Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In the shadows of greatness

This city- it is consuming. Recently, I have been talking to a new friend about her relocation to Hometown, giving her tips, opinions (of which I have lots-- shocking, I know), secrets, and tricks to the place that I once called home.

It got me a little nostalgic. We reside in 1446 square feet. We pay an ungodly amount of money. We don't own. We rent, like commoners. (yeah, I said it) We have one car. We sacrifice. But, like OR says, "Living in the city is a commitment, but look at what you get! Schools from across the country have an insane amount of bake sales to come to our backyard once." You can't argue with that logic.

So, taking my negativity and turning it into something positive, I packed a picnic, a husband and an LMC into the car for an adventure at the arboretum- none of 'em really happy about it. We laid out a wedding present white sheet (now grass stained), grabbed my camera and basked in the windy day. The perfect windy day with the greatest companions. It was a great day in the shadows of the original twenty-two columns of the Capitol. LMC ran in and out of them, screaming, "WATCH! Watch, Da-Dee! Watch Ma-Mee! Ribbit! Hop Hop!"

It was like nothing you would think to see in this "modern" country. Awesomely breathtaking and completely humbling.

She ran in the overgrown green grass. She hopped over puddles of water. I taught her how to pick flowers. She picked one just for me. Her father taught her how to blow dandelions. The wind caught the little white flecks and started a dance for hundreds. She screamed with gleeful delight. Not something we could do anywhere else- in the shadows of greatness, that which held the roof over men who actually made a foundation for this country. The Washington Monument, the Capitol, and the Library of Congress all on the horizon, on the edge of where we sat. 

LMC, who has given up on napping, is completely cached on the sofa. Husband is sitting quietly in his chair and I am at the bar, sipping some ice cold water, waiting on the rain to start as the trains at Union Station rush people to where they call home. I just found a cherry blossom petal next to my computer. I'm smiling.

Can't we freeze time? Can't we pause this moment in our lives, at the cusp of our five year anniversary? 

This city- if you let it, it can crawl under your skin without even noticing and be home.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Super Fun!

I love color (shocking, I know). When I lived at the Kappa House, I got in ten kinds of trouble for painting my cell bedroom walls. If there walls weren't suicide white, it would have been fine. Living at the KKG house was awesome... it was just the walls. They were so w-h-i-t-e.

So, I painted them a lovely periwinkle purple, pushed the twin beds together to make a king size bed with a light green duvet and sheets with a white background and matching periwinkle flowers that were so soft, it was like a cocoon every night. It was furnished with the nicknacks left from years and years prior. For instance, I found an ancient typewriter in one of the closets. It was the tiny travel kind, perfect for holding my makeup brushes. Had I been smarter, I think I might have tried to pull the ribbon out and see what kind of love notes where left by some KKG from long ago. At the end of the year, I returned it to its home in the back of the same closet. I like to think it is still there, but it's probably in the trash.

We live in a rented apartment and I need some cah-lore in this home to make it ours. Color I have- time I lack. Ability I have- funds I lack. So, I hooked up with a friend at Roomates Peel & Stick and pleaded my case. She was happy to help!

LMC's tiny bathroom needed some lovin' and we decided on Gem's Farm. Cute, right? I totally agree.

Vinyl stickies are so easy. Literally, you peel.... and stick. It's a lot like the bend and snap but there is only a 12% chance of getting a date at the end.

What's even better- if you don't like the way they are placed... like this duck and the pond...

Then, un-peel and re-stick...

This guy is my favorite:

 But, what's not to love about a little cow & sheep leaping out from "Mommy needs a cocktail?"

I did all this in about 15 minutes-- LMC's new nap time frame. She walked into her bathroom and I felt a new sort of awesome when LMC walked in and said, "OHHHHH! Ma-Mee! So COOL! Hi Cow! Hi sheep! Look! A puppy! I go [garden], puppy! Watch!"

Color, it's what I need around here. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?

