Monday, June 20, 2011

Two to share

Gluten-Free & livin' the dream... I have two recipes to share that are yum-yum-yummy!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread
(how could this not be good)


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (don't try using half Splenda like I did on the first go-round)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups GF Bisquick
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
at least 2 cups strawberries, chopped

Cream butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and whipped. Add eggs- letting each one mix in before adding the next. Add vanilla.
Mix in Bisquick on low speed until just mixed.  Add buttermilk last and stir until just combined. Add strawberries. Do not over mix!
Bake in a 9x5 loaf pan for 55 minutes. Remove and cover with foil to cool.



Banana Bread with no nuts


1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar (more or less depending on taste, I like more)
3 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup soy flour
1 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
4-5 icky bananas

Peel bananas and place in bowl. Add butter and sugar and mix until lightened in color- about 2 minutes. Add eggs, individually. Next- vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix flours, salt, soda, and powder. Slowly add to gooey butter mixture. Once combined, add buttermilk, Do not overmix.
Bake at 350 in a loaf pan for about 50-60 minutes. Remove and cover with foil. Allow to cool in pan.


yummmmmmm......Who says GF bread has to have the consistency of pound cake and taste like salt?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Quiet

I have always heard, and believed, that there no place is quieter than out in the country. Sitting on any given back porch of any given house at any given moment; with the greatest of ease- there it is- silence. No "hustle and bustle" or cars rumbling by, just good, old fashion, peace and quiet.

Here is my bold statement for the day: They (whoever they are) are lying. The "country" is one of the loudest places screaming in silence that I have ever heard.

Right now, I am sitting on the balcony of our little apartment, looking out at the Basilica, while my babe and my husband sleep. Thank God for sleep. Sitting here, on this peaceful day, the trains are passing each other over my left shoulder and the clouds are piling up. Construction is going on 7 floors below me. The clock inches closer to 5pm and the ensuing mad Friday summer rush hour up and down second street with both tourists and locals, dog-cussing the other. In this moment, it is not quiet. My computer thermostat says that it is currently 84 degrees, but it is registering a different District of Columbia than where I sit, as my internal thermometer says 78- tops.

But, see, there's this moment, and it happens more often than not, when the trains stop moving, the workers are reassessing what they are doing, there are no cars on the road, and it is just..... silent. There is not white noise of cicadas, no insects, no lapping water or sprinklers, no breeze; nothing to that effect. There is no white noise that makes you forget to think. When all these trains, cranes, and cars line up- it is here and gone in a blip. An instant. And the shuffle of the city starts back.

Sometimes, at night, the tv will be off, the windows (all two of them) will be cranked open and I will lay in my bed with six pillows surrounding me listening to nothing- and the silence is so loud, it makes me realize that there it can be quiet- truly quiet, like pure white (not navajo white, or winter white, or pale white). The wind creeps through the slat of openness that separates me from outside and it is gone.

There really is no place quieter than the city- but it has to be found at just the right moment. What a bold statement.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Before she went BONK!

This is my peanut in Posh Pickle clothes. I went shopping the other day online and found the cutest items for her...


See that... that's smocked. And I'm in love all over again.


Even Eileen is in love.


Gators and palm trees with ric-rac, love!


This one is getting monogrammed...


But, oh, the back!


Won't it be precious with a pink monogram? It looks a little naked without it.


And, yes, this is moments before she went BONK. She still has her war wound.

So, check 'em out. www.poshpickle.com & type RMC in the shipping notes to get free shipping. Be prepared to die when you see the cost. Oh, and they monogram! $10. Seriously? I'm all over it.

