedist. I went in yesterday to have my knees examined and XRAYed, fun, fun! I was pretty sure I knew the diagnosis, after all, my ENTIRE family has arthritis. So you can imagine how shocked I was that my sore and crunchy knees were not arthritic! I was quite pleased to hear this, but then started to get a little nervous. If it wasn't arthritis, what the hell was it and how the hell do I deal with it? As it turns out, I have puny quads! Yes, you read right, PUNY QUADS (and that's a quote, thank you very much!) It turns out that a lot of women my age with young children have this problem. You spend your time running after children and not "Sweatin' to the Oldies". AND we also have a tendency to squat down or kneel to deal with our rugrats therefore exacerbating the problem. That problem being this, my "puny quad" does not keep my patella raised up out of the joint properly, so it settles into the joint cavity and begins to rub (hence the crunchy, nasty, snap, crackle, pop sounds). Kneeling and squatting makes it worse.

Good news? NOT arthritis and the prognosis for full recovery is good!
Bad news? Intense physical therapy 3 days a week for 4 weeks with a possible MRI to be scheduled later!

OK, I don't mind DOING the therapy. I do mind having to pay a co-pay everytime I go! That's close to $400 in one month! Not to mention the $50 I spent to see the specialist yesterday and the other $50 I'm going to have to spend to see her after the PT. Wow. I don't know how people with serious injuries can afford it? I guess worker's comp or disability? Sadly, motherhood doesn't offer worker's comp, so I'm kinda screwed! I'm hoping the physical therapist will work with me and maybe we can work out a more do-able schedule that will be beneficial, but I can actually afford and they can teach me what I need in order to continue at home. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! I find the whole thing totally ironic though. I can't exercise to the extent I'd like to because the knees are killing me, but the knees are killing me because I haven't been exercising to the extent that I need to! Whatever. Getting old sucks! I feel like a 30 year-old in my head and in my heart, it's just my body that isn't cooperating! I guess it didn't get the memo!

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's on the menu... Makeshift Rice Frittata

The kids wanted pancakes for breakfast but I wasn't really in the mood for syrupy sweet this morning so I started to rifle through the fridge to see what my options were. I had leftover rice from stir-fry, various veggies, spinach and cheeses, and of course eggs! So I grabbed the rice, mixed in two eggs, shredded some spinach and a little colby jack cheese, sprinkled in some salt and pepper, then slapped it all into a non-stick frying pan. After a few minutes on each side I ended up with this...
And it was YUMMY!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Almost there!

We've got a name! We've got a website (not that it's up and running at this time), and we had our first "official" photo shoot today! I had the great honor of photographing my friend's brand, new, week-old baby boy! He was tiny and lovely and I couldn't have asked for a sweeter subject! And everything went well! I'm going to spend the next 6 months working my ass off, honing my skills. Goal is to be up and running by the first of the year! It feels so great to be making progress!

Crazy thing? I think I finally know what I'm gonna be when I grow up!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Plight of the Stay-at-Home Mom

I'm a mom. Actually, I'm a stay-at-home mom. And if you really want to get technical, I'm a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom, which means I truly am with my children almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have had a few interactions over the years that made think I needed to clarify a few things about being a stay-at-home mom.

1. I am an educated woman.

When you chat with me at a party knowing that I'm a stay-at-home mom, then look genuinely shocked that I hold a degree and make little comments like, "Wow! You spent all that time and money to end up just being a MOM?" you are insulting me AND my family. Just because I chose to opt out of the 9 to 5 rat race doesn't make my intelligence level substandard. Besides, there are definitely times as a parent that you are REALLY glad you had some chemistry and biology under your belt! It's important to know that freezing a shirt with gum stuck to it will allow you to successfully remove said gum and save that favorite dinosaur shirt, not to mention knowing that Purell will take ink off of a microfiber couch, so ha-HA, wasted education my ass!

2. Motherhood IS my job.

When you are having a conversation with me and I make mention of my children, it is rude to sigh and roll your eyes. Why is it that I am supposed to sit there with baited breathe to hear about all of your endeavors in the world of business, marketing, computer programming, etc...? Since when is your job so much more exciting or important than mine? Do you really think, in most circumstances, that I give a hairy rat's ass about how you landed the Corwin account? Or what the asshole in human resources did to piss you off today? The answer is NO, but the difference between you and me, is I seem to understand that your job is important to YOU and because I consider you a friend, I am happy to hear about it. Well, being a mom is MY job, and my job is just as important to me as yours is to you, so have a little courtesy. It's called mutual respect, you should give it a try.

