Saturday, April 28, 2012

Independence looks so great on a three year old

It started out as a great day. Seriously. I made homemade GF biscuits, which rocked. (side note: do not forget the salt, like I did on the first batch. Though it only called for 3/4 tsp- those 3.69696112 milliliters make a significant difference in the taste.

Husband dropped off Wife and LMC at St. Pete's for flower arranging and church cleaning. After wiping down the altar, polishing the candelabras, spritzing the windows, and replacing the Holy Water-- all with the help of two very busy feet-- the two Cagle girls headed down to the mall.

Much like New Orleans and how a parade can just pop up anywhere; a protest, a concert, an organized event of any type can be discovered on the mall at any given moment. This morning was no exception. With everyone donning purple, the band on the stage played SHOUT! and all the MoTown favorites. LMC hopped out of her stroller and spent a few minutes dancing before being replaced and heading to the art museum.

(LMC, would you like to see still figures [Art Gallery], diamonds [Natural History museum], or Abe [American History]? Ummmmmmm, Steel please)

Thirty seconds in the art museum where the heat was definitely on- we wind through six galleries to see the only DiVnci on display in the Western Hemisphere. Aborting the plan of weaving through the priceless art, we drop the stroller down 87 stairs with LMC snacking on the contraband of potato chips.  Further down the mall, we head into the American History Museum.

After seeing Jefferson's Bible (The Morals of Jesus of Nazareth) and the display of slavery at Monticello (pronounced Mont-ah- CH- ello for you Georgians who are familiar with the small town known as Monta-Sell-O), we watched a depiction set in 1960's Greensboro, NC-- the Woolworth's sit-in protest.

These prissy little things were sitting next to us, donning wayfarers and Washington DC tie-dyed sweatshirts. The leader of the group leaned over before it started and asked me what we were watching. I, in my 31 years of wisdom, replied, "This is going to be some sort of rendition of the Woolworth's sit-in..." ... ... ... ... "Do you know what that is?"

... ... ... a very long pause... ... ... "Uh, yea-ah. It says so right there." I nod. She turns to her friends, "And why are we sitting here to see this?" I internally cringe.

LMC asks why we are there as they leave, with a sincere question mark on her face- to learn, I answer.

After petting the bison, acknowledging the Jewish Peddlers of the 1800s that helped make this country great, and checking out a reproduction of the "Charleston Market" (not the slave market as it is known in the low country)... the wheels started to come off.

Now, I have spoken of her FOAFs before. A lot. But.... this one... oh, this one. This one was extra special.

The bow on her dress got her attention. And she pulled. And she wanted it off. And she started to scream.  Loud. I told her she could not take her dress off. She screamed. Louder.
I put her in a corner. She laid out.
I let her scream. People stared. Her face turned red.
This ain't a display. Move on.
I moved her to a different area, hoping that either the change of scenery would calm her down or the enlarged space and multiplication of people would drown her screams. The enlarged area only drew more attention to her.
Old biddies stopped and tsk-tsked this mother. Young girls laughed at pointed at the three year old who could not get it together.
Move along. Nothing to see here.
The security guard showed up.
LMC screamed. Purple faced, hair in the air, dress behind her ears, kicking her legs, flailing her arms, screaming.
I was unsure if he would ask me if:
(a) I was kidnapping her (if that was the case, here. Take her. I see the errors in my ways. Forgive me.)
(b) to calm her down
(c) that we needed to move as we're scaring the tourists. And tourists mean money.

He asked her name.

"LMC" as an old man walks by and says, "Glad that's not me."

I'm sitting on the floor. On the cold, black, granite floor, with a sweating baby screaming in my lap, writhing to get away. A gaggle of Girl Scouts look on.

Lucky for me, I'm in my Sunday best-- yoga pants, t-shirt, and certainly no shower had been procured this morning-- I made two batches of biscuits, remember?

"LMC, why are you crying?" he asks (as if she can hear him)...
"I promise that as soon as I can move her, we are outta here."
"Okay" and he moseys off, his mission accomplished.

Two Japanese tourists stop and take pictures. Seriously, guys?

I give up and scoop up the sack of screaming taters on my hip. Her feet are kicking the back of my arm and her arms are pulling her dress over her head as we enter the ladies room. I splash cold water on her face.

That might not have been the best plan. If she had not lost it before-- she was toast now.

Just to be sure, I splashed her again. Yep, bad idea.

