Thursday, March 25, 2010

Silas Turns 24

Yesterday was Silas' golden birthday!  He said he didn't care if we did anything, but I wanted to at least recognize it because once you leave home, your birthdays aren't very exciting anymore.  Especially if you're a guy.  Girls' roommates will often make them a cake or do something to recognize it, but a male roommate is more likely to moon you with his bare butt than congratulate you on the anniversary of your birth.  

Unfortunately, Silas was at school until 8pm yesterday, but when he got home we had a nice little dinner and a couple presents.  It wasn't anything extravagant, but I'm going to post pictures because, believe it or not, it took me ALL DAY to decorate and bake and put everything together.  So. 

For dinner, I made cloverleaf rolls, barbecue chicken and mashed potatoes (at his request), and salad.  I only have pictures of the rolls.  But it was all (surprisingly) delicious, I can assure you.  (Meat is not my specialty.  I hadn't made chicken in quite a while.)

Silas doesn't like cake, and I knew he didn't want one for his birthday.  But I couldn't resist.  A birthday is the perfect excuse for cake!  So, I made him one that I'd made for my friend Marissa a year and a half ago.  It doesn't have any flour and it's super chocolatey and delicious and moist and extremely rich.  It's kind of like eating a super decadent fudge.  (Can you tell I love it?)  It doesn't taste at all like a traditional cake, so I was hoping he'd like it.  He was a wee bit skeptical at first but after he tasted it he loved it!  I was so pleased. 

(Let me interject and tell you that this was the first celebratory dinner I've made where everything turned out like it was supposed to.  Usually the meat is over or underdone, the rolls are flat or as hard as rocks, the mashed potatoes are too runny....I always mess at least one thing up.  But everything was okay!  Even the cake!....after I shaved off the bottom so it would sit right.)

Oh yeah.  The cake.

Oh and I forgot to show you the (minimal) decorating I did.

For his presents:
A card from me.  Here's a picture I put on the inside:

He's growing a "March Mustache" right now.  I tease him about it.  He's still one good-looking man, though.  :)

I also gave him some candy, those tamales I bought from the lady, and two Patrick McManus books (which haven't arrived yet).  The "grand finale" (although it wasn't that grand) was this:
Which he opened, only to find this:
On which I had recorded two songs for him.  I was really nervous because I cringe whenever I listen to myself sing, but he loved it.  :)

(A special shout-out of gratitude to Nick and Elyssa for letting me use their recording equipment, and for letting me kick them out of their apartment so they wouldn't hear me sing, and for basically being awesome friends.  We love you guys. 

Please don't go to Thailand.

Just kidding.  Sort of.)

Happy Birthday, Silas!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stuff We've Been Doing


baking bread

finding a really great deal on a hiking pack to hold baby T





and just being cute.

Saying No

When I was in high school and boys would ask me out, rather than politely declining if I wasn't interested, I would say, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I actually have plans that night."  The poor boy, understandably thinking I had pressing prior engagements, would nod agreeably and then call me another night.  After realizing that I was "busy" on every weekend night and most weekdays, he would stop calling.

(For the record, that is not the way to handle things.  As I look back I realize how mean and evasive that was, and I feel extremely guilty.  I wish I'd either given them a chance or at least had the decency to graciously thank them and decline.)

I've never been good at saying no.  Directly, at least.  For some reason, I just can't make the word come out of my mouth.  I can come up with a hundred subtle, roundabout, I'm-saying-it-but-I'm-not-really-saying-it ways to say no.  But I can't say the n-word.


It's not something I'm proud of.  I think I do it because I don't want to hurt the asker's feelings, but I know that being indirect with someone can be even more wounding.  So.  Working on that.

I feel really bad when I get requests from Salvation Army workers, Girl Scouts vending cookies, little clarinet players peddling wrapping paper magazines for their school fundraisers, or that guy on River Street in Savannah who weaves trinkets from tall stalks of pampas grass.  I get talked into things easily, and then I feel guilty for spending money on things we don't need. 

I've developed a strategy for when I'm accosted by strangers hawking their wares.  They don't accept rejection easily, so I've had to learn to cut them off with a polite, but succinct, "No, thank you" and keep walking.

