Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Floored by floors

Let's back up two days, shall we?

LMC turned 4. It was awesome. She blew out candles, ate breakfast in her room, and received an "Allie Oopsie" doll. Oops is one of those words that I always screw up. O-P-P-S is how I want to spell it. Spellcheck gets me every time. All the while, Husband was laid up in bed, sick. as. a. dog. He was so sick that he actually took off Tuesday from work, something that I have never seen him do. Husband slept for 48 hours, consumed half a can of Campbell's Wild Rice Soup, threw up once, lost five pounds, and his fever never went below 100.1. Poor LMC, I tried to make up for it with a birthday pedicure, which turned into a birthday pedicure, manicure, and eyebrows.

"I want pink, purple, pink, purple, pink, purple. Oh, and flowers on them, please."
"Mama, you just get dark purple toes."

The ladies obliged. They were tipped huge.

She wanted snacks for supper- so she had goldfish, Ritz crackers, Cheerios, and Dora Bites. Mommy had wine and hummus. The next day, LMC had school where she wore a "Birthday Rapunzel" crown made of pink and purple construction paper-- two of her three favorite colors.

"My favorite colors are pink, purple, and RAINBOW!"

During school, I continued going through cabinets, closets, toys, and drawers. Having hit probably 1/2 of the apartment, eight trash bags were tossed. EIGHT. That's a little embarrassing. Why did I think I needed to hang on to the white Gerber onesie covered in stains? Right. I'm cheap. Thanks.

LMC wanted to help when she got home and started asking why this pile was going in the white bag and that pile was going in the box-- and no pile was going in her room.

"But those are my ladybug boots! I love them! See........ they still .... well, they a little tight."
"THOSE DORA SHOES ARE MINE! I love Dora! They not too tight."

One box turned into three boxes to create the utmost organization, all the while LMC jumping up and down and saying any number of things that made my eye twitch.

"LMC, would you like to watch Henry Hugglemonster?"
The cable was out.

My eye twitches a little more.

"LMC, grab 'your' iPad and watch My Little Pony while I finish this project up."
The internet was out.

Screw the project- "LMC, let's get our shoes on and go out--"
It was raining.

Husband asleep in the bed, oblivious to the bouncy kiddo.

At some point, I think I started convulsing.

Around 6, LMC, MB, and I were in the amenities building to watch TV...
the sound was not working.

Holy Smartphones, Batman. I had to do something.

I sipped my wine, called my parents, and let LMC play on the pool table. Surely, a four year old playing on this table is not the worst thing that it has seen.

Throughout this, I talked to Jerry the handy handy contractor, Preston the Painter, Charlie the floor guy, and Eddie the plumber. Love 'em!

Eddie needed a 4 inch wide spread on faucets for the pink bathroom. I ordered a 4 inch mini spread. We opted to get new sinks in lieu of me sending them back to get the right ones, thus losing a week in the process. When your pink sinks are this beautiful:

Why would it ever cross our minds to get rid of them?  Because... your end result for your pink bathroom, with the pink tile and the pink potty and the pink bathtub.... and the pink counter could be just a little less... pink... when Eddie's your plumber, this is what can happen in no time flat:

SO much better, right? Don't get me wrong-- it's still pink. But it is just a little less, um, what's the word I am looking for? Dreadful? Hooray! It's coming together! For the meantime, I am going to paint the countertop white, which will be an easy band-aid until we can rip it out and replace it.

Preston said the house wasn't ready to be painted. I changed my mind four times on colors. New French Gray? Proper Gray? Old World Gray? Aloof Gray? Rare Gray? Honestly- this does not have to be that hard. He asked if we were keeping the fans. I told him we were tossing the ugly ones and keeping the new ones.

"Which ones are the ugly ones?"

Dude. Never send a man to do a woman's work.

Jerry and Preston hooked up and figured out who was doing what when. Crisis averted.

Backup-- How'd I find Preston the Painter? Preston grew up with Brother. Remember the story about Brother and the sprinkler system? Yep- Fr. Preston, who baptized all the Catholic school kids on that hot May day is the now Preston the Painter. Preston and I were laughing about that when he came over to give us an estimate. He said that he ran into Fr. Costigan a few years ago. The first words out of his mouth were, "You were that kid that cut the sprinklers on during Mass, weren't you?"

