One of the things I love about San Antonio is the local paper. There’s a daily spanish lesson, on Friday there is a math lesson and, randomly throughout the week they have “time wasters.” Time wasters is where I found this little gem:
Image from Boingboing.net
I actually let Doug sleep in today so that I could score myself some extra points. Unfortunately, I don’t think it makes up for all of my demerits! Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time the seam in my hose was crooked I’d be a millionaire! Interestingly though, the husband’s list is nowhere to be found. Coincidence? I think not!
I wrote last month about the little crawfish boil that we had at the house when my dad was in town. Now, I’m going to show you what a real crawfish boil looks like. Well, this is what I assume a real crawfish boil looks like, but since I haven’t been to that many, I’m only guessing here!
My first taste of the Louisiana crawfish boil came about six years ago. Doug and I travelled to Houston so that I could meet his parents before we got engaged (I assume this was to give his family a chance to tell him to run for the hills!). As if the pressure of meeting his parents wasn’t enough, we also took a trip to Lake Charles, LA for an extended family crawfish boil. There I met Doug’s grandparents, his aunts and uncles, and some of is siblings. It was a little overwhelming, to say the least.
In addition to trying to keep all of the names straight was the pressure of trying to look cool, calm and collected in very hot and humid temperatures. Also, there was the minor detail of the crawfish. I’m from Nova Scotia, and I enjoy a good lobster with some melted butter. I assumed the crawfish would be a mini version of this. I was wrong!
Grandma and Grand-dad going to town on some crawfish!
The Louisiana crawfish boil is an all day event. It involves many, many, many pounds of live crawfish. There is a huge pot that is boiling outside, near the barn. Now, here is what I really wasn’t prepared for: it is very spicy. The fish is spicy, and so you think you’ll get a break by having a piece of corn on the cob, but the corn is actually spicier than the fish. By the end of it both my fingers and lips were numb!
There is also a whole talent to the peeling of the crawfish. The first time (and really, pretty much every time, because I’m lazy) I had Doug peel all of my crawfish. I think the peeling and eating in one smooth motion is how impostors are rooted out!
Sharleen and Isaac at the sand table
That was all a huge preamble to the real story which was last week-end’s annual crawfish boil back in Lake Charles. This was also kind of a welcome home celebration for Doug’s parents. Scott and Aimee and warren and Sharleen were also there, along with Carmen. Carmen is Doug’s cousin, and her little boy, Austin, and Samuel are great friend when they see each other.
Samuel and Austin enjoying the great outdoors
It’s nice when there are a lot of people there, because then I don’t feel the pressure that usually accompanies a trip to see family. I spent some time trying to convince Sharleen that she and Warren should move to Texas. I also had a good laugh when she said that she thought that she was a little mean. Ah Sharleen, if you weren’t so sincere and lovable then your niceness would be annoying!!
Reece and Benjamin in the wagon
I didn’t eat too much crawfish this year. I chased the boys while they were chasing a mean chicken and a crazy goat. Samuel also tried out his first 4-wheeler (the electric child’s version), and they all spent some time trying to get uncle David’s tractor started.
William on the tractor
Doug spent a lot of time in the barn with his uncles and grand-dad, and I think he got his fill. He was a little worried at the beginning of the day that we were going to miss all the crawfish because we were late leaving, but there were still many a crawfish left when we got there.
Sharleen, Warren & Isaac & Doug, me & Benjamin
I have to say, it was also a perfect day weather wise. It was warm and breezy. The mosquitoes didn’t come out until dark, and it was overcast so we didn’t have to worry about sunburns. Everyone had a great time, and it made the ten hours of driving totally worth it!
This is all that was left
I have a confession to make: sometimes I buy breakfast cereal for the toys! Don’t get me wrong, I would never pay full price for a box of cereal, and I won’t buy something we wouldn’t eat just because they’re giving away a pedometer. I will however, choose the box that gives me a free dvd over the box that gives me absolutely nothing.
So it was that I went to the grocery store the other night. Our oldest has been saving tokens from his Rice Krispies so that he can get a Hot Wheels watch. He was one token away and we were all out of cereal. When I got to the breakfast aisle I was met with a myriad of choices. There were lots of brands on sale and lots of bonus things.
