Quick interlude for meals, so I can keep the links together.  I’m out of town Mon-Wed for depositions (been traveling a lot lately), back on Thursday and then gone again Fri-Mon for a Richmond wedding.  Then the travel should die down.

This of course makes meal planning a challenge.  The Prof is not helpless and can handle it but his repertoire is limited (he reads this blog, he will not disagree), so I’ll prep some things ahead and choose meals that are Prof-proof.

Saturday: Orzo with summer squash and pesto, roasted broccoli and carrots, corn on the cob

Sunday: grilled tilapia, bok choy

Monday: Sausage pasta bake

Tuesday: Tacos with ground beef, refried beans

Wednesday: pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches, fruit

Thursday: go out for Liam’s birthday!

Friday: frozen pizza

Saturday: leftover pasta bake

Sunday: Father’s Day – I’ll be out of town (ugh), so I’ll arrange whatever the Prof wants arranged that is arrange-able from a distance.



Posted in Bitchin in the Kitchen | Comments Off on *Meals*

Lilypad 1 – Texas Trip

We decided this year to kick off the summer with a short vacation to Texas Hill Country. Our trip, from Friday through Tuesday, would include a couple of nights in San Antonio with my sister, her husband, and their baby. Then we’d head out to a day at a swimming hole and natural springs, swing by Luckenbach for a quick look around, and head to a hill country resort for a couple of days. I’m writing this first recap mid-trip – and it’s been just perfect so far.

The trip started with the stressful crush of preparing, as it always does. After a Thursday filled with frantic shoring up of all my cases in advance of leaving town for a bit, I had to leave early for a summer associate event. (I am in charge of managing the summer associates – it’s a LOT of work to add onto the billing, but I do enjoy it). We took our summer associates on a walking cocktail tour around the French Quarter, led by a tour guide who worked to incorporate some legal trivia into our evening.

We started with Ramos Gin Fizzes and Sazeracs at the glorious art deco Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel.  The bar was built in 1938, and has beautiful walnut-paneled walls, mahogany bar, and murals painted by Missouri artist Paul Ninas.  Our tour guide regaled us with stories of its history (formerly the Grunewald, then the Fairmont, now the Roosevelt) and famous residents (Louisiana Governor and U.S. Senator Huey P. Long lived in the hotel a while, and once famously flew its head bartender up to New York to teach the bartenders there how to properly mix a Ramos Gin Fizz), while we sipped craft cocktails and strained to hear over the ambient noise of the busy bar.  We next headed over to the Carousel Bar at the Monteleone (where we did not have a drink, it was too crowded). The bar, true to its name, looks like a fairgrounds carousel, and the main bar itself plus the seats around it all spin in a circle, completing one rotation every 15 minutes.   We heard a little of the literary history of the place, which was a favorite of numerous authors and is featured in works by Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Anne Rice, and others.  Truman Capote famously claimed to have been born there, although he was not – his mother was staying there at the time of his birth, but he was delivered in the nearby Touro Infirmary (where Liam was born!)

After hearing about the Monteleone, we then stepped back out into the humid street and walked a few blocks to Hermes, the bar connected to the famous Antoine’s restaurant, where I had a sidecar and their famous potato soufflés.  The bar has a checkerboard tiled floor and warm wood paneled walls, and we stayed a long while there, just chatting and getting to know each other.  Our last stop was at French 75, one of the bars of New Orleans classic restaurant Arnaud’s and tended by Chris Hannah, one of the most celebrated bartenders in the city and beyond.  Our tour ended then and we just finished one last cocktail before dispersing – some folks went home, others went on for more fun, and I had to head back to the office for an hour, then go home and do some more work. It was a wonderfully exhausting day.

The next morning, I got up early and tied up a few more work things (it’s so hard to get away!), then packed the boys’ and my suitcase, while the Prof got the dog sitter situated and made sure the dishes/trash/car/etc. was all set. We left the house at about 10, and headed West toward San Antonio, where my littlest sister and her husband were celebrating their baby’s first birthday.

Bunches of boys and grapes, ready for a long drive.

The drive was not too bad – about 10 hours this time, due to a couple of accidents slowing us down a bit, but the boys handled it really well. They read part of the time, played part of the time, watched movies part of the time – they really were pretty great with being in the car.

Each of them reading a Dog Man graphic novel.

