We brought our little Pooky home almost 9 months ago. I can not believe it has been that long. She is growing up way too fast. Every time I pack up more of the stuff she has outgrown, I feel a little sad. I had to raise the bouncer seat up a notch. I put the baby tub away. She is getting too big for her infant car seat. My baby is such a big girl.
The saddest thing, what I was not ready to do, Michelle has given up nursing. She has been fighting with me for a few weeks. She pushes and fidgets and bites. She has no interest. I tried feeding her in quiet places. Tried waiting for her to get tired. She fights.
I don't want too see her hungry. So today, we have switched to formula. Last night we cuddled and said goodbye to nursing. I only cried a little.
It is a good thing. Michelle won't be so cranky. I won't have her attached to me at inconvenient times.
I can wear real bras again. I don't have to wear nursing friendly tops.
Last Tuesday a man came to my home looking for the home owners. We rent. He informed us that they had not paid property taxes in 6 years and if they didn't pay up by May 31, they were going to auction off my house. They owe just over $30,000. Then he proceeded to post a scary red notice on the front of the house and take a picture of it.
I called the rental company right away. They had no clue.
I was freaking out.
I don't want to move. I love my house.
I was looking at other houses. I was hoarding money. (Hamburger Helper and Top Ramen anyone?)
Finally, today, I got some answers.
Turns out, as a renter, I have way more rights than I thought I did. In the event that the county seizes my house for nonpayment of taxes, they are still required to give me 60 days notice. Generally, in situations like this, those 60 days come rent free. Also, if the county becomes owners of this house, the property management company has no choice but to refund the $1695 deposit I gave them. (Within 21 days.) And finally, there is a government program (through the fair housing act) that will help us with a grant for deposit and first month's rent in a comparable house if we are forced to move due to owner neglect. And not paying property taxes and getting the house sold at auction is in fact owner neglect. So we are covered.
Plus, we were told today that the owners are taking out a loan against this house to pay the taxes. (They currently own it free and clear.)
So it looks like we don't have to move. YAY! And if we end up being forced to, which is unlikely, we are covered. I mean really, who lets a $148,000 home go to auction over $30,000. And half that is in fees and interest and penalties. I bet they could get it lowered a lot.
When Carolynn was a baby, she had this stuffed Lambchop doll that went everywhere with her. As a matter of fact, one of her first words was "Chop". Then there was her blankie, she called it her "Key". It has Bugs Bunny on it and she got it for her first birthday. She still sleeps with it. She is almost 17.
Catherine had Cow. A raggedy old stuffed cow she got when she was five. I think she still sleeps with it. Then came Cow Jr., Cowalina.... You get the idea. There are quite a few.
Michelle is 6 months old now. She has always been fascinated with red things. She has a giant Clifford doll she loves. But being a big red dog... It is the same size as her. My friends Adrienne and Serenity gave her a Minnie Mouse doll at her baby shower. It is wearing a red dress with a red bow. And it is just the right size. She carries it about. She chews on it. She snuggles it. I buy her new stuff and she still reaches for Minnie. Crunchy, crusty old Minnie.
Today we went down to the Disney store to find her a new dress to wear for pictures. I bought her some new dolls. I picked up a second Minnie and packed it away, just in case.
Just like everyone else, I was born with a mom and a dad. My parents got divorced when I was six. I lived with my grandparents for awhile. Eventually, when I was 11, my mom married my step dad and we settled down. By then, my dad was pretty much cut out, so I didn't see him again for a long time. As a matter of fact, I didn't have any kind of relationship with him until the last few years. My mom and I may have lived in the same house, but we never really got along. She would go years without speaking to me for some reason or another.
When I was 17, I got this boyfriend. And he had these Aunts...
He asked me to come with him to help his Aunts paint a room for their new baby.
It was quite the event. I was covered in paint. There were all of these crazy people. It was fun.
A few weeks later, he took me there for a baby shower. Again... Crazy people.
That was in the fall of 1994. In the Spring of 1995, just before I graduated high school, my mom decided it would be better if I lived elsewhere. I had just turned 18. I moved in with the boyfriend and his mom. But it was the Aunts who helped the most. I didn't have anyone else and I trusted them. Chris and Sherri.
That summer I found out I had an allergy to latex. And it was Sherri I told. (Don't ask how I found out, but it was one interesting conversation.) Shortly after that, I found out I was pregnant with Carolynn. And it was Chris and Sherri we went to.
When Carolynn was 6 weeks old, we moved in to their house. We had no where else to go. They found me a job. They taught me all the important stuff about being a mom. Plus things like how to grocery shop and budget. How to cook and sew and garden. Basically, I am the adult I am now because of them.
Since we moved back to the high desert 5 years ago, they have been our closest family. Even though I long divorced their nephew, they still treated me like a daughter. They love David too. And Michelle. We spent holidays and summers together. It's nice knowing that you have family right there. Their baby, Taylor, who is now 18, is like a little brother. Or a big brother to Carolynn and Catherine.
So what we aren't really related? Sure, they are Carolynn and Catherine's great-aunts. But we are way closer than that.
They are my moms. My parents. The ones I have always gone too. The ones I would do anything for. Family.
Around the beginning of January, Chris was diagnosed with cancer. She has battled it once before. This time, there was nothing they could do.
One of Catherine's favorite things to eat is Swedish Meatballs. I never made them. She loves to get them in frozen dinners or out to eat. So I decided to try making them. I like Swedish Meatballs too.
Once again, on Pintrest, I found a recipe that sounded good. So I made it.
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 lb 93% lean beef
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cups reduced sodium beef stock
2 oz light cream cheese
In a large deep saute pan, heat oil on medium heat, add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add celery and parsley and cook until soft, about 3-4 more minutes. Let cool a few minutes.
In a large bowl combine beef, egg, onion mixture, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and allspice. Mix well and form meatballs with your hands 1/8 cup each (fill 1/4 cup then divide the meat in half).
Add beef stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly drop meatballs into the broth. Cover and cook about 20 minutes. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and set aside in a serving dish. Strain the stock, add to blender with cream cheese and pulse until smooth. Return to pan and simmer a few minutes to thicken, then pour over meatballs. Garnish with parsley and serve over noodles or with toothpicks if you want to set these out as an appetizer.
First of all, I doubled the recipe because Robby and Gena were here. Second, I was out of fresh parsley having used it earlier in the week on a Moroccan stew. So I used dried. My meat was 80/20. I didn't use reduced sodium beef stock. And my cream cheese wasn't light.
But it was a huge hit with Catherine. I should have used a different pan, and I made the meatballs in batches. Catherine ate the first batch before I finished the second. I could have made them all at once in a different pan. The sauce didn't come out very thick. I will have to figure out a way to make it thicker. We ate it with egg noodles and the sauce just kind of fell through. I didn't chop the veggies small enough. Probably I could have pureed them.
Carolynn liked it. But she agreed the sauce needed to be thicker. Michelle got to taste the sauce, and she liked it. Had it been thicker, it would have stuck to the binky better and she would have tasted more. I liked it. I assume Robby liked it. He ate it. Gena picked at it and then gave her meatballs to Robby. David said it tasted like meatloaf. And he would have liked the veggies pureed too. He doesn't like to see the onions. He also said he needed to invent a "Noodle Magnet" so he wouldn't have to chase his noodles all over the plate.
Noodle Magnet.... Coming to an infomercial near you.