I picked up the Rice Krispies first. Then I moved on to the Raisin Bran because they do dvd giveaways with free shipping. I also needed to pick up some Cheerios for the baby. Imagine my surprise when I noticed Batman figurines in the box of plain Cheerios. I was very excited because the boys are going through a superhero phase right now, and normally you get nothing with the “healthy” cereals!
Imagine my horror the next morning when the boys open the box and get this:
How’s that for a way for a four year old to start his day? Luckily, Doug saw it first and convinced the boys to go with the cereal that had the light up Indiana Jones spoon. Is it just me, or is it in bad taste to use an obviously adult oriented character as a child’s giveaway? It’s kind of how I felt when they had all of the Austin Powers dolls. There are just some things that are inappropriate for children. Maybe I’m getting a little sheltered in my old age, but I don’t think so.
Ah, the awkward moments. How do you reply when someone tells you that your son looks just like someone who isn’t his dad?! I usually have lots of fun responses like, “Thanks, but please don’t tell my husband.” It is however, an odd situation, especially considering I think my kids all look like their father since none of them take after me. Also, Doug isn’t really the type who appreciates a good, this kid looks just like your best friend, kind of gag!
What I’m really surprised by is that nobody commented on the exptremely progressive “My Two Dads” look that Doug and Greg had going on!
So, this is what we’ve been up to for the past couple of weeks:
April 23: Doug’s parents get home from Mongolia
April 24: Doug’s parents call to let us know they’re home from Mongolia and that they’re speaking in church on Sunday
April 25: Battle of the Flowers holiday in San Antonio; we head to Dallas via the back roads
April 26: A trip to the American Girl Store; nephew’s baseball game; naked burritos at Amy’s; a trip to the quilt asylum
April 27: Sacrament Meeting in Dallas to hear Doug’s parents’ homecoming talk; lunch with the in-laws; a 2 year old with an apparent eye inection; a return drive to San Antonio; finding out my grandmother died; Doug hearing from Mike D. for the first time in forever; finding out Greg went on a date with a girl that doug had gone out with many a year ago (freaked Doug out slightly); arrived home with a two year-old with a fever of 103; bought plane ticket to Halifax
April 28: Took two year old to Doctor and found out eye infection was actually pneumonia; went for our first ever chest x-rays; had visit from wonderful visiting teachers who offered to find me help with my kids while I was in Halifax
April 29: Took 9 month old for his well-check visit, realised I made an error when I purchased my plane ticket and was now returning on Monday instead of Sunday, packed my bag; did all the laundry so that Doug could make it through 6 days with two boys; got some food from Schwan’s so that he wouldn’t have to cook
April 30: Woke the boys up at 4:00 am so that we could drive to Austin to make my 7:00 am flight; flew to Dulles and then Halifax; greeted by my sister and her kids with a wonderful Tim Horton’s doughnut; went back to the Inn; had dinner; went to the first viewing at the funeral home; visited with family; went back to Dad’s and had some chocolate croissants and Fong’s egg rolls (even in the modst of all of his funeral planning, my dad still thought to get me some yummy treats, watched American idol, talked to Doug; found out I had know idea how hard it was to deal with two sick boys
May 1: Breakfast at the Tavern; an afternoon viewing; Swiss Chalet with the family; another viewing; a lecture from my brother and ten year-old nephew on the evils of hard plastic, and the petroleum industry; a nine month old baby throwing up at the funeral home; said good-bye to Brooke on AI;
May 2: My Nan’s funeral, burial at the Camp Hill Cemetary; pizza and donair with all of my siblings at dad’s; horribly bad movie with Christina; Jessica’s sweet sixteen
May 3: A morning breakfast visit with Ellen’s family at their deluxe downtown condo; helped Christina pack up the truck for the big move; took a tour through the old neighbourhood; fish and chips for dinner; packed up Jason’s snacks for the big roadie
May 4: Church; visit with my Grandpa and his lady-friend; yummy steaks for dinner with Dad, Ellen, Christina and her kids; pack to go home
May 5: A trip to downtown Halifax; a couple of souvenirs; lunch at Sweet Basil; back to dad’s to load up the car; go through customs where I realise I forgot to bring my green card; an interview in the US immigration back office; a flight to Chicago with an emergency landing in Detroit; an evening in the Romulus, MI Ramada
