the hissing incident

There's lots to share, more than I have time for right at this very moment...

I can report that I did somehow manage to hold myself back from devouring Lyla's thighs. More on the Pocklock visit to follow.

I had to share this lovely ditty from just before bedtime. Caroline raced up to Reese, who was sitting harmlessly in the window and grabbed her tail with all her toddler might. Reese startled, attempted to pull away and hissed at her before flopping down in defeat as if she know that "if I do anything else I am as good as gone." As I carried her upstairs she waved goodnight to poor Reese and began retelling the tail pulling tale...

"hold her tail? kitty tail?"
"Oh no, we should never ever pull the kitty's tail. It hurts her and we don't like to hurt kitty."

She then proceeded to imitate the hissing, which was seriously quite possibly the funniest thing she has done in a long long time. Completely open mouth, teeth bared, hissing sound and all...

Hope everyone is enjoying this amazingly gorgeous weekend...

Just another night

the singular exception

Terri’s comment on yesterdays’ post scared the beejesus out of me. Imagining the number and frequency of stops we could potentially make on our way home with a potty-trained toddler leaves just one solution; we must move immediately.

There seems to be a new routine at night these days. Caroline defers her evening storytime to go right to bed only to remain wide-awake and chatting away until well after 9PM. Last night over the monitor we heard random jibber jabber, loud proclamations of “NO!” and whiny cries for Mommy or Daddy. I wish I could figure why she would rather spend upwards of 90 minutes in her crib instead of storytime, but that seems to be the norm recently.

In fact, she isn’t all that into storytime either. She wants to flip through the pages herself, say lines she knows, skip multiple pages altogether. Caroline is a far different girl than she used to be, suddenly too independent for story reading? The singular book that she will allow me to read to her without an all out battle (and they are epic battles for me to convince her that the words to Cat and the Hat really do make the story better) is "The Little Flower Girl." Auntie C gave this book to Caroline so she can prepare for and get super excited about her role of flowergirl on the big day in January. Yesterday long after we had prepared dinner, played in the sink and spilled cheese all over the counter I read this book to her three times in a row while we snuggled on the sofa waiting for Daddy to return home. It is a little tricky to read when you switch every “Uncle Jim” to Auntie Colleen, every “Melissa” to Uncle Hokie (with the exception of the reference to Melissa's big white dress of course), and every “Louisa” to Caroline. She’s loving it – especially when I gasp at Caroline’s beautiful gold flower girl dress and point out her shiny new shoes. We’ve got this thing locked up Auntie C. She’s going to be wonderful!

left in the dust or marching to her own drummer?

After drop off this morning I received a text from Steve, “Julianna and Sonny are in underwear.” I’ve talked about not putting potty pressure on Caroline. I said I wanted her to be ready in her own time and I still feel that way despite the news that her two best girlfriends have opted out of diaper changes. I can speak on the topic of my daughter’s stubbornness in great length, but I think just reminding you that she is a bit headstrong is all you really need.

I texted Steve back that this was great news because it means they will be working with her too. I imagined the three of them headed into the kiddie restroom together and my Caroline wanting to be like them and I have to admit that I had the biggest smile on my face. Seriously – it must be amazing to NOT have to change diapers and even better to NOT have to purchase them. I know much better than to push her, but Sonny and Julianna's new skills might just be the motivation she needs. I plan to fully exploit it.

Later Steve and I organized ourselves a little lunch date. I wanted to know more about the potty training discussion. Ladies and gentleman, there was no discussion. My husband merely overheard Sonny’s mother inquiring about accidents, assuring that her daughter wears a diaper at naptime and Michelle giving Caroline the stink eye that she is the only older girl to not be trained yet as Julianna is in undies all the time now. He did not ask what they are doing with her, how they are doing it, what we should do to reinforce, or even how long they have been trained. I was a little annoyed at first because COME ON, we’ve known Michelle for 2 years at this point, but really in retrospect he has known me for 8 years and he knows I like to get info right from the source. Well played old man. Plus, now I can also get more information about the sprinkler stuff they sent home yesterday. Apparently Caroline is going to be playing on the playground in some sort of crazy sprinkler situation when the weather really heats up. I need to organize appropriate attire and footwear. How awesome is it being a kid? I ask you – wouldn’t sprinkler playtime be so much more fun without an annoying diaper? How can I convince my daughter that this is the case??

married they be

Kelly and Marc are probably already out under their hut on Eagle Beach in Aruba considering when to order their first cocktail of the day; before or after a swim? Steve and I had such a great time celebrating with them and many good friends on Saturday. The bride was beautiful, the groom executed amazing air guitar, and the couple closed down the hotel bar at 1am. I already loaded the photos up to picasa and it should surprise NO ONE that the groom has already replied to my emailed link.