3. My life is not Bon-Bons and soap operas.

As a childless person you seem to think that just because I sleep until 7:30 or 8 am, have the opportunity to blog on occasion and am usually still in my pajamas at noon that I have it so easy. I DESERVE to sleep as late as my children let me because I was likely up until at least fucking midnight folding laundry, finishing dishes, reading books about teaching my child how to read or maybe, just maybe, having the luxury of taking a shower in peace! The reason I'm in my pajamas until noon is because I haven't had the time to go upstairs and change since the kids have been up! I have cooked their breakfast, done the dishes, watered and harvested the garden, fed the dog, broken up at least 3 fights, checked my to-do list AND the kids' assignment list, set everything out for them to get started with school, tried to pick up the downstairs bathroom, started a load of laundry, read stories to my little one, made a grocery list, found a lost huggy for a desperately distraught child, supervised tooth-brushing, gotten them dressed, started preparing lunch, made a loaf of bread, etc...! And I realize that you too do laundry and dishes and whatnot, but you don't have a whiny 4 y.o. attached to your hip or an 8 y.o. that needs your help with long division, or a butt to wipe or marker to clean off the couch and the wall or milk to soak up off the floor and clean out of the cracks of the table, or 40 pounds of gear, your purse, your keys, and two kids to load up EVERY time you have to go somewhere! And believe me, I have it easy compared to my friends that have 4 or 5 kids!

As a childless person, you have the ability after your 9-5 or whatever your hours are, to sit for a minute, regain your composure, maybe go workout, take a shower, relax on the couch and catch an episode of your favorite sit-com, have a leisurely dinner, maybe go have a drink with friends, and get to bed at a decent hour. I know you have commitments and you have stress, BUT, the bottom line is, you have time for yourself on occasion, you have peace and quiet, time to recharge yourself and hear yourself think. And generally, when you are off the clock, you are off the clock. I am on-the-job and on-call 24-7 for 22 years with no pay, no retirement benefits, no insurance benefits, and no paid time off or sick days. So please explain to me how my life is so cake compared to yours?

3. Feminism and motherhood are not mutually exclusive.

I personally find it liberating that I CAN make the choice to stay at home. I chose the traditional role. Did I do so because I was forced into it by our patriarchal society? Ummm, no. I chose it because I wanted to be the person to raise my kids AND because financially speaking, Big Daddy had a job with a higher salary and good benefits and his hours were not as erratic as mine and didn't include call time. And I know we could get into the argument that he makes more money because he's a man, and blah, blah, blah, but the fact is, he just chose a career in a higher paying field!

But here's what's weird... I am applauded by women in my grandmother's generation for my choice, but it seems to rub a lot of women in my mother's generation the wrong way. Like I have purposely thumbed my nose at all of the hard work they did and chosen to take a step backward in the evolution of women's rights. And honestly, I am taken aback by this! The idea that I have let down women all over the world by choosing to stay at home to raise my children makes my heart sad. In my bones I know that my greatest accomplishments are my children and because of this I want to dedicate my life to making them good, caring, open-minded, conscious individuals that will be responsible citizens of this planet. And if a large part of my identity revolves around this, so be it. I'm not ashamed, I make no apologies and if given the opportunity to do it again, I would in a heartbeat! So if feminism can't reconcile that, then feminism needs to evolve, not me.

