Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lolita Pig Roast

I was going to write a post about our wonderful dinner on Tuesday night, but Nancy already beat me to it on her blog. Complete with pictures of Reagan and Nolan. Prepare to become extremely hungry if you follow this link!

Here are a couple of the photos that Uncle John took across the table. We sat down at 5p and left about 7:20p. Reagan gave her Rebel Yell a couple of times, but for the most part these two hammed it up, laughing and teasing with the adults. They really are extremely well behaved when it comes to sitting for meals. They do enjoy eating, as the pictures here and at Nancy's blog show, so it is not too bad of a thing for them. Guess we are doing something right with them! They did enjoy the large cloth dinner napkins. Just the right size for peek-a-boo!

As an aside, I am watching American Idol as I type this and Neil Diamond is on. He has aged well, but could someone please tell him that those caterpillar eyebrows need to be plucked!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

All Because of Ice Cream

It has, again, been a busy week filled with some firsts for Reagan and Nolan and stress for Mommy.

Their first blueberry ice cream sundae, their first car accident, first picnic, and drum roll please........ Nolan took a step (three seperate times.) We didn't get it on film or video (yet) because we were so shocked (and misty eyed) that we couldn't get to the camera in time.

No need to panic about the "accident." We were at the DQ drive thru, I wanted to get the kids an ice cream since it was a nice warm day. I was at a dead stop, looking for change and my foot slipped off the brake. I tapped the car in front of me and scrapped her bumper. No huge deal. Of course I said the F--- word loudly and scared Reagan so she started screaming. Needless to say by the time we got our ice cream and got settled it wasn't really worth eating. The next day we had to take Grammy on an errand and had a picnic in the metropark so we stopped at (our formerly) local ice cream spot in Euclid and got a blueberry sundae on the way home. They LOVED it. Lots of mmmm's.

On Friday we took them for their 1 year/cake smash portraits. If you have a Portrait Innovations near you, stop taking your kid where you currently go and give them a try. They are awesome and for $9.95 you get:

1 10X13
2 8X10
4 5X7
4 3X5
32 wallets
6 cards

Of course we spent way more than $9.95, but the twins only turn 1 once and out of the 67 pictures he took, at least half of them were awesome! Here is a little sneek peak.

Last night we had a blast with Greg, Laurie, Connie, Stephanie, and my mom. They came over to hang out and have dinner and somehow it ended up with Bill dragging out his old photo's from the 80's and we laughed and laughed over the fashion faux pas that my sweet hubby was. Hey, it was the 80's, what else can you say!!!

Today is Mommy's Day Out. I'm going with some girlfriends to do a hard-hat tour of the Hanna Theatre and late lunch at Melt, a restaurant that specializes in grilled cheese. Oh yeah, in less than two weeks we are having 108 (well, they all haven't RSVP'd yet, but that is the invite list) people over for the kids birthday...... like I have time to be having a girls day out, but I need it.

Let's see....what is on tap for next week......getting flowers and shrubs to plant in the front beds (hopefully I'll get them in before the party LOL), have dinner at Lolita (now that the kids eat food, they can enjoy the infamous Tuesday Pig Roasts), and a new gym & swim class.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I just finished reading this book, Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella. She generally writes good "beach" books, as I call them. Items I pick at library book sales, take to my beach vacation, read them and leave them in the lobby bookcase. I once took some books on a girls trip and they were all clinkers. I relied heavily on the kindness of others and that lobby bookcase so I always leave a little something behind!

Anyway, the premise of the book is that the main character, Lexi, gets into a car accident and suffers a bump on the head. She wakes up in hospital (Kinsella is British) and thinks it is 2004, not present day. She learns that she is unhappily married and doesn't remember her husband since they met less than 3 years ago, she is now a big deal at the company she works for but she doesn't remember how she moved from "just" sales to boss, and she is having an affair with a totally hot (inside and out) guy that she doesn't even remember meeting. She finds that she doesn't like the person she has become in the time she has has "lost."

As I read this book on the treadmill at the Y, I got to thinking (I tend to zone out around 40 minutes. That, and my mp3 player died.) what would it be like to have amnesia? To wake up and think it is 2004 and know nothing about your life today. To learn about the person you have become and find that you don't exactly like the path your life has taken. What would you do about it.....just sit back and fall into the life you have been living or go back to who you were?

One doesn't need to suffer from amnesia to examine where they are in life and do something about it, if they don't like where they are. Why do people stay in situations they don't it work, home, or a friendship/relationship? Because it is easier to do so, or too much work to do something about it?