While Steve and I enjoyed two nights away from our little sweetheart, she raced up and down the beach, tossing rocks, and braving a toe dip in the frigid surf. When we arrived I noted Caroline's newest feature – a spray of tiny freckles across the bridge of her nose.

We are so amazingly grateful to Kiki, Papa, and Auntie k for taking her on and for giving her such a great weekend full of special memories. She woke up from her nap on the ride home to CT Monday with a “where Papa’s house?” It gets harder and harder to make the trip back south all while she becomes easier and easier to travel with. Saying "bye" to the beach hurts a little bit more each time we plot the course to CT and call up the 511 traffic reports.

Back to the grind… in a few weeks we’ll be headed back up for an entire week with the McFam on the Vineyard. A family wedding has given us an amazing opportunity to spend some real quality time together and we are all looking forward to it.

Mission accomplished

Hard to capture a still shot with all this fun.

Ready to rock


Cruchy challah French toast - I may not eat for a week... Or until

Fwd: Ready for the day!

Auntie k sent this earlier today...


Part two complete

two mins from rehearsal, this sign is completely redundant

Part one complete

toddler apps

BEWARE: This post is unedited due to a complete bear of a day that sucked the life out of me. TGITh!!!

No, not appetizers.

Steve recently sent me the link to this article because he thought it would make a good post for the blog. I suspect that this will be the closest McCashew ever is to a guest post by Mr. McCashew. We’ll take what we can get.

Pre-Baby Kerri would probably have read this and “tsk, tskd” these parents. Handing an expensive electronic gadget to a child? What happened to books? Educational toys? AND applications for Mommy’s little toy created just to amuse junior, I would have been rolling on the ground. Mommy Kerri loves her iPhone and I had fully planned on keeping it out of my wreckless toddler’s paws until I watched her slide it off the dining room table one afternoon and operate it almost as well as her mother. In no time at all she was sliding through photos, clicking icons, and exiting applications just like a grown up 29 years her senior. Somehow the phone can keep up with her VERY limited attention span going back and forth with ease from one to the next. So it soon became an amusement for situations of the "oh crap we’ve exhausted all the available distractions" variety; restaurants, in the doctor’s office. I found that if it was readily available she was less interested in it – the ol’ reverse psychology thing really does work.

Once I saw my daughter mastering photo flipping I wondered if there were applications that were at her level, that might actually be educational, and when I looked I was overwhelmed. I started downloading mostly free toddler apps for her and ended up creating an page of about 8 apps on my gadget just for her. I find that this limits the accidental phone calls she makes.

So here are my favs. What are yours???

App Name, “What Caroline Calls It” (if she has a name for it)
What it is.

Dress Chica, “Chicken”
From Sprout, which we don’t even have in our area. This does not make her love it any less. Toddlers drag various items of clothing; clown nose, princess hat, guitar onto Chica the Chicken. You can save and send their creations via email.

Peekaboo, “Farm”
An animal game. An animated barn shakes and makes an animal noise. Toddler presses the screen to reveal the animal. A child’s voice states the name of animal. AND repeat. At the end they all go to sleep, which is her favorite part… and we rarely get to it because again, limited attention span.

TT Quizzing
A quiz game for toddlers. “Press the 6.” It removes incorrect answers and cheers loudly for correct ones. After a few questions kids get a virtual sticker to put on the screen. She is still far too impatient for this one, banging on the screen repeatedly before it sets itself for the next question, but I think it will be awesome soon.

iTot Cards, “Animals”
This is MY personal favorite; a series of flashcards of several categories like food, animals, colors. There is a real photo of the item with the word as well as the Spanish and French translation. She loves these and the alligator always seems to lead us into the story of the time she saw the alligator “dinosaur” movin’ at the Rainforest CafĂ© although the new adaption has her FIBBING and telling us that it bit her hand!?!? Wha????

ABCsFree, “ABC”
Still a bit too advanced because of the precision required with the button pushing, but she loves it. A button touch scrolls through the letters one by one along with the appropriate ABC song note. It’s cute.

Bubbles, “Bubbles”
She loves this one and will take an adult finger and use it to operate the game. Bubbles continuously appear from the bottom of the screen and a finger touch will pop them. Endless fun.

