Friday, November 28, 2008

If For No Other Reason Than the Fact that the Pumpkins on Our Front Porch Have Pretty Much Been Reduced to Primordial Ooze

I was gonna post a picture of me in the pilgrim dress my mother made me a few years ago yesterday but the opportunity to put it on and TAKE a picture never really presented itself, so I guess that'll have to wait for next Thanksgiving.


We had a busy little Un-Turkey Day yesterday. Un-Turkey because (hangs head in shame) I served um, er, well I uh ... chicken. And not even a baked whole chicken. Chicken breasts baked in a goo made of cream of chicken soup and packaged turkey gravy with some Stove Top Stuffing poured over the top.


Mama committed Poultry Fraud. And on Turkey Day, no less.

And then, as if on cue, my transgression quickly brought the requisite roster of plagues upon the household. First, I discovered that my pantry had EATEN the can of cranberry sauce I bought Monday. It was tragic, people. Al conducted a frantic and frenzied search of the entire kitchen AND the back of my car to no avail and returned to his place at the table looking like Droopy Dog.

The man apparently loves him some cranberry sauce.

To make matters even less pleasant, Peabody started teething - and I mean TEETHING LIKE A RABID BEAVER WITH AN INSATIABLE BABY-FIST JONES - at about the exact moment I bent to put my MOCK-URKEY into the oven.

And then last night, before the clock struck midnight and put an end to my Day of Falsified Fowl Reckoning, Peabody finally perfected the art of rolling from tummy to back.

Mmmm hmmm. You know what that means.

I'd've spent the rest of the night putting him down, watching him flop over happily and grin up at me and coo out a pretty little, Ah-gooooooo! if I hadn't come up with and immediately latched onto the handy argument that HEY! A well-placed dose of Tylenol would be certainly be in order for a teething baby, that you cannot deny! and squirted a nice shot of pink snooze-juice down his cheerful little throat.

After which he flopped once or twice more and then was out like a light. WHEW.


Now y'all, don't go callin' me un-American or anything but I actually find Thanksgiving dinner a bit lacking, specifically in the CHEESE, GARLIC AND CHOCOLATE arena.

Well, I'm JUST SAYIN'.

That did not, however, prevent me from horking down a mammoth plate-load of leftovers for lunch today.

It DOES mean that the FriedOkra family will be supping on lasagne, Caesar salad and garlic bread tonight and going to bed with a happy little clouds of dragon-breath over our heads.

We'll be decorating the Manor for the holidays this weekend, after I clean. You should see my house right now. Gives whole new meaning to the term Black Friday.

What're y'all up to?

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Now If I Could Just Get Her Interested in Changing Poopy Diapers, We'd Be All Set.

Oh, what a four days it's been here! I hope y'all had a more relaxing weekend than I had. For once in my life I'm happy it's MONDAY.

A couple of you have requested updated pictures of the legumes (ie. Bean and Peanut) and I'm happy to oblige!

The busy weekend presented me with some nursing challenges, so I cleverly dragged out my trusty Medela and attempted to give Mr. Peabody a bottle or two.

To which he responded, "OH HECK TO THE NAW, MAMA!"


On one such occasion, my attempt to administer nutrition while remaining fully clothed thwarted, I plunked the bottle down on a shelf in his room and left him cooing and kicking on the floor while I scurried off to tend to some other household crisis and returned moments later to discover this:


Yep. Nutrition Delivery Plan B. B, as in Bean. The boy LOVES his big sister and will gladly accomodate her wildest desires just to garner and maintain her attention for a little while. They were QUITE pleased with themselves after they pulled this little stunt on me.

Angry Prairie Dog Impression?

They spend more and more time just hangin' out together. I do a lot of sniffling happily off in a corner (with my camera) whenever I see them like this.

Bean and Uni-dee-Unicorn, whom she got for her birfday. She pulls Uni around from room to room with her and "hitches her up" to drawer pulls and door knobs. When she heads off for preschool, I am left with careful instructions as to what to do for Uni while she is away. Among my favorites are, "Gently dry her tears and tell her I will be home real soon if she starts to cry for me." and "Feed her some of my Halloween candy, BUT NOT ANYTHING I REALLY LIKE!"

The look that I predict will get him out of many a bind later in life.

Makes my heart go SQUOOSH.

Also, I forgot to mention Friday that I posted about a lip plumper I tried at Chic Critique and y'all might get a laugh or two out of it.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Couldna Been More Plain if the Letters in My Alphabet Soup Had Spontaneously Arranged Themselves to Spell Out FOREVER

So, we've all got horrible colds and Al went back to work yesterday after his vacation. If you'd looked at the dictionary entry for for·lorn yesterday, you'd have seen a picture of Bean and me, eyes brimming with tears, lookin' out the front window of FriedOkra Manor, willing hard for Daddy to come back home to us.