We arrived at about 7:30 pm, and baby Charles was still up and gave us all big smiles and big hugs (no stranger danger yet! So delightful to get an enthusiastic hug from my baby nephew!), before heading down to bed. Our boys had pizza on the back porch, while we had pulled pork sandwiches, and then we all headed to bed as well.

Arrived at last! I think this was the next morning actually, but pretend it’s night.

Everyone was up and at ‘em at about 7 am the next morning – including Charles, who had slept beautifully. We had a big cooked breakfast and the boys showed Charles all the little boy toys that they had brought for him as hand me downs. He particularly loved the stroller and wagon, which he pushed/pulled all over the place.

Toy extravaganza.

Jack. Loves. Babies.

The scene shortly before their ridiculous dog popped this soccer ball.

Baby Charles loves his mama.

Driveway chalk time with Aunt Corrie.

He had an early morning nap, and the big boys played around the backyard while the adults got showers and ready for the day. We eventually left Charles and his dad at home, and we headed out to the Pearl district of San Antonio, which was hopping with a giant farmers’ market, a central splash pad/fountain, and tons of street food, all along the river walk. There were rows upon rows of brightly colored sun shades set up, with all manner of goods set out underneath. Giant leeks with bulbs the size of a fist, stems as long and broad as your forearm. Creamy new potatoes, honey, nuts, silver jewelry, small carts selling Mexican street food that smelled delicious – we were surrounded by luscious sights and smells. All round us towered mission style architecture – shops, the Pearl Brewery, the Hotel Emma. It felt very much like we were not in New Orleans – we were Somewhere Western – and it was a glorious day, bluebird sky, not so hot first thing in the morning but warming up.  The kids splashed in the fountain while my sister and the Prof and I sat in the shade of a tree nearby and talked.

In the main square.

Bluebird day.

That’s Liam in the middle – blue top and striped bottoms.

Our view – from our spot outside the splash zone.

Eventually, Charles woke up and came and joined us, ready at 12 months old to get in there and splash with the big boys. Jack shepherded him around everywhere, a solicitous older cousin, while Liam somehow found a plastic cup which he repeatedly launched via fountain spray, and Craig slipped and smacked his face and got a bloody nose.

Just woke up!

Out of focus baby.

Center of attention!

After the kids had exhausted themselves, we put on their dry shirts and walked down the river walk to get lunch at a restaurant called La Gloria.

Getting hotter – we saw baby ducks on our short jaunt down this section of the riverwalk.

We waited outside in the shade for about 20 minutes until a table was ready, and I made the boys pose with all of the funky metal characters out there. Texas seems quite good at dealing with heat, and they had lots of shade, lots of benches, and fans that blow cold mist on you. Those amenities plus the pomelo margarita that the Prof purchased for me kept me from melting while we waited.

Boys. Smile. Over here. SMILE.

Let’s try this one. Give me a good smile. Stop squinting. SMILE.

One more try.

Aunt Corrie chats with Craig while we wait.

Rosy cheeked baby.

This restaurant serves Mexican street food, so it’s a little like tapas – all ala carte. The Prof and I got four small plates to share, except one of them was not so small – the pork torta (basically a giant pulled pork hoagie).  We also had a ground beef tamale wrapped in a banana leaf instead of a corn husk; a shredded beef tostada topped in avocado, tomatoes, and crema; and three tiny chicken-and-tomatillo tacos, which were by far the best of the four small plates. Our boys got hamburgers, because of course they did. We shared one more prickly pear margarita, and waddled out of the restaurant a half hour later, stuffed to the gills.

We are surrounded by little boys.

I have a lotta Teeth and Cheek going on here.

Just two kids on vacation.

Business in the front, party in the back.

I walked outta this restaurant with a giant checkerboard pattern pressed into my bare legs.

Stole my hat.

It was hot by this point – HOT – and after paying the bill, we staggered down a dusty path toward the towering Hotel Emma, a sort of mission architecture cum steampunk affair. We wandered through the lobby for a moment, and then beelined back for the car, small children melting into puddles of whiny tiredness along the way. (Mostly just Craig).

Hotel Emma.

They really committed to a Look here.

Texas Ranch meets Steampunk Industrial. It was cool.

A pretty, tiled courtyard.

Time to head home for naps.

We drove past the Alamo on our way back to the house, and it looked like I expected from the pictures but it also was right in the middle of downtown, which gave it an odd vibe.