"Yessir, I was."

Hometown. Gotta love it.

And then.... Charlie the floor guy. I love Charlie the floor guy. He's easy to work with, knowledgable, and has an 11 handicap. Seriously, if you need floors done- call Charlie. He is steady fetching and stepping getting things squared away. Husband is kinda tickey about, well, everything. Especially floors. Especially wood floors, as he is a self-proclaimed wood snob. With the floors being the majority of the budget from our little nest egg, we were both on edge as to what these would look like.

So pleased with the results!

Okay, enough of my commercials-- Charlie called and said there was just a "little" problem with the back bathroom. The tile was laid down with about 2 inches of concrete and mud. In over an hour, this is as far as he got:

And it was determined that we would not be laying hardwoods in those 30 square feet. On to shopping for tile! I figured that since it was only 30 square feet, why not go all out with something like this? And at $110 a square foot, really... it's child's play. Right? RIGHT? It makes this...

 which starts at $73 a square foot seem really quite affordable, no?

Yeah, Husband wasn't buying that logic either.

I think I'm going to end up with plain Jane white, which will be fine. I guessssssss. Sigh.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Strawberry Pickin'

This will be short, since today is LMC's birthday! (and MB needs a bath, and Husband isn't feeling well… and the list goes on) We went strawberry picking yesterday and before you ask- yes, I totally planned the outfit that MB wore. 

Looking through my lens, I could not believe that LMC is such a beautiful little lady! She surely has grown into something lovely and I love calling her my first. 

All those strawberries have been turned into jam. Let's see how it turns out.

More in a bit.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Rae's Black Bean Dip

There's this restaurant in Augusta, Rae's Coastal Cafe, and it's great. I always get a grilled dolphin sandwich with the yellow rice and black beans. It's about the only time you will find me eating something off the menu without making a single change.

Several years ago, my brother took me out to lunch at Somewhere in Augusta and all I wanted was a turkey sandwich. They didn't have one. How does a bar and grill not have a turkey sandwich? They had a club sandwich... just not a turkey sandwich.

The waitress wasn't impressed with me either.

"I don't see it on here, but do you have a turkey sandwich?"
"Okay, I'll get a club sandwich. But, can I get that without the lettuce, tomato, bacon, ham, and roast beef?"
"So, you want a turkey sandwich?"
"no, I want a club sandwich. But without the lettuce, tomato, bacon, ham, or roast beef."
"I'm sorry?"
"I'd like a club sandwich without the lettuce, tomato, bacon, ham or roast beef."
"We don't have turkey sandwiches."
"I don't want a turkey sandwich. I want a club sandwich, without the lettuce, tomato. bacon, ham, or ro--"
"Or roast beef. Got it."

To this day, nine years later, my brother has not let me live that down. I like to think that I'm a girl that knows what she wants. He likes to think I am fairly high maintenance. Maybe we are both right?

Back to Rae's-- it's a Caribbean restaurant and is great when you don't want to cook or just want to get out from behind the stove. There is bound to be at least one table with friends and the waiters have memories like steel traps, remembering us after being away for years.

They have a bean dip that is served with blue corn chips. It is light, creamy, and yummy. I cooked dinner for a friend last night as both our husbands were out of town. Jerk Marinaded chicken, yellow rice, and black beans-- yum! As an appetizer, I researched a black bean dip.

Allow me to share my modified version, as I went a little off the reservation from the recipe I found on the internet.

Black Bean Dip

1 can black beans, drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cloves, ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg (that's what the recipe called for... you know me.... probably more like one teaspoon. or a tablespoon.)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp tabasco sauce (I didn't have any and used 1 tsp of red chili paste, which added some serious heat)
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp tahini (I actually had this in the back of my fridge)
splash of chicken broth

Saute garlic, ginger, and onions. Add spices (allspice, cumin, thyme, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon) and "your heat" (tabasco, red chili, Srirachi) and cook until onions are soft.
Add the beans and a splash of chicken broth, cover and cook on low low low low low for five to twenty minutes. You're doing this to heat the beans and let the flavors merry.
Using your food processor, scoop the mixture and blend until desired consistency. I was only going to do half the batch, but when I saw how yummy (and how much it looked like gruel), I went ahead and did the whole thing.