4. Motherhood was my choice and I wouldn't get off this crazy ride for anything!

By becoming a parent, I have chosen this life. I have no desire to make excuses or whine (at least not a lot!) ;) Yes, I complain on occasion about working myself to sheer exhaustion (you try keeping up with a manic 4 y.o.!) And I admit that my life, at times, has a level of tedium that makes me want to just bang my head into the wall. And I do walk a fine line between sanity and complete mental and physical breakdown. That being said, there is nothing else in the world I would rather be doing! I may not get monetary compensation, but I get hugs, kisses, pictures of various blobs and lines that I decorate my fridge with, I get to see two children experience the world, I get to play on slides, swing on swings, catch butterflies, raise caterpillars, sew Halloween costumes that are the envy of the neighborhood, bake bread, take awesome pictures, garden, travel, make tortillas, snuggle with freshly bathed kids and read bedtime stories, meet other AMAZING stay-at-home mamas and for the first time in my life feel like a part of a community and truly know what it means to be happy and fulfilled! And just for the record, I'm not saying you have to be married and have kids to be fulfilled, that would be stupid. I'm just saying that it was good for ME. I am recently in contact with a lot of old high school friends that I haven't heard from in 20 years (thank you Facebook) and most of them are FLOORED, to say the least, that I have chosen this life. After all, I was voted most likely to be a rockstar, and you know what, I AM A ROCKSTAR! I am a rockstar of a mom!

Thanks for letting me set the record straight on some things! I hope the next time you have the opportunity to sit and talk with a mama that maybe you'll understand the person you're conversing with a little better. Just because we stay at home and raise our children doesn't mean we're stupid, it doesn't mean we're not interesting (in fact some of the most creative and brilliant women I know are stay-at-home mamas!), and it doesn't mean that we're incapable of having fun! I mean think about it, you've got to have a helluva sense of humor to do what we do day in and day out! So here's a shout out to all of you mamas, we totally ROCK and don't let anyone tell you any different!

P.S. I wanted to make sure that workin' mamas got a shout out for being the badass bitches that they are too! You gals definitely have my respect and admiration!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Super Summer Reading!

I would personally like to thank Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books, Borders and the Austin Public Library system for encouraging my kids (and me) to read more this summer! The Monkey Man is a good reader, but he was a little hesitant to jump in to a full-blown chapter book. So I told him I would enter him in the summer reading programs IF he agreed to read only chapter books at his grade level or above. He agreed and in about a month and a half he has completed 13 books! I personally committed to an extra 30 minutes of reading to the Piggy everyday and she is SO happy! Three of the programs (B&N, Borders and the library) offered free books as the reward, so the Monkey Man picked up 3 new books, and not crap books either, he got "The Lightning Thief", "39 Clues-The Maze of Bones", and "The Ranger's Apprentice"! Of those three, Miss Piggy could only participate in the library program due to her age but she earned "Froggy Goes to Bed" which makes her giggle! Half Price Books doesn't give away free books, but they give you $3 coupons that you can use towards purchases, which in their store is a pretty big deal! So with a minimal investment of about $12 Piggy got 4 new books and the Monkey Man got 4 new books. So all in all, we managed to get 12 books for about $12!!! I mean how can you beat that? And although I'm so excited to get some new books in the house, I am even more excited that my boy is reading like crazy now and really enjoying it! Long live summer reading programs!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Knee-high by the 4th of July!

You know, I've been pretty worried about that second batch of corn that I planted, it's been looking kind of puny! My mom told me that it should be fine so long as it was "knee-high by the 4th of July". Well, as of last week, it wasn't. Not even close. And then there was Hurricane Alex and the lovely bands of rain it sent our way! In a period of about 5 days my corn (and my sunflowers) went from being about 8-10" tall to this... Knee-high Baby! Knee-High! So I WILL be getting a nice late harvest of corn! And as impressive as that may be, it is the corn in the other bed, the okra and the black-eyed peas that are going all Amazonian on me! The corn, obviously in the background, and YES, that's okra in the foreground! OKRA! It's HUGE!
And below we have corn on the left, eggplant in the front and my GORGEOUS pole beans on the right! The corn has ears and silks goin' on and the green beans are starting to flower!

And let's not forget those beautiful black-eyed peas! I've been harvesting a few pods a day for about 4 days! I can't wait to cook 'em!
I am just so stunned at my garden this year! And I totally wish I could brag and say that I've just got mad gardening skills, but that's not the case at all! It just happens that Mother Nature has been kind to our area this year with milder temperatures and RAIN! You just can't take for granted what rainwater provides that tap water does not. So I'm just enjoying the ride and getting the biggest kick out of watching everything grow and flourish, and of course, eating vine-ripened tomatoes hasn't been too shabby either!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

In honor of the 4th of July and the fact that gingerbread should be made way more often than at Christmas time! Thanks to Big Daddy and the Piglet for their expert sprinkling skills!