Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Leo's been here 17 months

He’s getting cuter and funnier!

Here is what he’s up to:

Beyond the Ball: I think I’m going to do a whole blog about Leo’s obsession with balls so I’ll keep it brief here. He now knows that there are different types of balls: high ball (the game he invented), beeg ball (big ball), keek ball (kick ball), foot ball, bah-ball (basketball), bat ball (his baseball bat and ball set). He can’t say it yet but he’s working on another game called door ball where he bounces the ball up against a door (or cabinet or fridge).

“Up Down” He loves to say and demonstrate this: Hands up high for "UP" and crouches down for "DOOOWWN."

Hot and cold: He knows that when I put something in the microwave I’m making it “haught.” And when we open the fridge it’s “code.” The oven is haught and as of this week, the windows are code.

Foreign language: I know some of his words sound Spanish (“beeg” for “big”) but he’s more into Romanian. He’s learning it from our Romanian neighbors across the street. Okay, all he can say is “Pa Pa” which means “Bye Bye.” He says it anytime he sees any of them. And when he sees their house he says, “Baby” because they have a nine-month-old.

Animals: His favorite animals are Ike (Ms. Chantal’s Chihuahua) and Kit Kat (John’s cat). When we arrive at either of their houses he announces the animal’s name: “Ike!” or “Kit Kat!”

Favorite games: He loves to play Ring around the Rosy (which Granny Jo taught him). But he just spins around in circles and he usually falls before we get to the “we all fall down” part.

Favorite songs: He still loves his Leo CD but sometimes he prefers Mommy’s singing. I thought maybe I had a future as a children’s singer but I’ve noticed other kids don’t like my singing as much as Leo. He loves the “Wheels on the Bus” and can do all the motions unprompted.

Okay, Leo is currently not able to amuse himself with his tool bench anymore so I better end this here. Enjoy the pics and video!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Things I wish I liked: Museums

When Frank and I went to Europe in 2005, we visited a lot of museums. I wore a sweater even though it was as hot as back home in Texas because that was the rule. We waited in really long lines for some of these museums. Oh, and we paid a lot of money too.

So when we got to the Italian coast and were relaxing on the beach, Frank said, “I like this place the best. I think it’s because it doesn’t have any museums.”

“Me too!” I said (happy not to have to be the first one to say it; it’s sort of the same as saying, “Boy am I glad church is over.”)

I appreciate museums. I totally admire the artists who painted the paintings and the sculptors who sculpted the sculptures that are in museums. I mean, the closest I’ve ever come to sculpting something is when I was about seven and I made a ceramic bunny and duck for Easter. I gave them both to my mom and told her to choose which one she wanted. “I’ll take this one because I like dogs,” she said of the bunny. So I admit that sculpting and really, any art that you do with your hands, is impressive.

I respect people who go to museums. When someone says they’re planning to visit one, I don’t think, “Ew, how could they do that?” (which is what I think about people who attend monster truck shows). I think, “They’re smart. They’re civilized. They’re sophisticated.”

I, too, would like to be smart, civilized and sophisticated. But if visiting museums is what it takes, I guess I’d rather be dumb, savage-like and immature.

Because, for me, museums are just boring. I try to get meaning out of the paintings. I try to stare a long time at the sculptures. But after about 30 seconds, I’m like, “Okay, can we get to the beach part of our vacation now?”

The Sistine Chapel was pretty cool. But we were crammed in there with hundreds of other people all talking and mumbling (which you’re not supposed to do) so I didn’t really have that Sistine Chapel moment.

I love the idea of going to a party at a museum—wine, cheese, socialize, maybe check out some paintings. So if you want to invite me to one of those, feel free.

But just going to a museum to look at an exhibit? Not for me. But I wish it was. Because there’s really not much else to do in Europe.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Eat

When it comes to food, I still treat Leo like a baby. While all his friends are biting, chomping and tearing their meals, Leo usually sticks with the spoon or really mushy finger food. But come on, he barely has six teeth! So you can imagine my surprise when last weekend, Frank just handed him half a banana and let him chew away. What? No cutting into small circles and then half circles?

