Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Catching her in the act

Since being pregnant, I've had to give up a bunch... sushi and wine are at the top of my list. I've also lost my late night abilities, the non-crankies, and other things that just go in the box of pregnancy.

Giving up has also caused me to give up giving up gluten. The idea of a GF bread sandwich just sounds... nauseating. And, I miss cheez-its. I really missed those crackers that were made for the gods. 

And sub sandwiches from Publix. Man, I have missed those.

Banana bread is one of those things that I love. Not just love, but Le Love. As does Husband. As does LMC.

My face hates me- what with the sunscreen, sun, gluten, and pregnancy. It's red and I'm more susceptible to have a heat wave (where my face turns purple) But, my taste buds are saying, "SWEET JESUS! Where have you been?!" I can live with the not so beautiful face. I can't live without sandwiches.

Today, I was getting some work done on my computer and was able to "secretly" catch LMC in the act of her thievery. So in killing two birds with one stone- allow me to post the evidence of my princess and her banana bread heist. 

Step one... find her pink stool. Step two... make sure mom's not looking, or at least not getting her camera.

Step three... make sure that's banana bread in there and not something terrible, like broccoli. Step four... double check that mom's busy.

Step five... open the bag. Step six... pull.

Step seven... show mom your hard work and sweet reward.

Banana Bread a la Gluten

3 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (yes, that's a lot. I'm too afraid to cut back)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 + buttermilk (I pour a 1/4 plus an extra splash. Buttermilk substitute is acceptable here- milk and vinegar. Original recipe calls for 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp buttermilk. Such an odd amount.)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325. Grease 9x5x3 metal loaf pan. Whisk bananas and eggs in large bowl to mix well. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake bread until top is golden brown and splits- my oven is exactly one hour and twenty minutes and not a minute more. Cool in pan on rack for an additional 20 minutes. Run a knife along the outside of the bread and remove.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Morning Time

My bed time is shortly after LMC's these days- which is good, because her rendezvous with the day is anywhere from 6:27-6:42.

My alarm clock is a solid thud of her short pink stool in the hallway followed by a soft pitter than a little patter as she steps up. A click, click, click ensues from the three light switches for the den. A second thud, a second pitter and patter, and then three more clicks as the lights in the kitchen illuminate her morning.

A soft hop off the stool and she runs back to her room to grab a friend for Husband.

LMC steps out of her bedroom again. I imagine she looks up and down the hall before the pittering and pattering are in high gear running into our room and finds Husband on his side of the bed.

"HI Daddy! I brought you [insert name of whichever friend she chose here]"
"Hi LMC," He says with grogginess, "Do you want to climb up?"
"Yes, please."

And so starts our morning.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What it means

Often I can be found in Arlington Cemetery. I think it is a wonderful place that keeps me very humble. The names etched give me pause and I wonder what their life was like.

How did Casper die? What kind of mother was Annie? Albert outlived both his wives and the three of them are together for eternity in this sacred ground- would the two women have liked each other? The infant twins of the McAlister family died within four months of each other at the very young age of six. What happened? So many men were buried with the starboard date within the 1940s -- World War II and the 1960s -- Vietnam.

Who visits these departed men and women?

I had the honor and pleasure of taking my aunt and uncle to Arlington this past weekend to give them the highlights tour- starting the with the Confederate memorial, over to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, into the coliseum, a stroll through Robert E Lee's home, down to JFK and the eternal flame, before finally wrapping up in the quiet rolling green hills of unbroken ground waiting to hold the sons and daughters of our great nation.

Often I see rocks on the top of graves.

Sometimes one, sometimes several. Finally, curiosity got the better part of me and google found my answer.

Rocks represent visitors. It was once a Jewish tradition and has evolved into a tradition of many faiths and segments of society- military being one.

Occasionally, these rocks have been sitting on the headstone for quite some time. Click on the picture to make it bigger. Can you see the cobwebs? I did not until the picture was uploaded onto my computer, my finger hanging dangerously close over the delete button.

We are all too quickly wrapping up our second year in the District of Columbia. Had you told me two years ago that I would spend the majority of my tourist outings in a cemetery, I would have called you crazy. Had you told me that I would make the most amazing friends here that I will carry with me for the rest of my days- I would have laughed. Had you told me that I would fall so head over heels in love with the city, the bustle, the homeless, the ostentatiously wealthy, and the crazy parameters that we have to live within- I would have called you a liar.

Guess who, it turns out, is crazy, laughing, and so it seems- a liar?


What does it mean to start our final year in the wonderful place on this humbling journey?

Can I take enough pictures, make enough memories, meet enough people, to carry me past the coming year as we start the next step of our grand adventure? God I hope so. Because this place is under my skin, in my heart, and struck every wonderful thing that makes me feel good about life.

I am a different person than I was two years ago.
I am a different mother than I was.
I am a different wife.

I am a different friend. I am a better friend.

Maybe when I am long gone and in my granite home, someone will come visit me and place a rock to grow cobwebs. I want to continue to grow into and become that kind of person-- the kind that someone wants to visit when there is nothing to say.