Daisies

Potty training is gross. The things we do, say, and discuss are just icky. My poor friend training her son had to endure mess after mess after mess. I have the lightest stomach ever and gag at the thought of, well, let’s call it daisies. She must have a stomach of steel with her Clorox wipes scrubbing whatever corner became the place to plant daisies. 
Daisies were nothing that was ever discussed growing up- polite company or otherwise. Mold, spiders, and dead bugs we are cool with, but daisies- no sir. We do not talk about it.
Or tooting. We don’t talk about that, nor do we do something so oafish. Not this girl. Not in this family. Nope. 
So, as a parent, I have to convey to LMC about planting daisies and where daisies belong. How they get there, and how we have to be patient. So, we sit on the flower bed and wait... and whisper, “Shhhh.... we’re on daisy patrol 2k11. We cannot scare away them away. Shhhh.....” And we talk about the daisies. A lot. 
Leaving 705 to go anywhere, she tells everything good-bye. 
Bye-bye light.
Bye-bye chair.
Bye-bye T-T, poo-p [.....er, daisy].
Of course, the last item is when the door is open and I am trying to shoo her out into the hallway and nothing about this little girl is quiet. 
Not only do we talk about it to each other- we talk about it to everyone else. When a successful daisy is planted, there is a celebration. There is a dance. There are phone calls and high fives. She tells her friends, she tells her friends parents. She tells strangers. Hands clapping, “I po...[planted a daisy].” She and An-Ew discuss these things and high five each other. 
Cute and a little inappropriate all at once. Notsomuch in the “polite conversation” box, but, conversation nonetheless. What else are they going to talk about, Weinergate?
So, potty training. It’s gross. For instance, yesterday. LMC was getting ready for a swim date with Catherine, Ally, & Miss Beth. I checked her diaper... totally clean. “No daisies in there! Let’s get Dora!” 
YEAH!
Diaper stripped.... oh, you older mothers know where this is going... I sit her bare bottom on my bare leg as I shimmy her Dora diaper up.
“Uh-oh... I DEED IT! Fishie?”
Hunh? HOLY DAISIES!
LMC had planted a daisy on my leg. I have never almost thrown up on my child until this moment and there have been some pretty, well, let’s just say-- I’ve had the right to toss my cookies & have not. 
Like I said, potty training is gross.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Now I know...

Not only is she full of herself, she has the energy of two two year olds. I love it. It is summertime and we spend our days (when it is not too breezy like it has been the past two days) at the pool running up and down and up and down and up .... and down. Eventually, she makes a timid step to the “loder” and says “kik kik an-ew” on repeat until she has enough courage to actually kick like Andrew.
Yesterday, it was just slap too chilly to be in the water. Husband was post call, and we needed to fill our morning before filling our afternoon. So, we made carrot pudding (don’t knock it. It’s not like it’s celery soup) and Eileen cracked the eggs in her hands, poured the flour on the counter and licked the brown sugar off her fingers. Husband came home early and, literally, fell asleep eating lunch at the table, holding Eileen. 
Ouch. 
Sweeping him to the bedroom for a few zzzzzzs, Eileen looked at me and said, “shhh, da-dee night night,” in a whisper with a finger to her lips. Of course, this followed with, “LALALALA Coooook? COOOKA?” meaning, “hey-mom. seriously. cookie. now.”
Wait... I missed a chain of events. This is not where I was going. Backing up....
Where was I? Right... egg cracking.
She cracks the eggs, we mix everything together & pop it in the oven for an hour. A bing bong on the computer alerts us that we have a package and what a package it was! Clothes! Clothes! Clothes! A phone call to my SIL bragging about my purchases and a promise of pictures- we’re off. On the bed, I flip E out of her knock arounds to her first outfit. 
snap. snap.
Off with the old and on with the new, with little wrestling and lots of giggling.
snap. snap.
Third outfit on. Second outfit tossed.
snap. snap.
Fourth and final on. Third outfit, shmird outfit.
snap. snap.
SLAM.
The photo shoot was E jumping up and down and me catching her and (essentially) flipping her upside down to change her clothes. On the fourth outfit, she wrestled away and jumped jumped jumped her way into the pillows of the bed, where she became tangled in an invisible tanglier and went splat into the solid wood headboard. Instantly screaming, instantly cut, instantly bloody, instantly marked with two very prominent war wounds by her eye and on the bridge of her nose, perfectly in line with each other.
So, this is why our parents did not let us jump on the bed. Oh....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lunch is over.

She is two. She is definitely two. She is so two, she might as well be four divided by two.

But, she is two. At a point in her life where she cannot be reasoned with, nor can she tell a lie. Fits are fits and they are handled with and we move on. Tempers are tempers and I am working feverishly to help her develop tools to manage it. Life lessons are put into small things. When she falls, she always hears, "What's the most important part about falling? Getting back up. Good job." No matter the fall.

Sigh.

It's been a rough go at the last few days, the power outage has really screwed up our hand-to-mouth system. There is money in savings (we did sell a house, after all), but if we touch it now, it will not be there in two years when it is time to buy again. So, it is a careful balance of taking and replacing, but the power outage has us taking more and replacing less.

