birthday

Feels like the first time

File under: birthday | milestone | music | work

Try to try, my fanny. Sorry, dudes.

The month of August was hands down the most stressful month of my life. I lived to tell the tale, though, but now I'd prefer to just forget the tale.

Here are the highlights of the last month-plus in semichronological order:

  • We went to the Sauerkraut Festival in Phelps, New York, and didn't even eat any kraut. We saw some good friends and watched a parade and got more free candy than a family should consume in a year.

Greta's first WarHead candy

Dan Zanes at the Harro East

Jessica Lea Mayfield at Lovin' Cup

  • We celebrated 8 amazing years of marriage. I can't think of anything else to say about that except for yay us!
  • Pat and I went to a wedding for our friends Tim and Shastin at the picturesque Allegany State Park. The reception was at a casino and there were many jaw-dropping moments gawking at the crazy gamblers. Additionally, we danced our faces off and enjoyed an adult-only affair without the worry of dropping an F-bomb and having it come back to haunt us. Sometimes it's the little things.
  • Greta wrapped up her last days of daycare and then had a week off with Pat (while I was working 12-14 hours days - whoopee!), and they had some great daddy-daughter quality time. Most notably they went on a road trip to Enchanted Forest for a night. They spent two days at the park and had an absolute blast.

Pat and Greta at Enchanted Forest

Greta and the Dude

Greta in Wonderland

  • Pat turned 35, which means he's a year older than me for two months and three days. He's so old.
  • Greta went to her first afternoon tea. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but it seemed like a big deal to me. She poured half a cup of hot cocoa down her white dress, but other than that everything went swimmingly.
  • Greta seamlessly transitioned into kindergarten. It helps she's going to the kindergarten at her daycare center and is with most of her best buddies, but I appreciated how anticlimactic it was.

First day of school

  • We took our annual trip to Ohio to visit my mom's side of the family. We saw my grandmother, my great aunt, and aunt, and an uncle, and we spent a lot of quality time with my parents. It's hard to pick a highlight from the trip, but I guess I'd have to say the highlight was having a cerveza (or two or five) with my Great Aunt Jean at a Mexican joint in Dayton, Ohio. She's 90 and is the one elderly person who makes Pat and me think we may not need to drive off a cliff together in an old-age pact.
  • To round out the list I will share with you Greta's latest artwork from school: a bag person in her likeness! How creepy! How cool!

Freaky Greta

Ruby approves.

Fran

Feeling writerly (not really)

File under: birthday | rit | weekend update

Oh, hello. I can't help but notice that my formal favorite outlet has gone down the crapper. Sorry about that. 2011 has been unpleasantly busy and just, well, unpleasant. The last thing I want to do at night, when I finish work around 11 PM or so, is collect my thoughts and write a blog. Also, the internal narrator I've had for the last 8 years or so has left the building. (Seriously, usually it's like an episode of Parker Lewis Can't Lose in my head.) So even on the rare occasion I've had time to write, I've had nothing to say. So there's that. But the last two weeks have finally calmed down, and while my internal narrator is still at large, I think I have enough things going on I can piece something together.
 
Birthday parties galore. We had two really fun parties for Greta, and there are some fantastic pictures that I really need to post somewhere to share. For Greta's friend party, her favor bags contained whoopee cushions, fake mustaches, and nerd glasses. Seeing the nerdy, mustachioed kids having fun was the highlight of my life. So cute. What is not so cute is that we have six kid birthday activities in the month of May. Ridiculous. The party we went to this past Sunday lasted entirely too long and there was a clown—a very rude clown. He bounced back and forth between hitting on me and insulting me. He insulted everyone at the party, I think. He called certain kids stupid and ugly. He told inappropriate jokes about religion, politics, mothers-in-law, and death...not to mention boogers and farts (the latter of which are usually hilarious), and his delivery was atrocious. Also, he had the worst case of dry mouth I have ever seen. He was literally frothing at the mouth. It was so...uncomfortable. Lesson, kids? Don't hire a clown under any circumstances...unless it's a nice, normal, good clown. (Is that an oxymoron?)
 
Greta had her first semi-legitimate modeling gig! When I say semi-legitimate, I don't mean like in college when you'd get $50 and someone would photograph your feet for three hours (not that I did that). I mean like in the sense that it was just for fun and no money was exchanged. Anyway, a friend of a friend was looking for kiddo models, and Greta had the opportunity to pose for her. The photographer, Hannah Betts, was great, and we can't wait to see the finished product at the opening of the show later this month. She posted a sneak peak of the show on her blog, which happens to be a photograph of Greta! I am SO excited. Does Greta make a great mad face or what? I love it.
 
