Buddy

Dear Buddy,

Five years ago today I took what felt like the thousandth pregnancy test since I had gotten married (three months previously) and…it was negative. I felt crampy and I was mad that I felt crampy so I took like four Aleve and went about my day with your sister, not sure why God wasn’t JUST GIVING ME A BABY ALREADY. I mean seriously. Didn’t He understand?

Later that afternoon, because anxiety doesn’t make sense, I took another test. This one- this one, there was a tiny blue line.

I was so surprised I sank to my knees in the bathroom, that horrible bathroom I couldn’t stand (even though it was objectively beautiful.) “Our boy,” I thought. I knew right then that you were my Joey, and even though I spent the next nine months convinced you would die, I couldn’t imagine life without you.

And like I wrote to you on  your birthday this year, you have changed our lives (all of our lives) in ways we never thought possible, and we will forever be thankful to you for changing the story of our family to include hope.

One year ago tomorrow morning you had to have hernia surgery. You were fine- literally home by naptime and totally happy. Never even took ibuprofen afterwards. But you were still scared- you had to be wheeled away from me crying in anesthesia, and I had to wait while they cut you open. Afterwards while we were walked to recovery with a mother who knew way too much about how this hospital operated, Daddy and I were never more appreciative of the fact that we have healthy children and get to have so many moments with you and your sister that we don’t even appreciate.

Today we got one of those moments. Squeaks went with Aunt Colleen for a special girls day, and I took you with me for what I thought would be a normal day. But you wanted a Mommy Joey day. So we had one. We got a Happy Meal and took a cuddly nap and watched TV (“Movies are too scary,” you told me) while eating Halloween cookies and cuddling on the couch. You literally kept saying “Best day ever!”

I hope I never forget that stuff. How sweet you are, how much you love cuddling. How you want to be close to someone all the time. How much you love to be cozy under a blanket. How you’re scared of the most random stuff (movies) and love British TV shows.

I hope I never forget anything.

Love,

Mommy

Key to My Heart

You may have heard that Amazon has announced Amazon Key- a service in which you trust an Amazon person to roll up to your house in an unmarked van, let themselves into your house, and probably not murder you.

I read an article that said, “Let’s not be coy. You know you’re going to let them do it.”

Yeah. Probably.

I mean, I started with trusting them with my credit card info. Which, ten years ago, was a big deal. Then I trusted them not to damage my Clearblue Sticks. Which, when you have anxiety, is a big deal. And now I trust them not to poison my food or give me rotten meat or whatever with Prime Now, which is kind of a big deal to the last generation to grow up being afraid of candy from strangers.

(Yesterday, concerned I would have to put on real pants before trick or treat this weekend, I summoned a stranger with my phone to bring me candy. I know.)

So yeah, as creepy as it sounds to allow Amazon to just literally let themselves in your front door while YOU ARE NOT AT HOME, I’m probably like three weeks away from signing up.

That got me thinking- what else would I like to outsource to Amazon?

Childcare- If I could select the number of hours I’d need a babysitter and one would show up? And then when she spent the night watching my TV and not cleaning up after dinner I could just complain to Amazon and they’d comp me for the night? YAAASSS.

They probably wouldn’t hire ALL child molesters. Right?

Prescription Drugs- Okay so I actually have an online prescription drug service, and I usually refuse to use it because I like to vet my suppliers myself. So I can hear my husband rolling his eyes from here. But get this- I wouldn’t need a doctor to renew. Amazon would have lots of little doctors that they employ who would look at my records and be like “Um yeah, lady needs the Prozac she’s been on since the beginning of time. Just fill it.” No dragging children to the doctor for her to weigh and look judgmentally at me. How awesome would that be?

Other doctor-type things- Ladies, I’m thinking yearly exams here. If I could either just send in a kit (I do NFP- I know where my cervix is, thanks) or arrange a house call through Amazon? Oh my gosh. Think of the time it would free up. And you’d be a lot comfier in your house, am I right?

Confession- I’d like to summon a priest so I never had to leave my house. And there would have to be pick a priest options because I don’t like confessing to the same one more than once. I’m a little weird.

(Not weird like in what I’m confessing. That’s pretty boring, I think. But I just find the whole experience uncomfortable. Wonderful. But uncomfortable.)

Waxing- Enough said.

Haircuts- If I could get my hair cut without figuring out childcare? I’d…well, have much better hair.

Clothing- Oh wait, I already do this.

What would you outsource?

 

Heroine Addict

I recently finished  Samantha Ellis’ How to Be a Heroine. I liked it, she’s a fantastic writer, and I loved following her along her journey. She’s a little whiny at times- I mean, honestly. Not every female character is written to be a completely flawless role model for you. That’s not the point of writing women. I loved her depiction of growing up as an Iraqi Jewish girl in London and all the sexual and ethnic tensions that come with that.

