Quote Monday knows how to deal with flies

::During birthday party::
Sara: “How many kids are still here? Do you know?”

Sara: “Is there a fly on the ceiling? What should we do?”
Alex: “Get hammer.”

::Alex had a scab on his knee that fell off::
Alex, panicked: “Ouchie knee missing!”

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“Me do eet!”

Just like his brother and sister before him, Alex talks. A LOT.

At first it was an endless series of nouns, but now he’s gotten to a lot more abstract concepts. In particular, when I put him to bed at night I like to recap the day a little bit. It’s amazing how much he remembers! He often mentions things that happened in the last few days that I’ve forgotten about.

And then, of course, the commands. Alex is FULL of commands. Anything from which book to read (“Clifford book”), to what you should feed to him (“pizza”), to where *precisely* you should sit (“in the corner”). And if there’s any question about who should do something, there’s only one answer: “Me do eet.”

If there is something to be done, Alex wants to do it. Before you can even say what it is, he’s clamoring to be included. Running outside to take out the trash? “Me shoes!” Pouring a bowl of cereal? “Me do eet! By me-self!” Sara got a picture of him sobbing the other day because he didn’t get to go on a rollercoaster.

Other than talking, he is definitely getting to be a two year old. He just has that…gleam in his eye. If you tell him not to do something, he’s headed straight for it. This brings us to climbing, because there’s nothing that boy loves more than climbing things, the more precarious, the better.

Finally, one big new development is that Alex is using the potty. He can’t tell you that he needs to go, but if you plunk him down regularly he will usually go (as long as you are willing to sit and read books to him for 20 minutes). Sometimes he even gets to wear big boy underpants (“vroom-vroom underpants” because they have cars on them). Never in my life have I sent and received so many poop emojis.

So all in all, Alex is just becoming a real person. He uses the potty! He can actually hold a conversation! He sleeps through the night! It’s amazing how fast they grow up, isn’t it?

Condo, no more

As of this morning, we are no longer the owners of our condo!!

To some degree, it is bittersweet to sell your first house. So many memories over the last 10 years, not the least of which was the birth of our children. All three slept in that bedroom! I think of Christmas mornings, family gatherings, birthdays…

As the last few weeks have wound down, every time I had to go over to the condo, it was very emotional. Would this be the last time I was ever there? There is so much muscle memory involved: turning the car from the alley to the parking space, the proper way to turn the key in the lock, which wall the light switch is on. It all felt deeply personal.

On the other hand, these last few months have been fairly stressful: having the first offer fall through, watching the savings account go down and down, waiting not-so-patiently for an offer, waiting for some disaster and to have everything fall apart (which happened with the first offer we got, and made us extremely paranoid after).

At this point I feel nothing but relief that it’s all over!

We’ve been in the new house for long enough that we are “moved in”, and each day puts the condo farther and farther in the rearview mirror. And of course, the new house is just about the most amazing place I could ever imagine living in. Still, there is always some part of me that is sad when a chapter of my life closes.

Onward, to new chapters!

BASFF 2017 Notable Story!

I am very pleased to announce that my story, “O What Freedom, This Great Steel Cage” has made the list of Notable Stories in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017!

It’s not EXACTLY the same as being chosen as one of the year’s best, but it does mean the editors thought that my story was one of the best 40 science fiction stories produced in 2016.

In fact, as I am writing this, I am realizing that my story is the only story from Analog that made the list. I…literally cannot even process that. It makes my knees weak.

Holy.

Cow.

Alex’s First Camping Trip

We are generally a camping family, though we haven’t been camping since Alex was born. It’s hard enough to get a camping trip together without all of the accoutrements necessary to bring a baby (and hard enough to fit 5 people in our car without all the camping gear).

However, this first camping trip was about as perfect as could be. The weather more or less cooperated (our tent didn’t leak, and while it was pretty cold in the mornings, the flipside is that it wasn’t too hot in the afternoon), and we got in tons of fun activities! Paddleboats, kayaks, hiking…you name it.

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(I love how Ollie is kind of photo-bombing us in this pic)

Alex literally could not have had a better time. When we were putting him to bed on Saturday night he said between sobs, “More walking!” That dude was just go-go-go the entire weekend.

You might say he got a little tired out…

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Goodness Gracious

I was getting off the train today, and the pants of the woman in front of me caught on a nail in the platform, stopping her short. In the split second it took me to realize what happened, I almost pancaked her. With cat like agility I jumped to the side and loudly exclaimed what was apparently the first curse that came to my mind: “Goodness gracious!!”

Goodness gracious? What am I, a 90 year old nun? Who even says that?

I know it’s kind of silly, but I was pretty embarrassed thinking about all the people who heard me shout goodness gracious. I mean, you’d think it’d be better than f-bombs or taking the lord’s name in vain or something, but I don’t know. I just wanted to quickly say, “No, no, it’s cool everybody, I totally swear all the time!”

If you asked me to make a list of all the things I might yell in times of crisis, I never in a million years would have put goodness gracious on there. I don’t know if I’ve even *thought* “goodness gracious” in my head.

They say when you’re under pressure your true self shines through. All I can say to that is, “Goodness gracious.”

Grilled Lemon-Thyme Chicken

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

I can’t believe that we’re already into August. Summer just started, and yet here we are, in the dog days. How can this have happened??

I have a nice fall recipe all lined up for next month, but I refuse to let summer go without a fight, so here is the most summer-iest, summer recipe I have.

The Journey:

The original recipe called for oregano, and I don’t really remember how we ended up using thyme instead, but it is absolutely the way to go. I will grant you that it is a real pain in the rear to try to get all those tiny leaves off the stems and chopped up, but it is absolutely worth it.

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The way these things smell on the grill… It is summer personified. It smells like one of those late-summer, outdoor festivals, where you’ve been baking in the sun, surrounded by family, and there’s some kind of food tent where they’ve got one of those enormous, six foot long grills sizzling away. And you’re just kind of standing around with a cold drink in your hand, maybe listening to a band play or playing bags.

This is the smell that that grill is making, and thyme is the secret ingredient.

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The Verdict:

This is one of those recipes that we have been making since forever, and I always go, “How has that never been on the blog before?” Seems inconceivable.

Make this one before the summer is over, and thank me later.

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The Recipe:

Recipe slightly modified from Bon Appetit.

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme (or oregano, as per the original recipe)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • ~8 pieces of chicken
  1. Whisk first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes or in refrigerator up to 2 days, turning occasionally.
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place chicken, with some marinade still clinging, on grill rack; grill chicken until cooked through and golden brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer to plates and serve.