Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Boys

I'm definitely not about to go pro with my photography skillz (with my point-and-shoot), but every now and then I capture some photos that I just adore.   By some luck, the lighting and alignment are (mostly) perfect and I just can't help but stare at my computer screen, wondering at the images before me.

I took some really beautiful photos of Nate and Gavin over Thanksgiving.  I absolutely love them - lack of photoshop editing, poor alignment and everything.  To me, they are perfect, and I just have to share them.

Even though this one is tilted funny:

Even though this one is blurred:

Even though Nate is wiping Gavin's drool:

Even though I cut off Gavin's foot:

Even though Nate is squinting and Gavin isn't looking up:

Even though... well, this one truly is just about perfect:

I love my boys.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 Days of Thankful, Part 4

Thanksgiving is over, but I still have a lot to be thankful for!

November 19-24:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let the Cooking Begin!

My head has been in a whirl for the last few weeks.  So much to plan!  So little time!  So much time... with in-laws!!  But I'm starting to get things checked off my "Thoughts in My Head" list, and it feels really good.  The most recent thing I checked off that list?  Cooking for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Our family is celebrating the holidays with Nate's family this year, at a rental house on the beach.  We thought some neutral territory (and more bedrooms) would help all of us relax a little and actually enjoy each other this year.  So we're headed to Delaware! 

So of course, trying to plan a relaxing weekend means I need to do a little more prep work in advance, which is less relaxing... Ironic.  But it also means that I got to start cooking some of my favorite foods last night.  Oh!  So yummy!  The house was filled with the smell of Thanksgiving and Fall last night as I baked and scooped and blended and whipped.  And of course nothing is actually made per se, but everything is started.

Sherry Sweet Potatoes:  These sherry sweet potatoes are a family tradition on my side.  It mostly involved my grandmother adding too much sherry to the potatoes, and probably drinking more than her fair share in the process.  They were... a little too drunk for me as a child.  Turns out they are delicious when made with the correct amount of sherry!

Corn Casserole:  Ok, so I did nothing to prep this yummy side dish last night, besides actually buying the corn, cheese and pimentos.  But I have the ingredients!  I can whip this up very quickly Thanksgiving day. 

Squash Soup:  Can you believe it?  I don't have the recipe for this typed up yet!  So easy, so I'm sharing it here!



2-lb butternut squash (medium)
1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 cup cream or milk
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper 

Peel squash and remove seeds.
Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks and set aside.
Add oil to 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat.
Add onion, celery, carrot, and rosemary
Cook until onion begins to brown, stirring occasionaly, about 15 minutes.
Add squash, stock and 1 cup water.
Bring to a boil
Reduce to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and let soup cool slightly, about 8 minutes.

Using a blender or processor, puree soup in batches until smooth.
Transfer to a clean pot or storage container.
**Can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

When ready to serve, reheat.
Add milk, salt and pepper; stir well.
Add additional milk or stock  if soup is too thick.
Simmer 5 minutes.
Serve warm.

Doesn't get much easier than that!  Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Laundy and Mice and Poop

Our washing machine hasn't been draining properly for a few weeks.  I go down to the basement to switch a load and find my clothes sopping wet in the bottom of the washer, when they should be damp but not dripping pasted against the sides of the drum.  So I set the washer to the spin cycle and let them spin out a second or even third time.  It's time consuming, and I'm sure wasteful of energy, and definitely exhausting.  It certainly doesn't make me want to tackle the ever-growing laundry pile after work!

But I have to do the laundry.  Gavin goes through bibs like they're going outta style, and quite often his jammies too.  So the other night, I flipped on the basement light to activate spin-cycle #3.  But I startled a squatter on my way down: I glimpsed a flash of dark fur running down the wall.  Horrifying.  The silver lining was that I knew exactly where to place the little box of poison.

So let's flash forward to yesterday.  Nate and I go down to the basement to try to "fix" the washing machine, screw driver and drain snake in hand.  I get to the bottom step and see it: the body.  Lying on my basement floor.  So of course I let out a blood curdling scream.  MOUSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!  Even Nate let out a shout when he saw it, "Oh my god! There IS a mouse!"  (as if my scream was a lie. but anyway)  He takes care of the mouse, I try to put my heart back in my chest, and we move back to the washing machine, which we were not able to fix.

Meanwhile, Laura and Gavin are playing upstairs.  Or so I think.  I mean, Gavin's not going anywhere.  He's in his saucer and safe/unable to escape.  Laura on the other hand... Appears at the top of the basement steps:

I pooped on the potty!!  I got a little poop on my finger when I wiped, but I washed my hands! 

Nate and I were stunned.  Happily stunned.  Laura stopped playing, took herself all the way upstairs, pooped, wiped, flushed and washed her hands.  Without any help, prompting, begging or pleading.  So when she asked for a Hershey Kiss AND a marshamallow as reward?  We happily obliged.  And when I had to hand wash her little undies because she didn't really wipe very well, I couldn't have been prouder to do so. 