May 6: A 6:00 am flight to Chicago; 8:00 am flight to San Antonio where the man across the aisle was none too impressed with my nursing a baby, but equally unimpressed when said baby started crying; arrival in San Antonio; pick up the kids from kidspace; Doug back to work; dad’s spaghetti for dinner; sleep
May 7: Hung out with Henry; made pinatas; again a little bit lazy (maybe this was all yesterday, it’s all a haze)
May 8: Lazed around all day long: dinner at Zio’s
May 9: Swimming with friends; Trip to Costco; primary activity; enjoyed some Nyquil
May 10: Spent the day sick in bed; Doug took the boys out searching for Mother’s day fun; the beginning of more sick boys
May 11: Breakfast in bed; Church with only one boy; more Mothers day goodness; dinner; walk; puking boys x2
May 12: Reading, playing with my new toy; dinner; preparing for Doug’s special day; Dancing with the Stars
May 13: Made a birthday cake; Hanging with Anna and Henry; wrapping presents; trying to clean in preaparation for greg’s arrival; changing birthday plans; paid bills; wrote the blog; gave up on decorating for the birthday dinner bacause it has been postponed until tomorrow…
Perhaps this is a bit long and tedious, but it’s why I haven’t been around lately.
This is my Nan. She was my father’s mother, and I have to say, this is not how I remember her. There really aren’t any pictures that capture how I remember her, but I love this one, so it’s the one I’m using. It sort of reminds me of a hip working mom. She’s looking like she’s got places to go and people to see.
This was the grandmother who taught me about comfort food. The foods I turn to most often come from her kitchen. My love for purple cabbage, semi-homemade poundcake, and her Christmas shortbread cookies all come from my Nan. I feel like I had to earn all of those recipes. She didn’t just hand them over; she always held a little something back. I have three different versions of the shortbread, and I had to go back to her a few times to get the poundcake right. When I first got married, hers were the meals that made me think of domesticity. There was never Kraft Dinner or chicken nuggets. It was all home-made.
I grew up surrounded by very strong women, and my Nan was no exception. Some people like to call it a certain Frank stubborness, but I prefer to think of it as determination. This was a woman who never really had a lot, but she was the epitome of making the most of what she had. I remember the buckets of blueberries and rhubarb that I saw every year. She darned socks and she helped me with quilting projects. there was even one disastrous attempt at teaching me how to knit!
One of the rites of passage in our home was receiving a key to Nan’s house when we started junior high school. The school was within walking distance to her house, and we would go every day for lunch all through junior high and high school. This is where I was assured a hot lunch and extra treats. There was always a sweet something stored away in a Quality Street tin in the dining room closet.
As kind of a side note, when I was growing up I always felt closest to my brother, Michael. I think part of that had to do with the time we spent together eating lunches at Nan’s. Sometimes it would just be a joint eye-roll at something crazy she said, but mostly it was time spent together; also, he would drive me back to school which made me look infinitely cooler than I actually was!
I hold no thoughts of being anywhere in the vicinity of Nan’s favorite grandchild. I caused my sister way too much torment to ever be a favorite! I’ll let Jason and Christina fight over that one. I have no doubt though, that she would have defended me to the ends of the earth. Family loyalty was important to her, and it has become very important to me.
There are some definite things that I know I inherited from my Nan: My hair, which I don’t exactly love, but whatever; I also have a need to have baked goods in my home at all times whether there is someone there to eat them or not! My husband probably wishes I had inherited her love of cleaning and ironing, but I am not quite that evolved!
I had been preparing for my Nan’s death for quite some time, and I have to say that I felt a little guilty at my lack of emotion at the viewing and the funeral. There were members of the family that were very distraught, and I really felt more gratitude than anything else. She had been without a lot of the joys of her life for a long time, and I think that where she is now is a far better place than where she was. She was blessed to have been surrounded by her family when she died, and I know that she was welcomed by her family on the other side.