Scribble Lite
A simple drawing tool. It’s easy and she can start over with just a shake of the screen.

Just like it sounds, a sheet of bubble wrap. It’s a real game though, with a timer and everything. She likes this because I encourage her to pop the bubbles faster. Her Uncle Bub recently got the high score.

Tic Tac Toe. She has no idea about the x’s and o’s but she enjoys filling in the boxes. She might let you play with her, but don’t even think you are going to be taking turns with this one.


If it’s not one thing, it’s another. We’ve been watching Caroline’s eyes since Sunday when we noticed some yellow gook in the corner of one of her right eye. I chaulked it up to her tossing sand into the wind on Saturday. Monday the gook was in both her eyes and with all the whining, it was oozing out quite often. There was no puffiness, no redness, no obvious irritation. Last night after school, still gooky and I began to consider whether or not I should call the pedi. I conferred with Nurse Kiki twice who reassured me that school would have called if they suspected conjunctivitis. She’s right! I considered my schedule today and picked up the phone to place an inquiry with the pedi, “at what point would I need to call them if this doesn’t clear up on its own?”

Thankfully, they said that if she was still showing symptoms today that they could phone in a RX to the pharmacy. THANK GOD!!! An office visit just was not going to happen. When she woke up this morning all crusty with one red eye, I picked up the phone at 9am on the dot and requested to speak to a nurse. The RX has already been called into the pharmacy and Steve is picking it up at lunch.

The dilemma is this. She is to be considered contagious despite the fact that the drops we are giving are more of a precaution. School has not made one single mention of the eye gook. I find it difficult to imagine that NO ONE there has cleaned her eyes. I suspect that they take this stuff pretty seriously. My schedule is PACKED this afternoon, so packed that I could not possibly get her and bring her back to work with me. I am feeling pretty guilty knowing that she is at school, potentially infecting her entire classroom gooking up toys while also feeling pretty assured in my decision to keep her there because we have not had any communication with school. So pretty much I feel like I am doing the right/wrong thing. Parental guilt.

It ought to be real fun trying to put these drops into her eyes tonight considering that we couldn’t even force her to open her eyes this morning so Steve could see the redness in her left one. My plan of attack: The element of surprise, which I am fully aware will only work on one eye.

case of the Mondays

I had really been looking forward to Monday. In the back of my head I knew that it was going to be our last Mommy and Caroline day for two weeks. This spelled imminent disaster of course because whenever I try to make a day special it absolutely falls apart. So I was not surprised when my toddler decided she really didn’t want to go to the library and wanted to stay in her pajamas. I was not surprised that she was smiling one moment and screaming the next. All. Morning. Long. I tried to pick my jaw up off the ground when she asked to leave the library before her class ended. I didn’t pick my bottom teeth up fast enough. I wanted to walk away claiming she had just followed me in as she lay on the story carpet screaming, kicking her feet and making an absolute scene. Broccoli and Cheddar soup – CANCELLED. Our day yesterday felt like one gigantic battle of wills and allow me to share that she beat me. I still say she cheated, but she won. I hate raising my voice to her. I hate placing her into perpetual time out. I wanted to snuggle and share smiles and enjoy a special day with her, but she and those two-year $hitheads/molars had other plans. We did manage to get her to bed on the early side – all that whining is pretty tiring afterall. She needed her rest to prepare her vocal chords for the day ahead.

Days like Monday not only challenge me, but force me to question my core as a mother. What am I doing wrong? If I say please stop one more time I think my head will explode. Why doesn’t she understand that she cannot hide behind her crib/jump from rocks/throw her fork? How is she able to selectively mute me? Does she realize I will stop putting her in time out/speaking loudly if she STOPS this atrocious behavior? What could possibly be wrong with your sandwich?

Caroline is entitled to a bad day every now and again. In fact, if she didn’t I’d be checking her for an on/off switch because only a robot could be so perfect all of the time. It’s Tuesday and I already miss her terribly. I am literally counting down the final five minutes of the day so I can race to school and cover her sweet face with kisses. Even on her worst day, she is the best thing in my life.

Here’s a few shots of her this weekend playing in auntie's makeup bag and throwing rocks with Papa.


A two parter - written over the last week

about Eleanor

A scrap of paper with chicken scratch handwriting and poor spelling that one might have just tossed away without a second glance. In actuality a love note from a grandchild comparing your beauty to a Christmas Tree, signed “your fried, Kerri.” Tucked away, dated December 26th, 1985 in familiar perfect script. Saved for 22 years and now in my own home where I have glanced at it several times daily on my kitchen counter (now residing with the glassware in the cabinet).