Oh, how I miss that man. And it's not just that I'd love an extra set of hands to help staunch the incessant flow of my children's various bodily excretions, either. I just miss HIM. He's my best friend, plain and simple. I knew that, and I knew HIM, when I married him, but as time has gone by, (and this will sound trite, I know, but it's really real), and as we've lived our lives and weathered our (smallish doses of, I'll admit) hardships together, I've grown to love him so much more deeply. And to know him so well that it surprises even me.

An example: Yesterday I started working on Shrimp Creole to have for dinner right at about lunchtime. Because I know that in order to have even the simplest dinner ready AND tend to the many needs of my sick babies I've got to get started about 7 hours in advance. And I worked on that dish all day long, off and on, until bathtime for the kiddos. All I had left to do was toss in the shrimp and let 'em cook and we'd have been golden. But after bathtime came bedtime for Peabody, and of course, being sick and all, he's regressed in age by about a month, and so would not be soothed or consoled long enough to fall asleep in his crib. So bedtime stretched well into the Final Dinner Prep time slot and I was finally stumbling back down to the kitchen having made a shaky peace with Peabody just as Al walked in the door.

I took one look at that man's face and read, "Not a Shrimp Creole night. This would be a soup and PBJ night."

And I wordlessly packaged up my Shrimpless Creole, stuck it in the fridge, and pulled out my 10 pound can of Creamy Jif.

(We eat a little peanut butter around here.)

As we sat over dinner, quietly eating, both feeling sick and exhausted but inexplicably cozy, I said, "I'd planned shrimp creole for dinner but I just couldn't quite pull it off."

"Mmmm. Shrimp Creole."

"Yeah. Mmmmm. But not tonight mmmm..."

"Nope. Tonight was made for soup and sandwiches."

Yes, it was.

It was made for just that, honey.



We'll celebrate our fifth anniversary in December, my sweet, funny husband and I. It doesn't sound like much to a veteran married person, but to me, it's a milestone I've pined to reach and break through, and I've been keenly aware of its approach for more than 18 months. My first marriage ended in its fifth year, and for all the loving and the healing and the forgiving of myself I've done in the years since then, there's been an ache and a tiny lingering doubt inside me, that maybe I'd not be able to sustain a marriage beyond that point, in my own heart, no matter who my partner might be.

And with a cross-country move, a tough pregnancy, two major job changes and a brand new baby added to the mix, these past couple of years have presented us with extra challenges and friction and have pulled at our seams, no doubt.

But when I looked up and over my PBJ and my bowl of canned soup at Al last night, I saw my forever future. Oh, we're not perfect. And we're not the flashy, sexy, spontaneous couple we were when we first started dating. We've given up several of our shared dreams (at least for now), made some life-altering decisions and argued hotly until I thought we'd both crumble into smoldering cinders since we married. We've both shown our very worst to one another on several occasions.

What I know, as November turns into December and we quietly celebrate five years of marriage, of real life, together, is that the ache and the doubt I've had about myself and my ability to stay committed and true and in love have vanished.

We're the real deal, Al and me. I'm in this one for good, and knowing that feels like coming home, to me.

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Monday, November 17, 2008


OH YEAH BABY! I'm just catching up on the news that BlogHer's gonna be in CHICAGO this year!

Who's in?

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If I Didn't Well, If I Didn't Make it Vague, Would You Still Click? It's Just Not A Risk I Wanna Take!

I'm over at 5 Minutes for Parenting this morning doin' my thang. Today I'm talking about family, and a special little sumpm I had growing up that I hope I can give my kiddos, somehow.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Uh Oh. The Global Recession Just Went Galactic

Overheard Saturday morning.

(Watching CNN -- a story about improvements to the International Space Station.)

CNN: ... with these additions, the International Space Station is now the equivalent of a five bedroom, two bathroom home.

M: WOW. A five bedroom, two bathroom home.

A: Mmm hmm. It's under foreclosure.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Here You Go, Ladies! No More Swump Water.

So, I took time away from FamilyFest 2008: The Basement Project last night to hoof it on down to my friend Melanie's for Bunco night with the girls. Upon my arrival I was BESIEGED (okay that may be a bit of an overstatement) with "WHERE ARE THE PICTURES OF YOUR BASEMENT?" and "WHY AREN'T YOU BLOGGIN' THIS WEEK? WE GO TO YOUR BLOG EVERY DAY AND YOU'RE NOT UPDATING! KINDA GETTIN' TIRED OF THE SWUMP WATER, ALREADY, LADY!"