For me, I'd never know the turmoil of all the infertility issues we went through, but then I'd never remember giving birth or the first smile, giggle, crawl, word, hug, kiss, or clap. I wouldn't know my own kids. Thank goodness I'd at least know my husband since we have been together for (eek) 10 years this coming November. I'd remember my honeymoon, but not the most breathtakingly beautiful sight on the sun rise from the patio of the guest house of Terra Valentine Winery,

I'd be living in a new house and have no clue all the work we did (Last September was a little like having amnesia anyway. We were running on autopilot so much that I don't remember most of it.)

I'd wake up and wonder what the hell we are still doing in Iraq. I'd be shocked at how the people of NOLA suffered so much before real help arrived and wait a minute, Brittney Spears has not one, but two kids and has finally fallen off the deep end!!!

I better take those toys away from my kids because they are tainted with lead and so are the bottles I'm letting them drink out of, don't feed them spinach, and wait another minute, Harry Potter marries Ginny Weasley!?!?!?!?
Football players are running dog fights, baseball players are hopped up on steroids, and gas costs a small fortune.

Take a minute to ponder the question..... Am I happy with the road my life has taken for the past 4 years and the person you are today? If so, good on you, keep up the good work. If not, what can you do to get back on track?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What A Rush!

I went to my first "Nearly New Kids Sale" this morning. I paid the $2 admission to go early bird and I was 5th in line. Not too shabby for being up until 2am with Reagan (no idea why she decided it was a good idea to get up at midnight and be fussy.) The ladies in front of me were discussing their POA (plan of attack for those not in the know). There I stood with my McDonalds Iced Vanilla Coffee (yes, I know how many calories are in it, but I still have to have it) and no plan. I even left my list at home. Bill was nice enough to text it, without me asking. I'm sure his hope was that I'd actually stick to the list. Yeah, that didn't happen for the most part. At promptly 8am, the doors flew open and all of us with an orange dot were allowed in. My eyes scanned the tables in a panic. What was I there for? What is proper nearly-new sale etiquette? I emailed my friend and fellow nearly-new saler, Lori, yesterday to ask a few questions and she suggested I bring small bills. I had a few of those, but I had to hit the ATM this morning so I guess I could only buy high buck items! LOL Scanning the tables and briskly walking at the same time I see it, towering above all the rest of the stuff,my first purchase. A steal at $10. I pay and ask if she can hold it behind her table. See, I'm using my noodle. I can't lug this basketball hoop around and expect to be able to get close to any of other other tables. Next up, a ball pit. If you recall last spring the twins were 1 week old when the Moms Of Muliples had their semi-annual sale. I made a list of practical things we needed (since I had already gotten all the nonpractical items a first time mom thinks she must have) and sent Bill on his way. He came home with a ball pit and a remote controlled tank. This ball pit is different though, it is a car! How could I pass that up for $6. My other purchases were more practical. Play clothes ($.50-1.00), a fall play coat for Reagan ($3), brand new winter boots for Nolan (.50) and, oh yeah, a sit and spin. I was giddy. Could have been the caffeine or just the rush of a good deal. My head was spinning, I was out of small bills, and had more than I could carry (thanks Lori!). It was time to leave. As I headed to the grocery store I could only think where and when the next sale will be!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Eating Machines

All of a sudden my babies have no use for formula. They want FOOD. Not food we can feed them so much, but food they can shove into their mouths themselves. They used to drink 320zs of formula a day, in the past couple of months that has dropped to about 24, now they are down to about 16ozs. They drink water as well and juice once in a while, but they would rather eat.

Tuesday night we went to Bar Cento for kids chefin' night with Nonny Linda, Grandpa Fred, and some of Linda's family. Her grandkids made some lovely pizzas, heavy on the cheese! My kind of kids. Nolan and Reagan inhaled a marinara that Chef Sawyer whipped up for them. Nolan shoved so many pieces in his mouth he looked like a chipmunk. Reagan eats one at a time. She did a great job eating not only the pizza, but some olives and fries as well. The grown-ups enjoyed a ramp pizza among many other things.

I tried to forage for ramps Wednesday in the park, but we were not successful. Perhaps a double wide jogging stroller prohibited me from finding just the right spots. No matter, the kids had a great time in the fresh air and they took an almost 2 hour nap in the afternoon. Unheard of from them!