She did this with all things deemed special; photos were dated with notes (“Easter Sunday 1984, Kerri Ann’s Sixth Birthday”), interesting newspaper clippings dated and tucked into a drawer, notes like the one I wrote to her so very long ago, lovingly stored for a purpose only she could know. She filled calendars with notes on the weather. All of this a chronicle of her daily life and I wonder where I get this need to maintain our family narrative?

There are distinct memories; air popped popcorn with melted butter on special overnights, the special way she greeted us at the door as if we had made her entire day, Thanksgiving gravy, Easter coleslaw, birthday cards, The National Enquirer, coloring books, my confirmation sponsor, the framed picture of my grandfather the sailor that hung in her living room, the nutcracker, Constant Comment, her laugh. More recently; her grace, dignity, her pleasant words.

During my last visit with my grandmother in the very brief time we had alone, I stroked her hair and gently touched her frail arm asking her to please share the secret of her amazing skin. Without pause “Oil of Olay, Lots of water, Stay out of the Sun.”

That was the kind of woman my grandmother was; styled impeccably, makeup carefully applied, with a smile as wide as the ocean, a contagious laugh and the ability to make you feel like the most special person in the room.

I wanted to say, “I’m sorry I have not been here more. I’m sorry you have only seen Caroline a handful of times in her two years. I’m sorry that I haven’t been more present.” I know that it was too late for I’m sorry, but not to say goodbye and when she needed family most, I was there. I find some small bit of solace in that.

I am wearing the bracelet she gave me for my confirmation. It was also the gift her father gave to her at her own confirmation. Caroline turned it over and over on my wrist this morning while I tried to load the dishes single-handed. In the frantic pace of our morning I pressed pause and told her that this very special bracelet had been a gift from my grandmother, her great grandmother. “Isn’t it pretty? Isn’t it as pretty as a Christmas Tree?”

suddenly I see

We made our arrangements to travel to Western MA for my grandmother’s services and though we debated leaving Caroline with her daycare provider in CT or with a close family friend for the actual funeral service, in the end we decided to keep her with us. We knew she would be a pleasant distraction for my father and she was so unbelievably well behaved that we said more than once that “she just knew” something serious was happening around her. (I joked with my uncle later that we needed to leave before the medication wore off.) With the exception of an occasional “where granda? where Nana?” or “Mommy, butterfly!” she was absolutely the most well-behaved two-year old I have ever seen and I am not saying that as her mother.

At the burial Caroline kissed the rose we had been handed before helping me place it gently on her great grandmother’s casket. She went from my arms to my mother’s to give Granda a great big kiss while I paid respects to my grandfather, gone 15 years now. I think this was possibly the hardest moment of the day for me; the knowledge that they are there together now.

The ride home brought introspection and while Snow White played in the back seat I considered that my Caroline is not likely to remember her wonderful great grandmother. I find that incredibly sad. I struggle to consider how best to present my grandmother's (and my grandfathers’) legacy to her as she grows. What lessons can be learned from their lifetimes? What wisdom to impart?

And just at that moment what came on my Siruis…“Suddenly I See.” Though I am sure it was not written about how a mother feels about her daughter, that has always been my interpretation. Whenever I hear this tune I always associate it with Caroline’s arrival. It quickly became abundantly clear to me that being Caroline's mother was always exactly what I wanted to be, nothing more, nothing less. The pride I have for my daughter knows no limits, my love for her reaches the moon and back, and suddenly as I sat there thinking about this song, I saw. The very emotions I feel about my love for Caroline echo her grandmothers' love for their combined 5 children, how my grandmother felt about each of her four children, how Steve's Nina cared for all of her nine children, and how his Nanny adored her seven. In that connection I have found a common thread, a way to continue that generation’s legacy with my daughter. Someday, God willing, she will share in this experience of motherhood and she will know the limitless devotion I, her grandmothers, her great grandmothers and beyond experienced. That if you give love, love comes back to you.

These songs have a way of creeping up on me in moments when I need them most. While looking out the window of the hotel room on our wedding day, seated alone having blush applied to my cheeks, I heard a song playing on a ship in the harbor waiting to take sail. I raced to the window 100% expecting to see my groom smiling up at me, and though I looked everywhere, he wasn't there, but it assured me that this was right, that it was perfect.