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


Mom ordered an insane amount of spices online not too long ago and discovered that she had every spice she would ever need to make anything under the sun. After pickling this and brining that she researched jerk marinades. 

It sat in the fridge and we she pulled out this small bowl of black goo that she swore up and down was amazing. We brushed a little on some chicken breasts and let them sit for about an hour. After going on the grill and hitting our hamburger buns, I have to say... 


Wanting to copy this recipe, I called to ask what was in it. My dad answered the phone.

me: "Do you know what's in mom's jerk marinade?"
dad: "yeah."
me: "Can you tell me?" my pen is in the air; my paper on the counter.
dad: "A bunch of stuff."
me: "Like what?"
dad: "Oh, all kinds of things."
me: "Like what?"
dad: "Good stuff."
me: "So, you don't know?"
dad: "No. I know, it has jerk spices."
me: "Like what?"
dad: "Isn't it so good?"
me: "I know, I want to make some up here. What's in it?"
dad: "All kinds of good things."
me: "Is mom there?" (and he wonders why I was getting frustrated.)
dad: "No, she's at the Y. I can tell you what's in it, though."
me: "Okay, shoot...." My pen dangling in the air
dad: "Well, she got it off the internet."
me: "Okay, I can work with that. Which website?"
dad: "I'm not sure, just google it and use the first one."
me: "Google what? jerk marinade?"
dad: "Yeah, that'll work.... of course, she tweaked it a little bit."
me: "How'd she tweak it?"
dad: "She just added a little more stuff. You know how she does."
me: "So, dad. You don't know what's in it, do you?"
dad: "Sure I do. Listen, honey. Someone's calling in on call waiting."

And he wonders why I say I can't get a straight answer out of him.

I call mom.

me: "Hey Mama, what's in your jerk marinade?"
mom: "Oh, geez. Um, I have the recipe printed and it's at home, but I can go ahead and tell you that you don't have half the stuff in your cabinet."
me: "okay, I can work with that. Thanks"

me and mom-- we speak the same language.

A little google research and the reminder that I have an insane amount of spices lead to a few phone calls back home. I created something- not nearly as great as what mama has in the back of her fridge, but it is a close second.

Allow me to share.....

2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar (it's easier to reach than the sugar)
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (the original called for 1/2 tsp, but I really like nutmeg)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon Srirachi (more if you are brave, I was chicken)
2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar

Combine everything with a whisk and mix in a little more veggie oil to thin it... maybe three tablespoons? maybe five? The black goo is amazing and is good on chicken and steaks. I have not tried it on fish yet, but that does not mean I will not. 

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5 months!

What I wanted....

taken the day before

What I got...

I just wanted 5 month proof that the thumb is starting to get replaced with the toes.

1000 days

By the time we leave, we will have lived in this great city for 1000 days. Almost exactly. Yes, I did the math.

We have survived...

two earthquakes
a flood
scary flights in turbulence
four power outages
a baby's trip to the hospital
several marriages
a tornado
a birth
two deaths
a heart attack
a stroke
several seizures
three hurricanes
financial woes
the flu
metro adventures
an adult health scare
a move
fits being thrown
two Disney on Ice dates
MOTH fights
two car accidents
an investment in a new carseat
Husband saving a life in an elevator
train rides
an election
rent checks
Wife saving a girl in the pool
a Catholic Confirmation
an Inauguration
a new Pope

Husband has walked through the bowels of Union Station while the Capitol police were trying to talk a man down from jumping off the H Street Bridge. I have been through the bowels of the Library of Congress- mostly because I got really really lost.

I've toured the Capitol.

There was a royal wedding. Our invitation was lost in the mail.

I have seen four shows at the Kennedy Center.

LMC and I have been to Arlington a dozen times. My SIL still thinks it's pretty unusual (weird) to take my daughter to a cemetery to stretch her legs. If you lived here, you'd know and understand.

A Congressman from Florida has been our neighbor.

We have watched this neighborhood improve and families move into our building. We have seen children grow and restaurants pop up all over the Atlas District. We are still waiting for the trolley to be installed (anticipated date of completion, October 2010).

I have learned to get around without a GPS.

We got new iPhones. I broke two. Wait. Three. I broke three iPhones.