I tried it again later that week:

And then yesterday (at Frank's request) I gave him the WHOLE banana, peel and all! Look at our little monkey:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Playing High Ball

Leo invented a new game. It's called High Ball. It's basketball with a high chair. He seriously made this up completely on his own. I just looked over and he was doing it. He's been playing it religiously ever since (that's two days now). As you'll see from this video, he still needs some practice. But as the founder of High Ball, I think he'll have an advantage when the season rolls around.

(Oh, and while Leo may have created the game, I created the name. I should be able to get in on some of the profits, don't ya think?)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reverse Rain Dance

With all the rain and flooding here in Georgia, Leo decided to perform a "Rain Rain Go Away" dance. He created this all by himself. Rather than making the storms go away, though, it just made him really, really dizzy.

Man-a-Yell, meet Man-a-TV

When I was about six or seven, a new neighbor moved in next door to us. My bedroom window faced his house and I could hear him yelling. The next day, more yelling. He seemed to be yelling at nobody…or everybody.

I announced to my family that I was going to call him “Man-a-Yell.” It made sense, right? He was a man. He yelled. He was Man-a-Yell. That name stuck. He probably lived there another 15 years and we never called him by his real name. Always Man-a-Yell. And Man-a-Yell was committed to keeping the name apparently. He never did stop yelling. In fact, I associate the name Man-a-Yell so closely with this man that as I thought about writing this, I considered that he may find it if he were to Google his name. But then I remembered that his name isn’t really Man-a-Yell. And we never dared tell him about this nickname for fear his yelling may be directed at us.

When he moved out we thought, “Great! No more Man-a-Yell.” But the people who moved in weren’t much better. I remember my dad saying, “At least Man-a-Yell took care of his yard.”

The neighbors on either side of us here in Atlanta aren’t particularly loud (except for the three barking dogs next door). But we can see into the house directly behind us. We’re a little bit up on a hill so I suspect that while we can see right into their window, they probably can’t see into ours. I know a man and a woman live there (and maybe some kids, not sure…it’s a different neighborhood) but I’ve never actually seen them. All I can see in this window is their TV. And I always imagine that the man is sitting their watching it. Never the woman. Always the man. And he watches A LOT of TV. He loves American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and sports. Oh, and he Tivos a lot of these shows. I see the screen rewinding and fast forwarding a lot.

Sometimes we’re watching the same thing. “Hey, Frank, come see!” I’ll say. “The guy behind us is also watching The Office! But he’s ahead of us. Oh, no. I see what’s going to happen!”

He also watches TV early in the morning on the weekends. I saw him watching ESPN on Sunday morning. That’s when I told Frank we needed to give him a nickname. I immediately thought of Man-a-Yell. So as a tribute to Man-a-Yell, I will call this guy Man-a-TV.

We’ll never be friends. I’ll never know his real name. But I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Man-a-TV. Or at least a special place at my kitchen window.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saving a Salon

My dad always says that he doesn’t like to go into restaurants when there are no other patrons there. He says he feels like the manager will say, “Oh, we’re so glad you came! Now we can stay open. You saved us!” And then he’d feel pressure to order a lot of food.

I walked into a “oh-my-gosh-you’re-saving-us” situation last week. But it wasn’t a restaurant; it was a hair salon. I’ve been on the hunt for a new hair dresser ever since my last one got “promoted.” In hair salon circles, that means you pay more for the same hair cut.

I figured I’d go somewhere closer to my house. When I saw a new place open up in the shopping center right behind my neighborhood, I thought, “I could walk there! It will be like I live in New York City except I don’t have to call an overpriced closet my home.”

