Thursday, January 31, 2013

Leighton Abbey

I'm not sure how long ago I heard about the PBS Series Downton Abbey. Could it have been last summer? Before then? I don't know. From last June until a minute ago, life has gone by so fast and furious I'm never sure what day it is. Or month. Truly. I do remember friends discussing this series and how they couldn't wait for it to begin. I remember I thought I should DVR it. Then along came Little Leighton. (Or she'd been here? As I said, who the heck knows, exactly.) Something happened to cause me to lose this series from my radar. I forgot to set the DVR. Sigh.

I would hear it mentioned, from time to time, in the past several months, on television shows like Extra or ET. Think I saw it nominated for some awards. Not sure if it (or the actors in it) won anything. Just know I would hear how much everyone was loving it.

When TLC couldn't figure out what to get me for Christmas (she is usually beyond clever, giving me the most unique/useful/fun/butnotexpensive gifts), I suggested she think about the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. I'd seen the boxed set at Target. Or Wally World. Again, I'm not my normally clear, sharp self.

TLC: What is Downtown Abbey?
ELC: It's Downton. Not Downtown. It was on PBS. Something about an English family. And their servants. In an earlier time in history. I don't know. But I want it.
TLC: Okay. But if I do get it, don't even expect me to watch it with you. That sounds B-O-R-I-N-G.

This past Tuesday, one of my nieces came to have lunch with me, TLC and Little Leighton. At my casa. We got to talking about what we were currently watching on the telly (Yes. My Royal English blood is taking over my American-ness. I never really know when that's going to happen. Kind of like The Incredible Hulk.), when she asked if we watched Downton Abbey.

ELC: Not yet. I have the first two seasons and I'm waiting for the energy to begin the process.
MSN (My Sweet Niece): You have to start it soon! You are going to ADORE it.

Since she is also obsessed with Dateline murder mysteries, like her Auntie ELC, I figured we must have similar entertainment tastes.

That night, after Little Leighton was put to bed and we urged My Sweet Hubby (MSH) to go watch his Weird Man Shows in our bedroom, TLC and I began our OBSESSION with Downton Abbey. OMGEE. We've finished the first season and are three shows into the second season. We've stayed up until 11:30 both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. We're sleepy. Kind of grumpy. And about to start watching in an hour-ish. I've vowed, however, we are NOT staying up past 10:00. This experience is reminiscent to me of the summer MSH and I watched six seasons of 24. In about a week. It took us six months to recover from that decision. Physically and emotionally.

Seriously, if you haven't heard about this series, or you've heard about it but thought you probably wouldn't like it, get thee to the nearest Target and buy the boxed set. It's like a soap opera! In the early 1900s. Who doesn't love classy soaps? The third season has currently started. We've missed the beginning. What a shock. Sheesh. Maybe we'll find that PBS is going to repeat it? So we don't have to wait for the next boxed set? Picture us crossing our fingers, Sweet Friends...

cheerio...for now...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Au-Pa

Y'all know how I feel about My Sweet Dad. Well, yesterday was an incredibly special and exciting day for my family. After 45 years in banking, Dad retired! (Though he's actually been working for 56 years -- starting with a paper route. He's also bagged groceries, been a soda jerk, worked at a small department store and filling station, had another paper route and checked cement -- among other jobs.)

After obtaining his business degree (in the midst of raising three boys -- the fourth son and then eventually his favourite daughter to come a bit later), and checking said cement for the highway department, he began working at a community bank in my hometown. He then left that bank to start another -- the one he said "au revoir" and "happy trails" to yesterday. We feted him last night with a yummy dinner and a toast to the past -- today -- and the possibilities for tomorrow. Then we spent the evening thinking of new "hobby" options. Grammy ELC decided he would make a fabulous "Au-Pa" for Little Leighton. Like an au pair -- Pa-Dad style!

Dad -- I am so proud of and for you. You've left quite a legacy. Your shoes can never be filled. You are the hardest working person I know. Your perseverance, dedication, success and the drive to never stop learning amazes and inspires me every single day. ILU. Congratulations!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Les Plaques Blanches

For Christmas, I received a gift card from ELC to one of my most favourite stores: Anthropologie. It had been sitting on my dresser in my closet, and I was itching to use it. I frequently browsed online but knew a trip to the ol' brick and mortar was in order.