Tried to snap a pic of a taxidermied longhorn as we drove by, and these random children wandered in the frame right as I took it.

Drive By Alamo Sighting

My little love

Once home, the boys played Wii, I snoozed, Craig full-on napped, and everyone relaxed after a full day in the hot sun. Once Craig woke up, we all took the boys to get haircuts – we wanted to see Charles get his first haircut, and then the big boys got one too. It was a bit of a fiasco and Jack ended up with a terrible mushroom cut that simply was NOT going to work, so my sister thinned it out a bit at home. She made it look so easy, I’m planning to go buy myself some clippers and scissors and then will try it once, botch it, and never try again, I’m sure.

Baby’s First Haircut.

Super chill, even with the clippers.

No more baby mullet!


Better already.

We had jambalaya at home for dinner, a little bit of wine, a little bit of birthday cupcake, a little bit of Wii, a little bit of Parks and Rec, and then early to bed.

Happy birthday cupcakes!

The next morning, we all woke once more at about 7:00 – perfect, not too early, not too late. We immediately got ourselves packed and moving out the door. My sister packed a giant picnic, I dressed little boys in their swimsuits, and by 8ish, we were on the road to Krause Springs, little boys giggling their hearts out over Mad Libs all the way.

Mad Libs!

Krause Springs, founded in 1955, is a property privately owned, with 32 natural springs, campgrounds, swimming holes, and a man-made pool.  We parked in the dusty parking lot, gathered our picnic and towels and children, and picked our way precariously down a steep set of stairs, followed by an equally steep and slippery rock face.

I could call this trip – Boys Posed On Metal Things: A Series.

Down down down into the ravine.

Precarious. I was ready to catch this baby if his dad slipped, but we all managed to get down into the ravine without injury.

Several of the springs feed a manmade pool, which has a constant flow of water in one end and out the other.  The pool is at the bottom of the path and the top of the stairs pictured above, a nice place to swim on the upper level of the ravine.  We walked by it in the morning, and went back up to swim there later in the day.

The pool, lovely and cool.

The outflow at the far end runs to a waterfall and swimming hole.

Above the waterfall is the pool, just out of sight behind those trees.

It is very much still a “play at your own risk” kind of place, which I loved – it has not been over-safety-fied, if that makes sense. The boys could scramble around slipping and sliding and scraping over rocks, and we swam in water that could be 8 feet deep in one spot, and then suddenly you slam your legs into a giant rock that lets you stand in water up to your shins. There were roots and waterfalls and caves and rocks and who knows what kind of wildlife, and the boys just loved every second of exploring it.

Charles had a great time too – dressed in a puddle jumper and thrilled to death to be out in the mix, he was completely unfazed by all the commotion. He really just dug being one of the group, it was so darling. He’s still a baby, but beginning to transition into a Big Boy, and he really loves his cousins (and they love him!)  A small number of families were there before us, and we set up a picnic blanket on a wide stretch of rock, and then slipped and slid down the mossy rock face into the water. I wore my trusty old Chacos – so glad I brought them – and helped fish boys out of tight spots now and again. We adults all took turns jumping from a rope swing, and told the boys it was only for age 14 and up (a little white lie that I do not regret).

Slippery! I wore my Chacos in the water and still slipped and slid everywhere.

Rope swing to the left, waterfall and spooky cave to the right.

Trying to clamber out. It was impossible to do this gracefully.

After a picnic lunch of PB&J for the boys and turkey sandwiches for us, I took Jack and Liam down the banks of the stream to explore. We scrambled over a mass of tangled, slippery tree roots, splashed through ankle deep water (toes squishing into who-knows-what), and made our way to a small waterfall of absolutely frigid water, where we rinsed off and screamed at the chill. We hiked the opposite bank before we came to an impasse, and then slipped and slid over rocks and roots and mess to doggy paddle back to the picnic blanket (Jack squealing with each step “what is this SUBSTANCE??! This is a slippery SUBSTANCE!”)

What time is it? It’s time for lunch! (That’s a Bubble Guppies reference)

Some hungry little explorers.

We spent a great deal of time under that lush canopy and waterfall. I wish I could have gotten an up close photo of what it looked like underneath – emerald moss, rampant green foliage, clear and cold water in a steady trickle, small cave a dark slash in the rock face.