We tried the big bathtub for the first time. I think it will be back to the kitchen sink for us. It will be easier to deal with mopping the floor from the splashes rather than chasing two slippery little butts all over a tub. It is a job for two people whereas one person can handle them both in the sinks. If we continue to use the tub, we will have to invest in those bathtub rings.

It has finally warmed up and the kids are enjoying going for runs with Daddy, walks with Mommy, or just hanging in the backyard. It is going to be a fun summer for them, so many new things to explore. Let's just hope they stay out of the woods in our backyard that are rumored to have poison ivy in them!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Baby Rave

Long gone are the days where DJ Billy (now know as Daddy) is spinning at some dark, dank warehouse on the banks of the Cuyahoga from dusk til dawn and I (AKA Mommy) leave the party at 5am to go home and make us breakfast. A very pitiful, burned, sad breakfast, but the best I can muster after an all-night party.

Welcome to Saturday, April 12, 2008 2pm. The Velvet Dog. Yes, you read that correctly. The Velvet Dog in the middle of the afternoon. We roll up to the club in the minivan, automatic doors slowly open, and squeals of delight come from the 2nd row seats. It is time for Rock N Tots. A rave for kids. Three floors of juvenile delight and the two of ours are ready to p-a-r-t-y.

We headed for the 3rd floor since it is for the non-walkers. It was set up for loads of kiddie fun. Lots of soft play mats to sit on, a tunnel with a tent to crawl through--that was a favorite of both Reagan and Nolan-- and completing the scene were two diaper stations in the corner.

Floor 2 was where the "rave" was going on. The music was not set to "deafening" as it usually is in 'da clubs. Nolan and Reagan had fun trying to catch the lights as they made patterns on the floor. This is where I discovered that no matter how much a bar can try to clean itself up, it is still a bar. The kids hands, knees, and tops of their socks were filthy. Just as their mothers used to be back in the day. If you didn't know me then, lets just say that crowds overwhelmed me sometimes when I was a little tipsy (ok, downright drunk) and I felt safe being away from it all. Usually that meant taking up residence under a table. Don't laugh. I had followers. There were usually 4 or 5 of us under there at times. It was a new perspective and we got into some deep conversations under those gum-ridden tabletops. We solved lots of the worlds (and our own) problems there. I digress.

Here they are shaking their booties.....

The kids favorite part of the event seemed to be finding places to look at themselves. This is the thing they find really funny lately.

When the kids are older they will enjoy even more of this event. Our friends daughter got some tats, you could get your nails done, chair massages for moms and dads, and mini-facials. A little something for everyone. The bar was stocked with Juice Boxes, fruit, and little munchies. Pizza was provided by Bar Cento and Nolan was all over that. He practically pulled the piece I was eating out of my mouth. Good thing we are going there tomorrow night and he can make his own pie for Cook Chefin' With Cento Kids Night. There is a ramp pizza callin' my name.
Now back to scrubbing the dirt off of Reagan's leggings...... next time she will wear overalls :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Time Warp

I discovered that my timer was a casualty of the chili cookoff prep. Guess everything I cook has to be done in 20 minutes or less.

Now we know Bill can make time fly too!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Chili Part Deux: My Take

(Posted by Bill) First off, I'm not that bad of a photographer. While I do not have the artistic flair that Shelley possesses with photography (I'm more of a photojournalist), I've taken more than my share of photos over the years (heck, for quite a while, I was Abby-Normal's band photographer ;-). I'm actually more surprised that I didn't take two shots, just to be certain (anyone with kids understands this). To add insult to injury, Shelley left the camera, so that I could take some pix of the event. The camera went into my back pocket, and that's the last I thought about it. No pix of any of the other contestants, many of who are some of the area's great chefs that we're fortunate to know. The cook-off is such a fun event every year. So many people work hard to make it a success. Being held at "The Place Formerly Known as the Jake" makes it even more special. My Barracho recipe has been pretty stable over the past couple of years, with a little variation due to available ingredients. I swapped the pork shoulder with braised pork cheeks (thanks, Chaty!), along with chorizo (not homemade this year), and roasted peppers in pinto bean gravy. I had just enough corn bread pudding for the five gallons of chili that I served. I ran out just a little after 8p, and went downstairs to try a few bites of chili from Momocho and ML the Restaurant. Both Chefs Nolan Konkoski and Michael Longo turn out some of my perennial favorites. I also really liked the veggie chili from Mike Piazza (no, not the Met, but the chef, who I just met). Anyway, I had a pretty good feeling that I would win something, as the dish was pretty solid, and I was getting a lot of good buzz. Still, competition was really tough. Then, someone mentioned that I should "stick around". So, when the winner of amateur "non-traditional" was being described, I started smiling, as I realized it was me. Naturally, I was so absent-minded, that I didn't even set down my ice-cold Corona, and I'm holding it in the award photo with Diane and Brian, with the trophy behind us (d'oh!). I walked back, and started texting Shel that I won. I was in mid-text when I heard my name announced again! Best Overall Amateur. I was overwhelmed. At least I wasn't holding my beer in that photo! I then got to have a real celebratory beer (Commodore Perry IPA) at GLBC with RRBC Brewer Extraordinaire Matt Cole (who took 2nd Place, non-trad. with GLBC's own Luke Purcell). Matt shares an affinity for many of my favorite Cali Ales, including the "other" RRBC. Cheers, guys!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Outta The Park