On Wednesday, ELC graciously offered to watch Little Leighton while I treated myself to some much needed retail therapy. It was on my 5th-ish trip around Anthropologie (I wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking anything) that I discovered just what I wanted to spend part of my gift card on: one white "Grace" dinner plate and one white "Grace" salad plate.

You see, I have three floating shelves on a wall in my kitchen. They came with the house when we bought it. Though I've loved the "idea" of them, I've never been completely satisfied with my arrangement of random tchotchkes. During Christmas, I had placed a metal "Noel" sign I purchased in Canton several years ago on the bottom shelf. I decided then I liked the size of that sign and knew when I packed away the Christmas decor (which always makes me so melancholy) I wanted to replace it with something similar (and obviously less Christmas-y). Then it hit me. I had a white platter (also purchased in Canton) sitting in my buffet table that would fit the bill! I immediately grabbed it and instantly fell in love. It was then I realized I wanted to fill all three shelves with white platters of varying size and shape. I had two others I knew I could use but I still needed two more to fill in the gaps. Enter the Anthro plates! (Of course I didn't think to take a "before" until after I was finished. The two Grace plates are on the middle shelf, the first and second one.)



I'm pleased as punch at how it's all come together. Thank you, ELC, for the gift card and the inspiration!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Yeehaw for Y'all!

So this Yeehaw will only work for those of you who have access to a Kroger’s store. And I can’t be sure, of course, that all Kroger’s stores have these little gems. This Yeehaw might frustrate those of you who live in England or France or Spain. Etc. For that, I will apologize. But if you have a Kroger’s you can get to—SOON—and you like cinnamon rolls, here is one of my most favourite Yeehaws ever:

As if we could ever just eat one! 


These heavenly little bites of cinn (Ha! Sin!) have 60 calories per roll. There are sixteen rolls per package. For a typical breakfast, TLC and I have four each. So a package lasts us two days—when we’re together. Once we open the package, there’s no waiting around to finish them off in a few days. Believe me—if we could—we’d each eat eight in one sitting.

We lovingly put our four little rolls in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Any longer than that and the cinnamon and sugar and icing melt too much. We want them to be warm and gooey. This amount of time seems to be perfect for that goal.

Yesterday afternoon, while at TLC’s casa, I picked up two packages. One for her. One for me to bring home.  I’m not going to lie: This morning I had five of these divinely FABULOUS cinnis. That messes everything up. Since tomorrow is T.G.I.F., I’ll celebrate and have six. Yes. Yes, I will. And NO ONE will be able to talk me out of it. Saturday I’ll have the remaining five.

Oh, no. Now I'm thinkin' about breakfast in the morning. This is probably not good, you know, for my mental health. Seems like it could be considered an obsession. Dr. Dukan would be extremely disappointed in me. He’ll have to get over it. To paraphrase a Barbara Mandrell (I loved her immensely) song from years and years ago: If loving these cinnis is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

I’m feeling very sorry for those of you who can’t try these. You are missing out on the most cinnamon-y, delicious, EXQUISITE little rolls on Earth. Better book your flight to Texas—SOON.

smooches...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Smile!

As a bambino, TLC was quite a challenge when it came to sleeping. She preferred to be held for nap times. At night, she'd go happily into her crib. For a time period that ranged from a couple of hours to—on a GREAT night—six hours.

I would tell My Sweet Hubby (MSH):

“When she starts to crawl, she'll be more tired and sleep better/longer.”

 Then:

“When she starts walking, she'll be more tired and sleep better/longer.”

 Then:

“When she starts kindergarten...”

Then:

"Maybe when she starts high school..."

TLC got her best zzz's in her car seat. It wasn't unusual for me to drive her around our town two to four afternoons a week. For an hour or so. For a few years. Gas was mucho cheaper back then. And, clearly, I had no other life. However, I've discouraged TLC from using this technique with Little Leighton (LL). She’s only done it maybe five times in almost six months. Or so she says. Hmmm.

BUT, we have, as you know, made a few shopping trips around TLC's neighborhood. If LL falls asleep before we reach our destination? Grammy Leighton drives her around—and around—and around—the fill-in-the-blank store/shopping center parking lot. 

I realized a week ago last Friday that I (and both my vehicle and TLC's vehicle) must be on the following store parking lot videotapes: Hobby Lobby (2 different days); Target (3 different days); Buy Buy Baby (3 different days); and now my local Wally World. Two days in a row.

