Thursday, May 27, 2010
I watched The Doctors today. It was titled "The Truth About Teen Sex". I think that anyone that knows me, knows that I'm not a prude. I'm certainly not a slut or anything, but there isn't a whole lot that can shock me when it comes to talking about sex. I was in the 110. All of my 110 friends know what that means. I've also been with the same person for over 10 years now, so it's fair to say that I'm a little "out of touch" with what's out there, as far as dating, and whatnot. But holy shit this was a shocker. I'm not even talking about these "rainbow parties" that they have. I've heard of rainbow parties before, and although, I can't believe they have them, that's not even what's so shocking to me. (BTW, a rainbow party is a party where girls each wear a different color lipstick and take turns giving guys blow jobs and their lipstick color stays on the boy's wiener and the boys "compare" all of the colors they got) If these sorts of parties existed when I was in high school I was completely oblivious to them. And even though I think rainbow parties are disgusting and degrading (I don't even like to drink after someone else) there are far worse things going on. I think I'm going to have to agree with Bill Clinton on this one. Is oral sex, sex? No. I don't think so. I think it's very intimate and personal and a strong "rounding third base and headed for home" situation, but in my opinion, sex=penetration.
No, what's so shocking to me is the other stuff the girls were saying. Things like "Well, I didn't want to lose my virginity, so I just had anal sex with him." What?????!!!!! JUST anal sex?!?!?!?!?! This completely blows my mind! I'm 31 years old and have never done that! They also have these sex parties. Last time I checked those were called orgies and they didn't happen in high school. Or college. Or anywhere other than porn movies and HBO specials. Oh, and they bite each other too. Like, Twilight style. Yep.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Can you imagine how different high school and college life would have been with the technology of today? I'm not trying to sound like a grandma or anything but back in the day, we didn't even have cell phones. It wasn't even until my senior year in high school that we got internet at home and an email address. It didn't really matter then, though, because no one else had email either. Then, when I went to college, everyone had their standard issue email address, but no computers. So, if you wanted to check your email, you had to either go to a computer lab or to one of the little email checking stations around campus. Heck, we didn't even have those little mini fridge/microwaves in our door rooms. (They put those in every dorm room the year after I moved out) No microwaves allowed. If you wanted to heat something up, you could use a hot pot! And calling someone? If it was long distance, you had to use a calling card, or call collect. Do you think high school kids these days even know what a calling card is? And, if you wanted to call someone locally, you had to call their house or dorm room. Chances are, they weren't there, so you'd leave a message and they'd call you when they got back. That could be hours! Now, you call their cell and even if they can't answer right away, they at least know you've called. Or you can text, just to send a quick message. And remember in high school when you wanted to call a boy that you liked? You had the added anxiety of their parent's answering! Dear God No!!! Or even worse, a sibling that's going to harass him because he got a call from a girl. I got my first cell phone when I was 23. I was already living with Eric. I wonder what it's like for people dating to have that sort of convenience? My guess is that it's really great, until it bites them in the ass. (i.e. Tiger Woods) I'm not saying that all of this technology is bad, but wow, it's different. And SO different SO fast. It's not like I'm 80 years old. I'm 31. College was a measly 10 years ago, but, man, I imagine that life would have been quite different!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Okay, so I'm a slacker. It thought blogging about my meals would be cool. It ended up being boring and I don't really feel like blogging about them anymore, but I'll finish what I started. So, Thursday night, we went to Sam's Club and got one of their whole chickens. They have the best ones. They are the biggest, they taste the best and they are the cheapest too. We had that with wild rice and steamed broccoli. I didn't take a picture that night. I didn't make the meal at all, I just went and bought the chicken, made the rice in the steam it in the microwave bag and steamed the frozen broccoli, but I'll still show the grocery bill.
Whole chicken $5.00
Wild Rice $1.96
Broccoli (already had)
Friday was our 5 year anniversary, so we took Jackson to Christopher's house and we went out to Maggiano's for dinner. It was delicious and way more expensive than we would normally spend, but it was our anniversary, so, what the heck.