Growing up as the treasured daughter of Whitey McWhiterson and his legally and sacramentally bound wife in Safe Little Haven, USA, I had quite a different upbringing. But I still read a ton, and I still identified with the women I read about, and had my share of heroine-lust throughout the years. It was fun to see, like Ellis, how these women hold up under further scrutiny.

Nancy Drew- ages 7-9

Nancy Drew was my first girl love. I devoured those books. I wanted to be just like her. I wanted titian hair (I convinced myself it was close to the ashy auburn I had in real life) and while I didn’t want MY mom to die, I certainly admired the freedom that great tragedy apparently lends you. I loved Nancy. I saw nothing unbelievable in any of those books, just amazing wonderful stories about an amazing wonderful woman.

Of course, I’ve read them again. As a grown-up. And honestly guys, they’re all the same book. Like. For serious. With different weapons. I realize now that there was no reason for her to be doing LITERALLY anything she does in those books, and for someone with no formal education and a freaking housekeeper she knew how to do literally everything.

And she was kind of a jerk to Bess about her body. Which as a mom with a mom bod I DON’T APPRECIATE NANCY.

I still love her.

Saddle Club Girls- ages 9-13

Oh these girls. Rich, happy, literally nothing touches them. I wanted to be all three of them at different times, depending on what actual crap was going on in my life. I mean, Carole’s mom is dead and presumably that’s hard to handle, but would you know it? Nope. Good ole Col. Whatever His Name Was is the perfect chaste widower dad and Carole grows up without an adoptive mother desperately googling “CHILD OCD SPECIALISTS IN *AREA*”

Oh sorry. Too close?

Cathy Earnshaw- age 12

I read Wuthering Heights for the first time when I was 12, sitting on the floor in my grandpa’s hospital room. I was still pretty unsure of what the actual mechanics of sex were, but it sounded a lot like what Cathy and Heathcliff wanted to get up to in that big old gothic mansion. And that sounded like fun.

In most of these fantasies, the role of Heathcliff was played by my grandfather’s middle aged Jewish cardiologist, a dude named Leonard.

It was a pretty boring time in my actual life.

As an adult, I’m like dear Lord guys, GET OVER YOURSELVES. First of all. Love is not that grand. It’s wonderful. And amazing. BUT NO ONE LITERALLY DIES OF A BROKEN HEART. Sheesh. Go clean something or I don’t know, TRY LOVING YOUR ACTUAL SPOUSES.

(And hey, if my husband ever asks why I was so dead set on staying at a castle on our honeymoon it definitely was not because of this book. Not. At all.)

Betsy Ray, age 9-whenever I die.

I read the Betsy Tacy books in reverse order- I found Betsy’s Wedding in a resale bin at the library and read it when I was like nine or ten. And then I fell in love with it and went back and read all of them and THEY ARE AMAZING GUYS GO GET THEM FOR YOUR CHILDREN. I have like three copies of each book.

But it’s the Betsy from Betsy’s Wedding that speaks to me the most, still. She’s honest and in love but not flighty and she and Joe make a real life together. And (most importantly I think) she admits when she’s being obnoxious as I tend to be obnoxious to my husband and need help admitting it. I’m suuuuper bad at admitting it. But Betsy’s not. She goes to church and is like, “All right God. Help me out here. I’m not being the best wife I can be and I need help.” And guess what? He helps her! Because He’s God. And that’s what He does. And THESE BOOKS SERIOUSLY GO BUY THEM.

As a mother, and someone who is not necessarily a writer but struggles with feeling like she has let all of herself go in the process of getting married and having children, watching Betsy struggle with that as well but not shirt her place int eh family is inspiring.

Scarlett O’Hara, age 12

This was my brief, not-so-flattering phase where I walked around saying things like “I don’t know why everyone whined about slavery.”

(Editor’s Note: I understand completely why everyone abhorred, not whined about, slavery.)

I fell hard for Book Rhett and hated Movie Rhett though so I had trouble reading it again after the initial one. I did keep a list of dirty parts written on a page and tucked in my copy. Because I was a little pervert apparently.

Now, I see Scarlett as she is- spoiled, manipulative, and completely unaware of her dignity as a woman. But with a seventeen-inch waist.

The Second Mrs. DeWinter, age 15

Guys, I loved Rebecca. Another English country manor on the moors where people moped around and loved inappropriate people and had sex in four-poster beds…huh, teenage Kathleen was a little weird, I’m starting to realize now.