Dipping toes

My explorer buddies. Did not take my phone on our adventure as it’s not waterproof, but I have the mental picture of the two of them – Liam bounding ahead, Jack more cautiously picking his way behind us. Keeping my anxious eye out for snakes, but letting the boys run nonetheless. The second waterfall, this one on dry land, and the boys standing under it for a cool rinse on a hot day.  Slipping back into the water and paddling towards the picnic blanket, Jack good naturedly hollering about “SUBSTANCE” and Liam forging ahead, unafraid.  My boys!

It was time to pack up the picnic items – the swimming hole was starting to fill up with 20 somethings with coolers of beer, and we figuratively passed the torch to them as we single-filed it up the slippery steps to the upper level, with the swimming pool. The pool was MUCH chillier than the swimming hole down below, being less in the sun and closer to the mouth of the springs, but we all got in and the boys took turns leaping off the rocks on the far end, while we adults sat together in the shallow end and talked a bit, passing the baby back and forth.

Everybody jump on Uncle Andrew!!

Handsome boy, ready for a dive.

The outflow side of the pool.

Good-bye Krause Springs!

We all hosed off, dried off, got dressed, and hugged our good-byes, as the two family units were about to part ways – sister back home, us on to a resort, via a few other stops.  And that will be my next post!  Thank you for joining us on our grand summer kick-off adventure.

Posted in Travel | Comments Off on Lilypad 1 – Texas Trip


*Edited to add pictures!*

The Prof is at graduation, shaking hands and shepherding graduates.  Craig is napping upstairs.  Liam is at a friend’s and has been for about 24 hours – not sure when we’ll see him again.  Jack is flailing around the house whining about being bored and kind of destroying my otherwise quiet afternoon, and frankly I wish he’d just buzz off.  His friend came over for a while, and quickly pegged Jack as being in a foul mood, so he went back home.   Jack did have a friend spend the night but they went to bed at a reasonable hour so I don’t know what his deal is, but I am ready for him to take a nap.

Meanwhile, I am drinking a La Croix and enjoying my gorgeous flowers on my back deck, which we finally purchased and potted this past weekend.  They have gotten used to their new pots and perked up, especially after Friday’s dumping rains.

Enjoying the sun after yesterday’s monsoon.

I got a Norfolk pine,


a gardenia,

If only I could upload the scent

some herbs and peppers and strawberries,

Perhaps one day, we shall have a strawberry from this tiny thing

Some kinda hot pepper

Basil (already a bit baked), thyme, and sage.

and all colors of vinca and marigolds and snapdragons and dusty miller,

We bought four of these window boxes from the Prof’s grandmother


Scooter parking

Daisy head maizie

Love a simple pink vinca

and one lonely little hosta, tucked in a shady spot.

Hosta la vist- no. I won’t.

Jack insisted we purchase a palm growing out of a coconut, as well as a particularly ugly succulent (cactus-adjacent, but spine-free).  So those are out there too.  He said “no one else is going to want to buy this” and I was like “I KNOW, RIGHT, WE HAVE TO SAVE IT,” so don’t ever let us go to an animal shelter together.

Oh lord this cactus is so ugly and floppy

This one’s kinda neat and also might be an actual tree.

In front, we have several succulents – some echeveria and sedum and aloe, since the sun out front is punishing and anything else we put out there dies.

Succulents out front



Front porch succulents


Tucked into a corner. To get onto our front porch you have to crawl thru the window which is *mostly* charming

We have a somewhat OTT collection of containers for our very tiny back deck, so it feels quite lush and tropical out there right now with flowers at your elbow no matter where you sit.  By July it will probably start to look tired and a little leggy, as even now it’s hotter than it should be out there, but it looks so lovely and springlike now.