Saturday we were back on track for our final meal of the week. I made a cajun pot roast. I don't like spicy things. AT ALL. But, this is pretty good and not too spicy, just flavorful.
Chuck roast $7.88
Mexican Stewed Tomatoes $1.14
Quick Cooking Tapioca $2.78
Mashed Potatoes $2.93 (I get the already made/Bob Evans or Country Crock kind)
Cajun Seasoning (already had. I use a Creole seasoning)
Onion (already had)
Garlic (already had)
Oil (already had)
1) Trim the fat from the roast
2) Rub the cajun seasoning over the roast.
3) In a large skillet, brown the seasoned roast in the oil on all sides.
4) In a crockpot combine the undrained tomatoes, onion, celery, tapioca and garlic. Place the meat on top of the mixture.
5) Cover and cook on low setting 10-12 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
6) Slice and serve with mashed potatoes.
Soooooo....the grand total for the entire week for 6 dinners was = $58.12! Not bad. Now, of course we had other expenses this week. We got staples, like milk, bread and fruit, and a few other things that we were out of, like breakfast sausage and frozen french toast sticks for Jackson's breakfast. Our goal is to try to rotate things we need so we don't have weeks where we have to spend lots of money. On weeks when we have to buy diapers, for instance, we have to cut back on other meals and maybe make something that doesn't take a lot of ingredients, like Skyline or Spaghetti. We also try to make things last for lunches the following day. This week I'm making a ham with cheesy potatoes. We'll be able to eat that for lunch at least 2 days, and I'll also make bean soup to go with the ham. I could host a soup kitchen with the amount of beans soup I'll make. We are also having gyros again this week, because I still have left over sauce, lettuce, cucumber and flatbread from last week. All we need is another tomato and the chicken. We are having Turkey Skyline also. We already have the ground turkey, from a couple weeks ago when we bought it in bulk and froze it, and the seasoning is in our pantry. So all we needed to buy was pasta for $.88, a small can of tomato paste for $.40 and a bag of shredded cheddar, which we needed for the cheesy potatoes anyway, we just bought a bigger bag. We can have Skyline for leftovers for lunch too! Because we are saving so much money on THOSE meals this week, we were able to go to Sam's and get a 4 pack of huge New York Strip Steaks. We had 2 last night and we'll have 2 this weekend and we are still under budget. The whole idea behind our food budget is planning ahead and sticking to the plan. If anyone has any other quick, easy or cheap meal ideas, send them my way. I'd LOVE to hear about them!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Oops. I forgot to write about Wednesday's dinner yesterday. Sorry. But, we had ribs, red potatoes and corn. Not a lot of back story on this one. Just a some yummy ribs.....
country style ribs (I buy boneless. I don't like paying for something I can't eat, like bones....) $4.46
minced garlic (already had)
2 or 3 lemons $1.08
bbq sauce (we like Sweet Baby Rays, but use whatever you like/have. We already had it too)
steam in bag red potatoes $2.98
1) Preheat oven to 250.
2) In a shallow baking pan or roaster, place ribs in a single layer; salt if dsired. Spread minced garlic on the ribs, then place thinly sliced lemons on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 2 hours - the ribs should be tender. Drain any grease and liquid and take lemon slices off. Pour BBQ sauce over the ribs. Return to oven and bake one more hour at 200 - 250 degrees.