Prescriptions need to be refilled and replaced. Milk needs to be purchased. The renters policy is renewed. The car insurance premium is posted. Eileen needs more diapers. Husband is on call at a hospital that does not provide food to the employees; sandwiches & other goodies prepared with four hands only go so far- he has to eat on the fly when on call (and as we all know, he's on call a lot). We paid out on our taxes (ouch) and waiting on a refund from DC. Waiting on a claim for the electric company. Waiting on commission checks for me and paychecks for Husband.

Waiting....

And she is two. At some point in my former life, at this moment at my desk, I would have felt like the ocean of life was swallowing me whole. Today though, I realized that I have both grown and changed. For the much better (Self, pat yourself on the back).

We went to Target to buy diapers, etc. $75
We went to Costco to buy medicine, food, milk, etc. $200
We went to Harris Teeter to pick up Rx: $75
While there, we picked up the rest of the groceries: $65

$400. Hah. Hah. Hah.

We arrive home and E  is looking at me saying, " Eat? Eat? Eat? Eat? Eat? Eat? Eat?" I get it, you're hungry. Fortunate and unfortunate, we now have a ritual- she has to cook what she eats. Starving, we zip through the process and she climbs into her chair to eat her concoction. I set to cleaning the kitchen and unpacking the groceries. Ten minutes later, something catches my eye in her direction.

It was her bowl. Going over the side of her chair. Food splattered everywhere. The spoon tossed in the mix. And she looks at me... and smiles. She smiles that big, semi-toothless grin at me.

I, honestly, thought about smacking her. I, honestly, thought about screaming at her, shaking my finger, and otherwise letting her know that this behavior will not be tolerated. But, a mother's mind can go a million miles a minute at moments like this.

I was stressed about the groceries, the expenses, the cost of life up here, and everything else; I acknowledged it and did not want my stress to be her burden. I could feel my mind reeling out of control in the minutes before she threw her bowl and could see the panic of money on the horizon. Husband would calm me down, he always does, but in the noon hour- there was no Husband, only a dirty kitchen and our two year old eating lunch.

Then the bowl hit the ground.

Life's funny in that way. My mind stopped thinking about finances, they will take care of themselves and our "hand-to-mouth" system will fall back in place. The savings will replenish and we will think back on our tiny apartment as happy times where great friends with great memories were made and a baby became a two year old.

I stopped thinking about adult things and focused on Eileen with her big, big grin. Very quietly, I said in an even tone, "No m'am. You know better than that (an expression I hate). Daddy told you last night not to throw your food. You do not throw your food. Nor, do you toss your bowl over the side. Lunch is over. Lunch is over right now. You are going to bed in your room for your nap without anymore lunch. And you are not coming out of your room until you wake up from your nap."

The mess gets cleaned up and she is still all smiles. Diaper changed, she is in the crib. Doors closed. When lunch is over, it's nap time.

Early Mornings

I love the quiet of early mornings here at 705. The internal clock beeps about 6:30 these summer mornings and my day begins. The sun is shining, the news is on mute & music is playing quietly from my computer as I get the day started with bill paying, work details, a small breakfast, and whatever quiet chores I can accomplish while my little one slumbers in her blackened room. 
It is peaceful and a wonderful way to begin before the chaos ensues when LMC squeaks from behind her double doors, “Ma-MEE? An-Ew?” Almost tapping my foot by her door ready to get her out, the doors sweep open and a singsong “Good Morning, my sweet princess!” to kick start what will always be a whirlwind day of playing, swimming, baking, “hep-ing” ma-ma, and whatever adventures we can find for the two Cagle girls. 
We do laundry together, taking twice as long as it should so she can load the washing machine, separate the clothes and carry her those that are hers to her room. Yesterday, Husband was home early and he watched as we worked away hand in hand. When LMC was done sorting, he said, “Do you want Daddy to help you?” 
“Please don’t, she can do it herself.”
“Yeah, but I’m here to help.” 
“But, you aren’t always here. Besides, she can do it herself. Watch.”
And there she went, picking up her clothes basket with all her might, the whole time saying, “Hep? Hep? Hep? Hep?” stepping forward with white knuckles gripping her hamper . Sitting on Husband to not help her,  she arrived at her door, dropped her basket and gleefully said, “I DEED IT! I DEED IT! LOOK! I DEED IT!” Indeed, she had. Husband beamed.
We load the dishwasher, put blocks in boxes, stuffed animals in bins, vacuum, and entertain ourselves once the house is tidy. She cooks her lunch, eats the lunch, and somehow, miraculously, Ba-bee finds her legs from where LMC has tossed her and makes her way to the crib. (It’s amazing) Lunch finished, we search and search for Ba-bee, only to find her (surprise) asleep in the crib.
“Shhh [with a finger to her lips]. Ba-bee sweep.” 
LMC starts to climb in her crib, wanting to join Ba-Bee, BeBe, Woof, and the rest of the gang for a “quick” nap. Asleep before the doors brush shut, the silence and peace has reentered our little 705.
I work, make calls, and do what needs to be done from my desk until she awakens, Husband returns home, and the evening part of our day is created and the mess that comes with it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Arts & Crafts