We’d gone to town a week ago Thursday with a list of eight items to pick up. Mostly for dinner that night. Since it takes 25 minutes to get from our country casa to the west side of our hometown, where Wally World is located, LL was out like a light by the time we arrived. (She was actually out about nine minutes from when TLC placed her in her car seat in my garage.) TLC darted from my (possibly rolling) car and made it around the WW Supercenter like an Olympian track star. LL never woke up.  When close to our home, we even drove some country roads to make said nap last as long as possible.

For some strangely inexplicable reason, I discovered the next day that I had more necessary items to pick up. Sheesh. Planning is not one of my strong suits. “To market, to market…” As I, once again, drove myself and LL around the perimeter of the WW parking lot, TLC sprinted in for the required purchases. While getting a tidbit dizzy, I thought to myself:

“Hmmm. If they actually check those video tapes, they could wonder what the heck I’m doing. I could be put on some kind of ‘list.’ The List of Shady Peeps. I don’t think that’s going to be a good thing.”

I kept looking at my cell for a message from Little Mama. Looking because, naturally, the ringer was off. We don’t want LL to be awakened by a phone call or text—so our ringers are off 75% of the time.(Rest assured, looking at your cell while you go 5 mph, or less, is not dangerous. Promise.) PLEASE Little Mama, I thought, get yourself out here before I’m approached by a person of authority questioning my motives.

Low and behold, as I was thinking it truly had to be time for her to appear, two police cars turned into the parking lot from the main street. Two! Yikes. I slowly headed away from them—while keeping an eye on where they were going. As I parked in a spot way out from the front of the store, I could see another vehicle coming into the lot. It was a Loomis armored truck.

At that very moment, I had the text from TLC saying she was about to be checked out. She’d be at the door in approximately two minutes. (Sure she would. Because we never have issues checking out at Wally World.)

We don’t have enough vehicles (with different license plates) for me to continue to do this in the aforementioned parking lots. Over and over. We need a new plan, TLC. I don’t want LL to have to visit her Grammy in the hoosegow.

Hope Y’all have had a WONDERFUL WEEKEND!

Hugs…

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Yummy for Y'all!

Y'all know how much ELC and I love Piggy Pajamas. I own three pairs. ELC owns two. Now, get ready to see the cutest little bambino in the most scrumptious peacock pajammies. Ever. (Clearly I'm not biased.)



Shut the front door. Piggy Pajamas has done it again, this time creating and crafting the most precious pjs for our most precious treasures: our kiddos! I mean, do you just die?

The new Mommy in me is ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over the fact that, not only can we sport grammy-mother-daughter-granddaughter matching jams, but these are designed brilliantly. The side-tie onesie Little Leighton currently dons doesn't have to be yanked over her head. She can be delicately placed inside these cozy pjs without any added trauma! (Grammy ELC is especially fond of this feature.) Two BIG thumbs up. And, you can bet your bottom dollar that as soon as LL gets a wee bit bigger, we'll be purchasing Mini-Me Sets.

The colours, fabric, quality and SUPERB customer service of Piggy Pajamas are over-the-moon fabulous. Kudos to my three favourite Piggy Gals. You rock.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Confessions