We get on the crowded elevator. Two old lady tourists look at me with sympathy.
We get off the crowded elevator and to the locker room for our goods. She screams as she tries to climb in a locker. I don't stop her. After getting everything back into the stroller, I pull the writhing child out of her locker and finally get outside.

She is, literally, lying in the middle of the circular driveway with me standing over her. (don't worry-- it's an unused circular driveway, thankyouverymuch 9/11) After two minutes, she stands up and says, "Chocolate milk, please?"

Seriously? No. You have not earned chocolate milk. You might get some when we get home. After a mandatory nap... which is where we are right now.

I love independence.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The more things change....

The more things stay the same... That's what I have decided about Hometown. And that is not necessarily a bad thing, either.

Augusta is one of those places that you love to call home, that the nuances of hometown seem so commonplace that you think every town has them. From Midnight in the Garden of Evil, it was said that (allow me to paraphrase) "In Macon, they ask your religion. In Atlanta, they ask your business. In Augusta, they ask your mother's maiden name. But, in Savannah, we just ask your drink."

The first time I read that, I laughed. Because it was so true- and still is.

We ask your mother's maiden name because we want to know. We want to know who your people are. We want to know how we are related. Because, in Augusta-- we are. We always are.

Genealogy has been one of those hobbies that comes and goes with me. I love to stalk my ancestors and step into 1912 Birmingham and learn about great grandmother. Or move to wartime DC and find my grandparents and great grandparents... and cousins and uncles that have all spent time in this fair city that I currently call home. It's a wonderful way for me to spend the hours that used to make up nap time, and allow me a chance to have more questions than answers. Something that is both frustrating and wonderful.

Recently, I have stepped out of the box of my direct ancestors and started looking at the branches that hold cousins as I am hitting more brick walls, and with more answers only come more questions.

Looking at cousin Peter today, I found his father living at 2701 Henry Street in 1930. Wanting to confirm that address, I started to scroll to the top as my eyes glanced over the names ... all familiar ... Two lines above Franklin were the Sylvesters. I stop. SIL's grandparents and great grandparents. One line above them, the Sibleys- grandparents and great grandparents of several hometown friends.

It really is a small world. And that makes me happy.

Click on the picture above or the link below to see what I am talking about:

Line 27: 2635 Henry Street, The Sibleys
Line 32: 2637 Henry Street, The Sylvesters
Line 41: 2701 Henry Street, The Franklins

View the document

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monster Cookies

Prom Queen introduced Monster Cookies to me a few months ago. Mom's Bakery in Leesburg VA has some of the best around. But they aren't gluten free.... which has made me suffer dearly. Not just for want, but for when succumbing to that want... the flared and itchy face came with it.

But, fear not! I found a recipe and adapted it for the gluten free me. Which I have to say, GF sweets are sometimes better than the real thing. This was no exception.

Monster Cookies

1 stick of softened butter
1/4 white sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar (I forgot to add this and probably won't add it next time as they were awesome without it)
1 large egg
3/4 GF baking mix (or AP flour if you are not avoiding gluten)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup m & m's
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 or 2 large spoonfuls of peanut butter
1 cup rice krispies

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour/baking mix, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Next add oats, chocolates and peanut butter. Add Rice Krispies at the very end.

Scoop out onto baking sheets and cook for 12 minutes, rotating pans at 5 minutes. At the end of the 12 minutes, open the oven and pat down with a spatula. Close oven, switch off heat, and let rest in the oven for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove and cool on a cooling rack.

Update... Aleasha's mom made these every year for the first day of school. I really think her mom invented cooking.  Here is Aleasha's recipe, in its entirety. Be prepared... it makes an insane amount of dough, which leads to an almost insane amount of cookies. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tooth Brushing

Husband does the teeth brushing and bathing around these parts. Apparently I don't do it as well as he does (read: I ain't gentle)

Today, Husband asked me to handle the teeth brushing for a moment...

It's serious stuff.

A giggle at the changing of the guards.

Can't you see the intensity? 

There's a song that goes with it, but I didn't know it. She tried to teach it... but got sidetracked with the brushing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Two quick ones

LMC has kept me very, very busy as of late- so, let me share two quick ones with you--


I have been working with LMC about doing things herself. I have two constant statements. The first being:

ME: You can't or you won't?
Her: I won't.
ME: well, at least you know the difference.

