This Kid, He Amazes Me

Liam has been blowing me away with his smarts for years.  When he took apart my back door at 14 months of age, I knew he was smart.  When he was doing basic subtraction unsolicited at age 3, I was shocked (and proud!).

He did it to me again the other day.

We were on our way to Tae Kwon-Do and we were discussing the fact that he will have to test to move up from white belt.  The idea of taking this test was obviously weighing on him a bit so I was reassuring him that they wouldn’t test him until they were sure he was ready.  I told him that he would be taught everything he was supposed to know to get his next belt before he took the test and that we could work together to learn his numbers.  (He has to know the numbers 1-10 in Korean to earn his yellow stripe.)

Then we began talking about how Tae Kwon-Do will make him strong.

“Yeah, because I do all those kicks and punches.  It makes my arms and legs strong,” he said.

“Yes,” I replied.  “It makes you strong in other ways, too.  It makes you strong in ways that don’t have anything to do with your muscles.  It makes you strong of spirit.”

“Yes!” he exclaimed.  “Like Spirited Away!”

We’re big fans of Hayao Miyazaki in this house and Liam has seen a number of his films.  Spirited Away is still one of his favorites, and it’s one of mine, too.  I saw it years before we ever had kids and it took me several viewings to really understand the plot and take away its true message – that being strong of spirit can really take you places.

Liam got it without any prompting.  I thought he just saw it as a cool story with a fairy tale like plot.  I shouldn’t be surprised that he picked up on this, but I am.  He’s so perceptive about such big concepts and he can turn it around and apply it to the stuff he does everyday.  It just amazes me.

When I talk about these sorts of things, I’m always afraid of coming off as the overly proud parent.  I think my kid is really smart.  Scary smart, really.  But doesn’t every parent?  Also, because Liam is my first child, I have nothing to gauge his accomplishments against so for all I know, every 5.5 year old grasps these concepts.  What I do know is that my kid astounds me on a regular basis with his smarts, his humor, and his loving nature.  I love him for it.


Kilroy Was Here

Jamie was doing his best impersonation of Kilroy at the dining room table this afternoon.

(sorry its a little blurry, sometimes I’m not the best photographer)
He’s not really tall enough to do this on his own.  Toddler engineer/problem solver that he is, he found a way.  Just a little help from the Magna Doodle was all that was required.

A Refreshing Summer Salad

Yes, folks, it’s time once again for a recipe post.  And, once again, it comes courtesy of Weight Watchers.

Cucumber Mint Salad

2 cups sliced English Cucumber
¼ cup vertically sliced red onion
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint or parsley
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; toss well.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1/2 cup)

Per serving: CAL 43; FAT 3.4g; PRO 0.9g; CARB 2.8g; FIB 1g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 0.2mg; SOD 2mg; CALC 5mg

Notes: The recipe didn’t say whether to peel the cucumber or not so I peeled it.  I find the skin to be very bitter sometimes so I didn’t want to deal with that.  I cut the cucumber in in half lengthwise and then sliced, ending up with half moon shaped pieces.  While that was fine, I think next time I’ll quarter the cucumber instead.  While the recipe calls for mint or parsley, I used mint because it’s called Cucumber MINT Salad, after all.  Also, I found that the addition of a dash of salt to each serving as I served it (since I was eating it over several days) was tasty as well.  Call me weird, but I liked it that way.

Hope you like it as much as I did!  It was a refreshing summer treat.  🙂
Once again with the disclaimer:  Weight Watchers doesn’t even know me from Adam.  I am not being compensated for this review or any other I make on this site.  I bought the cookbook, tried the recipe, loved it, and posted about it.  Absolutely no money exchanged hands for this review.


My garden is an embarrassment.  The weeds have completely taken over.  I haven’t mulched in two years.  There is lawn where there isn’t supposed to be lawn.  And the lawn?  It could really stand to be mowed.

But, despite the chaos, I have flowers blooming.

Looky!  Black Eyed Susans!

This is a miracle.  I’ve been trying to get these to bloom since I planted them when we first moved in back in 2007.  Usually the resident deer population eats them to nubbins before they even manage to bud.  This year, for reasons unknown, they’ve decided that my garden does not resemble the buffet at the Grand Concourse and they’ve left my poor plants alone.  Also, I’ve remembered to pepper regularly (although I’ve done that in years past, too).  Maybe there are too many other tasty weeds to choose from so they’re not interested in the stuff I would actually like to see survive.

And looky again!  Look at all those buds!

Also, my gladiolas have begun to burst forth.

My hostas are blooming as well.  This is another small miracle because hostas are apparently heroin if you’re a deer.  My hostas have regularly been the victims of the eaten-to-nubbins phenomenon.

One day, years from now, when the children are capable to not killing themselves if I’m not watching them with eagle eyes (Jamie, I’m looking at you), I will be able to show you my gardens and be proud.  For now, this will have to do.

I Poked My Head Out From Under My Rock

Despite the fact that I use social media, I tend to live in social Siberia.  Our social calender consists of “Hey!  Let take the kids to Grandma’s!”  I don’t get out much.

Last night I finally did.  I went to a Burgh Mom event held at IKEA Pittsburgh and organized by Burgh Baby.  I was a little nervous to go since I wouldn’t know anyone there personally and only knew one or two people via Twitter.  Most people tell me that I’m pretty much the same offline as online (which is no shock to me) so at least I didn’t feel like I had to be someone else in person.

It was a lot of fun!

IKEA handed out schway swag bags and fed us scrumptious edibles.  Can I just say that Princess Cake is my new favorite dessert?  It’s a good thing I have to drive 40 minutes to get it because otherwise my behind would get even more badonkedty donk.

At least half of the women there were in varying stages of pregnancy.  I stayed the hell away from drinking that water.  I’m happy for them because it’s what they want but I want to be pregnant again about as much as I want to shove my head in the oven.

I also got to meet Ginny from That’s Church who was very sweet when I introduced myself as one of her readers and then promptly left her alone so I wasn’t all fan girl.  I got to sit around and chat with ClumberKim and Red Pen Mama and Epsnider all of whom were really awesome chicks.  Now that I’ve done this get-together thing once, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  It was nice to be able to go to one that was ‘neutral territory’ the first time but I won’t be afraid to go to someone’s house next time.

All in all it was a great night out.

I Am Made of Fail

Well, that pretty much sums it up.

I’m almost two weeks into the dietary changes and I’ve lost nothing.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nadarino.  In fact, I may have actually put on a pound.

Now, I could give you a whole list of reasons why this is the case – and they’d be good reasons.  It’s not like I’d be saying things like “Oh, I just didn’t get around to it.”  But it ultimately comes down to the fact that I just didn’t make great choices and there were more days than one in which I said “screw it.”  I allowed myself to screw up and then I allowed myself to keep screwing up because I figured once a single bad choice was made the whole day was a waste.  That quickly adds up to derailing yourself.

I’m pretty disgusted with myself.  Not just because I’m fat and that alone disgusts me but also because I should be strong enough to do this.  I should be able to have the discipline and I clearly do not.  What the hell is wrong with me?

Yes, I have a food diary.  I’ve been journaling my food every day for a couple of weeks.  I missed a few days for those good reasons I mentioned but I’m still continuing to make the effort.

I’m frustrated.  I’m angry with myself.  I feel like a failure every single day because of this.  I cannot seem to make headway and I’m so bothered by it.  This is the one thing in my life I’m trying to do just for myself and I can’t even get it right.  Just like everything else in my life, I appear to be falling down on the job on a consistent basis.