I dial. It rings. A southern twang of, “Where the hell have you been?” and it’s like not a moment has passed.  Quick jibber jabbers between us and (one of my) my South Georgia SILs says, “I know how y’all are. I read your blog.”
Wait. What? You read my blog?
And so the background has been laid for today’s blog.
I get over 200 hits a day here in the land of Life of Cagle-- and I don’t even post daily, nor do I have a lot of followers (thank you, those 21 out there- YFBF!). It always crosses my mind wondering who is out there and what they think about what I have to say. 
For instance, last month 322 hits from Texas have ventured this way. From that, 119 of those was someone in Fort Worth.
Greetings, Ft. Worth! I hope you are enjoying our adventures! Say hi sometime- I don’t bite!
Better still, Minneapolis... who’s that? 119 visits since January 1. Peace and Salutations! Welcome to the club.
37 visits from IOWA? A virtual high five to you. How’s the weather over there?
So, I’m just curious... and just a little nosy- who follows our adventures in gardening? Who reads my recipes and says, “Ohhh... I can do that”? (the proper placement of the question mark in regards to the quotation mark would be appreciated.) Who out there felt my pain when LMC made me cry, wondering how The Story would end, cheered us on when we moved to the apartment, or was just a little impressed with my curtains and the evolution of my domesticity? 
Allow me to extend a warm hand and kindly make formal introductions, “Hi. My name is Wife. What’s yours?”

Monday, March 19, 2012

I miss Cheez-Its

I survived a summer on Cheez-its and chocolate chip cookies before I was married. It was thinnest I had ever been in my entire life.

But, I miss cheez-its. My grandparents always had them in the pantry by the fridge. My buddy, Tractor, and I would keep them in the condo when we had no money. It was our saving grace. But the dang things are not gluten free.

Until Now.

Gluten Free Crunchy Cheese Crackers
... so easy... LMC helped! 

I swiped this recipe (and adapted) from a different blog and can't find it now to give it props. My apologies. 

5 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
4 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (it ain't cheap, so get ready)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Combine all ingredients, except the milk, in a medium bowl. Mix until the mixture resembles a fine crumb. I had all my ingredients at room temp and this helped. Also, I covered my mixer with a flour sack towel and that saved me from a mess.

Add the milk and beat the stew out of it.

Sprinkle cornstarch on the counter and pat/roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes of your choice (LMC and I made starts and little men before we got lazy and started cutting squares). Prick the tops with a fork or toothpick and sprinkle generously with salt. That's what makes them taste more like cheez-its.

The recipe I saw said for them to cook for 10 minutes. I had more luck with 12 minutes. For those last 2 minutes, the oven was preheating to 425.

The thicker crackers (lazy and didn't feel like rolling out the last little bit) taste like the cheese straws that mama gets from the cheese straw lady who delivers them to the old biddies all over town and the thinner ones taste like the cracker I have had a love affair with my whole life.

As Dorothy would say, "Do write and speak of your mistakes."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Keds make me smile. Martha handed down Tellis' red Keds to us a few months ago and we are finally able to wear them. (turns out that she is no longer the size 3 I thought she was... whoops.) They were barely worn, so they are not just like new- they are totally new and already broken in. Much better than new!

Keds really, really make me smile.

On both little boys stinky feet with overalls and little girls dainty feet underneath sweet dresses. Keds make any dress a little less fru-fru and any set of play clothes a little nicer.

I love Keds.

Today was a school day and LMC pitched a fit about her "boat" dress-- a white dress with navy smocking at the neck in the pattern of sail boats on the water. The red Keds were a perfect match. Her hair was a little wild and her attitude left a little something to be desired, but Blessed Be the School Day- they tend to calm both her temperament and mine.

Keds ain't cheap either- not much about clothing a toddler is- but Keds are not the exception. So, we are thankful for the hand-me-downs. Walking home today from school, LMC swung her little red shoes up and down while she snacked on her goldfish. I just-- I just wanted to take a moment-- a mental snapshot of this moment we had walking down the brick sidewalk with the perfect 68 degree, blue sky day surrounding us.