3) Steam potatoes in bag according to directions on the package. Same goes for the corn, or whatever sides you want with it.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
When I was in college in Athens, Ohio there was a gyro place, called Souvlakis. God it was good.....and expensive. It was, like, $5 for a gyro. That's not such a big deal now, but then, I was a poor college student. I'm not talking about being your typical poor college student, where, after my parents money ran out, I had to not eat out as much. For me, it was like, save up all week for a $1 piece of pizza poor. The only time I didn't work in college was fall quarter, freshman year. After that, I worked constantly. Fortunately, for me, I was kinda good looking and a really good flirt, so going out and having my drinks paid for wasn't a big deal. Food, on the other hand, wasn't so easy to come by. I made a lot of Ramen noodles, mac and cheese, spaghetti. I also did my fair share of mooching off of my sister, who also went to OU my first 2 years there. SOOOO, needless to say, eating at Souvlakis was a big deal. Every quarter, during finals, I would get a chicken gyro, as my reward/incentive for studying. So, chicken gyros have a pretty special place in my heart....and my stomach. The thing that I really liked about their gyros in particular was their tzatziki sauce. (yes, I had to google that word to figure out how to spell it) The other thing I liked about them so much is that they were made with real chicken. Not that processed hunk of chicken that is then sliced into "sheets" of chicken, like most greek places serve.....gross! So, I found this recipe for tzatziki sauce, that most replicates Finals Chicken Gyros......
The sauce is the hardest part, so I always double this recipe to make sure that I have plenty for leftovers. You don't want to have to keep making it.
sour cream $1.97
mayo (already had)
garlic powder (already had)
lemon juice (already had)
dried dill (already had)
3 cucumbers $2.64
salt (already had)
pepper (already had)
chicken breasts $2.00
greek seasoning (already had)
tomatoes (used left over tomatoes from bruschetta earlier in the week)
cheese (optional, but we had leftover cheese from before too)
flat bread $2.48
Recipe for cucumber sauce
6 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp mayo
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 large cucumber (seeded, peeled and finely chopped or grated. I put it in the food processor)
1 pinch of salt (to taste)
1 pinch of pepper (to taste)
1) Put the chopped cucumber into a colander and sprinkle with a little salt.
2) Let rest for 10-15 minutes to allow extra juices to escape the cucumber.
3) Gently squeeze the cucumber in a paper or cloth towel.
4) Put everything in a bowl and mix well
5) Refrigerate for a couple hours prior to using. (you can use it right away if you have to, but letting it sit really pulls the flavor out more)
It's really up to you to make the gyro however you like. We've grilled the chicken before, or broiled it. What we like best is to cut the chicken into bite size pieces and sprinkle greek seasoning over it, then cook it in a skillet with a little olive oil until it's done. Again, you can put whatever toppings you like on your gyro. We put lettuce, tomato, even more cucumber and some cheese. I put parmesan cheese on mine. Eric puts Feta on his. (I don't eat moldy things) Enjoy your gyro, and hopefully you don't have a final that you should be studying for!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Last night I made Chicken Bruschetta. It's one of my favorite meals I make, and it's also rather healthy! I got this recipe from my mother in law. I'm not positive where she got it....a magazine, maybe? I have adjusted the recipe myself to fit our personal tastes. Also, a great bonus to this dinner? It takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish!
Boneless skinless chicken breasts $2
garlic powder (already had)
salt (already had)
pepper (already had)
cooking spray (already had)
4.5 oz jar sliced mushrooms $1.17
minced garlic (already had)
red onion (I didn't put any red onion in mine last time, but I'll estimate that it's about $1.00)
fresh or dried basil (I already had dried basil, so I used that, but it's REALLY good with fresh basil)
roma tomatoes $1.88 (this was for ALL of the tomatoes. I'll use the rest of the tomatoes later in the week for another recipe)
balsamic vinegar (already had)
shredded parmesan cheese $2.12
Grand total of $10.15
Ingredients for chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or however many people are eating)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
Ingredients for Bruschetta:
1 4.5 oz. jar sliced mushrooms
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C chopped red onion
1/2 C loosely packed chopped fresh basil or
1 tsp. dried basil 3-4 medium Italian Roma Tomatoes, seeded, chopped
4 tsp balsamic vinegar (I usually use a little less than this recommended amount)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1) Spray broil pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper, place on broiler pan. Broil 4-6 inches from heat for 16-20 minutes or until fork-tender and juices run clear, turning once.
2) Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. This time I used bowtie pasta, but I've used just about every other kind. (They all taste the same, right?)