This past weekend Pat helped make history by playing in the world's largest dodgeball game at RIT. Greta and I got to cheer from the stands, and it was quite a sight to be seen (and quite a smell to be smelled) with more than 2,000 playing for about two hours. It was quite impressive. There is a really cool video of it here. I love watching the time-lapse video of how the sides moved in waves. It was even cooler in person.
 
Okay, I guess I'll leave it at one more thing for tonight. This Saturday is Imagine RIT, aka my favorite festival in Rochester. Pat is going to be an exhibitor again this year, and he's been working like crazy to prepare. No exaggeration, he came home at 1:30 AM two nights ago and I woke up, looked at the clock, and said, "You're home early." And the sad thing is I was being sincere. The good news is I'm sure it's going to be a great exhibit and also, for Pat's hard work he, Greta, and I were all given VIP status for the festival. We get high-roller parking and get to wear fancy badges with brains on them and get to get free high-roller food from Mario's in some high-roller tent. High rollers! Woot! Woot! It's a really fun event, whether you're a high roller or not, so you should come. (I had a blast slumming it as a commoner the last three years.)
 
All right, that's it for now. I will try to upload some recent pictures soon and I've got a few more stories in my pocket. I'm sure all two readers left are thrilled.
 
Honk if you...like honking!
 
Fran

Two down, none to go

File under: birthday | greta

This past weekend we had Greta's family and friend-friend party. I'm not going to lie; I'm glad we don't need to host another party for many months. But we had a very nice time, particularly this past weekend. Greta loved having her favorite family members (minus a couple people who couldn't make it) and her best friends at her house. She got shy when she realized 15 or so people were all singing Happy Birthday to her, but she rallied to blow out her candles.

Greta got tons of loot, and her grandparents spoiled her, as usual. After the party, the Reeds stayed the night. We took a walk around the block, and Greta rode her new scooter. I didn't take many picture of the weekend, unfortunately, but here is one that cracks me up. There was a rogue sock on the ground, and the entire family was staring at it like it was something much more exciting than, say, a sock.

It was nice to hang out with the Reeds and stay up late with them chatting and watching guilty-pleasure TV. And that's all I got. Sorry, dudes.

Fran

Four

File under: birthday | greta

Greta Bean turned the ripe old age of four today!

March 17, 2006 - I thought she was pretty cute here.

March 17, 2010 - But she is way cuter here, opening up presents this morning with bed head.

We asked Greta what she wanted for her special birthday dinner, and she requested chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and corn on the cob. (I found fresh corn on the cob! It wasn't very good, but it was fresh.) She miiiiiight be white trash. Or she might be four. I was slightly bummed out she wanted chicken nuggets, since we've never had those in the house before, but then she only ate one. She also requested something called "Enchanted Unicorn Horns," from her Pink Princess Cookbook. They are basically ice cream cones, the tops of which are dipped in melted white chocolate and sprinkled with...sprinkles, and then, of course, filled with ice cream. The dessert was definitely the hit. Oh, the point of this story is that Greta likes things like steak and shrimp and couscous and artichokes, and she picked chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Funny girl.

Tonight, as we were getting ready for bed, Greta asked, "Can I still be the baby?" Awww. That just melted my heart.

That's it and that's all.

Fran

One down, one to go

File under: birthday

Greta's birthday is coming up, and we're having two birthday parties for her this year - one for her day-care friends and one for family and family friends. Today was the day-care friends' party. We decided to have two parties because A) our house is small and B) because sometimes you shouldn't mix friends.

To cite an example of the latter, earlier this year, at one of the birthday parties Greta attended, where there were both day-care friends and friend-friends of the birthday boy, one of the friend-friend's moms made multiple disparaging remarks about one of the day-care friends to that day-care friend's mom. Wait, what? That's right. One mom, who didn't realize she was talking to the kid in question's mom, said awful things about a kid TO THE KID'S MOM, not realizing her error. I'm paraphrasing, but she made such comments as, "Wow, have they had that girl checked out?" And then when the mom of the kid politely said that the girl simply a bit strong willed and that that trait would be a positive one when she is an adult, the friend-friend's mom dug herself further in the hole by saying, "[Is there] trouble at home?" (Oh, and I should also report that the friend-friend was no little angel. Just sayin'.) I am probably explaining the exchange horribly, but basically this mom who had no idea how insulting she was being was...totally insulting. I give the day-care friend's mom a million gold stars, because she kept her cool with the friend-friend's mom and actually laughed it off. If it were me in that position, I probably would have scratched some eyes out or, at the very least, unleash a verbal fury that would make her cry. Not that I think one of MY lovely friends would pull a stunt like that, but one never knows. Day-care friends and friend-friends are just that - and never the twain shall meet, at least not without cheat sheets of who is related to whom. End verbal diatribe.