“All you need is love…Love is all you need.”

for reference:

KT Tunstall, Suddenly I See

Her face is a map of the world

Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl

And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see
Why the hell it means so much to me

I feel like walking the world
Like walking the world
You can hear she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl

She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember
What you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on her word

Suddenly I see
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see
Why the hell it means so much to me

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from a page in a magazine
Oh she makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see

Suddenly I see
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see
Why the hell it means so much to me

radio silent

As I just tweeted and texted - Heaven has just been introduced to its newest angel. A short time ago I received word from home, where I just was two short hours ago, that my grandmother has crossed over. I am hoping that a handsome Navy navigator was waiting there with a beautiful bouquet of flowers asking her if she wanted to join him for a steak dinner.

I felt compelled to post here to say that it might be awhile before there are any cute stories about life with Caroline. I need time to reflect, to be with my family, to unplug myself for a bit and remember what's most important.

Till then...


Looking back at photos from this time last year, it is hard to imagine that I might someday title a post “pigtails”.

Yet, most days we have the same discussion over a scrapbook organizer tray turned hair elastic carryall. “What color piggies do you want today?”

Even if Caroline says she doesn’t want pigtails, she finds it difficult to fight the urge to select a color out of the box. Toddler Trick: CHOICES. With me at the Mommy helm, it isn’t do you want them, but instead what color should they be? I fight my neurotic mind to not advocate for a coordinating color to match whatever she is wearing. Choice seems to make the whole pigtail process easier, though I have yet to find a way to get her to stay still long enough to get them in and even.

If her hair blew out nice and curly after a bath, I try to let her go footloose and pigtail free the following day. Once we hit the day two or three though, there is no ignoring the need for hair elastics. Her hair is out of control and being a Mom with stick straight hair I am at a total loss as to how to work with her hair. It isn’t quite long enough to let it go yet. I’ll put it this way, most days when she wakes up we have a good chuckle. She brings new meaning to bed head.

That being said, I love her curls. I love springing them, shaping them, twirling them. I love their softness and how they are positively not from me.

We are finally getting to the point where we can ALMOST pull all her hair into two curly pigtails. Her hair is almost thick enough to go in barrettes alone. What next Moms of curly haired children?

rip, rip

As the super mega BJ’s diaper box dwindles away for the month and we are faced with purchasing yet another one, we did some soul searching this weekend about potty training yet again. Without any fanfare here on mccashew, Caroline managed to make a small deposit at school recently with Mr. Eric after a 15-minute sit down. We raved, we clapped, we scratched our heads.

Steve and I are both very much in the “she’ll do it when she’s ready” camp. While we smother her with praise for telling us she needs a new diaper, we are hesitant to move her any faster along than she seems comfortable with.

We were home this past weekend with few planned activities, the perfect opportunity to determine her readiness. So we did it. We made a HUGE deal on about the potty and big girl underwear and she sat for 20 minutes watching a movie in the morning, sucking down juice. As soon as we were in the thick of it we realized it was a huge error – she now associated movie watching with the potty. I tried the setting a timer method, she resisted, I backed off, she cried when she wet her diaper. We abandoned ship.

At this point, we know she probably COULD be trained. Our plan was to keep talking about the potty, keep encouraging her involvement in putting dirty diaper contents into the real potty, helping mommy potty (trust me, she has this part down), and see what happens.

Then Sunday came and suddenly our little girl was stripping herself down at every opportunity to sit on the potty. She’d sit for a moment, look in to see what was happening and then request a new diaper.

**I learned a good trick at her school for putting diapers on standing up. Open diaper, stick the tape to their hips, pull the diaper through the legs and attach tape to diaper. So brilliant.**

All day we kept hearing the ripping of the diaper tape and it felt like every time we turned our backs for a moment she was not scaling the bookcase, but taking off her diaper. As evening rolled around her potty behavior became more intense. Turns out our daughter prefers to poop in a fresh new diaper and really, who wouldn’t???? She did the same thing last night, asking Steve for a new diaper. She knew she had to go and for now I’ll take that. She’s getting it cognitively, the rest will follow.

don't like snow white

Monday was dreary. Normally we would get ourselves organized and hit the library for Toddler Time, but I made a sick call to the pediatrician to check out the loathsome cough that continues to plague our house. Technically they want to see kids who have had a cough for more than 3 days. Seriously, 3 days? There is no way any illness is going to clear up in 3 days, let alone a yucky wakes your baby up while she sleeps cough. So you can guess how I feel about that particular “guideline.” I have my own guideline called “it’s still hanging around a week later?” So I picked up the phone at 9am to snag the earliest appointment and instead managed a piss poor 10:45, making Toddler Time with Miss A an impossibility. On a day like Monday that signaled the white flag of surrender. We were dressed, snacks was packed up, pigtails were done… it was time for a movie. Lousy weather sucks the life out of me. The only thing I could imagine doing was snuggling under a blanket with my energetic Caroline.

