Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

... In 2007

... My greatest accomplishment, some might say, would be my son. Yeah, he's OK, but I finally learned to make a potable cup of coffee!!!

I have a long history in the kitchen, starting with a mother who is an accomplished cook, and taught me a ton when I was young, and detouring at a $17,000 culinary education, which, like my Middlebury degree, is languishing. I can ship up Italian meringue buttercream with my eyes closed. I can make cake into an angler fish, but I have never been able to make a decent cup of coffee. I can buy the best beans, clean the coffeemaker, leave it dirty, use crap coffee, use tap water, filtered water, too little coffee, too much... doesn't matter. My coffee usually sucks.

As an after Christmas present to myself, I spent $23 on a Bodum 8 cup French press, and $5 on a can of Trader Joe's Breakfast Blend whole bean coffee. And for three days in a row, I have enjoyed delicious coffee without paying for Starbucks or Dunkies.

2007, you may go now.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

12.29.07: A List

Two days left to the year, and I've got a lot of things I meant to say, but never did. Somehow the kid got in the way :) I found this list on a blog I stalk, and thought I'd spend a little time answering the questions, in lieu of something more original.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags, if I have some to recycle from the year before. Brown craft paper is my favorite, with pretty, shiny ribbons and bows a la Martha. Or scraps of paper leftover from previous years, if I happen to have a newborn in the house.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. Preferably cut from a tree farm. Though, nest year I may invest in a smaller pre-lit fake tree for my best ornaments. (Yes, I have enough ornaments for two trees...)

3. When do you put up the tree? On OysterFestivus, of course.

4. When do you take the tree down? Just in time for the town curbside tree collection.

5. Do you like egg nog? Yep. Yum. With a drop of bourbon and some fresh ground nutmeg.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Favorite ever? I couldn't say. But one Christmas I got an indoor play tent, a bright orange vinyl monstrosity that I loved with all my heart. I remembered it this fall, and now I can even remember the smell of the plastic.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Daddy. I haven't finished his gift yet, but when I do, it will explain much...

9. Easiest person to buy for? Mom. I think of something every day, the trouble is what to decide on?

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? This year? Not applicable. But I like mailed cards best.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I'm fairly sure that any Christmas gift I might not have loved was still given in the proper spirit, so how could I say it was the worst?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The Charlie Brown Christmas special, and the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas, as narrated by the great Boris Karloff.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I have no hard and fast rules on this one, but, believe it or not, I did start my Christmas knitting in August, and due to Felix, still didn't get it done.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes. And I'll never say which ones.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Mimosas and my Mom's coffee cake on Christmas morning, and pumpkin roll anywhere you serve it.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I prefer clear, Mark prefers color (and lots of it!), so next year, my fake tree will have clear, and the main tree will have color, and we will all have a Merry Christmas!

17. Favorite Christmas song? So many. I have hundreds of Christmas tunes in my holiday playlist. I love Silent Night in the original German, and the Barenaked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan version of God Bless You, Merry Gentlemen. Also, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, but not the chapel melody. And O, Holy Night, in big, grandiose full choral harmony.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We've been splitting the holiday since Mark and I got together five years ago, but now that we have Felix, I think a little boy should be able to have Christmas morning in his own house.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? I am a nanny, and a Christmas music junkie. Of course I can. And I don't need to prove it.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I have an angel Boyd's Bear.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or christmas morning? With two households to visit, it takes all day Christmas Day, though when Mark and exchange gifts, we usually do it Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Not enough time to do things the way I'd like to.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love glass and things that sparkle. But our big tree has all these goofy ornaments from the OysterFests that are awesome because they come from our friends and have sstories and memories attached to them.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I actually always loved when my Mom made lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner. And we're not even Italian.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? We got everything we could have asked for, except maybe a gift certificate to my favorite spa. That would have been dreamy.

26. Who is most likely to respond to this? Not applicable.

27. Who is least likely to respond to this? Again, not applicable.

28. When did you stop believing in Santa? I don't remember how old I was, but I was older than most. I held on, even doubtfully, until I found "Santa's" wrapping tissue under my Mom's living room chair. I was heartbroken, like any smart kid with a big imagination. I really wanted it to be true, even though I knew it was unlikely. I kept "believing" for a long time after that, though, since my brother is six years younger tham I am.

29. How many people do you have to buy for at Christmas? I try to keep it simple. My immediate family, and Mark's, and my godson (whose gift is coming, I swear!), and the family I work for.


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Drunk on Ginger Beer?

I wish.

