Thursday, June 14, 2012

unreliable? or...

Some people think blogs like this are unreliable.  Last post was January, here we are June and ta-daaa!  New post.  I like to think it makes me unpredictable.  An unpredictable person sounds much more fun than an unreliable one, don't you think?

So here's a quick sum-up of the last few months in photos.

Momma had an awesome photo shoot weekend with thephotobinder's HCR workshop. 

Jessibug rocked her dance recital.  Of course.
Little man turned 4, with good family, great friends, and the most quickly executed and crooked cake ever.

And last but not least - Jessibug kept trying to turn her brother into her sister.
This little guy I tend to call Boogerbug.  For unfortunately obvious reasons.

That's it for now!  Maybe I'll post again soon... maybe not.  Only time will tell.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My daughter the Rockstar

My daughter is a Rockstar. Just ask her.
And she insists on ‘practicing,’ loudly. With choreography. Every single day.

Some days I find it charming, other days… well, there are quite a few other days.

Last night the song of choice was “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. I gotta admit, this one’s pretty catchy, if not particularly imaginative. For awhile I’m enjoying watching her throw her hands up in the air, yelling Aaayyo! but only for awhile. Because here’s the thing. Sister never knows more than a few lines of the songs she brings home from school. Because her mom is lame and listens to Norah Jones. So my little superstar compensates by belting out the two lines she does know with great gusto and huge spinning dance moves over and over… and over. Just when I’m ready to rip my ears off, she stops, looks me straight in the eye and says with great wonder and pride,

“Wow, momma, I don’t know what it is, it’s like my voice was made for this song and all of a sudden I can just sing it perfectly!”

And she means this with 100% of her little off-key heart.

I’m having an odd moment both trying not to laugh and realizing that that’s me standing there 20 years ago. Then she asks the question.

“Momma, will you teach me all the words to it? ‘Cause all my friends know it and they always sing it at school and I try but I don’t know most of it and please please can you help me?”

29-year-old me thinks, “It’s bedtime. Absolutely not. And besides, you shouldn’t struggle to fit in by learning a stupid song.”
10-year-old with acceptance issues me thinks, “OMG she thinks I’m cool enough to actually know the song! Heck yeah I’ll help!”

So which me wins?

Ten minutes and one Itune download later her bed is a stage, our pajamas are pleather pants, and we are taking the music world by storm. We are singing (yelling), making up words when we’re lost, giving each other big ‘head nod’ cues, and shaking our tushies for all it’s worth. In the back of my mind, I am indeed 10 years old, rewinding my New Kids On The Block cassette tape again and again (sometimes using a pencil because my tape player was crap) determined to learn every word to “Step by Step” if it took me all night. And then croon it till the cows come home. Lucky for me (unlucky for my brothers), cows apparently have great hearing and were smart enough to stay far far away.

We must have replayed that song 30 times, each time singing a little louder and a lot more off key. The clock crept way past bedtime, but I know the time of her coming to me for help will end soon enough, so I let it pass. Besides, let’s be honest, I don’t know which of us was having more fun. In that moment, I was learning NKOTB at ten years old, singing along to Twisted Sister with my best friend Fathom at 16, belting out a bluesy Bonnie Rait with my roomie Rhi in college and, yes, I was being Momma, too, helping her best girl learn the coolest song in third grade. And as it turns out, I can still wield a mean hairbrush-microphone.

Rock on, lil mama. Rock on.

Photos of my beautiful dumplin' brought to you by the talent of ...
First two photos - copyright Robin Binder
Last photo - copyright Marc Binder
Third photo - copyright Andrea Creppel Photography

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Apple Pie Rolls

When it comes to food, I’m a big fan of balance.  As in, if I eat 8 ounces of veggies, I better eat 8 ounces of chocolate to balance it out.  So since I usually eat fairly healthy, on mornings when I want something decadent and easy, I don’t question it.  I go straight for the apple pie filling and cream cheese.

These apple pie rolls may not be terribly inventive, but they sure are good!  All you need is cream cheese, a can of apple pie filling, and a can of crescent rolls.  Vanilla, raisins and pecans are all optional. 

First, either set out your cream cheese ahead of time or zap it in the microwave 30 seconds or so, just until soft.  Work it around in a bowl until it is a spreadable consistency.  If you like, mix in a little vanilla.