Anyway. The Second Mrs. DeWinter is married to an older guy whose wife died tragically and she was young and pretty and sexy and perfect and dead so she gets to stay that way. And, you know, we get to know her name.

#2 mopes through the book, unmoved basically even by admissions of murder and tries to be like Rebecca and even lets her maid dress her up like Rebecca for a party which at the time I thought was tragic, not weird.

(It’s weird, guys.)

I read it over and over again for years until I met a widower and realized I was going to marry him but decided I wanted my children to know my real name. I know, selfish.

Also, you need a lot of chutzpah in that situation. #2 had negative chutzpah. She was a wet, whiny blanket. In fact, I have so many thoughts about this that I think I’m going to read my copy again and blog it. So get excited.

What about now, you ask? These were all fifteen years ago. You’re thirty now, Kathleen. Married, two kids, established in your community. Who are your heroines now?

Easy. My mom. The Blessed Mother. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. My faithful and loving friends. My sister. My daughter.

They really have it figured out. None of those ladies (except Betsy) really did.

Even if there is way less mansion sex in real life.

(And by less I mean none. No mansion sex.)

(It’s okay. A real, true, life-giving marriage is even better.)

Camping. With wine.

That is my Taco Bell face too.

We found Crunchy in time to come along!

This is how I like to camp. Wine and cheese.

 

 

Other people took care of my kids basically and I knit and read like three books.

 

 

Oops.

The best we could do.

Sometimes he listens to me.

He enjoyed stomping around in my boots.

Fishing in 20 mph winds and 45 degree weather. So much fun.

That’s how I feel about that.

Camper snuggles.

Guys. Our power went out and so we didn’t have any water and I still did my makeup. Bam.

It was a gorgeous weekend.

Kathleen Pressure Cooks, Part 3

Okay. My month-long trial of the pressure cooker has ended and I’m…unimpressed.

It’s not that it doesn’t work. It does. It’s not that it doesn’t cut cooking time (actual cooking time) down. It does. It just…doesn’t change my life.

It’s nice to have an option for days I forget to put the crock pot meal together or thaw chicken. That’s awesome. I probably will never hard boiled eggs without it anymore.

But life changing? Nah.

I have found a few good recipes that I enjoyed, especially those of the dry pasta-canned sauce-meat variety. But probably my favorite ones were recipes I already used. Adapting it to the pressure cooker just made things easier for me and sped up the time required.

So here are my favorites.

Pressure Cooker Oriental Chicken

4 chicken breasts

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup white or blush wine

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 T brown sugar

4 T water

1 t oregano

1 t ginger

Garlic to taste

Put all ingredients in pressure cooker, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Perform a quick release and serve over rice.

Beef Stew

2 lbs beef stew meat

4 diced potatoes

4 diced carrots

1 stalk celery, diced

1 onion, chopped

3 cups beef broth

1 T Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 t salt and pepper (each)

1 t paprika

1/4 cup flour

1 bay leaf

Put meat and dry ingredients in pot, stir until coated. Add vegetables and liquid. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, perform quick release. Serve with crusty bread.

 

MSL: Fall


Guys, Martha has spoken and autumn is no longer basic. In these hundred pages of pumpkin goodness there is not one latte, not one ugg, not one pair of leggings and tunic. 

Just money. 

Let’s check out Martha’s calendar for the month, shall we?


I wonder if she hosted these in prison?


Guys my best friend Emeril is just having a small get together…


I don’t know guys, I’ve lived in Wisconsin my whole life and I have never been like oh man honey, let’s go to Green Bay for a food and wine extravaganza. 


That’s how the devil gets you, Martha. 


I have seen a lot of scary images in my time. This is without a doubt the most terrifying.


This seems like a lot of work just to be a douche.


You know what isn’t cozy? Bankruptcy. Which is what I’d be in if I bought anything on this page. 


So let me get this straight. You’re scared of liquid foundation but not of finding a gourmet meal in the Frozen Tundra?


My mantra is “only thirty seven years to retirement.” 


Ooh! Here’s something I can use. Given that my children are basically Petri dishes of disease with curls, I need this.


Eh, no.


Nope.


Ha. No.


Hahahahaha. I almost choked on the wine I’m drinking to handle my stress.


Funny this never happens when you buy it in the little bear squeeze thing. 


Don’t buy suede pieces. There ya go.


Or! Those big shaker things from Aldi that can survive an apocalypse. 


We’re going to do this this year! I’m gonna tell my kids we’re carving pumpkins and then get out a gauge and star map. It’s gonna be great. 

Did I say great? I meant a disaster. It’s going to be a disaster.


Finally- know how you can tell that you are a rich white lady? You fill up your massive natural wood fireplace with expensive bejeweled pumpkins in an adorably haphazard manner.