Archives for June 2012

Family Traditions Through Food

It’s no secret that I love to cook and share recipes – hell, I’ve devoted an entire section of my blog to sharing my favorite recipes with you!

Today, head over to to read about some of my favorite family recipes, and to see two of my favorite handwritten recipes. One is my Nana’s Cheesecake recipe and the other is a special recipe my mom gave me at my bridal shower. Sounds boring, right? You’ve gotta see my mom’s recipe – it will definitely make you smile!

Mommy Moment – Leigh Ann Style – Round 2

Welcome to another Mommy Moment! If you’re not sure what it is, head over and read all about how Mommy Moments at the Monster came to be. A year ago this week, I had Leigh Ann from genie in a blog over to share her first Mommy Moment. I thought I would invite her over to share another moment in honor of her Mommy Moment anniversary!

So go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!


The family and I just returned from a hellish 36 hour road trip to Dallas and back. We try to make it to my niece’s birthday party each year and visit with my family a bit before heading back home to Austin. These trips are usually a quick, whirlwind 24 hours that leave us exhausted and aching for a weekend to recover from our weekend, but alas, there’s no more weekend left and now it’s Monday.

The party was at a splash pad in my parent’s neighborhood. It was hot, we were all tired, and by the end of splashing, cake, and presents, my kids were DONE. We packed up and started out on the short drive to our hotel to figure out dinner plans.

That short drive became a very long drive.

My kids, ages 4, 4, and 2, were dead tired by this point. A long morning in the car, lots of sun, water play, and the excitement of seeing family had completely worn them out. So I was prepared for a good amount of whining.

“Mommmmmyyyyyy, my tummmmmyyyy hurrrrrrtsssss,” started Rachel, one of my four year old twins.

“I’m sorry, honey,” I auto-replied without even turning around, “We’re almost to the hotel. It’s probably because you’re hungry.”

If it sounds like I dismissed her complaint, it’s because I totally did. My twins are notorious for crying wolf of the tummy ache variety, usually because they’re tired and don’t want to eat dinner. Or brush teeth. Or get dressed. Or anything really, because they’re four and so busy.

So yeah. I blew her off.

But she persisted. Her voice was wavering and miserable. Her normally olive skin was a little on the pale side. But it was the coughing that was making me really uncomfortable, grating my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I knew there was more to that cough.

Now I regularly admit that I was born with little to no motherly instincts, and I stand strong by that self accusation. I don’t say the right thing in the all important teachable moments. I don’t always know how to best handle a disciplinary situation that could possibly make or break my kids’ wills. When my youngest got stung by a bee and her hand swelled up twice its normal size, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, prepared to google the ancient practice of bloodletting, while my husband strolled casually over to the cabinet and got out the Benedryl.

So I’m not the best person to consult in an emergency.

But one area in which I do rock the instincts? I totally know when my kids are going to hurl.

Example 1: Rachel, then 22 months, wakes up early from her nap and is laying miserably on my husband’s shoulder.

“Poor baby,” he says. “I wonder why she woke up so sad.”

I gave her a bit of side eye. She looked a little strange. “She looks like she’s gonna hur– Oh God!” (And poor husband…ew.)

Example 2: Claire, my other 4 year old, had a bug around Christmas time and was laying on the couch with me one night. As I picked her up to take her back to bed, she emitted a faint, strange little burp on my shoulder.

I practically threw her off me with a yelp of “Ugh, she’s gonna throw up!” as I not so gingerly held her over the strategically placed towel on the floor — a must in a house where the stomach bug is making its rounds.

And now the newly evolving example three. All the signs were there: complaining, pallid complexion, strange coughing that was making me squirm just a little.

“Please not in the car, please not in the car…” But I knew it was coming.

This kid was gonna blow.

That’s when one of the coughs resulted in some, how shall we say, spittle?

“Quick!” My husband shouted. “A towel!”

I was one step ahead of him, yanking a damp towel from our beach bag. Already folded into a perfect square, I tossed it back to the third row seat where Rachel sat, its Tinkerbelle graphic practically giving me a sly wink as it sailed across the interior of the car and landed directly on her chest mere seconds before Mount Vesuvius erupted in a mess of partially digested goldfish crackers, grapes, and an ungodly amount of bright pink icing.

Sorry, about that, Tink. But yay me!