The second being:
ME: LMC, you have two options. Option 1 [something that sounds kinda miserable and involves her having to sit in her bedroom behind a closed door]. Option 2 [what I want her to do by herself]. What's it going to be?
Her: Ummmmmm.... Op-tun 2, please.
ME: Good choice. We make decisions in life and we live with them.
Her: YEAH!

The past few days, I have been telling her she has to get her "pan-knees" on herself. She's a big girl, and big girls can put on their big girl "pannies" (not Pahnt-EE-s. not pant-es. But, pannies).

Me: LMC, I need you to put your pannies on, tag in the back.
Her: NO.
Me: Option 1... Option 2....
Her: inevitable whining
Me: I scoop and place her, pannie-less in her bedroom next to her pannies. The door is closed. I walk away.

Her: The door cracks just the tiniest of inches for a small hand to be extruded from her dungeon of punishment as she screams, "NO! NO PANNIES, MAMA!" and with a perfect arc the Dora pannies that we have selected for the day are thrown outside her door. Before the precious white cotton skivvies can hit the ground, she has slammed the door and stamped her feet with a second, "NO PANNIES, MOMMY!"

I try not to laugh. I pause. I call Mama Bits and share her latest antics.

"Oh my," comes the genteel southern voice over the phone.
"Oh my is right!" I respond.


We have had a great sleeper-- until she gave up her nap. Sigh. I bought blackout shades to keep her in bed past 6am. For about a week, we were able to keep her in bed by saying, "Call for us and we will come get you."

Last night, neither Husband nor Wife were sleeping that well. Just as Husband started breathing heavy and I was about to nod off was the tiniest pitter or little patters on our hardwood floors. LMC rounds the corner to our bedroom with a half grin planted on her culpable face, her pillow in her left hand and her blanket over her right arm. I watch in the safety of darkness and she is ever clueless of her audience. Her eyes get bigger as her target gets nearer. Around to my side of the bed and with a throw of her pillow high in the air, it lands between Husband and Wife. "Hi Mommy! Up, please."

It's funny, when you are really, really tired- you can sleep about anywhere... like next to a toddler in a toddler bed. And, when your husband asks if you want to rest a little longer after your daughter gets up, you say, "yes" and roll over in that same toddler bed for some more shut-eye. Without batting an eye.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One sewing machine, two hands

See that bedskirt? The one that's on our bed? I made that. 

This girl.

Over the course of three hours, with two hands and one sewing machine.

Without a pattern, only some help picking out fabrics from my handy cousin, Julie, and a lot of research on the world wide web about how to make a dust ruffle.

See that little girl right there? I'm teaching her how to iron. Right now she is my starch sprayer, but soon enough- she'll start learning.

I'm recovering the pillows and waiting on drapery liner to make the drapes. It should all be done by the end of next week-- well, I'm hoping that it will all be done by the end of next week. Only time will tell.

There's a new definition of cool in these parts. And I definitely fall into that category. At least, I think I do.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Writer's Block, take 22

I tell you what, I get back from Augusta... and the wheels absolutely fall off in all places.

The house is clean. Shocking, I know. But... the blog? the once-a-day challenge? the bills? the grocery shopping? the STUFF? All those little things that make me ... me... the wheels are on the side of the road, somewhere between here and Georgia.

Over the weekend, LMC & I played in a water fountain-- something city kids do and our Georgia friends might find a little, well, odd. She was adorable. She grabbed her umbrella to keep her dry and then proceeded to flip it upside down without any understanding as to why the umbrella ceased to keep her dry. As I took pictures and laughed at her, I thought about how to phrase this moment.


Yesterday, LMC and I went to the pirate island known as the Teddy Roosevelt (wildlife sanctuary) island. It was amazing. Truly, one of the greatest most secret finds that I have found here. Tucked into the middle of everything amongst lush green trees is a seemingly abandoned monument to a great man. It was quiet. No, it was silent. I heard the little birdies and LMC telling me which way to steer the stroller on the boardwalk. As I walked, I was immediately so taken aback by the simplicity and captivating bronzed man, I tried to work a blog out in my head strolling amongst the cattails and lush marsh.


Today, I saw the Discovery Shuttle make four long, slow loops around DC. Carried by a Boeing and transported from Florida, the Discovery made it's final journey before coming to a halt at Dulles. In my mind, I started to wonder what little boys and girls will want to be when they grow up without the heroes at NASA. The words started to come together for a blog but then stopped. What's to say about a shuttle looping through DC before being retired at put on display at the Smithsonian? What's to say about my sincere disappointment in the closing of NASA?