I should have known they were hurting when I called to make the appointment. They seemed way too excited about booking a trim. My second clue was when they called to confirm my appointment…twice: “Just want to make sure you’re coming…it’s been awhile since we spoke.” Geez, they really need me to come. Maybe I should get highlights too…or a perm?

So I showed up and as you guessed, I was the only person there. The manager guy said, “Oh, hi. You must be Elsa. I’ll tell Sheila you’re here. Sheila! Sheila! Elsa’s here!” What he meant was, “Shelia! Sheila! Elsa’s here! Now our families can eat again!”

Oh, wait. Did I say I was the ONLY person there? That’s not completely true. There was the manager, Sheila and another stylist who was practicing on a mannequin head.

As Sheila washed my hair—a process that was so much more comfortable at my old salon—she asked me what kind of shampoo I used. I told her I liked Aveda and I inquired if they sold it there. She said no. Then the other stylist comes running up and says, “But we do sell this shampoo! This shampoo is the best! Sheila, don’t forget to tell people about this shampoo!”

Great. Now I have to get a trim, highlights, a perm AND a bottle of shampoo. That better be enough to save this place.

Now keep in mind I’m used to Tina and her excessive compliments. So when Sheila started to cut my hair without first telling me how fabulous my mane is, I was a little taken aback. And it only got worse when she started telling me all the things that were WRONG with my hair—the color, the texture, the split ends. Tina would NEVER have said such things. But then I remembered that Tina was full of it. And she got promoted so I can’t afford her compliments anymore.

The good news is that two other customers came in while I was there. So I opted not to get highlights or a bottle of shampoo. But since one of the customers was a man with hardly any hair (and therefore, didn’t have the resources to save this place), I did come close to getting that perm. Maybe next time—if they’re still around.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hoop Dreams

Leo thinks he's the next Michael Jordan. I wonder if Michael Jordan started out with a basketball hoop missing half the net. Probably not...but he also didn't start out short and white. So while Leo has plenty of obstacles in the way of his NBA career, we love his enthusiasm for the sport and the fact that, at 16 months, he already has his own shooting stance.

Frank eventually thought of the idea to put the hoop lower (wonder if Michael Jordan's dad did that):
Sorry, you have to tilt your head to the left for this video:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Other White Meat

Okay, fine. I give up. I guess this is a food blog. I try to think of other things to write about but here’s what happens:

(me, thinking to myself):

What should I write about?
Oh, Leo did the cutest thing.
No, that’s on the expanding blog. This is the non-Leo blog. Surely, I have something else to write about besides Leo.
What about that dinner I made the other night?
Food again? It’s not a food blog!
Well, maybe it is a food blog.

So I’m still not officially making it a food blog but I’m not going to apologize if I write about food every day for a month.

Today I want to tell you about pork. I had never worked with pork until last week. In fact, I’ve even made two REALLY dumb pork-related comments in my life. Get ready. They’re REALLY dumb.

2004: I was working at an ad agency and my client was the Texas Beef Council. I went to their offices to present our plan for their big sports-marketing-sampling program:

“So we’ll have the trailer set up here and then the sampling team will be over here. And then over here in the grassy area we’ll have different games going on. Now these are just tentative ideas but they could be things like toss the pork chop…”

When we were leaving my boss said, “That was a great presentation but you might want to tweak the game ideas…toss the pork chop?”

“What’s wrong with that? Oh, is it weird for people to toss food?”

“Well, it’s just that this is the Texas BEEF Council and they might not like promoting pork.”

See? I told you it was REALLY dumb. I think the dumbest part is that it wasn’t just an oversight. I really didn’t know that pork wasn’t beef.

2005: I was at book club and the hostess had made pork chops. I remember saying, “What are these?” And someone was like, “Um, pork chops. Duh!”

I’m seriously like a pork idiot.

So you can see why I would hesitate to cook pork after both of these incidents.

Okay, this blog has gotten pretty lengthy and I’m running out of time. The moral of the story is that I made Brunswick stew (thanks for the recipe, Claire!) last week with a Boston Butt. And then I saved half the butt and we grilled it last night. It was so good we might never eat chicken again.

