Friday, May 27, 2011

2 Months Old

The requisite bragging. Teddy's perfect. No, really, he is. 75th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference. And he already seems so huge! He can't stretch out his legs all the way in his 3 month sleepers. He's 12.5 pounds. This means that he's gained an amount equivalent to 60% of his birth weight in only two months. His head and trunk are strong. He's very alert and engaged. Already he doesn't sleep all day; he participates and interacts with people. He sleeps great at night. His hands no longer spend all their time curled in tiny fists. He's starting to bat at his toys. So, yeah, things are good.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

13 Year-Old Bugs

I woke to a muffled roar yesterday. Was a neighbor doing some sort of early morning home improvement? Or was a traffic helicopter hovering nearby? When I stepped outside with Ellie to wait for her bus I realized the source of the noise: cicadas.

Last night I took the dog outside and quickly revised my plan. I waited for her indoors, watching from a comfortable distance behind glass. No matter how carefully I watched my footing I couldn't step anywhere on our front porch or driveway without crunching cicadas: dead, alive, nymphs, adults, and beasties in transition.

Every day this week I've been convinced we've hit the peak of cicada season, only to be surprised the next morning.

Today I opened the shades to see the air between my house and my neighbor's thick with the things, flying everywhere.

I'm not afraid of cicadas. They're big and ugly and noisy, but they're essentially harmless to people, pets, and plants. But things are getting a bit crazy here. I don't mind seeing a few empty insect husks clinging to tree bark.

But we have thousands of them and they're everywhere. These bugs are as big as my thumb. They move unpredictably. Yesterday I found one in the car, hanging out on Teddy's baby sling. Today I found one chilling on his car seat, just above his head. They have the creepiest bright red eyes. I'm not precisely afraid of them, but I'm still a little uncomfortable walking over a bunch of them while wearing a skirt.

And I'm pretty tired of carrying Ada to and from the car. She can't stand our cicadas. She woke up in fear twice last night and she can explain exactly why. She understands the life cycle of these bugs; she knows they can't hurt her. "But those red eyes!" It's hard to argue with that since I agree. Ellie just flicks the bugs aside when they get in her way.

Paul goes out twice a day to sweep them off the walk. This afternoon he pulled out the leaf blower and spent 20 minutes delousing our porch. (There were at least 50 mature bugs hanging on the post just outside the front door.) Then the storms rolled in. Ada suggested that perhaps a tornado could whip away the insects.

I see fewer out tonight than last. Perhaps we really have crested the peak of cicada season this time . . .

Credit for the first picture (Red Eyes) goes to my brother-in-law, Rob Monroe. The other shots are Paul's.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How Do You Grocery Shop?

I only know one way to do it:

I make a menu for the week and go through recipe by recipe to create my shopping list. I divide the list up by section of the store (fresh produce, coolers, frozen, aisles) and try to keep items roughly in order within the appropriate sections. By "in order" I mean the order in which I'll encounter them as I race through the store shoving impulse items into my cart.

Anyway, lately I find myself lacking in time, patience, energy, and enthusiasm for menu planning and cooking. This is the last week of school and warm weather is finally here to stay (more or less). So I set myself a challenge:

This week we'll eat summer-inspired crock pot meals all week.

crock pot French dip sandwiches
crock pot chicken pizza (served over spaghetti squash or pasta)
crock pot burritos
crock pot Jamaican jerk chicken
crock pot vegetable jambalaya


As you might expect, I usually take the meal-planning thing a bit too far. Due to my aforementioned lack of energy, I've gotten away from also planning breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and desserts in advance. But I do print out a weekly dinner menu complete with clip-art highlighting the week's key events.

My house might resemble a dusty, stinky recycle bin, but at least our food is well-organized!