Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taco Salad

Lets get strait to the point. Food! Naturally (for me) being pregnant means being constantly hungry or tired. Those are the two things I obsess about, when can I take a nap, and what should I eat next. It's a simple life, but it does take some planning. For example, hungry as I seem to be, I just can't eat everything I used to, nor do I want to. Tuna is banned, chicken makes me queasy, and loads of pasta clog up my system if you catch my drift.

My taste preferences right now are for stronger flavors, like Mexican and Asian food. I made a delicious pan of stir fried tofu and broccoli with rice a few weeks ago that was pure heaven! But I'll spare you the details since most folks aren't fans of tofu. My newest craving is now taco salad. Last weekend I took John's parents and Renee out to our favorite Mexican restaurant here in town, Los Cabos. Aside from chowing on the chips and salsa, I was overjoyed by my decision to get a taco salad. (Side note: as a pregnant person, I seem to have a lousy ability to choose what I want to eat, often ordering something, then as soon as I take a few bites, my brain or stomache decides it's just not a good idea after all.)

So realizing that I can't possibly afford to eat out every day, I was on a quest a few days ago to figure out how to make my own taco salad. I decided to copy the same basic layout that I'd had at Los Cabos. Layer of beans, layer of rice, layer of meat, then on top of that the lettuce, cheese and tomatoes and topped off with a scoop of sour cream and salsa. I could have added olives, now that I think of it, but I seem to get too hungry and impatient to finish chopping them.

At Los Cabos your taco salad comes in a delicious, edible, deep fried tostada bowl. So I substitute crumbled corn chips. My other main concern really was coming up with a recipe for Mexican rice. Well thanks to the internet, I ran across this helpful little website, with lots of links and suggestions to get me started. And then, culinary (and pregnancy) bliss, sitting down to a meal I know I can and want to eat!

Last night, thinking I was starving, I made a heaping bowl of taco salad that was reaching well above the limits of the breakfast cereal bowl I had started it in. My solution: upgrade to a glass mixing bowl! So, shamelessly, I dumped the contents of my salad into the mixing bowl and sat down to dinner with my family. Renee and Daddy got quite a giggle out of that silly sight!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Despite my laziest intentions

Tonight. I'm tired. I'm almost always hungry, and tired. Just par for the course being pregnant, chasing a three year old around all day, and having daddy out of town working for a few weeks. I don't mean to complain, just explaining what is. So tonight, my plan... Renee has dance class on Wednesday nights, after which we usually take Apollo to the park to romp and go potty. But I also needed to go to the grocery store, and I still havn't played my trumpet yet today. Not a huge list of things to do, but I just didn't have a lot of time to get it all done.

Dance class ends at 6:30pm, after which we usually go to get some ice cream from Four Queens Dairy Cream. So we went home to change Renee out of her leotard and pick up the grocery list, then drove over and waited in line to get ice cream. I was thinking of going to the grocery store right after getting ice cream, but it takes a little while to finish eating, so we drove back home to get Apollo and take him to the park. The dog could romp while Renee and I sat in the car finishing our ice cream. We got to the park, and Renee (as usual) was begging me to let her out of the car so she can go play, but I (as usual) told her no, because it's too late and we have too much other stuff to do. Then my plan starts to derail.

We sat in the van for a few minutes before I could let Apollo out because a small kid with his father and their wagon were walking by and I didn't want Apollo to scare them. Remember, I wanted to just sit in the car while Apollo romped himself, so I didn't feel like herding him away from people. I was getting a little impatient waiting to let Apollo out and started looking around us at other areas of the park. Maybe instead of the field, we could go to the track? Then I spotted our friends Serenity and Marlin and their dog Colby! Well, we drove over and I rolled down my window to say hello, and Apollo starts barking loudly and Renee starts screaming for me to let her out. I give in. We park, and I let Apollo out to say hello to his good doggie friend, and I let Renee out, too. Renee goes running full speed across the parking lot with open arms to run and get lifted up by Marlin. What a cute greeting! Serenity and Marlin are heading home, but we chat for a few minutes. I load up Apollo in the van and prepare to load up Renee. That's when she runs.

We say our goodbyes to Serenity and Marlin and Renee takes off full speed for the playground toys. There's no way I can keep up with her. I tried to yell and convince her to come back to her Mommy, but she was completely focused on her target. So, I give in again, let Apollo out of the van (when I discover that the stupid dog has eaten the rest of my ice cream!) and we all head for the playground. Eventually I round up kid and dog to the track where we start to run a laps. Renee then informs me that she peed a little bit in her pants, which was just the excuse I needed to load everyone back up and leave the park. "It's not bad, Mom" Renee informs me. But I still want to get her home and change her pants before we go to the grocery store.