Bill particiapted in the 3rd annual Greater Cleveland Chili Cookoff for Austim at The Jake (aka Progressive Field) Tuesday night.

This event was a grass roots effort that started through the food forum that Bill and I enjoy posting on. Bill has entered his barracho (drunken beans) each year. The first year he got an honorable mention for creative toppings. Last year, he won 2nd place- amateur.

The kids and I went down to the cookoff early. Bill made them "20 Mule Team Barracho" shirts and it was good exposure to a crowd since they will need to get ready for their birthday party very soon! They got to meet some people from the food forum and some chefs that "know" them just through our posts. It was a nice chance to personally thank these folks for their thoughts and prayers when Nolan was in the hospital. The kids enjoyed eating dinner in the terrace club. No, not chili! If only they could have gotten out of the stroller and touched all the windows!

The kids and I left early so I could keep them on their normal nighttime schedule (dinner 5p, bottles 6:30, bed 7:30p---hey, it is what works right now for us) so I didn't get to stick around for the results, but I was there when he was dishing barracho for the judges.

This year he changed the recipe a bit (if I tell you what he did, he'll have to kill me! LOL) When I tasted it, I knew he had a winner. It was excellent. I'm not a huge bean fan and I asked for a 2nd helping. He served it with my corn pudding and cilantro crema.

Around 9pm, I got this text message from Bill "make room for two trophies" Woo hoo!!!

1st place amateur and first place amateur non-traditional chili. The first place amateur trophy is SO beautiful. It deserves a place on display for sure.

The kids and I are so proud of Daddy!

This is why Daddy cooks and doesn't take the pictures :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Nolan's Next Surgery

We met with Nolan's ENT today to discuss the removal of the "cyst" on his neck. The reason I put cyst in quotes is because the doctor is still not convinced it is a branchial cleft cyst. He thinks it is an accessory ear. That is right, an ear bud that never formed. It would actually be better for Nolan if that is what it is because it wouldn't go down as deep and removal would be much easier. If all goes according to plan he will pop it out and close the incision with glue or stitches.Without complications or the need for a drain, this should be outpatient, but an overnight stay for observation could be necessary. Nolan will have a small scar, but chics dig scars, right? It won't even come close to the big one in his head! Anyway, June 4th is the day, so do whatever you do to keep him in thought and prayer then.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Cough, Cough, Sneeze, Sneeze.....Again!

Reagan and Nolan are sick.....again! We have spent all winter passing this dreaded virus back and forth between the four of us. We took them to the doctor today and they got antibiotics. It is the first time either of them have been on them so we shall see how they do. There is nothing more pitiful than a child that can't figure out what is going on, can't tell you how they feel, or wipe their own nose! LOL Last night was an adventure. Nolan joined us first and was pretty good until around 3am when he decided he was going to play with Chandler. God bless that big old cat. He just sat there and let Nolan "pet" him (we are working on the petting motion, currently it more of a tap-tap-tap.) Then Nolan decided Chandler was a good pillow. The big kitty still just let him roll all over him. About 4am, Reagan couldn't breath and was crying in her sleep so I got up to get her and brought her into bed and propped her up in the boppy pillow Nolan had vacated. He was in Daddy's arms, but not happy anywhere at that point. He decided to climb over Chandler and Reagan to lean on me. Needless to say he and I were up rather early this morning and he napped for a couple of hours sitting in his high chair after his morning bottle. Wish I could say the same! Here's hoping they make a quick recovery!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

All's Right With Reagan's World

While the Cuddle-Fest was going on upstairs, Nolan was eating a rice cake that was almost as big as his head!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

For The Love of Sourdough

Last year when Bill was in San Fran for his work conference/vaca (yes, it is part vaca when you get to go and hang out with our friends, eat good food and drink great wine, even just for an afternoon or an evening) he sent home sourdough cheese wheels from Acme Bread Co. in the Ferry Building. If you've never had one, it has to go on your must-try list. Each bite is filled with sharp cheddary sourdough goodness. One is never enough!