Last window box


One of the things I most love about Craig right now is how earnestly he gives me complicated lists of instructions that I have no intention of following, and I think he knows on some level that I won’t, but nevertheless he presses on.  Sometimes this is a stall tactic (i.e. the hoops he expects me to jump through right when it’s naptime are pretty laughable), and sometimes it is a ritual (every morning he asks me for “new batman shoes and a milkshake and some batman cookies” or some similar list when I drop him off at daycare, and I say “absolutely bud, will do, after school,” and of course we never do).  Sometimes he’s just trying to communicate in his four year old way, and my eyes sort of glaze over as I wonder when this lengthy nonsensical spoken checklist will cease, but also I find it so interesting to imagine what’s going on in his little four year old mind.  I have almost zilcho memories of being four – I mean there’s one or two in there, but it’s mostly gone – and what a mystery, those tiny brains are!  How silly and not-quite-right, but also figuring-things-out, sprinkled with surprise I-can’t-believe-you-remember-that.  Today he apparently notice the giant sprawling red birthmark on his leg for the first time, which is surprising as it covers his whole calf, but he asked me what it was?  And ‘maybe it’s from Wyoming [our neighbor] took us on a picnic, and I stooded on a ant hill, and the ants crawl on me?’  No love, it’s a birthmark you’ve had your whole life, but also wow!  That picnic was months ago, and you remember it, and bring it up.  He still talks about ‘that time we took a bike ride and waited under a bridge,’ and I believe that was not long after Mother’s Day last year.

Anyway, today I pushed him a mile in the stroller to the library – just him and me.  For some reason he thought the library had cookies, and he kept charming the circulation desk by asking politely where the cookies were please.  So we got him a library card and checked out some books and signed up for summer reading, and then I promised we would get cookies after we got home.

A cookie hopeful

Baby’s first library card

Only due to other children shenanigans we didn’t manage it before naptime, and I promised him daddy would bring some home after nap, and out came his fingers – “first [pointing to index finger], they need to have cream.  Next [points to middle finger], they also need to look like fingers. And some need to look like hats, and then the big cookie is on the 12 and the little cookie is on the 8. And that’s what daddy needs to get.  And we put them in a bowl so it’s full but they don’t spill out.  Make sure it’s the right size.”

Yes darling.  OK.  Finger-hat-cream-clock cookies, in a properly-sized bowl, coming up.  Now go take a nap.


Years ago the Angry Redhead – a woman who no longer blogs, and was she angry? Or some other emotion? I no longer recall – wrote about the concept of lilypads – those special events through the year that punctuate the humdrum everyday.  I’ve got quite a few coming up, and I thought I’d share them here.

  • Texas Hill Country: in just a few short weeks, we’re taking a short jaunt over to Texas.  First we’ll visit my sister in San Antonio, and then head over to a resort in hill country for a couple of days swimming and relaxing – a good kick-off to the summer.  We plan to spend a day at Krause Springs (I think – the Prof planned this and he told me the name and this sounds right?) and we also have to go to Luckenbach Texas so he can get a t-shirt to replace the t-shirt the last time he went to Luckenbach.  If you’re unfamiliar with the inspiration for this visit, please click here and feel just a tiny measure of my lifelong pain.  This is a long weekend – I take Friday, Monday and Tuesday off, and then on Wednesday I fly to Atlanta to take a deposition.
  • The Prof’s Hometown: in early July, we are going to spend a full week in the Prof’s hometown.  I don’t normally go on this trip because of work, but since I work remotely from all of my partners anyway (they’re in CA or NY, generally), I just said ‘what the heck’ and agreed to go.  I’ve told everyone, and it seems fine.  I’ll take the week as it comes – I definitely will need to work, but can also take some afternoon/mornings or perhaps even a full day off here or there.
  • My Parents’ House: in early August, my parents get a turn.  I’m going on this one, too.  My firm technically gives me four full weeks of vacation and you cannot carry them over or cash them out, so Imma use it, sort of, while paranoidly checking email constantly and probably let’s face it working quite a lot.
  • My Birthday: I turn forty in early September, and I’ve decided I want to spend it in some giant beautiful place, where I am insignificant.  This place will either be Big Bend or the Guadalupe Mountains, just me and the Prof, camping and hiking and kayaking and sleeping in a tent.  This is what I want.  After three days or so of this, we will head back to hill country and float a river, spend a night in a fancy resort and get some spa treatments on our likely achy forty year old bones, and then go home.  Perfect.
  • Thanksgiving will be with my in-laws, Christmas with my parents, though beyond this rough idea we have no firm plans.

There we are.  A lovely list of things to enjoy.  How I’m going to bill 2000 hours in there, I can’t tell you, but I’ve already got well over 1000 so . . . (our year goes November 1 – October 31, so April was halfway through, and I’m on target. So at least not going in on these back half in a deficit!)