Keds make me smile.

When we got home, she went back to that attitude that makes me take a deep breath. She throws her goldfish and stomps them into crumbs. I take them away and ignore the scream while I vacuum. She gardens elsewhere. I take away a toy. She whines. I correct her. All this, with a smile on my face, because this is what I get to see sometimes:

He works so very hard for us-- something no one gets to see except for us and the babies that need him. And the little red Keds are already trying to fill those shoes.

Keds make me smile and make this girl very happy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Getting there...

We are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and we are nearing the end. This place looks more like we threw one hell of a party last night and not full of boxes. LMC & I are on an adventure today to Maryland- rumor has it that I won't even need a passport to leave DC. I'm packing it, just in case.

We are heading to a thrift store, than Lowe's... only to conclude with a little homegrown love found in Chick-Fil-A! Yeah, I'm splurging in the gluten department. Don't tell.

In the meantime, check out LMC' in her new room. This photo has not been touched up, doctored, or monkeyed with in any way. I just cannot get over the light in this apartment- it's so... I lack the artsy lingo to throw out there... Anyway, there is a building across the street with red clay Spanish tiles that I think has a lot to do with it.

If I were a professional, then I would relocate my studio here. But, I am me- jack of many trades, master of none- and that's cool, too. Much like the new digs.

Friday, March 9, 2012

So I was not...

Going to hang my shoes on the wall again. Husband was not a fan of plucking the 1,755 nails out of the walls.

But, MAN, after the day LMC and I have had, did it feel good to pound those SOBs into the wall.

Every mother should own a hammer, as long as they use it constructively.

Beating toddlers is not constructive.

More pictures once the closet is actually complete.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wearing the Rally Cap

In all honesty, today has not been that much better than yesterday.
A trip to Goodwill produced no great finds (we po' but we proud) in the search for a side table.
I spilled the box of nails at the very scary Home Depot after I paid for the 300 suckers.
LMC fell out screaming and crying in the car again.
I yelled at her. I hate yelling at her. I don't want to be a parent who can't control her temper. That's not who I want to be.

But, the curtains have been hung. I am almost halfway through that project.  I sat outside the car while she screamed bloody murder and played scrabble on my phone. I swept the nails that I could and ignored the Spanish speaking illegal immigrants leering my way and asking if I needed asistencia with my proyecto. Seriously, guys? Seriously?

But, I have a new attitude today- and I finally got a shower, which is always a step in the right direction.

Like I said, I yelled at LMC. But, after calming down I explained to her why I yelled.

She whined. Whining gets under my skin like nobody's business. I loathe whiny children. Execrate. They kill me and I have minimal patience for it. Have I painted the picture clear enough yet? She has been whining an incessant amount since we moved and I get it-- it's a new place & there is some acclimation that needs to be achieved. So, I take a deep breath and walk away before I contemplate yelling at her a second time.

The whining continues. It digs a little deeper under my skin. I start hanging pictures because, MAN does it feel good to put a hammer to a nail and pound the stew out of it. She continues.

I put her in the crib and walk away.

Thank GAWD that we reassembled the crib. I go back to hammering.

[longer than I should admit to time frame later] she says, "Ma-MEE! I no whine. I calm down. I love you! Out please?" I smile and she helps me hang her curtains.

She planted another daisy outside of her garden. Toddlers are gross. Maybe motherhood is gross, too.

She kisses my nose. I smile.

I contemplate eating bonbons and remember that bathing suit season is around the corner.

The chicken that was to be tonight's first home cooked dinner in over a week will sit in the refrigerator as Husband is on call again. Another sandwich.

Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's just a new day. But, these days are trying and I am trying to get through them. Some days are better than others, but all days here are better than the alternative. One day at a time and we are moving forward. Because, really, there is no rewind button around here.

Come on 5 o'clock! Mommy is counting down!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One Day at a time.