Now, open your can of apple pie filling and grab a knife.  Make sure it is pie filling and not just sliced apples.  Take out the week’s aggression by sticking the knife down into the can and randomly raking it through the apples.  It is easier to make a nice neat apple pie roll if the apples are in small chunks, and by doing it this way, you won’t have to wash a cutting board later.  (yay!)

Set your apples and cream cheese to the side while you prepare your dough.

Throw some flour out on a nice clean patch of counter and peel off a crescent roll. 

A quick apology for the pictures - that's what I get trying to use my iphone, indoors, with flour covered fingers.

Through the blurriness, see how it’s an isosceles triangle?  That’s not okay with me.  I like it nice and even.  Pinch off the tip and add it to the right side to make it a sorta kinda equilateral triangle.  All even.  That’s better.  I hate for any of my filling to ooze out while they are baking, so this all goes toward making a very neat, tight little package.  (I’m sure there’s a joke in there, but I’ll resist.)

Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough, rub some on your rolling pin, and flatten that baby out.

As is painfully obvious from this picture, it does not need to be a perfect triangle or even a uniform thickness.  You’re basically just going for increased surface area.

Now smear some cream cheese near the bottom in the middle, leaving a good inch below and on either side plain.  Pile a spoonful or two of apples on top of your smear.  If you prefer, here is where you toss in raisins, pecans, caramel bits, whatever suits your fancy. 

mmmm looks good already.

Now fold the sides of the dough over the filling.  Grab the bottom edge and pull it up and all the way over the filling, sort of tucking it in on the other side – you don’t want to smoosh the apples out of the top.  Roll it the rest of the way up and you should have this…

Pop it in the oven on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until lightly golden brown on top.
Pull them out, let them cool as long as you can stand it, then eat them while they are still warm!  We devoured these before thinking to take pictures of the finished product; cream cheese and warm bread tend to muddle up my brain.  Yum!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Resolutions

Wow. 2012. 12 years since Y2K didn’t happen, 11 years since two airplanes changed our world forever, 9 since a baby girl changed my world forever. And so many more changes each year in between. I wonder what we will look back and remember about 2012? In my own small attempt to make this year really count, I have made only one New Year’s Resolution.

I have resolved to be more aware.

I want to be more aware of what people say to me. I want to listen to my children, my husband, my friends with an open and receptive enough mind to hear the actual intent behind their words. I do not want to give the obligatory response while my mind is elsewhere or (over)react to their words in anger or defense. I want to will give their words the attention and consideration they deserve. How many friendships, marriages, parent-child relationships break down due to something so simple, and so complex, as communication?

My child asks, “Are you still on the phone?”
My child means, “Please come play, you’re my best friend.”

My husband asks, “Are you done cleaning yet?”
My husband means, “The kids are asleep, the house is quiet, can we spend a few minutes alone together? Life’s been busy; I miss you.”

My mother calls. Again. “I just had to tell you (someone posted something funny on facebook / the dog just did a great trick / your dad spilled a glass of grape juice on the rug / insert random event here).”
My mother means, “I miss you, you’re my best friend, I know your life has changed and you don’t need me in quite the same way you once did, but I don’t know how not to take care of you, to worry about you, to be there for you. So I’m calling. A lot. You’ll understand one day.”

(Love you, Mom)

I want to be more aware of how my words, actions and reactions affect others. I do not want my children to grow up thinking stressed is normal, that rushing around at the last minute, snapping at anyone in your way, do or die time is how things get done. It is not and it does not have to be. I want to temper my reactions to my surroundings in order to show them how to properly and healthfully respond to tense situations. I want to soften my words during the most hectic situations; think about my responses and reactions carefully so that they reflect the person I am talking to rather than the situation I am in. I want to think about what will be coming out of my mouth, to be aware of not just how I am saying it, but how it will be received.

I want to be more aware of time and how to spend it well on what matters most. I want to be aware of what is not truly important, so that I can set it aside to spend time on what is. I want to will develop better time management techniques for all the little everyday things that must be done, so I have more time to focus on doing what I love with the people I love. Perhaps even be able to find time to work on my ‘me list’ – the mental list we all have of things we would like to do ‘if we ever found the time.’

So I may have made only one Resolution, but it’s a big one! They say you get out of things what you put in and I believe my family and myself are worth the effort. Now, if I can remember what my resolution was past the second week in January… we’ll be doing great.

Happy New Year! If I am lucky enough to have any readers out there, let me know… what are you hoping to accomplish in 2012?