3) While the chicken and pasta are about halfway done cooking (usually around the 9 minute mark, when I flip the chicken) spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat, until hot. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt and red onion. Cook a couple minutes, until the garlic and onion are tender, stirring occasionally. Add basil, tomatoes, vinegar and pepper and cook and stir about a minute, or until thoroughly heated.
4) Serve with chicken over the pasta and the bruschetta mix over everything. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Monday, May 17, 2010
On a lighter note, I put out there the other day "what should I blog about?" and got a response about sharing meal ideas. I thought that was a great idea! I cook our dinners 6 out of 7 nights a week and our grocery budget is between $50 and $75 a week. Most people tell me that that's not possible, but I'll show you it is! And you don't have to eat frozen pizza or tv dinners either! I make real dinners for this amount. So, for this week, I'm going to post every dinner I make, complete with recipes, pictures and our grocery prices. Last night's dinner was Orange Chicken. I had several of the ingredients needed for this meal, already, but I'll include the bigger items in the grocery list. For example, last week, we went to Sam's club and bought a big package of boneless skinless chicken breasts for $14. There were 14 small chicken breasts in them. I separated them out into 2 per freezer bag and freeze them. So, although we didn't actual buy chicken this week, I'll still include it in the weekly budget.
My first meal is Orange Chicken. I got this recipe from Weight Watchers. So, it's healthy AND cheap! You can't go wrong with this one!
dark sesame oil (already have some in the pantry)
orange zest, strips ($.35)
uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($2)
black pepper (already have)
can Mandarin oranges in light syrup ($.82)
reduced sodium chicken broth ($.86)
low sodium soy sauce (already have)
orange zest, finely grated (part of the orange from above)
cornstarch (already have)
boil in a bag brown rice (already had, but costs about $1 per bag)
For a grand total of $5.03!
2 tsp dark sesame oil
2 tsp orange zest, strips
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
15 oz can Mandarin oranges in light syrup
½ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp orange zest, finely grated
2 tsp cornstarch
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add zest strips and cook, stirring, until fragrant and slightly cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Also, start cooking the brown rice according to the directions on the package. When zest is finished, increase heat to medium-high; add chicken to skillet and cook until golden, flipping once, about 2 minutes per side.
Drain mandarin oranges and reserve ¼ cup liquid. Add oranges with reserved liquid to skillet and simmer 2 minutes. Whisk together broth, soy sauce, finely grated zest and cornstarch in a small bowl; add mixture to pan and simmer until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Serve over brown rice.
WARNING: I'm going to piss people off with this blog. But, just know, that if you think I'm directing this blog at you, specifically, I'm not. This isn't directed at any one person in particular. It's more of a general statement about certain types of moms. Also, I know I'm not a perfect mom, but this is my blog and if I want to bitch about something.....I will!
I've always been thought of as a laid back person, but the reality is that I'm not overly laid back, I'm just really flexible. If something comes up, I adjust. If plans get changed, I change with them. And I don't get upset about it. I just flex. By definition, flexibility refers to something having a shape, then changing shape, then returning to it's original shape again. The key words? HAVE A SHAPE. You have to have a shape to be flexible. You have to have a routine in order to be flexible with it. I get super annoyed with inflexible people. I just don't understand it. I'll be the first to admit that I have a routine. And I think it's important for children to have some sort of routine in their lives. It gives them a sense of stability and security. BUT, I also think that it's VITAL that you give your children BALANCE! You can't be so strict and rigid in your routine that you create inflexible adults. Nothing sets me off faster than a mom that says "I can't do that. That's when my kid naps." I always want to say "So, nap them at a different time." I would NEVER not do something, just because that's when Jackson naps, or eats, or plays, or whatevers. I've always been like that, and because of that, he can be flexible when he naps. He can also be flexible when he eats, plays and everything else. I also think I need to clarify. I'm not advocating that parents just do whatever they want, whenever they want. Remember, you have to have a shape to flex. It's all about being balanced and creating balanced children. Now, of course, I'm not talking about children with any sort of special needs. I get that there are some children that simply can't stray from a routine. But, I've seen, first hand, as an elementary school teacher, what happens to kids when you are so strict and scheduled in a routine. They become unbalanced and inflexible young adults......