About how hard it is to move. Because we have all been there, but really-- really, I should be more thankful and less whiny.

So, here I am. In our big ass apartment, freshly moved out of our compartment three doors up. Hiding from the boxes and thanking the sweet Lord for school and a few hours of peace and quiet of which I did not touch a single box. I did, however, make two more panels for the curtains that will cover all these beautiful windows that I am so in love with.

And I calmed down.

She did it again today. Let me back up-- once-- one single solitary time she has driven me to tears. It was right after my grandfather died We were running late for our flight and she would not put on her m-effing shoes... and I absolutely lost it.

Yesterday, she decided to plant a daisy in some place other than her garden... which was not very pleasing... and the day just went downhill from there.

Today though... as every day is... today is a new day. A New Day for the toddler and a new day for the mommy. AND it's a school day! All I needed to do was get through two and half hours of morning funniness before shipping her off to Miss Laura and the rest of the caterpillar gang.

How hard can that be?

Turns out, I would call PETF and finally start crying after holding it together too long with the daughter that kicked, hit, and did all things unfun that toddlers do. Sobbing in the car, LMC screaming in the back seat I finally get the words out, "It is taking every fiber in my body to not..." (we don't need to finish that sentence for the world wide web to break apart and DFACS to be called).

"Why is she crying?" was mom's response.

Having someone outside the situation walking me through what to do was both calming and reassuring all at once.

Getting to school, we drop her smushed peanut butter sandwich on the steps, spill her juice, and she throws down both her vest and jacket.

Jacket? Where's my jacket? Every [very much put together] mother is in a parka- I'm in an old college t-shirt.

My eyes start welling up all over again.

Forty Five more seconds. I just need to hold it together for forty four more stupid seconds and then I can get my act together over the few hours of peace I will find while she too gets her act together. Fortunately, my friend Emily was on duty today and saw the four teary eyes of the two Cagle girls. She picks up LMC's lunch box, her jacket, and her cup and says, "We got this. Go."

So, I went. I got it together. And I'm running late to go pick her up. But, that's okay. Because when we get back- there is a fun afternoon of dancing and playing- just Mommy and baby.

We'll get there. One day at a time.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

too tired

I'm too tired to right a blog full of thought, wit, and love.

I am however full of thought, wit, and love this evening as I sit (lay) on my new [to me] couch in the dark with a sleeping baby in her new bedroom. I could not be sitting (laying) here if it weren't for wonderful friends who would not take my pride and the word NO for an answer.

My pride and the word NO are two things that should not be accepted amongst friends.

And they weren't.

A friend takes my babe when I am at my wits end with boxes.
A friend shows up to help.
A friend lends moral encouragement.
A friend offers laughs.
A friend gives companionship.

After much chagrin on my part, I accept. I need to learn to say please as easily as I say thank you.

I am blessed.
I am lucky.
I am all things that involve knowing and appreciating what I have and what we have been given.

As friends-

We have amazing friends.
We have amazing love.
We have amazing children.
We have amazing fortune.

I am one very lucky girl.

And I know this. I thank God every day that I know this.

This city. This place. This time in my life would not be as wonderful and as beautiful as it is if it were not for all of them. My favorite six. Truly, in this new world. I would be lost without them.

Thank you.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Almost.... ALMOST there

The boxes are packed.
The kitchen cabinets are still full.
The underside of the bed has been emptied.
The bathroom cabinets are in postal carriers ... it's a federal offense to have the boxes. Shh.
The three large pieces of furniture are empty, ready to be moved.

We get the keys at 5pm today.

And a new adventure begins. Or maybe the adventure of living in under 1100 square feet ceases. And our DC adventure continues.

What I love about small space living....
* Easy to clean
* LMC can be anywhere in the apartment and I can only rarely not find her

What I do not love about small space living...
* Insanely easy to make a mess
* It's still possible to lose LMC

But, for now-- we will just keep livin' ... l-i-v-i-n

Let's say a prayer for wits, our backs, and our gracious friends who will help us this weekend.