I have three confessions for y'all on this rainy (in our part of Texas) Wednesday:
  1. I go to bed at night dreaming about my morning coffee with Baileys (non-alcoholic) Creamer. Little Leighton and I recently made the switch to formula. While I was previously fine drinking my decaf lattes, I have come to rediscover my need love of a good ol' jolt of caffeine. Yum.
  2. I'm mildly obsessed with General Hospital. Yes, I, TLC, have become addicted to all things GH. Granted, I have no clue what the heck is going on or who's who (though I did Google a "Port Charles Family Tree" hoping that could give me some insight), I love it. I may or may not plan our day (i.e. feeding and nap times) around my 1:00 "appointment" with my soap/story. (That's right. I have a soap! I'm "that" girl.) If any of you lovely readers could fill me in on what's been going on the past 30ish or so years, I would be much obliged.
  3. ELC and I stumbled upon our new favourite meal, of all time. McDonald's now serves a "Grilled Onion and Cheddar" Burger. It's one of their teeny hamburgers, which we concur is the most perfect size. LL and I are visiting the country this week. On Monday, we decided to make a quick trip into town to run a few errands and swing by Mickey D's. We were all (minus LL, bless her heart, she doesn't know what she's missing and, besides, was snoozing away) very hungry and excited at the thought of our traditional burger. You can imagine our unmitigated joy when we saw the sign advertising this new treat. And, it's only $1! ELC and I both ordered a burger and small fries. Then, we headed down the street to Sonic (oh, yes, we did), where we proceeded to get Large Coke Zeros with Vanilla (though we love McDonald's, they don't serve Coke Zero and we now prefer it over Diet Coke). We only felt a smidge guilty eating our McDonald's meal parked in one of their "drive-in" spots. (And yes, we realize we should be better "nutritional role models" for LL. That's coming. As soon as she can say "French Fry.") On Tuesday, ELC remembered she had a few more "errands" she needed to run. It only made sense to go around lunch, you know, because of LL's schedule. We'd had a tiny, little breakfast and knew it couldn't hurt if we needed to get McDonald's again. On Monday, we were in my car. On Tuesday, we took ELC's. This was only becasuse she had to get gas. Not because we were afraid the lovely lady in the McD's drive-thru might recognize us. As we were pulling out of Mickey D's (headed, once again, to Sonic, where the same girl from our Monday excursion waited on us there, too, though we're fairly certain she didn't recognize our trio of fast food lovin' gals) with the yummiest burgers in hand, ELC noticed the ROLO MCFLURRYS (if you've tried one, you know the importance of using all caps) were back. Of course we have self-control and the thought never once crossed our mind to whip back around and go through the line again. We promise. Rather, we decided we would enjoy our lunch, let it settle, and then head to the west part of town where we have another McDonald's. For dessert. DON'T JUDGE US. At least we didn't order another Grilled Onion and Cheddar Burger and fries (though I may have jokingly suggested it when we pulled up). Instead, we both ordered a snack-size (aren't y'all proud we have restraint?) McFlurry. And, just so you know, it was worth every bite (and every extra mile to get to that second McDonald's where we were certain we wouldn't be recognized, yet). ELC snapped this picture in Mickey D's #2 drive-thru:


Yes, yes, you will.

TTFN, Friends!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Resolution

One New Year's Resolution. Between the two of us. (We didn't consult Little Leighton as to what hers would be because we thought it was about ten years too early. Maybe twenty. We also thought it might be to avoid having her picture taken by TLC. That wouldn't work for either of us.)

We were actually going to make six each. For each other! I thought that could be fun. (I could tell TLC was somewhat confused and very reluctant.) I came up with six per Leighton because 2013 adds up to 6. Yes. Yes, I'm a very scientific kind o' gal.

Then, today, we realized it was January 7th. We're losing the element of surprise/timing and perhaps are already behind, right? Hence we came up with this ONE RESOLUTION that both of us have committed we will try our best to keep in 2013:

More posts.

However, we can't do a post tonight. And possibly not tomorrow. We're just pretty darn sure we can do one by Wednesday. Or Thursday. Definitely by Friday. Pinky swear.

(Do y'all think this means we've already failed? Hmmm.)

Hope everyone has been having a Marvelous Monday (or Terrific Tuesday, as applicable!) wherever in The World you are!

smooches...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013

I was re-reading ELC’s post from last New Year’s Day – reflecting on 2012.  ELC was right (as usual): my life forever changed at 10:53 a.m., on that warm, sunny July day, in the most touching, sweet, scary, tiring, cRaZy, silly, challenging, tiring, confusing, incredible, delightful, tiring, funny, special, marvelous, tiring, and glorious way!



December blew in and out much quicker than I would have liked. But I’m learning that time, in general, seems much more fleeting as I try to soak up every last second with my Birdey.

In true “Mega Proud Mom Fashion,” I wanted to share a few recent photos of my Little Leighton:

Our favourite hooded towel from CeeCee!

"Seriously, Mom?"

Reading with Grammy!

Fell asleep while shopping at Target.
She will soon learn to appreciate the magic of that store.

Cuddling with her Pa-Dad!

Solid foods = YUM!



Someone turned 5 months old!

Our first arts and crafts project:
Salt Dough Ornaments for the fam!


LL was up WAY past her bedtime on Christmas Eve
and seemingly unimpressed with her festive attire,
thus refusing to cooperate and look at the camera.

Each day with her gets better and more delicious and more fun! 

Now, let’ s all clink our champagne glasses and get this party started. (I know. I know. I’m three days late. But who doesn’t want a little more bubbly?)

And, as Emerson said:

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

Chin-chin!