Then we run into our old neighbors at the park! They've brought their kids, Alice and Frank to play for awhile. I completely forget about Renee's possibly wet pants and the kids all run again back to the playground. At least I've got Apollo loaded in the van! Renee and Alice and Frank have a blast running and chasing and screaming and climbing! It really was just what Renee needed! Her friends are much more fun than her Mommy! But it was fun for Mommy, too, catching up with *my* friends! And what a treat to chat with my old neighbors Kelly and John (yes we do have exactly the same names!) and my friends Serenity and Marlin! I just hadn't budgeted for that much time in my evening routine!

Eventually we all head for home, Frank and Alice riding their bikes and Renee running full speed after them. In case you missed it earlier, I can't keep up with Renee anymore. Not while I'm pregnant anyhow- she ran so fast I decided to hop in the van to catch up with her across the other side of the park and school yard. When I got on foot again I caught up with Renee heading behind the school, still running full speed. This time she stopped and came to me when I called her! I scooped her up and she informed me she was looking for Frank and Alice! My busy little girl! All the kids finally slowed down and we said our goodbyes and finally Renee (reluctantly) got loaded in the van. (At this point I decide that Renee is BANNED from going to park ever again until her Daddy is home and can chase her if she runs!)

So from there we went to the grocery store, got everything on our list and just as I'm picking up my last item, a carton of milk, another nice customer smiles and says to Renee, "My, you're pretty wound up for 8:30pm at night! Aren't you tired?" Renee just gives her a coy smile, and I suddenly realize how late it really is! Groceries loaded in the van, kid buckled up, finally heading back home- it is now 8:40pm. Why are we out so late??

Then, as if it couldn't get funnier (or later) I'm getting Renee tucked into bed and she shows me an owie on her knee. Looks like a small splinter, but it's red and puffy like it's been there for awhile. So I decide to try and take it out. That was a mistake since we were both tired. Renee said it hurts and she didn't want me to touch it. I did succeed in trying to grab the splinter, but with no success, and lots of tears and drippy nose and screaming. So we *finally* call it quits, eat some jelly beans and go to bed.

I'm so tired. Really, what do I do that makes me feel so busy all the time? Hold on, I'm hungry... hold that thought!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Murphey's Law

No pictures yet, though there are many to share! We just got back yesterday from a fun weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska. Did a dual Easter/birthday celebration. Today John is on a road trip for work. And today is the day our upstairs toilet decided to quit working. YUCK. At least we still have one more working potty downstairs, it's just not very convenient for a pregnant woman and a preschooler to hike down there in the middle of the night every time we need to drain tanks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cover Girl

Weren't we proud parents when we got to see the finished version of Renee's picture in the Arboretum's marketing materials! It really seems like a nice honor to have them ask to use Renee's picture, when we'd be going to Arboretum often anyway just because we enjoy it so much!

Even better is when one of John's coworkers brought in this page from an Iowa travel magazine to show John, saying "Hey, isn't that your daughter?" (Look halfway down in the far right column.) How fun to be recognized by your friends! So there are the pictures I've been meaning to upload and brag about. She looks like such a sweetie in that picture doesn't she? What the viewer doesn't know is that Renee was probably just about to pick that flower, and then pick another one and another one. Then Mommy would have to say "Renee- be soft to the baby flowers!"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crossing things off my list

Why is it that a list can sit, staring me in the face, on my fridge for weeks before I finally get around to dealing with all the items. Obviously different things take a priority position from day to day, but I just get sick of staring at the same things every day. So CHEERS for April 1 and getting something done!

Today Renee and I drove out to the main office for the Arboretum. I needed to pick up some folders which contained info about activities during previous Fall Harvest Festivals put on by the Arboretum. I am volunteering for the Arboretum again this year and now not just as a gardener, but helping organize the "children's area" for the 2009 Fall Harvest Festival which will be this September. The "children's area" committee is deciding what kinds of games, crafts, and performers to have inside a special section designated specifically for children. It's really fun so far!

Otherwise the to-do list still needs attention: recycling, practice trumpet, fold laundry, study old Arboretum folders, followup up on the other things listed on the fridge... But I am happy to see that today, though still chilly, is very sunny! And today is the opening day for the Arboretum! For more info take a look at their new blog which is written by the Arboretum's director of horticulture. You can also find the link on the side of the page if you scroll down to find "Our blog list". Most of the other blogs are posts by other dear friends.

If I really get ambitious there are some images I've been meaning to scan and upload on here for you to see also... all in good time. Renee's picture in the Arboretum flyer for this year, my musical programs from my performances so far this year. Keep in touch, and may you make progress with your list as well!