We've been stopped by races, marathons, tri-atholons, and more motorcades. There have been bomb drills, fire drills, terrorist drills, bio-chemical drills, and evacuation drills.

The Supreme Court voted on Obamacare.
The Supreme Court is hearing testimony on the rights for gays (homosexuals?) to have a lawful marriage.
A friend was sworn in to argue before the Highest Court.

We have been to Florida, Maryland, Delaware, Georgia, Alabama, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Virginia, and the Bahamas.

I got my first schlack manicure. Husband saw the bill and was unimpressed. I started paying in cash.

Husband tuned his guitar and picked up his golf clubs again. He went fishing in the Keys.

We've made friends.
We've made amazing friends.
Those kind of friends that will carry you through this life and make this chapter and this adventure extraordinary. I don't think I would have had nearly as much fun if I did not have them. I don't think I will miss this place as much as I will if it were not for them.

We did story time at the Library of Congress more than once and discovered it was closed on Sunday.

I learned to parallel park with my eyes closed.

My FIL retired.
My MIL became an RN.

They broke ground on the last new Smithsonian building.

I joined an alumnae association.
High school kids started calling me m'am.
Gray hair sprouted.
9:30 became a perfectly acceptable bedtime.

We turned 30. Twice.

We've potty trained. She learned to stand, walk, and then run all in a week's time. She learned to have a proper level of fear for cars. She found friends and a gregarious personality. I hope she never loses that.

I walked over 3000 miles in 1000 days. I went through four pair of tennis shoes. Mom made me buy all new flip-flops. I tossed all of Husband's socks and replaced them.

Husband turned down job offers.

I learned to knit and sew and am only slightly below average in the sewing department. Let's not talk about the knitting. I fell in love with photography.

We have been caught in the rain, kissed in the rain, and covered our children from the rain.

Husband has been published four times.

LMC and I have climbed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial four times, been to the Vietnam Memorial almost a dozen, and visited the WWII memorial six times. We went to the Tidal Basin once, FDR memorial once, and picked about 376 "puffy flowers."

We've been to the arboretum, IKEA, all the Smithsonians on the mall, the Building Museum (for the playtime, not for the tour), Post Office museum (you can skip it), Police Officers memorial, and the beach- twice.

Shopping in Georgetown for Christmas was one of my most favorite things.

Buying the first tree from Eastern Market was a close second.

We never took the train to New York, but we did take two Disney Cruises.

Husband accepted a job.

We bought a house.

We pulled out the carpet, knocked down a wall and are getting ready to paint.
We hired movers.
We paid our last rent check.

We are getting ready for the next chapter. This chapter will involve college football games, YMCA soccer games, Mexican food, time on the farm, playing golf, trips to the lake, Husband finishing his boat, swim lessons, golf cart rides, and family. Lots of family.

The pace will slow down but time will speed up.

It's been a hell of a ride and I am already wondering what the next 1000 days will hold.


I don't know why the pictures I uploaded for the last blog can be seen on some computers but not on any mobile devices. Alas, here they are... once again... reloaded!

I am so appreciative to Jerry and the gang for taking pictures........ but if this were a perfect world, they'd have some sort of bad ass camera instead of the iPhone camera. Alas, I am still thankful that I get to see the progress and share it with you. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Moving in the right direction

I hate to be short and sweet, but LMC is using scissors sitting next to me. Since she started school this year, she has started using her right hand instead of her left. She is not nearly as dexterous with this one,  but you can't tell her otherwise. 

MB is disagreeing with being in the pack and play.

So, let's talk, shall we? 

(Mom! It's so much easier to rip instead of cut! Watch!)

I asked a friend to head over to the house and give me her thoughts. She selflessly threw herself on the sword and headed over to the swanky 1964 ranch to check it out. It made me feel good for someone with such great taste to walk through and fall in love with it and see the potential the same way we did. She and her husband came up with ideas we had not seen yet and evolved some of our thoughts. After spending an hour on the phone last night, we hardly scratched the surface.

(See all the tiny pieces, mommy!?)

Husband heads home tomorrow to check out the house and play a round of golf before turning around 48 hours later to return home. Imagine what course you'd fly twice in almost as many days to play? Yep- he's excited. So am I! I can't wait to hear about both the house and the game. Jerry will do a walk through with Husabnd to make sure everything is up to speed before discussing the installation of a fence around the pool.