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I have the craziest dreams. Anyone else have crazy dreams? I literally had my worst nightmare last night. Singing in front of a group of people. (I think it should be torture for naughty prisoners) I wasn't just singing in front of a group of people though. I was singing and playing the guitar in front of a group of people that I knew, at a talent show. And I was wearing stirrup pants. Pulled way up. With a turtleneck. Tucked in. Yeah. So, there I was, singing "Follow Through" by Gavin DeGraw with my guitar and my stirrups. People were just watching, not pointing and laughing or anything, but kind of wincing. After the show though, everyone made a point to come up to me and tell me how shitty I did. I started to cry. See? Worst nightmare! During the Olympics, I had a dream that Katie Couric and I were on the Olympic Monster Truck/Cross Country Running team. It's where you race around a motor cross kind of track in a monster truck, and then get out and run the track. Katie was on my team and she was terrible and gave up. She said that she was too old to run that far. Wimp!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
1. The smell of good smelling guys. Notice I said "good smelling". Cause I don't so much care for guys who smell like farts or BO, but when a guy smells good, they are automatically hot. I even have a candle that smells like hot guy. I think it's called "mid summer's night dream" or some crap like that, but I call it "hot guy" and I love it!
2. Stepping on crunchy leaves in the fall. It makes me happy and reminds me of home.
3. Ice cream. My favorite flavor right now is Mocha Almond Fudge, but I like just about any ice cream. Except for strawberry.
4. Vacationing. I would have put traveling, but I'm not really a fan of the actual process of traveling, but I love it once I'm there. I work so that I can vacation. I have my priorities. I want to see as many places and people as possible!
5. Ohio University. It's the best college ever. Don't try to change my mind or tell me how great your college is, cause you're wrong. Your
college sucks. Mine is awesome. The end.
6. To quote Zac Brown Band "A pair of jeans that fit just right". Nothing can make me feel better about myself than to put on a pair of jeans that fit just right. And, why YES. That IS my ass in that picture above!
7. Skiing. I love the feeling of going fast down the hill. I'll ski by myself, or with friends. Whatever. I just love the whole experience.
8. Beer. I'd like to think I'm classier than that, but who am I kidding? I like beer.
9. Roller coasters. I grew up in Ohio. The roller coaster capital of the universe. We have Cedar Point, the biggest and best roller coaster place anywhere, a six flags, and my personal favorite Kings Island. There's nothing better than getting yourself all worked up to go on a scary roller coaster and then doing it and it's SO much fun! And, I HAVE ridden both of the roller coasters in the picture above.
10. The beach. I don't really like sand that much, or salt water, but I love the relaxation associated with the beach. The waves. The sun. The music. The beer.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I got sitemeter and put it on my blog to see how many people, if any, were actually reading this, or if I would be just as good writing in my journal and sticking it in my nightstand. Well, turns out, people are actually reading. A surprising amount of people, even. I know, shocker, right? What amazes me even more is the response I've been getting from family and friends. I've had lots of remarks about "the way I see the world". This is really funny to me, because I have no idea what you people are talking about. The way I see the world, is just the way I see it. All I do is write it down.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
It's 10:15 at night and I'm sitting on the ottoman in the basement, heat setting screen printed shirts. I don't have to watch kids tomorrow, other than Jackson, so it's okay that I'm staying up a little later tonight. This screen printing stuff has taken up a lot of my time lately, not that that's a bad thing. It's also taking up a lot of my money, but today, I got a little bit of that money back! I went to Michael's Craft Store last night to get some more supplies and I saw that the screen printing machine that I bought just last week was on sale for $100 cheaper! I immediately went up to the service desk and asked for a price adjustment. The cashier said no. I asked for the manager. The manager said no. I told them that I would be contacting their corporate office in the morning. Their "no price adjustments" policy is completely absurd! The next morning I called Michael's corporate office and asked them about their policy. Low and behold, they DO NOT do price adjustments. How can you NOT? Isn't