Unfortunately I had little time to relish in my towel tossing victory before realized I had better climb back there to check on the state of the upholstery. Oh, and comfort my daughter and stuff. It was like something out of a horror movie — it just kept. on. coming.

And oh my God the smell. I should get Mom of the Year just for sitting in the back seat with her surrounded by that stench and keeping my own lunch down.

By the time we got to the hotel, she was covered, Tinkerbelle towel be damned. And I was back to my instinctless self. How was I going to get her upstairs? Don’t they have a maintenance/vomit-covered kid elevator for situations like these? Does this mean we can order room service?

But for a moment — one moment — I was an instinctive badass with mad vomit ESP and towel tossing skills. May not sound like much, but it’s all I got.

And it did me absolutely no good in the dead of night when she woke up yakking in the bed we were sharing.


Been there, done that…and it never gets any easier, does it? I can handle just about anything, but the whole throwing up thing sucks and always will.

We all take on so much as moms – it’s a tough gig! There’s no manual out there for what we do, so sharing stories like this helps us all learn from each other.

Now head over to genie in a blog and say hello to Leigh Ann. If you are a Twitter addict, you can find her there, and on Facebook too! And if you are a new follower, make sure to tell her that I sent you!

Buried In Dust…

We came home from Palm Springs to about a quarter inch of dust covering E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. downstairs, and I mean everything. Apparently knocking walls out is a messy job. I knew it would be, but I guess I underestimated just how messy it would be.

We now have 2 more windows and a new door! What was supposed to take a day has turned into three of course, so I still haven’t been able to clean. The dust is killing me slowly.

Did I mention that our solar panel installation was also happening at the same time?

And did I mention that the guys are starting on our back patio too?

And did I mention I haven’t worked out but one day this week?

This place is a madhouse right now. I hope to share pictures next week. And I hope to get back on track with the exercise thing too. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

We’ve Got A Graduate In The House!

Okay, it’s not me if that’s what you are thinking. It’s Ethan!

He graduated from preschool this morning and is officially a Kindergartner now!

We watched as Ethan got his official diploma stating that he has graduated from preschool. They called his name and he proudly walked up to pick up his diploma. After all the graduates had their diplomas, they all let go of balloons to mark their accomplishment. Then we had breakfast, he said goodbye to his friends and teachers, and we walked out of the school for the last time.

How is he already almost five? How did this last year pass so quickly? How are the girls already old enough to be starting preschool in August?

Back in September, my boy went to school for the first time. And I took a picture of him holding that first day of preschool photo today. I’m starting a tradition that I’ll be doing for many more years. Every first day of school, I’ll take a picture. Every last day of school, I’ll take a picture of the kids holding their first day of school pictures. I know this will be something that they’ll treasure when their kids start school.

OH MY GOD! Someday they’ll have kids of their own!

I’m feeling elated and happy and excited and sad all at the same time thinking about how fast these last five years have passed.

The days are long but the years are short. I am feeling and appreciating those words more and more recently. It seems the girls are getting so big, so fast. They are getting more independent. I don’t have babies anymore, I have little kids running around. Very busy little people.

It takes me back to my feelings of when I wrote An Epiphany. So many firsts have passed and we’ll never experience them again. It’s so very bittersweet.

On another note, my sister and I are taking all of the kids to the beach for a couple of days…a sort of mini vacation. The kids are excited and I’m looking forward to the sand between my toes. Summer here we come!

I also have huge holes in my house right now. You read that right, huge holes. We are having a couple of new windows and doors put in later this week, but to save a ton of money, we are having a friend (he’s a licensed contractor) knock out the walls where the windows and door will go. I can’t wait to show you the final product!

Mommy Moment – Kelly Style

Welcome to another Mommy Moment! If you’re not sure what it is, head over and read all about how Mommy Moments at the Monster came to be. Today, I am excited to welcome Kelly from Renaissance Mom!

Kelly is a mom of three…including a set of boy/girl twins. So yep, we were fast friends because her twins are much older than mine and she understands what I’m going through. She’s also been a huge supporter of Mommy of a Monster, a sounding board, and she is so thoughtful. I’m glad to have met her!

So go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!


No one in my family will ever forget the childhood vacation in Maine when my parent lost my two-year-old little sister only moments after arriving. Relieved to finally be at their destination after a three-and-a-half hour car ride with two little kids (fun), my parents released us from our four-wheeled prison, began unloading the car and then lost my little sister. They found her seconds later — TWO BLOCKS AWAY — but she was safe and all was fine.