I plan to start leaving rocks.

--MAN, try not sounding morbid when it comes to talking about graveyards and growing "up"!-- 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cagle 2.0

It has been confirmed that we are not having twins. 

I asked. Twice.

LMC, on the other hand, has said more than once that there is a baby Brudder AND a baby Seester in there. Thus my inquiry to the ultrasound tech. Twice.

She did two sweeps and confirmed that there is only one with an estimated arrival of December 28. This will be a Georgetown baby.

Currently, there are finger paintings of LMC's taped to our fridge with the tiniest square set aside for Cagle 2.0 and their little grainy black and white images tracking their growth. 

Things are busy around here. Like the goldfish- we got a bigger fishbowl and had to fill it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

This Morning

My eyes fluttered open sometime before 7am-- not long before, though. I heard a little pitter patter of bare feet in the hallway. I roll over in my empty bed, nestled under a large feather blanket and surrounded by large pillows. Instantly, sleep overtakes me again.

What I thought was ten seconds later was actually about 40 minutes. Curiously, I look around. Is LMC awake or did I just dream those noises?

"LMC?" I call out.

"Hi, Mommy!"

"Come here, please," I say.

Rapid pitter patter from around the corner and the little three year old runs into my room-- covered in white powdered sugar.

"Well, hi there."

"Hi, Mommy! Guess what?"

"You had donuts for breakfast?"

"YEAH! One-Two-Three-FOUR! Four donuts!"

Still in my bed, it dawns on me that I cut off all the lights in the house before I went to bed. They are not that way anymore.

It appears that LMC woke up this morning, flipped the lights, made herself breakfast, and did the laundry. Kidding about the laundry. Serious about the breakfast.

So-- maybe independence can look good on a toddler.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

And.... 9 days later


Here I am.

Sorry about that, but a lot has happened.

Miss Lucile passed away last week. Husband's grandmother. One of those sweet ladies who defined what it meant to be a belle. I wrote a blog about her. And erased it.

I wrote another one.
And erased it.

I wrote one in my head as I tried to fall asleep in the bed of Husband's youth... and then fell blissfully asleep; my cultivated words dissolving around me.

Sometimes, the blogs come to me. A sentence pops into my head and the words take shape. Other times, well, let's just say that writer's block is real and it's a real pain. I did not feel right sharing my memories, my moments with Miss Lucile as if she were mine or as if I were one of her seven grandchildren. She was only a part of my life for just a blip- five quick years.

I loved her during those five years. And I love her for raising my FIL and being influential on Husband's life. And I appreciated her.

The world is a better place because of her. I would hold her hand, lay my head in her lap while she sat in a chair on the farm, call her for recipes, and generally wanted to let her know how I felt without words as my grandmothers have been gone for a number of years. She would pat my shoulder, tell me she missed me, and made me feel like I was one of her seven.

So, this is not my ode to Miss Lucile. This is just my moment, capturing that lovely woman who met up with her husband in an ancient pink chiffon dress that she insisted on wearing for her burial. What memory she must have cherished of Mr. Edward that carried her through these past three decades in that dress. Perhaps he said she was as beautiful as the day he met her? Perchance he said pink was her color? Maybe it was something so much smaller? But, it makes me wonder. And it really makes me smile.


This final step in her life gave me a difficult opportunity to explain to LMC about Heaven, death, and God. Taking a page from Dottie, I opted not to run from the subject, rather to embrace it as a part of life. Grandma Peep Peep (as LMC called her) is in Heaven with God and her husband. She is in the land of milk and honey. (where milk and honey came from out of this little brain to explain to a 3 year old about Heaven, I have no idea.)

While I am not indulging myself for one moment that she fully wrapped her head around the concept of death, I was careful not to say that she went to sleep. I told her that we were going to Moultrie to celebrate Grandma Peep Peep's life and send her off to see her mother, father, and family who miss her. LMC said, "YEAH! And she's drinking all da me-alk she wants! Me-alk, please, Mama?"

LMC did get confused about where Grandma Peep Peep was when we went to her house before the visitation. "Mama? Where Grandma Peep Peep? Peep Peep? Hey-loooo?" I reminded her, "Sweet Potato,  do you remember what I said? Grandma Peep Peep lived a long and wonderful life. She's in Heaven now, with her husband and her mom and dad. She's not feeble. She's not lonely and she's very happy. Grandma Peep Peep is with Big Dad and Lady. ["Big Dad have suckers for her?" LMC interjected. "Of course," I responded.] She's looking down on us right now and you know what? She loves you- she always loved you and she always will love you."

"Oh. Okay. Grandma Peep Peep drinking Me-Alk?"

"Yes m'am, she is."

"COOL! Love you, Grandma Peep Peep!" She calls out to no one before going off and playing again. Maybe she was calling out to someone that I could not see.

Maybe I scarred her for life, maybe I did something right-- but isn't that what parenting is all about? God, I hope so.