Friday, April 30, 2010

Confessions of a Bad Mom

No, this isn't the mom nor the confession. This is the non-related photo interest for this entry. It's a picture Brooks took on his morning commute. It appears to be a woman painting her toenails on the train. Beyond that, we'd have to ask Brooks who it is and why he took it. Or better yet, you can post a comment with your own caption of what's going on here. A free round trip ticket to the person with the most original reply.

OK, so go ahead and disregard that other post about coming around as a mother, blah, blah, blah. This parentis is still incompetis. I think making your kid cry definitely qualifies for that category.

Take Wednesday, for example. I know that a huge trigger for me is operating under the pressure of being on time. It's practically an emotional outburst waiting to happen. I take precautions: meditate (then medicate) for twenty minutes before everyone else wakes up, recruit Brooks' support by delegating morning tasks he is willing to perform, and having the boys create a check list of things they need to do in order to get themselves ready for school.

I also realize that I am the only one that cares. Well, they realize it, too, and they do their best to support me in my punctuality but in the end it's really only my own little sef-imposed deadline. I know the world will not end if we're not in the car at 7:46 am. The world might not end, but I might get a little crazy.

Like Wednesday morning. We're out the door on time (phew!) but then I realize I left my cell phone in my office so I give Oliver the keys and say to both boys, "Please go unlock the car and get buckled in. I'll be out in a few seconds."

Believing that they will do this is my second mistake (believing in the punctuality myth is the first). As I rush back out the door, I'm caught off guard by the sight of Brahm scaling up a ladder to get on to the garage roof while Oliver is disappearing into the garage to fetch him a shovel. A shovel?! I ask you, what is a nine-year-old going to do with a shovel on the roof a garage at 7:51 in the morning and why is his little brother aiding and abetting him in this logic-defying pursuit? And so I posed the same question to them, only phrased slightly different.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Look, I am the first to admit that that phrase is unlikely to be found in any child-rearing manual in the top ten ways of addressing a child (if you 1-want him to listen or 2-love you back) and yet, there it was. As mild as that is compared to other phrases I have uttered in my lifetime, I do admit that I was surprised to hear me say it. In fact, I don't recall ever having said it to either of my boys before (out loud anyway).


So that's what made Brahm cry. I think Oliver was over it in about 3.4 seconds but Brahm put his head down the whole way to school and couldn't look at me for all the disgust he felt at a parent who should know better but doesn't. "You swore, Mom!" And here I was patting myself on the back for blurting out that word instead of all the others at my disposal. Significant, if you think about it, since that's probably where I'll be going for saying it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

From a friend of a friend: "I asked for divine intervention and turns out all I needed was a sandwich and a nap."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roasted Artichokes and Cici Beans

I'm always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into my diet, especially since I have fallen into a rut of serving up a steamed green of some sort along side the main course of dinner. I came across this today in the Delicious Living magazine and posted their online version below. It didn't included the photo (which is the best part!) so I scanned the one in the magazine. I made it for lunch and give it five stars because 1) it's very yummy, 2) has a tasty variety of veggies 3) good fiber and nutrition content, and 4) it can be eaten as a side dish (next to a grilled mahi mahi steak is what sounds good to me) or as a one-dish meal, especially if you are a vegan or vegetarian. Click here for more vegetarian recipes like this:

Note: I used canned artichokes and bottled tomatoes in the place of fresh and it turned out great. Also, I bet this would work great in a crock pot.

Serves 6 / Ingredient tips: Cici (garbanzo) beans add lean protein and texture to this hearty dish. Baby artichokes can be eaten whole after cooking because they don’t have the fuzzy heart typical of larger artichokes. If you can’t find them, use prepared artichoke hearts (canned in water and well drained); roast until lightly browned for flavor, halve, then stir into cici-bean mixture as directed.

6 baby artichokes (or one 15-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 medium sweet onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced and drained

1 teaspoon whole fennel seed

2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil and drained)

1/2 tablespoon agave nectar or other sweetener

1 15-ounce can cici (garbanzo) beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons lightly chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Wash artichokes and remove tough outer leaves. With a knife, trim stem and cut off the top ½ inch of each artichoke. As you go, place artichokes in a large bowl of water with 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Let trimmed chokes soak in lemon water for 20 minutes (this helps preserve their color when cooking).