With this story planted firmly in my memory and written in permanent marker at the top of my list of “I’ll never do that when I’m a parent” anecdotes, you can imagine my surprise the first time I lost one of my children. Yes, I said first time. There have been many cases of “misplaced” children in my thirteen-plus years of parenting, and they don’t seem to be ending anytime soon. I’d blame it on having twins, but I’ve been know to lose their little brother, too, (when it’s only him and me).

The first time my two-year-old daughter, Thing 1, went missing I had sent her to her room for misbehaving during lunchtime — “Please stop throwing your PB&J at your brother.” I couldn’t find her anywhere, which conjured up visions of kidnappers at the door, a child suffocating in some hidden wardrobe, or my little barefoot baby wandering around in the snow. Add that panicky feeling to those garnered by the other two-year-old getting cranky, whiney, and begging for a nap, and well, I became a little manic. I called my mom, my husband, and eventually the police, only to find Thing 1 moments later hiding under my bed with her cuddly stuffed pig. Strike One for me. Thanks for visiting Mr. and Mrs. Police Officer.

A couple years ago, after years of store mishaps (children left behind in the toy aisle or found under clothing racks) and walking out of friend’s houses only to realize I had forgotten one or more of my children, I left my youngest at a basketball game. In my defense I realized he was missing before I started up my car, but I didn’t react quick enough because the next thing I knew, this very upset eight-year-old comes storming out of the middle school front doors yelling for all to hear, “That wasn’t very good parenting!” Thank you very much. Strike 532!

So, like all mom’s, I’ve had more than my fair-share of Monster Mommy Moments. But I am pleased to announce that now with two thirteen-year-olds and a ten-year-old those losing misplacing-my-children days are over … or so I thought.

This past Easter Sunday my family and I decided to bypass church and chill out at home collecting Easter eggs and eating chocolate. After our rare morning of tranquility, we decided to extend our calm and ventured into the woods for a fun family hike. We followed our usual trails, reveled in the beauty of the brook that flowed under the rickety bridge, took some photos of the old crumbling foundations filled with memories of the past, and then began to head home.

My husband, a virtual compass in the woods (and ONLY the woods), had the bright idea to veer off the beaten path, leading us deeper and deeper into the mysterious forest. We crawled over fallen tree limbs, and through fields of pricker bushes in search of my children’s’ favorite Big Rock. Gratefully, we all made it there intact (well almost, Thing 2 did have a few prickers in some unmentionable areas), mugged for some photos, and then, exhausted, followed the human compass home. It was the perfect family afternoon, except for one small detail —somewhere along the trek home we had lost Thing 2.

When I inquired of his whereabouts my husband informed me that Thing 2 had wanted to try another route home through the woods, and being the typical “Alpha Male” who believes any of his “alpha” traits have been passed onto his sons, he assured me that his eldest son had inherited his compass gene so he was OK. He seemed to have forgotten that his son’s compass gene relies heavily on a healthy dose of ADHD medication, and at the moment his pill was sitting in its case on the kitchen counter.

Yes, there you have it, I had once again managed to lose one of my kids (at thirteen-years-old no less), and this time I would have to call in the Wilderness Police to track him down, that is if he hadn’t been eaten by a bear, sucked up by the swamp muck or endured some other awful fate, already. Just keep the Mother of the Year Awards coming people.

Thankfully, upon realizing he was lost, Thing 2 had the wherewithal to backtrack to the path where he had last seen us and returned home fifteen minutes later, just in time to save his father from the wrath of this Monster Mommy!

So after thirteen long years and several hundred cases of misplaced children I have finally decided to take drastic measures … my children were all implanted with tracking devices last week. Now this mommy can rest soundly knowing that her three babies are all safe and sound and … what? Why is Thing 1’s device saying she is on a plane on the way to the One Direction concert in Detroit, Michigan?


Wait…I still have to worry about losing the kids when they are 13?! I am in some MAJOR trouble! This was a fun read, and I’m sure one a lot of moms will relate to!

We all take on so much as moms – it’s a tough gig! There’s no manual out there for what we do, so sharing stories like this helps us all learn from each other.

Now head over to Renaissance Mom and say hello to Kelly. If you are a Twitter addict, you can find her there, and on Facebook and Pinterest, too! And if you are a new follower, make sure to tell her that I sent you!