Meals last week were really excellent.  I made the Romano chicken with skin-on, bone-in thighs, which I tried to butterfly – it definitely would work better with a breast, but still the breading was divine.  The kids were not feeling the lemon pasta, and next time I’ll put Parmesan in it as well.  The fritters were A++ – super easy, held together well, very good.  Next time I’ll spice them up a little more – they were a tiny bit bland, though the kids enjoyed them that way. The green chile and chicken lasagna is a great idea but needs work – it was just a LOT of really salty cheese.  I need to adjust the cheese – type and amount – and I may throw corn in it next time for some sweetness.  Worth working on, though, because it was so good, even though could be improved.  And last, for the salmon I just sprinkled some lemon pepper on it and broiled it, and roasted some potatoes tossed with Cajun spice, and then roasted broccoli.  Really simple, really good.  This week, I have a lot of potatoes and a lot of squash and a lot of sausage, so that somewhat informs my choices.  I’ve made all of these before (and loved them) except the last thing, so we’ll see how that goes.  On with the week!

Pan roasted chicken thighs with garlic roasted potatoes and squash.

Baked cream cheese spaghetti

Homemade Pizza

Zesty Burrito Bowl

Roasted Smoked Bratwurst and summer squash

Posted in Categorizing Things is Overrated | 1 Comment

May in NOLA

Last weekend, the boys’ bestie across the street had a sleepover.  His parents have a pretty large property for our neighborhood (where generally the “yard” is the size of a picnic table).  Their house is pretty small, maybe 900 sf, but they have a giant outdoor courtyard area and a back-house with a tiny upstairs bedroom, even tinier under-the-stairs bathroom, and small main room with two daybeds.  The boys stayed in the back-house with another friend (the 14 yo girl from the last post), and they had a blast.  The mom snuck in briefly at 11pm to see if they were asleep, and they were not – they were all in the upstairs bedroom having a serious heart to heart about bullying.  She eavesdropped a second, and then quietly asked that they turn out the lights soon, and left them to it.  Gah, love it.  Love their little independence, their friendships, their hearts.

The next morning, I ended up taking just Liam to Costco after church, while the Prof took the other boys to a Sunday School teacher appreciation picnic (he is a Sunday school teacher for the 5 yo class, is that not darling?)  We had limited time to do the family chores, so we had to divide and conquer, and Liam was kind of terrible in church so he was forced to go with me.  He whined and complained at first, but then once we got there he got really into it, in a way that Liam occasionally does, and it was actually really kind of fun.  He enthusiastically ran and fetched things, he got thrilled by getting to choose cereal and juice and really agonized over whether to get our favorite tortilla strips or try a new brand.  He has always thrived under individual attention, and while not every solo trip with him is glorious, every glorious moment with him I’ve had has been with him solo.  Chalk that up to the curious enduring character traits of the middle child, I suppose.  After we finished, he helped me push the cart to the car and unload it, and then we rewarded ourselves with a slice of Costco pizza.  He was just happy as a clam – such a delight.  It was a good weekend.

Then this week, several basic, easy things that should happen in a civilized society just didn’t work in that particular way that NOLA has of failing to meet basic needs that other cities seem to find easy – like mail, and education, and basic street maintenance.  Last weekend I was sure we would live here forever, nourishing our children’s hearts and independence in the jasmine-scented, urban streets of humid magic New Orleans for the rest of their days, and this weekend I am ready to pack it all up and move somewhere more functional.  I will never not have this two-faced feeling for this city, I guess.  Its good moments are sublime perfection, and its bad moments are just maddening.

Today we plan to take the boys on a bike ride.  I have an abusive client (it’s actually 3 people on a very dysfunctional in house team) that email me over a hundred times yesterday, and they have already started in on the abuse this morning, and I am ignoring them.  Stick a fork in me.  If anyone in my reading audience is a lawyer, all of this nonsense is over Rule 26 Initial Disclosures – INITIAL. DISCLOSURES. Like, one of the least important things EVER.  I need to get out of these weeds and get some perspective, so they can shout into an echo chamber while I shepherd three little boys along a paved path and enjoy spring in NOLA before it gets so hot we can barely stagger through the day.

We are tentatively making plans for my upcoming 40th birthday, which conveniently falls over Labor Day weekend.  The plans involve a camping trip to a national park with sweeping vistas, and no cell service – just the kind of calm and perspective that is called for on a Big Birthday.  I want to take the whole week off.  I want to do long hikes, and be so tired out at the end of the day that sleeping on the ground poses no problem, and answer/read zero emails.  At the end of it, I want to stay one night in a luxury resort and get a massage and a pedicure and drink champagne and eat chocolate covered strawberries, and pamper a body that I will have overworked during the prior week.  Details are still being worked out, but this is the rough idea.