Ain't nothin' wrong, people. It's just I've got my best friend home all day every day with me and I'M SUCKIN' THE EVERLOVIN' NECTAR OUTTA EVERY MINUTE HE'S HERE. That, and we've been down in the basement up to our armpits in shelving and shop-vacs, colorful foam floor tiles and storage units and TOYS, TOYS, TOYS, TOYS since Sunday afternoon.

When we make up our minds to do sumpm, we DO THAT SUMPM.

Behold the "new" Play Area. (Cue the angelic choir.)

TOYS! All in one place! Downstairs in RAINBOWLAND where they can be played with and distributed to the proverbial four corners without drivin' me OUT OF MY TREE!)


And the new Exercise Area.


Oh. Yes, you're RIGHT. The treadmill isn't even plugged in, which may give you some idea of our commitment level to Exercisin' right about now. But hey, we're gearing back up to it.

Baby steps and all that.


And the Storage Area.

Now I know. I KNOW. You're thinking, "Oh. Storage. Yippy." But believe me, people. THIS was the part of this job (besides layin' all those confounded rubber floor tiles which took Al about 24 man-hours and more diagrammin' and geometrifyin' than it took to build the dern LOUVRE.) that took the longest and makes our scalps tingle the most when we gaze upon it.

Because no, I didn't get to take any BEFORE pictures thanks to our bit-chomping excitement to get started, but for an imaginary BEFORE view, picture this: Take a stick of dynamite. Light the fuse. Toss the dynamite over there under the shelf with the carseat on top. Go ahead.

Now wait.


Alrighty. Now open your eyes.

What do you see?

All that stuff on those shelves blown and scattered and tossed and covering the floor of the entire basement such that you could NOT negotiate a through-way to the HVAC to change its filter if the entire house was filled floor to ceiling with dust. It was TOTAL UNNAVIGABLE CHAOS. Christmas ornaments co-minglin' with baby sneakers rubbin' elbows with 22-year old grammar textbooks topped off with a sprinkling of craft-and-gift-wrap detritus and 120 lbs. of assorted office supplies.

Oh, it was UGLY. My basement has been a source of shame and humiliation for two years. People'd come into my house and make as if to open my basement door and I'd freeze in panic and BEG them not to descend into that HIDEOUS PIT OF ABOMINATION.

Some people heeded my warning. Some people didn't.

A few have never returned.

But NOW! Now, it's all sorted and stored and neat and tidy and many, many loads of unpictured stuff were dragged up the stairs and out to the curb.

YES MOM! We threw some stuff away!

I know! Miraculous!


But the BEST thing about the basement - the nicest, most high-tech thing we installed, which will REVOLUTIONIZE basement occupancy for years to come and bring happiness to all, is our FANCY STATE-O-THE-ART PITCHER TUBE AND PIVOTIN' TV STAND that we can swivel to face the exercise area OR the play area, dependin' on which party's winnin' the Battle of the Brain Rot that particular day. Check it out, people.



I know. Kinda takes your breath away, doesn't it?

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Plus, A Good Cuppa Swump Water Every Mornin' Really Helps Inspire That Humility I'm After

"You let a black man in your white house years ago."

HA HA HA HA! Every time I scroll past that last line, I crack up.

It's morning. Godawful early morning. And you know what?

I'm thankful for cawfee.

I really love cawfee. And I'm not a cawfee snob at all, either. You could heat me up some brown stagnant swump water and pour in a little half-n-half and I'd guzzle it down gratefully and perk right up.

Today my cawfee was brought to me by my beautiful, sweet, sleepily dottering little husband, on accounta he's on vacation this week, praise the Lord. We have all week long together. It's he and I against the world (okay, against the chiddren, and they will inevitably win, because they're little and cute and we are SUCKERS, but still), and I'm happy about that.

We're gonna work on our basement project this week, and laugh a lot. Those're the only expectations we've set for the week: 1) Work together, and 2) laugh a lot.

Sigh. I get a joyful lump in my throat just thinkin' about it.

I'll hopefully be back later with some before pictures for y'all, so you can see what we're up against down there. OH, WHERE DOES IT ALL COME FROM?

For now though, I'm over at 5 Minutes for Parenting today, wearin' wool and tryin' to get back in good with my Shepherd.

And hey! If y'all're not already subscribed at 5 Minutes for Parenting, do yourselves a favor and clickity click click here. I know some of you dutifully meander over on Mondays to read my humble musings because I pester you to, but if you're not going back there every day, you're missing some of the best writing in Blogland, scribed by some absolutely wonderful (but human!) parents and chock full of love, wisdom, humor and sincerity.

Y'all can subscribe to FriedOkra's feed here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And My House Really was White at the Time, Too. With Emerald Green Shutters.