I chose Snow White because she has watched it a few times, but had never proclaimed her love for this princess. I wanted it to be as easy a transition to putting on coats as possible when 10:30 rolled around. Well, wouldn’t you know my little princess watches me take out the DVD “don’t like Snow White.” Perfect, I thought.

10:30 rolled around and I paused the movie resulting in an absolute fit from my toddler who had suddenly and inexplicably fallen head over heels for Snow White and the seven adoring dwarves. Wha??

At the doctor and all during the quickie errands I ran on our way home it was all Snow White this and Snow White that and I thought, well that happened fast. She could not have been happier when we got home and unpaused the movie. She could not have been more sad when it ended and I put her down for her nap. I promised we could watch it later, but it seems that her memory has improved greatly recently because the first words out of her mouth post nap were “want to watch Snow White” and she meant business.

This happens with movies and Caroline. She watches one thing to DEATH and in absolute desperation we entice her with a new one to keep ourselves from slowly losing our minds. She then becomes focused on that one movie and so forth. It’s a vicious cycle. I could feel badly that she watches movies like this, but then things like this happen...

Last night before bed we had perhaps our deepest conversation yet. “Ticka ticka ticka ate the apple? Snow White fall down? Apple on the ground?” Trust me, when you have this talk before bed all you can think about are terrible nightmares about that wicked queen you had as a child and woah, it rushes you into effective parenting pretty quickly. I reassured her that the apple made her sleep and that the Prince would come to kiss her and wake her up. The overarching message was that Snow White was good and kind and she would wake up again… and that we would watch it again tomorrow.

I never realized how many good lessons are in this movie:

- True beauty lies on the inside and that like the Queen, people can be beautiful on the outside, but ugly on the inside
- The importance of being kind to others
- Never talk to strangers, let them in your house, or accept poisoned fruit from them
- That furry forest animals love to listen to young princesses sing

When I went to wake her this morning she turned over and looked at me with the most concerned look, “Watch Snow White.” Even sleep could not erase her new obsession.

slumming it taco salad

During the very early days of our relationship, Steve and I put our practically still in college cooking skills to the test quite often. Before meeting him, I cooked for one or perhaps two if I wanted to make something special (ie not Lipton cheddar broccoli rice). Steve and I met in the spring of my senior year at Northeastern. He did not really know how to grocery shop. He lived on this. No other background information should be required. For the record, my college roommate Natalie and I were known to have hamburger helper nights ourselves, but they were more from the standpoint of tradition to the days of yore when we made it JUST to use the crazy vegetarian roommate’s skillet. Her directions were always the same “Wash it, wash it well!” Boy, did we love to torture people in odd ways.

Steve and I spent many a night at his house off Western Avenue in Brighton scarfing down a shared taco salad. We cooked up taco turkey (because this was going to be a “healthy” salad) and mixed it with bag o’ salad, cheese, tortilla chips, and a good swirl of ranch dressing. Take bowl to coffee table, insert two spoons, and you have slumming it taco salad. You know what, it was DAMN good.

It reminds us of easier times, when we were both so utterly carefree. A balanced budget then meant we had enough money to feed ourselves and pay our bills with enough left over for two reckless nights out each weekend at whatever bar we went to before we ended up back at Docksides. During the week Steve would pick me up on his way home from work and we’d tie on our skates in a parking lot along the Charles River. We’d skate as far as we could, sometimes as far as the Hatch Shell, and then head over to Star Market to pick up dinner. Sometimes we grilled, sometimes we had slumming it taco salad, but we always had beer and the atmosphere was still so college over at Kelly Court that it makes me smile to remember.

I get recipes emailed to me daily, sometimes they are good, sometimes they are total misses. Today I opened one called “Three Step Taco Salad.” I smiled, I sent it to Steve. I think we are making it tonight.

Happy Cinco de Mayo

earlier today

Caro pulls out deck of Baby Einstein Language Cards

C- "Mommy, sit down." Pointing to the floor beside her.

K- "Oh, you want Mommy to do those with you?"

C-"No, I do them. What's this?"

K- "A red apple, yummmm!"

C- "Very good! Good Girl!!!"