that standard policy for most places? I, not so nicely, told them that I would be taking my business to Joann Fabrics from now on. The customer service lady hung up on me. Bitch. I looked at their return policy and the machine I bought could be returned, but only if it's in the box and it's never been opened. I opened my machine last week when I got it.....hmmmmmm...... There has to be a way for me to get this $100. It's only fair, really! What if I buy a new machine, in the box, for $100 cheaper, then return THAT machine, but with my old receipt? How would they know if it was the old or new machine? They don't know I've opened mine. That's it! That's the new plan. So I go into Michael's one more time. The cashier that helped me last night is working again tonight. I walked in and she immediately said "are you the lady that was looking for a price adjustment on the screen maker?" Damn. Busted. "Yep, that's me". She asked me if I had talked to corporate. I lied and said I hadn't, but I was honest about my plan. I told her I would buy a machine for the sale price and return that same machine, but with my old receipt. I even told her that I would come back the next day, when she wasn't working, if she wanted me to. She said that she didn't blame me for doing this, but she was going to run it by her manager. I told her "That's fine. Run it by your manager, but I am doing this, even if she says no." I go to the back of the store and load up this machine in my cart and come back to get in line to buy it. I get to the front of the line and she says that she spoke with the manager and they will just give me my money back. I don't have to buy and return the machine. THAT'S RIGHT YOU'LL GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK! Okay, I didn't say that. I was very grateful and thanked her, and walked out of there $100 richer. But seriously Michael's, just change your policy already and don't make me go through all of this. It's the right thing to do, and people can get around it anyway, so just change it already!
Monday, May 3, 2010
I'm a pretty smart girl. I always had to work a little harder than most of my peers when it came to school work, but what I lack in book smarts, I make up for in common sense. I have my degree in elementary education, and my real estate broker's license. I got accepted into a masters and PhD program for marriage and family counseling, but only took a couple classes before Eric and I decided to move to Denver. But, here I am. A mother of an almost 2 year old, and I'm not working. Yes, I watch another little boy for money. Yes, I sell real estate and make good money doing that. But I don't go to work, in the traditional sense. When it comes down to it, our family is much better off financially by me staying home. The money I make watching Christopher and selling real estate together is more than I would make if I went back to teaching and put Jackson in day care. Sounds nice, right? It did to me too! It's what I've always wanted. The problem with it is that I'm bored out of my mind! Mentally bored. I don't need more things to do. I stay plenty busy cleaning, chasing, wiping and cooking, but that isn't exactly the most mentally stimulating stuff. So, what should I do? I ask myself this everyday. I know for sure that I don't want to go back to teaching. I didn't like it and the pay isn't good enough for me to tough it out anyway. And I'm REALLY not excited about sending Jackson to someone else to raise him. I do a much better job than anyone else in the world could. I recently decided to not take on anymore kid watching. I'll watch Christopher and be totally fine with that. I can handle 2 of them. If we need to go out, we can. I have 2 car seats, a double stroller and 2 hands. I can make that work. This decision was mostly based on my sanity. I can't handle not having the freedom to leave the house. It's just not me. I'd love more real estate work, but unfortunately, so does every other broker out there. Hopefully, someday I will have enough work to consider myself "full time", but for now, I just take what I can get. So, I don't really want to go back to work, but I don't really want to stay home either. What's a girl to do????? That wasn't a rhetorical question.....seriously! What should I do? I blog. That uses up some mental space. I try to do things around the house, like Jackson's camping room. That uses some brain too. I've started making these kids t shirts to sell. That helps me stay busy....er, and hopefully will help make some money someday too. Would it be better to get a full time job out of the house, even if it means a pay cut and not seeing Jackson as much? Maybe. Anyone have an insight for me? Please!