In the meantime, I need to remember how to ask for Confession at Church, because the guilt of my murder is weighing heavily on my soul.  How can I hate a thing so much, and still feel so awful for killing it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Too often in my life I start to feel panicky and weepy, only to realize that I am severely dehydrated.  Seriously, it's like I have a mental block about getting enough fluids every day.  I sit at my desk, parched, feeling like my chest is caving in, short of breath, ready to cry, depressed and anxious and ready to just sink into nothingness... and wonder "Why am I feeling so awful?!"

And then I remember that I'm thirsty and that humans need water to survive and there's a water cooler some thirty feet from my desk and I pay $5 a month to drink that water.  So get off your butt and drink some water, Caitlin!  So I have some water and slowly start to feel better again.  This happens all the time.  As soon as I drink a little water, all the dark thoughts of despair ease and I am once again able to see some brightness.

Except this week.  I am actually hydrated, sipping water regularly from the free water bottles leftover from a few catered meetings.  It's like a mecca of bottled water here at work, and I am savoring this brief oasis.  So I'm pretty well hydrated.

And yet... I can't keep the ugly thoughts from crowding in.  I'm feeling inadequate in so many ways.  Inadequate as a mother (I snap too much and enjoy to little), as a wife (I focus on every nit-picky detail without appreciating the whole), as a coworker (I just can't focus). 

I don't know if it's the dreary never-see-the-sun weather, anxiety over the upcoming holidays (nearly every weekend with my in-laws...), or this endless mind-numbingly boring project at work... but I need to snap out of it.  My heart needs some rehydrating. 

Pouring my heart out.

Monday, November 12, 2012

30 Days of Thankful, part ii

November 7th through 12th:
And a great, big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Nate!   We love you!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Mouse

Last year, we had a pretty rough time with mice in our house.  It's an older house with a stone foundation, so I always expect a few unwanted creatures to lurk in the basement.  But last year the mice - oh the mice!  The mice took over our home, crawling through walls, eating random bits of paper in our bedrooms, on our nightstands, gnawing and crunching long into the night.  It was terrifying and disgusting and awful.

So you can imagine the hair begin to rise on the back of my neck the other night when I heard the distinct noise of crinkle and crunch.  OH NO.  NOT AGAIN.  I lay in my bed, straining my ears for the noise, bracing myself for another winter of The Mice.  I listened and began to plan when I'd call the exterminator, how much poison to lay out, and where to set new traps.

Except, this crinkly crunching was somehow louder than last year.  And not nearly so menacing.  And seemed to be coming from across the hall.  The crinkly crunching was almost... rhythmic... it seemed to crunch in time with the sucking of a pacifier.

I peered into Gavin's crib.  He was fast asleep, gently crunching the crinkly ears of his beloved Mickey Mouse.

So it seems we do indeed have a mouse situation again this year.  Albeit, a far cuter mouse!  Let this be the only mouse in my life this year.  Please.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Time for Tea

Is there anything better than a cup of tea?  I say yes: sharing a cup of tea makes a good thing something wonderful. 

 These tea cups were a shower gift from my SIL
The spoons were given to my great-grandmother by my great-grandfather,
probably never used, but then given to me on my wedding day.

My love of tea isn't a secret; I have been receiving gifts of tea cups, pots, spoons, creamers and sugar bowls for as long as I can remember.  I have an extensive collection.  Nate happened to be cleaning (what?!) on Saturday, and showed some tea cups to Laura:

N: Hey Cait, have you ever even used these? 
C: Um, those cups? In the china cabinet? No. It's not like I often have a chance to throw a tea party!
N: Hey Cait, do you realize you have a 2 1/2 year old daughter?
C: Um....

So Laura and I had an impromtu tea party Saturday morning, complete with hats, little sandwiches and cookies.

 I see many more tea parties in our future.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30Days of Thankful

November 1st through 6th
Because five collages of six days is how I roll.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Laura and Gavin had a blast last night.  I knew Laura would.  She is so into playing dress-up and princess every day, that a whole night devoted to it was right up her alley.  And candy?  And other children running amok through the streets?  Awesome.

I was not expecting Gavin at just five months to have as much fun as he did.  He freaking loved Halloween!  He looked just like Hobbes in his little tiger costume, and couldn't have been more pleased with himself.

My favorite picture of Gavin the Tiger has to be from Trick or Treating, when he passed out like a frat boy with his foot in his candy bucket:

I posted a few more pictures from the evening over on my Facebook page (like me!). And now, a little retrospective of Halloweens Past:

Laura 2010: Tiger

Laura 2011: Boots the Monkey

Caitlin 1987: Sleeping Beauty