Oh! Back to Greta's birthday party. I was sort of extremely nervous to have six preschoolers in my house. I have just never had that many kids in my house, and, um, kids scare me (except for my own). But it was great!

I love this picture. Here are all the girls in Greta's bedroom, squished into her chair.

I also wanted to say that I think it's awesome how involved the day-care dads (and moms) are. I think it's rare for dads to be so involved at day care, in general, and it was really great to see them engaged with the kids. At one point, one dad had all of the kids intently (and quietly!) following along with a book, and at another point, a different dad had all of the kids shrieking with delight as he "scared" them. It was super cute.

Now the house is clean and quiet and back to order. Ahhh. Just one more to go and I can go back to being antisocial for a year.

Fran

Some things on my mind - in no particular order

File under: birthday | food | reading list

 
I took a half day yesterday, and Taryn and I met up to celebrate her birthday. She came to town so we could hit up some Rochester food/shopping. I hadn't been to Black & Blue yet, but I had heard good things, so I suggested we go to lunch there. There were so many tasty-looking items on the menu that I had trouble deciding, and so I did what I sometimes do when I'm being indecisive: I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. I figure, why not? If it all looks good, why not go with the cheapest? It was their signature burger. It cost what an average burger costs at Fridays/Applebees/RubyTuesdays/Chilis/Whatevers (it was actually less than $8), but it was perfection on a perfect bun. It had bacon and blue cheese, and it was seasoned and cooked perfectly. Did I mention it was perfect? Oh, and it came with shoestring French fries. Perfect. Taryn and I also both got desserts. They were not perfect because they were too big. I ate so much I actually had a cramp for half an hour (and I wasn't even swimming after the meal).
 
After lunch we did some shopping at Eastview. As I mentioned previously, we recently got an Anthropologie. Taryn and I both came to the conclusion that it's nice to look, but it's too expensive to buy. Even their sale stuff is really expensive. Also, their clothes look like how I would *like* to dress, but it's just not how I dress. I feel like I would buy a dress and then covet it in my closet and then never actually wear it. And that would be sad. I'm glad we have an Anthropologie, and I plan to stop by their sale section and visually enjoy the regularly priced eye candy when I can, but I don't think I will be getting a new wardrobe there anytime soon. I did get two sweaters at Banana Republic for a combined grand total under $35 and a magical pair of boots on super-sale at Macy's. And Taryn found some good stuff too. It was a great afternoon - one that I totally needed. I felt like it was my birthday!
 
So, amigos, my friend Alex IM'd me the other day to tell me that our former home-away-from-home Mex is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend. Can you believe it has been 10 years?? Alex said, "It's been almost 10 years since you kicked someone out of a bar." It has actually been 7 and a half years since I kicked someone out of a bar, but who's counting? 10 years...time flies. I might need to have a gin and tonic this weekend (at New Mex = my living room) to celebrate.
 
I'm reading a crazy book for book club right now. It's Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and it's kicking my @ss! It has 6 different sections, and I have gotten into each one eventually, but it takes time. I really need to think about what I'm reading as I read and sort of translate the meaning as I go. If I don't, I sometimes have to go back 10 or 20 pages and reread a section. I have NEVER had to do that - ever. I feel like a pansy because other reviews I've read of the book were all so positive and people claim they loved it from page 1, but I'm struggling. I blame both my job and modern technology for giving me adult-onset ADD. Having a kid who craves constant attention doesn't help much either. It also doesn't help that there are some crazy dilects. I read a paragraph of one of the sections out loud to Pat, and I think his response was, "Oh, f*** that." I like the book, but I'll be sort of glad when it's done.
 
What did you do today?
 
Fran
 

Day 2: desserts that will make you want to ditch your resolutions

File under: birthday | Image del día

 

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday, and we got together today to celebrate. I ended up making two desserts: tapioca pudding and trifle. My dad's favorite dessert is tapioca pudding, but that is not necessarily a crowd pleaser - at least not with most of my family. (I inherited the tapioca-loving gene, though, and Pat likes it as well.) I have made tapioca pudding a few times before with disappointing results, which is indeed disappointing when you spend 45 minutes straight stirring something over a hot stove. Anyway, I tried a new tapioca pudding recipe yesterday from 101 Cookbooks, and it is a winner. So totally worth the effort. And thanks to modern technology, I watched a couple short movies on my laptop, which made the 45 minutes of stirring go by in a flash. It also helps that the novelty of cooking with our new-to-me Wolf oven/range has not lost its novelty.