Last year when the overnight express mail arrived I was pregnant......very pregnant.....with two babies. I opened the package and the smell of those cheese wheels turned my stomach. I was so sad. I tried to eat one, but the babies rebelled. No cheese wheel for Mommy. I never even told Bill because I felt so bad that he went out of his way to send them and I couldn't enjoy them. I froze them and tried after the babies were born, but as we know cheese doesn't exactly freeze well.

So yesterday I got a text message from Bill asking if the mail had arrived. I answered "Yes." He responded "Any packages." My answer "No." Damn USPS (sorry Bobabooey). Bill went out of his way to express mail a package overnight on Monday, for Tuesday delivery by noon. Nope. Didn't happen. I wasn't expecting anything since the only thing I told him to bring home for me was the burnt caramel confections from e Rechiutti. My cheese wheels were sitting at the post office downtown. Of course, it was after 5pm or I would have gone to rescue those pillows of cheesy wonder. Let me tell you, I called the USPS help line, and after spending a long time in their phone system hell, I finally got a person and gave them a piece of my mind! My cheese wheels were losing valuable eating time and now we have to go stand in line at the post office for a refund of the shipping cost!

There was a knock on the front door at 10am and low and behold, there was the man with my cheese wheels.

Excuse me, but the kids are napping and I've got to go. There is a sourdough cheese wheel calling my name.

New Food Find For Reagan and Nolan

The kids are very into feeding themselves these days. You can sneak in a spoon or two of applesauce or yogurt, but they much rather have something to pick up and pop in their pie holes. It also gives Reagan something to throw overboard when she is full, but that is for another post. (I love her so much, but she is a PISTOL! I have a feeling she will be my greatest challenge in life. Yeah, yeah, paybacks. I get it!)

On Tuesday, we went to visit Aunt Connie at work. She does hair at the local nursing/assisted living home. Aunt Connie loves Reagan and Nolan just about as much as their Grammy does, so everyone at the home "knows" them. Especially Adelle. She thinks they are her grand kids. She keeps pictures of them on her bulletin board in her room and talks about them all the time. We've never even met Adelle..... until yesterday. Chalk it up to doing a good deed for the day because it made my heart happy to see Adelle's face when she saw Reagan and Nolan. She just kept saying how adorable they were. Reagan really put on a show too. She did all her dance moves and made faces. Nolan clicked his tongue, but he was sleepy so no show from Nolan.

Reagan and Mrs. Adelle

After driving around while the kids napped (hey, gas is $3.20/gallon, but you do what you gotta do!) We stopped at Longo's for a bite. I love their meatballs calzones and salad. Nice garlicky meatballs. The kids usually get a grilled cheese or chicken fingers, but I saw that they had cheese ravioli on the kids menu so I thought I'd give it a try. What a mess, but they LOVED them.

Nolan with a booger of ricotta

That's right....rub it in!

Reagan liked the sauce....really she did!

For those of you that enjoy the many faces of Reagan....... here is a good one!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No Joke, It is WINDY Today!

So we walked to the library today..... that's right, the kids are walking!!!

HAHA April Fool's!!! Why walk when you have Mommy to push you around. Actually the wind pushed us most of the way. We have a wind advisory for up to 40 MPH today.

It was warm this morning, temps are supposed to start falling around noon, so we headed up to get more bedtime story books and to register for our Thursday morning story class. We skipped last session because of Nolan's surgery and me not wanting to drag them out in the middle of winter.

This morning Nolan looked up the stairs and I swear he said "Where's Daddy?" He "says" a lot of things that sound like actual words. He was "talking" to Aunt Deb yesterday about our swimming class and she said swim to him and he said it back. He also seemed to repeat the REALLY bad (yes, the F--- word) when Mommy dropped the top of her steaming hot tea pot on her thigh this morning. I was not quite awake since I had another vomiting cat incident in the night.....this time it was Jeepster. Luckily it was only once, but it was enough to wake me from my sound sleep and then I couldn't go back. I was rolling around that bed like a pig in a blanket. I learned that our mattress sucks and it has two distinct sleep spots with a very high spot in the middle. Guess we should turn it more often!

Saying Hi to Daddy this morning

Watching water blow in the puddles

putting their heads together to scheme