It's arts & crafts day at 705 Senate & Eileen made her very own treasure chest, complete with silver doubloons. 



Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Current Project

So, after the catastrophe of last week, I started this weekend with a three-part knitting class. Teacher at large, Marie Connolly, the only woman I have ever met that makes knitting look cool. She is young, has three children, bikes everywhere (thus making her a not-so-amazing driver), and is totally urbanfied. She even wrote a book about knitting. I'm not kidding, she's pretty great. Okay, enough of my love sonnet- check out what I learned:


Please... do you think that's impressive? I learned something new...



STRIPES! Not just one stripe, but several stripes. I'm so cool.


Even if I am the biggest dork ever.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cause & Effect

We have stayed in three different hotel rooms for the past three nights. 
I'm cranky.


Eileen would not nap. 
I have a headache.


The only thing consumed has been chips & chicken salad. Oh, and last night I paid $17 for two poached eggs.
I'm hungry.


The grocery store trip on Monday cost over $100.
I'm throwing it all out. Probably $600 worth of food. Gone.


The last three nights have been spent in hotels.
I had to use my American Express.


The mailman has refused to deliver our mail.
I am not so sure about that "rain, snow, dark of night" business anymore.


There has only been one generator operating one elevator in each building.
I had to walk up seven flights of stairs (with a baby) to change out our clothes, expecting each day would be the last. I had to walk down seven flights of stairs with our new clothes in our one bag and our baby.

I'm tired. 
I am thankful, though, that the power is back on.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Vacation that Just. Won't. End.

When we first moved up here, it was hot. Damn hot. And 225,000 people were without power for days upon days upon days. I felt sorry for them, but was just more than thankful for my central a/c, my rooftop pool, and my cold, cold fridge.

Today. Today is a different story. Today, we are three people without power.

Arriving home Monday, we had a great afternoon by the pool. Back downstairs in our apartment though, something was brewing. Actually, in all the apartments, in all the two buildings that encompass Senate Square. The air conditioning was failing. On Memorial Day Monday. With the technicians on other service calls. So, the entire maintenance crew came in and did what they could. (imagine a bunch of rocket scientists performing brain surgery. They got it done, to some degree)

As it got hotter, Husband & Wife grew frustrated with the increase in temperature at anything we could be frustrated with. A phone call to the The Hotel George discovered a little pity & a insanely reduced rate for the residents of Senate Square. We were packed and gone in 10 minutes.

Fast forward 7 hours. Husband is leaving the hotel to be on call. Fast forward 11 hours and we arrive at 4pm. The a/c is back on via the technicians around 3ish. Within an hour, the power is out. Slap-dab OUT. This was not a huge problem, considering all the other things that could go wrong in a day.

Calling PETF, checking in, and letting her know what is going on, I walked out onto the balcony to hear a firetruck siren and see it pull up in front of our building. Followed by two more. Then three police cars. Two more firetrucks and 2 more police cars blocking traffic to I St, NE. The firemen hopped out, all business, and were already suited up for battle.

Hah. Hah. Hah.

No fire alarm. But, there was smoke. And, as "they" say, where there's smoke...

Downstairs, more smoke. Outside, heat. Amenity building, popsicles. An hour, 13 flights of stairs, and two towels later, The Cagle girls, An-Ew, Elizabeth, & JF are in the much deserved pool. The rooftop provided relaxation and a breeze while we waited for the elevators to start working.

Indeed. They started working. On a generator. Just one. For the whole building. All the way down to the seventh floor, we bid our friend adieu. Pack a bag, call The Hotel George, and we are off again to spend the night away from our home.

Pepco (the power co.) estimated 7pm last night, then 4pm this afternoon, now we are at 8pm tonight. So, we'll probably be here another night.

Hooray for vacation?