2. Preheat oven to 350˚. Remove chokes from lemon water (turn upside down to drain thoroughly) and place in a lightly oiled, shallow ceramic or glass baking dish (not metal); sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender, 30 minutes for small chokes and 45–60 minutes for medium and larger ones. Remove from oven and cool.

3. Heat oil in a large, nonstick or heavy skillet on medium heat. Add onion and sauté until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, fennel seed, sun-dried tomatoes, and agave. Stir. After 1 minute, reduce heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Add beans, basil, and olive oil, combining well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Cut cooled artichokes in half and place in a large bowl; add bean-tomato mixture and toss lightly. Serve.

PER SERVING: 156 cal, 33% fat cal, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg chol, 6g protein, 22g carb, 7g fiber, 114mg sodium

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jeepers Creepers!

I think the hormone and psychotherapy is finally paying off - I'm beginning to experience the delights of being a mom! Now whether or not Brahm and Oliver like being my kids is another question, but for now, things seem to be looking up.

Brooks snapped this shot of Oliver and I on the way to church last Sunday. I love how he digs on these bug-eye glasses I bought at a party supply store, so much so that he asked permission to wear them to Sunday School. I agreed that he could wear them before and after, but not during, and he seemed OK with that.

Oliver is a boy inclined to blurt out random questions when something is really weighing on his mind. Take that Sunday, for example. In testimony meeting during a quiet moment (of course), he turns to Brooks and asks in a fairly loud voice, "Dad, does General Grievous have a human brain?" Or last night before bed he walks into the kitchen wanting to know, "Are throw-ups toxic?" He also enjoys recounting information he has amassed during school. "Mom, starfish aren't really starfish. They are seastars. And did you know that if one of their legs gets cut off, they grow another one? But if they get cut in half, they die because their stomach is in the middle of their body and they need it to survive." He is a boy not unlike most other children, full of questions and wonder. I am grateful that I am beginning to be connected enough with myself that I notice.

Another thing I notice is how big my boys are getting. Brahm turned nine last week! When I tucked him into bed on his birthday eve he reminded me to put the streamers around his room for him to wake up to. I was surprised to hear him say this because I didn't know that ever really mattered to him. When he was very little, maybe two or three, I began the tradition of putting up crepe paper all around his bedroom and in the doorways of the house on the night before his birthday. Brooks and I would also buy a huge bouquet of balloons and set them loose in his room so that he could celebrate his special day from the moment he woke up. That was back in the day when we had hardly two dimes to rub together and I worried that I was spending too much on decorations. This year I almost didn't do it wondering if it would seem to juvenile to him now. That's why I was pleased to hear him remind me, especially since I had already bought all the supplies. Another reason I was pleased is because this (along with a few other birthday traditions) has been my way of showing Brahm I love him. For as handicapped as I've been in this area for both my boys, I decided that if I could make their birthdays memorable, then in this one way they would always remember how unfathomably wonderful they are to me.

Here's a clip of the boys shortly after waking up. Unless you're related, you will most likely find it uninteresting (except for Oliver's butt-scratching sequence). Note how Oliver decides an important part of the celebration will include Brahm getting to choose what color tee-shirt and pants Oliver is to wear that day...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

We Did It Again

Meet the new ladies of the house (l-r): Lady Peaches Fondue, a Cornish; Rebecca Lucille, a White Leghorn; Fauxhawk, an Auracana and Licorice/Searchlight, a Silver Lace Wyandotte (Licorice by day, Searchlight by night).

We said good-bye this year to Buffy (because it was a rooster) and Eve (because she kept escaping the pen and eating my garden). I'm making it sound like that was the reason we bought the chicks last month when really it's because we've formed a chicken habit. We agreed on adding three more to the brood but I came home with a fourth because "Silver Lace Wyandotte" sounded so promising.

Oliver with his harem. His chick is Licorice who he will tuck inside his coat and take with us when we run errands (sometimes I am aware of this and sometimes I am not). Normally I would discourage it but he has a gift with birds; they seem to be drawn to him.

Peaches got a bird bath to remove some, uh, "excrement" from her tail feathers that got stuck. You can't just leave a wet chicken hanging, right? Here's Brooks taking care of business.

Brooks and Peaches at the breakfast table.

Second-guessing their birthday gift for Brahm.