Overheard at 2 AM this morning.

WHAM! (I kicked/tripped over Bean's little wooden footstool on my way back to bed.)

M: "Ow!"

A: "You okay little Mama?"

M: (Groan.) Yeah.

Al gets up and moves the footstool back where it belongs.

M: "Obama won."

A: "How do you know?"

M: "I just went down and checked." (You'll note I didn't mention the real reason I was on the computer, which was to fix the comments on my last post.)

A: "Oh."


M: "I'm happy for our kids."

A: "Why?"

M: "They'll never know a time when someone with their skin color can't be or hasn't been President."

A: "Yeah, they're like mini-Obamas."


A: "Well, you led the way, honey."

M: "I did?"

A: "Yeah. You let a black man in your white house years ago."

(Sleepy laughter.)

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And Since Then, Skirtless Skatin' Scandal Barbie Has Mysteriously Disappeared

(Alrighty, for some reason we couldn't make comments to this post earlier, but I've rejiggered some things and I believe that rectified the matter.) (I said that real calmly, didn't I? You'd never know from how I said it that I'm up at 2 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING working on my BLOG because NOT BEIN' ABLE TO GET COMMENTS HAS KEPT ME AWAKE ALL NIGHT!)

Bean and I went to McDonald's this weekend for lunch last week, just the two of us. I got her a Happy Meal.

See, I'm doin' everything I can lately to earn Good Mama points because frankly, I'm not a lot of fun to be around these days, and I figure a few months of outright buyin' her love with sugar, salt, fat, Disney TV and about 4 million rounds of Candyland at which I let her cheat blatantly and never say anything like, "YOU CAN'T JUST DIG THROUGH THE STACK AND PULL OUT THE ICE CREAM FAIRY EVERY TIME, BEAN. THAT'S NOT THE WAY YOU PLAY! FINE THEN, I'M NOT PLAYING WITH YOU ANYMORE! HMPH!" won't kill either of us, and maybe it'll hold my place in her heart for awhile so the real me can climb back in and reassume my old position when the steel rod finally comes back outta of my you-know-what and I can smile a smile at her that doesn't look like there's rubber cement and a painful jolt of electricity involved.

(I miss bein' Mrs. Nice Guy, people. But havin' a newborn in the house makes me a little bit tense and testy.)

Anyway, the Happy Meal came with a miniature Barbie-ish doll wearin' roller-skates, and this diminutive girl on wheels was proudly sportin' what amounted to a molded plastic bra with short sleeves and the micro-est micro-mini I have ever lain my eyes on. It was actually just a ruffled belt, truth be told. She was showing both her carefully sculpted plastic belly button and about 9 miles of bare leg.

But don't you just know that of COURSE she had on all of her safety equipment, includin' her helmet and a pair of sassy kneepads.

Well, safety first, y'all! We wouldn't want to give kids a toy that might subliminally teach them roller-skatin' without your kneepads (despite the fact that every other square inch of your body was exposed to God-n-everybody) was okay, would we?

We were eatin' our lunch sittin' elbow to elbow with an older gentleman, and we'd been making polite banter with him for a few minutes by the time Bean pulled Skatin' Skirtless Skatin' Scandal Barbie outta her bag, all conversation halted and we both did a double take at the doll, although prolly for entirely different reasons, I'll grant you.

I grabbed Barbie and looked Bean straight in the eye and said, "Bean, before you start playin' with this doll, let me tell you sumpm. SHE DOESN'T HAVE ON NEARLY ENOUGH CLOTHES. Her attire is COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE, and her Mama and Daddy would be horrified if they knew she was out in public lookin' like that."

The old man beside us then proceded to laugh so loud and so hard that I thought he was gonna fall off his teal-and-purple molded plastic McChair and onto the brown tile McFloor leavin' me no other option but to locate and employ the McDefibrillator on him.

Days later, Bean's preschool class had Pajama Day, and she got to go to school wearin' her little The Children's Place 100% cotton, 100% modest long-sleeved pajamas with the musical notes and ballerinas all over 'em, the ensemble complemented by her pink elastic-ankled fuzzy slippers.

As we were collecting her back pack and puttin' on her coat that morning, on our way out the door to deliver her to school, Bean looked at me and worriedly wondered, "Mama! What is Daddy gonna say when he finds out I went out in PUGLICK in my bajamas? He's gonna be horriblefied!"

Well, at least somebody takes me seriously, hmmm?

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Night in Review: Then We Came Home and I Said, "After You Eat Your Dinner, You May" Until My Lips Fell Off



As I expected would be the case, The FriedOkra gang spent considerably more time gettin' all costumed up and takin' pictures and millin' around in the driveway before the festivities than we did actually Trick-or-Treatin'.


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