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Okay, so Grandpa, Jackson and I get up on Thursday morning and head toward NYC. Ryan (my brother in law) works in Connecticut, just outside of NYC, so we all met there. We met up with Mindy and Lily, ate some lunch, went to a little beach, got ice cream and had dinner. Then Grandpa went back home and Jackson and I went back to Queens with Mindy, Ryan and Lily. We got all settled in and put the kids to bed. The grown ups followed suit shortly thereafter. Friday morning we woke up and were supposed to have a play date with Mindy's "friend". (I use that term loosely) This friend of hers was on American Idol back in season 2, maybe? To protect her identity, I'll call her Crazy Girl that Rides a Scooter. Well, Crazy Girl that Rides a Scooter has since grown up, (in age, not maturity) and has kids of her own. We were supposed to meet her at a park for a play date and so Mindy could return something of hers she borrowed. We were running late for the play date and Crazy Girl that Rides a Scooter called my sister and essentially bitched her out. Not cool. So instead we went to a much closer park and went to Dunkin Donuts for lunch. That night Mindy and I decided to take Lily and Jackson to Times Square. The subway ride was interesting, to say the least. 2 babies, 2 strollers, 2 mommies, lots of steps, no elevators. We made it though. Jackson even got initiated into the New York subway system with a mariachi band performance. He put a dollar in the guy's hat! Jackson loved Times Square. There was lots of looking up and asking "whassssat?" We ate New York pizza and street vendor nuts, and went to Central Park and M&M world. By the time we got home, it was very late and the kids crashed. The next morning was Saturday and Jackson and I were going home. We hung out, played outside and packed. This was going to be the longest flight of this trip, from New York to Denver. About 4 hours. Of course it was a packed flight and no extra seats for Jackson's car seat. We got to our gate and I tried my hardest to wear him out. He was running around and thoroughly entertaining the other passengers. Everyone thought he was so cute......NOT FOR LONG, SUCKERS! We got on the plane and he was pretty good at first, until the seat belt sign never went off. The pilot blamed it on a storm system in the Ohio Valley.....stupid Ohio weather! Have you ever tried to force an almost 2 year old to sit on your lap? It doesn't work! Especially THIS almost 2 year old. He was screaming and trying to get down. Every time I'd put him down, a flight attendant would come up to me and tell me that he MUST be on my lap. This wasn't working at all.....Jackson wasn't just a little whiny, he was screaming as loud as he could. Other passengers started yelling at me too. The lady in the seat beside me actually yelled "OH, MY, GOD!" louder than Jackson was yelling. The lady in front of me asked if she should try holding him. Yeah lady, cause a stranger holding him is going to make him feel better. Another lady came up to me and suggested I give him a pacifier or something to suck on. No shit lady! What the hell do you think I've been trying to do for the last hour?! After the last guy gave me a dirty look and the seat belt sign was still illuminated, I broke down. I'm not a big crier. Most of my friends and family have never seen my cry. I cry when I confront authority and I cry when I'm frustrated. I was frustrated. And crying. A lot. So I grabbed Jackson, took my seat belt off and marched up to the front of the plane. I went up to the flight attendants, bawling my eyes out, saying "I know I'm not supposed to be up here, but everybody's yelling at me! He just needs to walk around and the seat belt sign is still on!" The flight attendants were extremely nice to us, saying that other passengers have no right to yell at me, and they need to be understanding that he's a baby and can't help it. They even gave Jackson a cupcake! He stopped crying. The seat belt sign kept going on and off the rest of the trip and Jackson managed to stay fairly calm. When we were finally landing, the man sitting behind us started talking to Jackson. He told him this crazy, way too long and complicated for a toddler story about little gremlins that fly and they get on the airplane wings. He said that Jackson needed to watch the wings and make sure there were no gremlins. Believe it or not, Jackson was listening to every word and watching for these darn gremlins. He even went back and sat on this strangers lap for the entire landing. It was awesome! Come to find out, this man has 23 nieces and nephews, so I guess he knows a thing or two about entertaining little ones. We got off the plane and Eric met us at baggage claim. As soon as Jackson saw him he ran to him yelling "Dada!" It was really sweet! I loved our trip visiting family and friends. Thanks to everyone who lent us a bed, couch, pack and play or crib. For all of the rides to and from airports and home cooked meals! It was a great trip!