I'm exhausted.

I very nearly caused an accident today, while out walking the dogs. Felix has been fussing and cluster feeding since about 11:00 last night, and by 10:30 this morning, I'd had it. So, I packed Felix into his carrier, leashed the canines, and we headed out into the world.

Are you insane? you might ask?

Well, yes, actually, I am, but I needed fresh air, and the dogs needed an activity, and Felix needed perpetual motion. So, we left. The walk went relatively well, until we were returning home. At the corner of our street and route 30, we needed to cross the street to get to the sidewalk, so I got us all to the crosswalk to wait for the oncoming traffic to clear.

The car that was nearest to us stopped abruptly and waved me across. Just as I raised my gloved hand to thank the driver, the car behind him hauled on the brakes and swerved evasively to the right. He honked, which startled the dogs and the baby, and stopped traffic in three directions. He then started screaming out the window at me for trying to cross the street, at the first driver for stopping for me, and at everyone else for looking at him. I got us across the street, and headed back for home, thankful that his business took him in another direction.

I feel like I am sometimes a target for traffic issues, apparently even when I'm not driving.

When we got home, I poured myself a ginger beer, left over from the weekend, and pretended like hell that there was about an inch of Mount Gay in the pint glass.


Monday, December 10, 2007

In which our heroine swears and carries on about her naughty dogs.

My dogs are...


Yes! All of the above. Actually, no. Neither dog can shuck shellfish, due to lack of opposable thumbs.

Amelie will be lucky if she lives to see her first birthday (which is, incidentally, in 8 days). Here's a list of what she's done today:

1. While I was upstairs for ten minutes getting dressed, she ate one of Felix's toys.
2. When I yelled at her, she peed on the kitchen floor.
3. When I sent her outside after peeing on the floor, she ate something nasty and threw up copiously all over the yard.
4. This afternoon, while I took Felix upstairs to put him down for his nap, she ate a chunk of the Christmas tree.

When do I go back to work?

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Friday, December 07, 2007

A Rare and Lovely Moment

Around six o'clock this morning, Felix woke up for his first breakfast. Since Mark would be getting up anyway, I brought him into bed with us to nurse. When Mark's alarm clock went off, he snoozed it and snuggled up with Felix and me for a few moments, and I thought, "Things are pretty perfect right now."

Week in Review

Since Monday, a rhythm has surfaced to our days at home. Felix is, as defined for someone his age, sleeping through the night. By this, I mean that he goes to sleep around midnight and only wakes once between 12 and 6. I feel human! He can also be counted on to nap (ie: alone, in his crib or bassinet) for 2 to 3 hours in the afternoon, along with all the other baby-related dozing in arms or slings or in the baby-papasan. This has meant a shocking amount of cleaning and organizing has gone on around the house.

We've ventured out to the library, to the mall, to the post office, to drop off some stuff at the Salvation Army, gotten gas, gone to the bank... He's really becoming a functional member of the household, in his way. Hooray! Now, if he'll only let me get some more Christmas knitting done. Some folks may be getting IOUs this year. Having a baby six weeks before Christmas can be taxing on a gal's knitting mojo.

The dogs continue to be neurotic and weird, but not at all hostile towards the baby, which gives me hope. They've taken to eating things like dog beds and cushions, and Maurice still enjoys rabbit droppings in the yard when he can find them. Yuck!

We'll kick off the holiday season this weekend with a couple of friends and more than a few oysters, a far cry from some of the parties we've thrown, but I hope everyone would understand the need to scale it back this year. I suppose, in years to come, it will evolve into a more family friendly affair, but we'll see about that as the year goes by.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

It's Snowing, and MoMP is Cooking!

I've been too tired, and distracted, to blog effectively these last few days, but today I'm feeling pretty good.

So, Felix continues to excel in growing, but needs improvement in distinguishing between day and night. He has been given lines to do this afternoon, which is why I have a few minutes to blog:

Night is when I sleep.
Night is when I sleep.
Night is when I sleep.
Night is when I sleep.

We went and killed a Festivus tree on Saturday, and let me tell you, it was cold out there!

Today, I'm setting a pot roast up in the slow cooker and baking a batch of Cranberry Fig muffins. No hazelnuts, please. I dislike crunchy bits in my moist baked goods.

My pot roast is smelling delish: 2.5 pound eye round roast, browned in flour and olive oil, with broth, oregano, onions, carrots, celery, dried apricots and plums, and a splash of cabernet. Mmmmm....

Back to getting life in order, must snatch these moments while he sleeps!

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