Friday, June 28, 2013

a nicknaming tale of caution

 shirt: J.C. Penney's, skirt {actually a dress}: Ross, shoes: Keds, watch: Skagen, bag: Nine West

Remember how I once told you that we're a nickname kind of family

Truth is, it really all starts with our fearless nicknaming leader, Jon.  If you've met the man he's got a nickname for you.  You probably don't even know it.  But he does.  Now, rest assured there is nothing malicious about it and honestly, I think it's hardly a conscious decision on his part.  The names just come to him.  You see, it all starts with just one and from there it becomes a slippery slope for nickname addicts.

And our little pup Lucy is no exception.   Actually, Lucy probably has more nicknames than anyone.  "Lucy" became "Loo" which became "Loodle".  "Loodle" turned to "Noodle" which turned to "Sploodle" and the list goes on...  Amazingly, Lucy {or Loo, or Loodle, or Sploodle, or Splood, etc....} answers to all of these names.  Good girl.

One afternoon at the park, a little girl came running up to us, she bent down to pet Lucy and asked Sam, "What's your dog's name?"

Sam paused for a moment, looked at us and said,
"Ummm... Lucy I fink? Yeah, yeah!  Lucy, that's her name."

Oh my.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

road trip. heck yes. {part 1}

We thought our road trippin' days were over, that we were distinguished folks with a real life income now and everyone knows that those kind of folks do. not. road trip.  oh no.  only airports for as far as the eye can see for those kind of folks.  But then I started getting that itch.  That longing for the freedom that only the wind blowing through your hair as the minutes & hours all begin to run together and you feel as though all of eternity is yours to chat or nap or sit quietly holding hands as the sun beams down on the open road in front of you.  ohhh the feelings that only a road trip can provide.  and I wasn't alone, Jon was feeling it too.  so a few months back we worked out a plan to hit that open road to meet up with Jon's fam in Colorado.

We left two weeks ago today, the day after Jon finished his test from h-e-double hockey sticks. And it was wonderful, my friends.  Truly, not a care in the world for either of us.  Free as birds we were, for nine whole days...

Let me introduce you to our swashbucklin' crew:

Jon, the driver.

Sam, the ridiculously patient child.
{side note: remind me to write a love letter to Redbox thanking them for their widespread availability and sufficient selection of children's movies}

And me, photog & maker-surer that the snacks didn't  have the opportunity to go stale.
{the print should also say "Objects in mirror are actually quite a bit less dirty than they appear.  I promise."}

Many small towns lined the interstate along our route, but only one left a strong impression on us.  Jerome, Idaho.  Oh Jerome, you lured us in with the promise of a Walmart not too far from the interstate, knowing that we all needed a pit stop and that I was in the market for a new tube of mascara.  Unbeknownst to us, while we happily perused the store stretching our legs for just a few minutes, you were brewing somethin' wicked up outside.  As the automatic doors slid open, bam!  a dust storm greeted us in the face.  and by "dust" I mean "cow poop".  and as the lady exiting the store behind us so eloquently put it, "ohhhh crap!".  Jerome, you left us with a bad taste in our mouth {quite literally} and the fear of acquiring pneumonia.  dang you, Jerome.

We ended up spending the night in Salt Lake City and the next morning we went out to explore the town.  Truly a unique place, such a pretty little city nestled in the foothills of the surrounding snow capped mountains.  Also, we ate at Denny's twice that day, which just so happens to be twice as many times as I'd eaten there in the last decade.  But seriously, sausage, eggs and pancakes for $4???  duh.

And all that sunshine!  Just look at the smiles on those Oregonian faces ;)
{Also, we are now accepting applications for our albino synchronized swimming team.}

Wouldya just look at those dapper fella's...
 I mean, who wouldn't love to road trip with these two?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

what we value

My sister, Michelle, invited Sam & I to join her at her neighborhood pool the other day.  She lives in this pretty, little new housing development smack dab between a playground and a pool {read:  Sam's heaven on earth}.  He was so excited to go swim {first swim of summer!} & was even more thrilled when he saw there were three little kids about his same age playing in the kiddie pool.