I once said that sometimes the blog finds me and sometimes I find it, but I have been looking for it and it's been eluding me.

Writer's block is a bitch.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting Back on the Ball

I need to get back on the ball. With LMC having completely given up on naps, I can find abouuuuuttttt fifteen minutes while she eats lunch to feverishly get some work done and find a moment to check my electronic mail.

And last week was Masters. I love Masters week. I love the week before, all the anticipation, the planning, and the fun that waits on the cusp of the weekend.

Prom Queen made a trip to DC while Husband made a trip to the farm with LMC. We had a complete girls weekend- too much wine, shopping, pedicures, the whole nine yards. The house was quiet. We went to bed early. She ran a race (fool). All was right with the world. Husband and LMC found a gaggle of cousins on the farm eagerly anticipating their arrival. I was sad to miss the trip and I missed my little family, but having two days to myself reminded me that those frustrations [almost] three year olds can cause are really not so bad.

Sunday found two girls ready, really ready, to get on the road. Aborting our plans to travel all day Monday, we left Sunday afternoon... without my phone. It was both liberating and naked-fying being without my electronic tether to the world wide web. For about 10 seconds I thought about turning around. Back through the traffic. Back through the city. Back into the district.

At second 11, I backed that idea right out of my head. Georgia loomed in the distance! Besides, phone aren't allowed "on the course" anyway. And that's where we spent most of our time. Mom! Dad! Brother! Baby! Husband! It was all a mere eight hours away. We pressed on.

Arriving late in the evening, a dinner party at the 'rents house was winding down cranking up. Adults reliving their youth. We pour a glass of wine and join in the festivities. We kissed everyone goodnight with, "Safe travels! Happy Masters!"

Monday brought one of my top ten favorite people, Beth. Beth is one of those people that once you have met her, you've always known her. She folds into any crowd and has friends everywhere she goes. Recently, she moved back home to Georgia and is getting married in June. Whenever Beth is around- a good time is guaranteed. A promise to Prom Queen that the Tuesday ticket would not be wasted in Beth, we stalked her Saturday evening until we found her at a dinner party with friends and persuaded her to come join us.

She didn't hesitate. My kind of girl.

Husband and LMC were deposited in Augusta on Monday with my FIL. And the party began.

Poor Husband had three wives he had to take care of on Tuesday. Three lovely ladies telling him what to do, where to put his drink, how to hold his sandwich. Three wives. We called ourselves the Sister Wives. People took us seriously. We asked them not to judge our lifestyle. We laughed. A lot. At the end of the day on Tuesday- with this girl as the DD- we were sitting on the 5 green, finally catching some shade, and talking as if we had all been friends our whole lives. We have the rest of our lives to get that way. Beth and Husband grew up together. Prom Queen and I grew up together. And the four of us folded in together.

We begged Beth to stay. She said she had an appointment. We told Beth to cancel. She called. We found her a Wednesday ticket. She's officially on the short list.

Tuesday night brought Husband's college roommate, Beall. Beall probably has 1,455 people in his rolodex, works hard, and is fun. Fun like "Beth Fun." Fun like "college fun." Fun. Bringing Beall, Beth, Prom Queen, Par Three, and a DD (me) together was a recipe for the Best Par Three Ever. No lie.

And I have had some fun Par Threes, none of which I was the DD.  After the rain storm kicked us out and getting soaked to the bone, we found ourselves stuck in the parking lot as the cops directed traffic. The DD instructed husband and Beall to walk to the Publix and pick up a 12 pack of beer. Two hours later we would finally make it out of the parking lot. The drunk monkeys cranked up the radio, drank beer from red plastic cups, and sang with all their might. I had no idea how much fun it could be to be the DD.

Did I mention I was the DD? I want credit.

Upon arriving home, I passed the DD hat off to my imaginary friend and decided that trying to catch up would be foolish, but having fun was mandatory.

And fun was had by all.

Thursday brought the ensuing hangover from a fun night, promises to get together soon, and cars going in all directions across Georgia.

I love Masters time.

So, I'm back in the district and it is beautiful here. The weather is amazing. LMC and I are walking everywhere and enjoying each other's company. She is back in a toddler bed. We are making summer plans. We are loving the new apartment. And all is right with the world.

If only I could those naps back!