Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall....

When we first moved into our house a month ago we had not finished every little thing in the house. That was not a problem until the first morning when I went to get ready and realized I did not have a mirror in the bathroom. That was one thing on our list that was deemed "unimportant".  I quickly realized I had a full length mirror in my bedroom and could do my hair and make-up there. No problem.  That lasted a few days and then I broke the mirror.  Knocked it over and it shattered. There goes my mirror. But wait there is a small piece that is still intact. Excellent, I still have someway to get ready.  Once again, that did not last long before that too, was broken.  This is what I was left with:
Not the best way to put on make-up, but it would have to do. I could see a fraction of my face at a time, so no big deal.  Then last Friday, my father-in-law, showed up with a medicine cabinet and shelf system that he built. I was giddy.  He installed the shelves, painted them to match the trim, and then, HALLELUJAH!, a mirror. A real, honest to goodness, regular sized mirror. I am still shocked when I go to wash my hands, brush my teeth, dry my hair, that I can see myself! It is the best present ever!
Does that make me a little vain?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Semper Paratus

Semper Paratus means "Always Ready". It is the slogan, for lack of a better word, for the Coast Guard.  If you know me, then you know my brother-in-law is on active duty and has been deployed for the past 3 months.  Only 3 more months to go before he is back home with us.  I've heard people say that the time has flown by, and I guess for me I am surprised that we are already at the half-way mark, but I wouldn't say the time has flown by.  I know I have felt the absence of Erik at holidays, family dinners, his own children's school events, and, of course, moving day!  Day to day I have not always been aware of his absence, but I know it has affected my sister every minute he has been gone.  

I have known Erik since I was 12 years old and we moved back to my mom's hometown and started to ride the bus to school.  My sister met Erik on the school bus when they were both 14 and soon started 'dating'.  One unfortunate, still to this day, vivid memory I have, is Erik kissing my sister as he got out of the car. We were all sitting together in the backseat and I was at the age where that was actually pretty gross.  As young love tends to do, their relationship did not last, and they were soon broken up.

As I have mentioned before, my sister and I have a habit of making awkward inquires for each other.  When my sister decided she was going to date and eventually marry Erik, I was the one who had to call. I remember standing in the hall of our house on French street, calling Erik and asking him if  my sister asked him to tolo would he go with her.  He of course said "no", he was not interested in her at all.  Turns out he was lying. Why would he tell the twerpy little sister that he still liked the older sister. My sister had to use better subterfuge in the form of homework club and chocolate chip cookies, to get Erik's attention.

I've been on many dates with my sister and Erik, as they were not allowed to go out alone for the first year they were together. I have come to find out since, that there were many dates I "was on" that I never knew about!  I was the maid of honor when they were married, and oh lucky me!, a co-driver on their honeymoon. Yes, my older sister got to take her two younger sisters on her 'honeymoon'.  It didn't help that I got pulled over in California for speeding and actually had to have the cop tell me to pull over on the loudspeaker because he had been following me for a while with his lights on and I never knew it. Boy, was my sister mad!

This deployment is not as bad as the time he went to Kuwait. We can keep in touch through email, and have received some great pictures from him of what life is like for him right now. I keep saying I will send a care package and actually have some great ideas, but unlike my sister, I am not known for my letter writing or ability to ever go to a post office.  The hardest part of this deployment is how it affects my two boys.  My baby will turn 1 next month and I have to say he has no idea who Uncle Erik is. He is deeply in love with my sister though!  My oldest will also have a birthday soon and was a huge fan of Erik before he left. He loved that he had a motorcycle, even though he was terrified of it. For the longest time we had a picture of Erik's motorcycle that we would look at and Jack would always say "too noisy!".  I am longing for the day when Erik returns and my son will say: "Go see Ocho and Uncle Airick!"

Since the day Erik left we have been 'always ready' for him to come home!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Grandma, Michelle wants to know....

This is how most questions to my Grandma D began. "Uh, Grandma, Michelle wants to know if we could watch TV?" or "Grandma, AmyKris wants to know if we can have a snack". My sister and I never wanted to be the one to actually ask so we would pretend the inquiry was really from the other sister. Any time I wanted to know something I would say "Michelle was wondering" and vice-versa. We laugh about this now as adults, because why could we not just say to our Grandma "I was wondering if I could stay up late and watch a scary movie". Truth be told our Grandma did not care what we did or ate. We watched our first soap opera at her house and survived on mostly chips and candy when we stayed over.

I was reminded of this relationship I have with my sister when I called today to schedule a tattoo. Not for me, I am done, but for my sister. She has two more she would like and since I am the one that is 'braver', I have to make the call. As I am getting the details from her about what kind of tattoo she wants so I can sound like I know what I am getting when I make the appointment, I tell her this makes my stomach hurt. She laughs and says, she is glad I am the one calling the place. But then she says: "you make the tattoo appointments (yes there will be more) she will make the uncomfortable Carlson family phone calls". At which point, I readily agree. I would much rather make the reservations every year for Seaside, call the tattoo shop and pretend to schedule an appointment for myself, if she will call our Aunt to find out where Christmas is this year.