Not that it's all that much to look at, but here is tapioca perfection in a glass.

Speaking of which, hey Internet peoples, do any of you know what type of glass this is? My grandma gave me a set of 8 of them, and I lost the note she gave me telling me what they are. They're small; they hold about 4 ounces. Juice glass? Cordial glass? I don't know my glassware.

Back to the trifle. For this one I have a tried-and-true recipe that I modified from my Aunt Marianne's original recipe. Hers is homemade pound cake, homemade custard, homemade whipped cream, raspberries, Mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, and sometimes wine, depending on the audience. I make a little lighter version and also cut some corners. I use store-bought angel food cake (which is a huge bastardization of trifle - I know - but I just find the pound cake to be too heavy, personally), custard from a mix (shame on me), homemade whipped cream, raspberries, Mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, and I never ever, ever, EVER let any extra liquid near it. I can't get into soggifying the cake. Soggy is bad.

Lemme know if you want the recipe (the proper one or my little bastard recipe).

Pretty.

Happy Jan 2, peoples.

Fran

Sound the alarm

File under: birthday

 

Because today is Pat Reed's birthday.

Given Pat's love of the Segway and his inherent studliness, this seemed like the perfect card.

Don't you agree?

Fran

 

Here's your update

File under: birthday

 

I promised a more comprehensive update, didn't I?

So, we all had Friday off, and even I felt quite patriotic whenever I thought about how I got to spend the day with my family, playing with Greta and doing some painting around the house, all while being paid. Come on, America and paid holidays are pretty awesome. I may have chanted "USA! USA!" in my head a couple times on Friday.

Saturday, we headed out to my parents' house for my mom's birthday celebration, which was quite the admiral's feast. As I mentioned previously, my brother got 75 clams and 6 one-and-a-half pound lobsters to feed 6 1/2 people (Greta is not a gal of the sea, so she did not partake in the seafood extravaganza, even though we referenced Green Eggs and Ham several times, which usually works like a charm). It was a very gluttonous meal. We were all slightly sketched out by the fact that there were live lobsters that had to be put to their deaths, but thankfully my brother stepped up to be the executioner. I documented the scene.

This frisky guy was dubbed Pinchy, for obvious reasons.

Nom nom nom

Here are Phil and "Dinner" in all their glory.

It was no trip to Maine, but we had a really nice day. My mom (whose birthday is today - happy birthday, mom!) seemed to enjoy herself.

 

Here are Grandma Norma and Greta Bean relaxing after lunch, watching Curious George.

Later in the day we headed over to Phil and Becky's to watch fireworks from their back deck. It was a chilly night, but Pat wrapped Greta up in a couple blankets and, even though it was way past her bedtime and pretty loud, she had the best time. In fact, the louder they were, the more she seemed to enjoy them. (This is quite an improvement from the little girl who, not long ago, would cry when we'd use the coffee grinder because it was "too youd.")

Sunday we headed back to the Ro-cha-cha and went to our little friend Maddie's third birthday party. The bad news is we forgot to bring our camera. The good news is Greg and Kimmie did take pictures and will hopefully update their blog here. [nudge, nudge]

The fun just keeps coming this summer. I feel like the rest of our summer is basically mapped out for us. At least we're never bored...

Fran

Hi, peoples!

File under: birthday | weekend update

 

Admittedly, Greta doesn't get much "alone time." Pat and I just don't give her an awful lot of space (I'm what Dr. Phil calls a "helicopter mom"), but after a couple recent instances that made me chickity check myself, I decided that she needs just a touch more independence. This morning, I had some laundry to put away, so I let Greta play in the closet off her room (which is basically just storage), and then I heard her say, "Mom, come look at me." I did, and she smiled sheepishly and said, "Look, I'm in the bucket." She was indeed in a big tupperware bin full of old toys, with some Boppy thing nestled around her. Of course I had to document it. Hello, yoga ball, I've used you once!

Greta in the bin

My mom has a similar picture of me after I had a little independence. She found me inside a closed kitchen cupboard, eating a raw potato. Raw, yes. I know there is a picture of it somewhere. I might need to dig that up.

In other news, we went to our little friend Colin's house today for his third birthday party. The weather was perfect and we had a great time.

Here is the birthday boy wearing his green "C" super hero cape.

Super Colin!

Greta always enjoys running around in their big back yard.

Camera 1.

Greta

Camera 2.

Greta

Here is a rare glamour mommy-daughter shot.

Greta and Franny

Fran

Syndicate content