This week’s meals are listed below, mostly for my own edification.  I will also note that I made this Lentil shepherd’s pie a couple of weeks ago and it was AMAZING.  The BBQ sauce is vital.  Highly recommend.

Wishing you all a good week – with minimal maddening moments, and lots of joy.


Posted in New Orleans | Comments Off on May in NOLA

Kids are Exhausting and Cute

*Edited to add pictures*

Last night we had Jack’s tenth birthday party.  We had a Nerf war in the park, followed by a movie projected on a sheet in our backyard.  Ten 10 year olds.

The Nerf part went actually fine – we just sort of threw them into an area of Audubon park bounded by some trees and let them run, and they more or less did.

A friend gamely poses for me

The crew

Nobody shot anybody in the face, there were a few disputes over fairness and rules but mostly they got handled by the boys, and it actually looked like a lot of fun.  We then drove them all to the house for grilling out and a backyard movie.

Karate Kid

They may look attentive in this picture but absolutely zero minutes of this movie were watched.

But once we got home, our neighbor – a 14 year old girl who is the type of neighbor who can just come in our house without knocking and pull food out of our fridge any time, she’s one of the family basically – came by to have some burgers.

She’s half Italian, half Greek, all mouth, and I LOVE HER.

And OMG the tween hormonal SOMETHING that occurred made all of these children lose their damn minds.  They weren’t flirting exactly – more just hollering really loud to try to get attention, and then there was lots of chasing and poking and throwing popcorn and attention-seeking nonsense.  The 14 year old went home briefly and I sighed a sigh of relief, but then she came back with bright red lipstick on, and I was like – oh dear.

Long story short we sort of lost control of the boys.  Since they were contained in the house/yard, no humans were in danger, though I did fling myself in front of some furniture at points to save it from destruction.  But it was an absolute nightmare for about a half hour there, and I have never prayed so hard for parents not to be late to pick up their kid, and been so thankful for my wisdom to not host a sleepover.

A few more kid stories:

Craig, out of nowhere, mouth full to bursting with half chewed waffles, speaking extremely loudly: MAAAAHM, when I was in yer belly, did you every say ‘WOAH, this belly is SO BIG!’


Liam, who has been dancing around avoiding doing dishes for twenty minutes but finally buckled down: Well, if I’d just focused on this to begin with, I would’ve been done by now!


Craig, yesterday walking through the park amid the tress: Mom, you gotta DUG when I say dug, ok?  Ok, dug!  Dug your head! [ducks theatrically under a branch at least three feet above the top of his head]  Good job dugging, mom.


Craig this morning, in a wee, small voice: mom, do you think I’m going to die?
Me: not anytime soon, bud. why are you worried you are going to die?
Craig: my belly hurts.

I turn and see littered at his feet two banana peels, a discarded juice box, and three Nutri Grain Bar wrappers. He also had a bowl of applesauce.


(On the way into school he burped, then laughed and said ‘I just went BRAAAAP and now my belly feels better!’)


Craig recently learned roshambo (rock paper scissors), and makes us play incessantly. According to him, a fist 👊 = rock, a flat hand 🤚 = paper, and two fingers ✌🏼 = a silly dog that bites the paper. 😍😍😝😝


Craig, hollering at me from the other room:  Mom, there’s a crawfish in here!

Narrator voice: It was a cockroach.


Jack doesn’t often say cute things anymore, because he’s TEN DEAR GOD WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN, but he did very sweetly let Craig open all of his birthday presents this year.  He still has some struggles in school with academics, and we’re finding him a tutor who specializes in learning difficulties, but in terms of friends/relationships, he’s stellar.  Everybody loves Jack, and Jack loves everybody.  For this reason, although learning will never come easy for him, we don’t worry about his future too much.  He’s got it sewn up with just being a sweet, open, loving, humble kiddo.


Last “cute story” – this one’s about me.  I fell hard in the street while walking out of church Sunday, scraping knees and hands and also, horrifyingly, shouting a panicked involuntary ‘Jesus Fucking Christ!’ as I fell.

Posted in Domestic Bliss, Jack, Liam, Tex | 1 Comment