I guess some things never change. At 32 and 34 years of age we are still saying " Uh, Grandma Michelle wants to know..."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Goodnight Moon

The other day I was reading one of the many blogs I am obsessed with. In it the author mentioned what songs she sings to her daughter at night. It was an interesting selection of songs and it made me think about the songs I sing to my boys at night.

Every night we sing: E-I-E-O, Twinkle Twinkle, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Jingle Bells

For a variety I throw in: You are my Sunshine, Daisy Daisy, K-K-K-Katie

And on really bad nights I end up singing all 10 verses of: The Ants go Marching (which I hate but calms both boys)

Most of the songs I sing are just because those are the ones I remember my mom singing, or the only ones I know the words to. Jingle Bells, I blame on my husband. He can not remember the words to many songs so he ended up singing that one day to my oldest son, and now it is a required night time song!

So, what do you sing to your kids at night? Or, what songs do you remember hearing as a child?

Friday, March 7, 2008

The List

We finally moved. Actually, we moved 2 weeks ago but I didn't have Internet access until this week. As my friends and family know, the last few weeks before moving was rather intense. Once we set the moving date - for the 3rd time - we decided no matter what we were moving. We rented a UHaul, asked people for help, and made plans for our 3 year old. Nothing was going to stop us from moving.

When we decided we were moving for sure, we sat down and made a list of all the things that HAD to be done to be able to move in. This isn't the list of all the things to do to fix the house. This was just what would make it livable. We wrote this list and then sent our two boys on a 2-night sleep over so that we could get everything, or almost everything done. I knew my husband could not do it all on his own so at 8:30 on a Friday night we started hanging drywall, and did not stop working until 4:00 pm on Sunday when the boys came home. We crossed many things off of our list that weekend, the most exciting probably was the toilet. We had not had a working sink or toilet in the house since December. The saddest thing to NOT get crossed off the list was a sink downstairs. I was fine having a completely gutted downstairs bathroom, and even a kitchen without cabinets. But I had really wanted to have a sink downstairs somewhere. That did not happen. We moved in with only a small bathroom sink upstairs but only had to live that way for three days. Not too bad.

The list is still hanging on the wall where we taped it when we arrived Friday night. I know we can take it down and that even though it is not completely finished we are living here and doing alright. But still it hangs. It reminds me of what my husband and I set out to do and what we worked so hard for. We did it, we are in our new house, together once again.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Why I Will Never be a Vegetarian

Two words: red meat. I just love red meat: steaks, hamburgers, sausage (well, that I think is pork) and of course roast beef. I would take a good roast almost any night. I still remember Sunday dinners; coming home and smelling a roast in the oven. We would have mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli and cheese sauce. My mom doesn't even ask me what my birthday dinner will be, it is the exact same menu as what we used to eat after church.

Once again I hate to say it but my husband and I do not agree. In fact, I swear that one day he sat down and made a list of all of my favorite foods and then decided what foods he could no longer eat: dairy, fried foods, or red meat. Ummm... cheese, ice-cream, sour cream, milk, tater tots, french fries, hamburgers, steak, ROAST BEEF! These were no longer foods that were welcome in our home.

For the most part I have compromised and made foods that I used to love but with a slight twist. Tuna casserole with no cream of celery soup or mayonnaise can still be okay. Cooking tacos with 2 meat options, ground turkey for him, is not that difficult, and for a time I even gave up my roast. For years I stopped cooking roast beef because I knew how much he hated it.

But that all changed when I had my second son. The first night home from the hospital my mom left a pot roast in the oven. She poured french onion soup on top and put it in the oven on a very low setting. By the time I sat down to eat, the meat was well done, the potatoes a nice golden brown, and the carrots were caramelized. I think it was the best roast I had ever had. I ate it for dinner and then for lunch several days in a row.

Since that day I have started to make a small roast about once a month. I buy my husband gross chicken thighs and put them in a separate pan in the oven. I don't even care how they taste because I have my delicious roast to eat. I have to ration out how much I eat that first night to make sure I have an equal ratio of potatoes, carrots, and meat to last several days. For some reason this is another favorite food of mine that neither of my kids seems to appreciate. They have too much of their dad rushing through their veins.

Once, for a very short time, I thought about becoming a vegetarian. I even bought 2 vegetarian cookbooks to try to see what we could eat. This lasted for maybe a week, when I realized I would have to give up red meat. That was the end of my vegetarian life style.

I told my friends my next blog would be about roast beef. So there it is. I really truly do love a good roast and will gladly give lessons for those who have yet to cook one!