(Mom, can you cut this piece smaller? Wait! Watch me do it!)

Less typing... more pictures.

this! this! this! I had no idea that THIS would look THIS good!

Not bad, right? I am pretty excited.

Now... to pick out the colors for the walls.
And the trim.
And the crown molding (moulding?).
And the cabinets.
And the bathroom cabinets.
And the windows.
And the whatever-else-I-am-forgetting.

That's a lot of pickin'... I'm calling in the troops.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yesterday Afternoon

Yesterday, a few of us were going to do "a day in the life" and link up our blogs. It would give us a chance to make a great memory and a fun way to see how our lives overlap in this great big city.

I forgot. 

Correction, I remembered.... but not until about 11am yesterday. So, I'm flying solo here and giving the "from lunchtime on" caption.

Husband's parents are coming in town in a few weeks for his graduation. LMC and I had to take a check to the neighboring apartment complex to pay for the guest suite. LMC with her Rapunzel Baby and I with MB- dueling strollers, we headed out on the brick sidewalk in DC. 

I promised LMC that we would make strawberry jam, so we got right on that.

Using this recipe-- because what about Bon Appetit doesn't scream "working with a toddler?!"

I fixed a stellar lunch, of which she ate exactly half. We lacked bread. Mental note: add bread to the grocery list. 

After lunch, we set to making the tea biscuits for the strawberry jam to go on. That green stuff is lime zest, which really perked these puppies up! 

LMC was surprisingly helpful painting the egg, making thumb prints and dripping the homemade jam. Mental note: when homemade jam has been made, remember not to dip the spoon into the jam after it has been on the raw egg. It can't be salvaged and the fear of salmonella is real.

We sent a picture to Husband to tell him we were having a great day...

And then it was time for Baby Rapunzel's nap. 

Husband found out that his shift was canceled (read: he read his schedule wrong), so I told him to pile in with my plans and come have a drink with Mama Bits and I at the Portrait Gallery. I loaded up MB, and her snotty nose before getting around to drying my hair and putting on makeup. Makeup is a new addition to my routine. My allergies are killing me- runny nose, red skin, the works. I'm attractive without it, promise.

I made the discovery that I don't lack metro cards. After taking this picture, I'd find another two... one of these cards has $123.50 on it. Don't ask me which one. One doesn't work, one has $13.45, and the others? I have no idea. 

I love taking the metro. It is a little more difficult with two now, but with Husband in tow... well, it makes things easier (and a little more complicated). Typically, I'm holding LMC's hand and she trots along beside me. MB is in the sling and we carry only the bare essentials, needing only the things we did not pack. With Husband, there's a stroller, a diaper bag, a whiny kid saying she needs to be carried, and a plethora of metro cards. It means we are ready for the apocalypse, which was good-- because I forgot to pack LMC's supper, but had enough snacks to cover my tracks.
We hitched up and made the second train. LMC sat next to Husband and MB was strapped in her stroller. We were off!

Mama Bits picked up sushi for all of us and we took turns holding babies, wrangling wet kids who ran through the fountain, and checking diapers. She's truly Super Mom.

This was a last second decision to press the camera button one more time, how glad am I?!

I tried to tell Husband that this was all Mama Bits' third baby... the mess, that is. He laughed and told me he knew better, he has seen our house. He was right...

After Mama Bits headed out, we started wrapping up. MB had a diaper change, I cleaned up and the security guards kicked us out.

We Uber:ed home, which is my other favorite way of transportation around the city. I'm seriously going to miss Uber. 

We headed home... that's our house-- with the curtains and the lamp in the window. I always look for it when we drive this way.


LMC got a bath while MB and I watched TV.

There were kisses before a storytime with Daddy, who is currently in the midst of The Princess Bride. LMC says, "My real name is Princess Buttercup, but my nickname is Rapunzel." 

We watched The New Girl season finale and Husband grabbed the camera and told me it was time for bed. 

More kisses before passing her off to Daddy and prayers.  

She was already sacked by the time her little head hit her daddy's shoulder, or as we fondly call it-- The Narcoleptor. 

Both babies down for the count, we shut down the house, lock the door, and kiss each other good-night.