And because I was so unfamiliar with pork I had to actually research information on the internet. I know way more about a Boston Butt than I ever thought I would. For instance, did you know that it’s not the butt of the pig at all? It’s the shoulder!

Oh, you already knew that? Well, you probably already knew that pork wasn’t beef either then. Hmmm…maybe I’m not the best person to write a food blog.

Labor Day with Tia Kristin

Leo spent the holiday weekend charming his Tia Kristin. He did very little laboring as you can see:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Leo's Morning Out

Leo had his first day of "Mother's Morning Out" today at the local rec center. While I went to Target and did some cleaning, Leo hung out with other toddlers and (so I heard from Miss Noelle) played, rode cars, jumped on mats, had a snack and played some more. It must have worn him out because he CRASHED after lunch!

Here are a few pics from this morning:

"Hey, I see my back pack here. Where exactly am I going, Mommy?"

"Somewhere to play? Yea!"

"I'm ready to go!"

"Hey, dude, I think our mommies shop at the same place."
"Finally, I can shoot some hoops! Smell ya later, Mommy!"

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sunday Funday

In addition to turning 16 months old on Sunday, Leo also did all sorts of other fun things. See, when daddy's in charge anything goes. Here's what the boys did that day:

Some drinking:

Eating minus the after-meal face wiping that mommy always does:

All table manners went out the window:

Newspapers were scattered all about:

Daddy measured Leo's height by writing on the wall:

Leo watched the rain (and luckily, daddy didn't let him play outside in it!)

Daddy got tired of watching Leo and tried to send him off to school!

And here are some videos of the Sunday action:

What would you do for a Klondike bar?

You’d think I’d learn from the dip disaster of 2006.

This time it was the people at Klondike who fooled me.

I had been buying their “Slim-a-bear” 100 calorie frozen novelties for the better part of the summer. We loved the ice cream sandwiches and the chocolate popsicles so last week I searched for a new variety. And wouldn’t you know it…they had original-style Klondike bars in the “Slim-a-bear” line. Sure, I didn’t believe that 100 calories of a Klondike bar could be as good as a regular Klondike but I was going to allow for a little taste loss.

I’ll let the conversations at our house over the past week tell the rest of the story:

First night eating 100-calorie Klondike bars:

Frank: “Wow, these are really good! And they’re so big!”
Me: “I know! They don’t seem like only 100 calories. This is definitely their best 100-calorie dessert. Why can’t they make the other ones taste this good?”

Next night:
Frank: “I’m so excited to eat my Klondike bar again. They’re so good…and healthy!”
Me: “I know! Here is you’re awesome, 100-calorie Klondike bar. Man, it’s really huge!”

Third night:
Me: “Frank, aren’t you going to eat a Klondike bar?”
Frank: “No, that one last night was really filling. I wish they weren’t so big.”
Me: “Usually people are glad that something that’s 100 calories is so big.”
Frank: “Well, I think I’d rather it be 50 calories and be half the size."
Me: “It’s just weird…the ice cream sandwiches weren’t that filling. The chocolate popsicles weren’t either. And neither of them were as good as these.

Light bulb.

Me: “Wait a second. Give me that box!”

I read it: Yes, it said “Slim-a-bear” but it didn't say anything about 100 calories. It did say “no sugar added” which we all know is just a scam. I guess they were just right next to the other 100-calorie goodies. Fooled again!

Frank read the real stats. “You don’t want to know,” he said.
“More than 200?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“More than 300?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Oh, no. Not more than 400?” I asked.
Frank nodded as I felt the button on my shorts start to pop open.

But then Frank started laughing and handed me the box. It was only 170. Schwoo.

Still, those Klondike people have ruined everything. I can’t go back to their tasteless, watery, 100-calorie sandwiches.

Now I need the good stuff. But we might have to split it.