Today I was working on making Silas' birthday dinner when I heard someone knocking at the door.  Thinking it was the UPS guy with the package I ordered for Si last week, I ran to get it.

I opened it to find a sweet-looking Hispanic woman, her back a little stooped from the years she'd been doing battle with gravity.  She smiled kindly at me and held up a sign that said, "TAMALES: $1.00".

Without even thinking, I instinctively said, "No thank you".  I could tell she didn't speak English, but she understood, nodding and smiling cheerfully.  She waved goodbye as she made her way back down the stairs to the parking lot. 

Immediately I was consumed by guilt.  This was how this woman made her living.  I couldn't even spare a dollar?

I searched frantically for some cash until I remembered I'd received some in my birthday card last week.  I grabbed some money and ran back outside, hoping the woman was still there.  I found her talking to my neighbor Craig and I ran up and told her I wanted to buy five.  She smiled happily and told me to wait while she went to get the tamales.

She wheeled over a large, soft-sided cooler that was insulated to keep the food warm.  She unzipped it and covered her hand in plastic as she reached in and carefully placed my tamales, one by one, into a little bag.  The smell of the corn husk-wrapped treats would have been extremely tempting had I not just eaten six of the rolls I was making for dinner.  I decided to sample some later.  I exchanged the money for the tamales and the woman thanked me, pleased.

I looked into her bright eyes, framed by delicate little wrinkles that bore testament to a life of laughter.  She came from humble circumstances, but I knew it would be a mistake to think her simple.  As I watched her walk away, I silently wished her happiness and success in her endeavors.

And I didn't feel guilty.

Anyway, Silas loves tamales.  He'll be very pleased to see them tonight.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


is my birthday!

I love celebrating.  And birthdays are the ultimate celebratory excuse.

Coming up next week:  Silas' birthday!

I can't wait.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If the world were my oyster...

...we would eat pizza every night.  Pizza of all varieties.  I never get tired of pizza.  Even saying the word brings joy into my heart.  Pizza.

(sorry the pictures aren't that great.  but it was super tasty.  let me tell you.)

Sometimes we would have chocolate mousse, too. 

 In super-classy plastic stemware.  Because we're worth it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Not for the Faint of Heart or Weak of Stomach

Sometimes people wonder if parenthood is as glamorous as some celebrities make it seem.

I can assure you, it is.

The Babysitter

This morning, Tesla woke up 30 minutes early.

I love waking up earlier than I intended to.  It's my favorite.

Especially when my child is in a particularly whiny mood.

I was trying to get ready for church but he was insisting loudly that I hold him.  Unfortunately, I have not yet mastered the art of changing my clothes whilst holding a crying child.  Since we recently dismissed our live-in nanny (she just wasn't up to our standards), I had to find an alternative means of childcare.

Enter the iTunes visualizer.

It's magic on a screen.

Also good for providing hours of entertainment:


Friday, March 12, 2010


was my last day of class.

(Brooke made these t-shirts.  Aren't they cute?)

I made these.

Everyone loved them.  I was thrilled.  When someone eats something I make, it's as if they are taking a piece of my soul, my self, my chi, if you will.  And if they like it, they like me.  Transitive property.  Or something.  I'm not exactly a math person.

Dear class, thank you for eating my soul-cookies.

Chew on This

For lunch, I made wraps.

Silas was home from work early, I wasn't at class, Tesla was asleep, I had just restocked our I made lunch.  What you must understand in order to appreciate this phenomenon is that I never make lunch.  (Or breakfast.)  I snack constantly until dinner and Silas fends for himself.  But yesterday, the planets aligned in his favor.  What a lucky man.


Because he is the product of my loins, Tesla loves to eat.  I have let him taste a few things because his reactions amuse me so he can be exposed to new flavors.  So far, he has tried and liked tomatoes, pickles, soy sauce, plums, pears, jicama, and red bell pepper.  (Don't freak out.  I just let him lick them.)

Here is a pictorial journey through some of the things he has tasted.

His hands, of course

Silas' finger and nose

His teething ring

 Various blankets


The bumbo seat

The jumper

 Raggedy Andy's bum


Not everything that can go into your mouth should be sampled.