He quickly found himself a happy little corner of the pool and ran & splashed & played.  Two of the kids took alternating turns coming over to spray him with their water guns, but hey, it's a pool, and he didn't seem to mind too much.  About an hour into the fun I hear Sam proclaiming that he is NOT a baby, he is a big boy! The other kids had semi-circled around him, calling him a baby and spraying him in the face with their water guns.  The children's mothers who appeared to be friends, were sitting not even 5 feet away at the edge of the pool, sunbathing. One of them said something along the lines of, "Honeyyy, I don't think he likes that..." and left it at that.  The taunts continued, the spraying continued and then one of them started hitting Sam.  All of this had progressed to that point within under a  minute.  I ran over and pulled him out of the pool and he started to cry.  Tears rolling down his cheeks, he reiterated, "I'm not a baby..." not understanding why those kids were treating him that way.

And it broke my heart.
And Michelle began to tear up.
And the other kids continued to play, and their mama's continued to sunbathe.

Sam decided he still wanted to swim, but would just play away from those kids.  He went back to swimming and enjoyed the rest of his afternoon.  But it was too late for me, for this mama bear had already been riled.  This was no rough and tumble neighborhood where kids learn that being tough equates to survival, this was upper middle class suburbia in a small, affluent town.  How could those mothers just sit by and watch their children bully another child? And I got to thinking about what we as a society value.

Our society tells parents that the most important things we can do for our kids is jam pack their schedules to the brim with sports, music, clubs, tutoring... anything that will give them intellectual stimulation or a competitive edge against their peers.  We measure success in SAT scores and batting averages.  We compare how early our children are able to recite their ABC's and write their own names.  We want to see results and we want these results to be superior to their peers. Because this is success in parenting.  Or is it?

What about teaching our children empathy, compassion & kindness?  What about emotional and spiritual stimulation?  Why are these not valued on the same level?  Is it simply because they cannot be measured, cannot be compared or ranked?  Or is it because we truly do not think they are important?

Well, I believe they are important.  More important, actually.  Jon and I have long discussed what values we wish to instill in Sam as he grows older and above all else we want for him to 1) love God, 2) care deeply for others, & 3) have an exceptional work ethic.  These are the things that we believe will truly help him in leading a meaningful life.  Not that these are easy to teach to a four year old as they are naturally self-centered and tend toward ease & fun, but this is nonetheless our dream for him.  For him to grow up having a heart for humanity and a willingness to work his butt off to help make this world a better place.  Work hard at loving hard, little Sam, this is my wish for you.

There are more important things in this world than measurable success and it so saddens my heart that those mama's chose to look the other way when the opportunity to teach those values presented themselves that day at the pool.  So tragic really, the belittling of our roles as mothers to settle instead for the role of shuttle-bus from one activity to the next.  Because we have so. much. more. to offer our children.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

skinny sausage & kale soup

Back in the day I used to make sure the fridge was packed full of healthy options and a nutritious dinner was on the table each night.  Then somewhere among mountains of textbooks & piles of case studies, this ambition was lost.  But do not fret my friends, because I am back to reclaim it and gosh darn if this little fam isn't going to start eating healthier again!  Seriously, it must be some kind of a travesty to eat as much Costco pizza as we do.  But no more.  No more.

This soup is one of our new favorites.  A simple & healthy recipe, reminiscent of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana.  The key to the flavor of the soup lies in the sausage you choose.  If you choose the wrong sausage, your soup will likely turn out bland.  We prefer to use Isernio's Premium Hot Italian Chicken Sausage, low in fat, full of flavor.

  • 1 lb ground Isernio's Premium Hot Italian Chicken Sausage
  • 5 red potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2- 14 oz cans chicken broth
  • 6 cups water {Give or take to your preference--I like my soup brothy}
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream

  •  Cook sausage on medium-high heat until brown. {I like to cook it in the pot I'll be mixing all the soup ingredients into later, this way I don't lose any of the liquid or oils that come out of the meat during the cooking process.  The sausage holds the flavor of the soup, so don't waste it!}
  • Slice potatoes and onions. In separate skillet, saute onions, potatoes and garlic until done.
  • In large pot combine all ingredients except sour cream. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, mix in sour cream and serve.