I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Attack of the Smoothie

One of our favorite treats for breakfast is whipping up a tasty smoothie. I used to think they were complicated and I should follow a recipe for ultimate tastiness. But all it takes is a variety of frozen fruits (from Trader Joe's - the best prices I've ever seen), yogurt, Juicy Juice and a banana or Dole Peaches. Yum.

These smoothies also have an unseen additional benefit - my children look hilarious when they are eating/drinking them. This is a photo of Ayla at 14 months old, looking at sweet as can be.

Now, be prepared for the emergence of Ayla's true animal instinct when it comes to delicious blended beverages:

Now, I thought we'd reached the pinnacle of ridiculousness. Ayla looks like she ripped the bleeding heart out of some animal! But the other morning, Jackson joined the club. He isn't quite as angry, but it didn't stop me from laughing for at least 10 minutes.

He had no idea what I was laughing at, but all he needed was a top hat and a bowtie and he would look like the villain out of a silent film. The second picture was after I gave him control of the cup and he threw it on the floor, splashing all surfaces with a nice berry blend. But, oh my god, it was worth it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I know you're not Mexican, but come on!!

I work in a Mexican restaurant conveniently located across the street from my house. Yes, I walk to work and sometimes might have to pause for a passing car or bike rider. I love it. It is hands down the BEST job I have ever had. Why you ask? Low stress, low drama, realistic expectations, no commute, I get to wear jeans & a t-shirt and most importantly, the food.

OH yes, burritos y enchiladas y chiles rellenos y tequila con chips con salsa con queso - muy delicioso! (I took french in high school, so don't judge).

I've been employed by such restaurant for almost a year and I'm still baffled by the lack of knowledge and/or respect for a fairly common type of cuisine. Haven't we all been to a Taco Bell? Haven't we at least seen the commercial? I say this because I don't understand how many people don't know what a burrito is. Here is the typical conversation. Me: "Here's your chicken burrito that you ordered (and presumably read about on the menu). Them: "Where's the beans? I thought I got beans!!!" Me: "Inside". Them: "What about the rice?" Me: "Inside"... and the cycle continues until we've discovered together that freakin' everything is inside the burrito. That's the beauty of it!

Perhaps it is just our location. Pittsburgh, for all of its' strengths, has a pretty sheltered existence. Our Hispanic population really isn't large enough to be called a population. People like their chain restaurants and their packaged food and shy away from anything that seems weird. I am totally over-generalizing - but for some people, it's really true! Our restaurant has a great base of families, couples, etc. from the area that frequent the place and really get it. Then every once in awhile, we see these families drag one of their friends in the door and you can tell they are terrified to be so far from Eat n Park.

Them, "I don't really like Mexican food. Don't you have chicken fingers?"
Me: Silent disbelief.

One lady the other day who absolutely reeked of cigarettes and looked 20 years older than she should have asked a similar question. I had to arm wrestle her to order chips and salsa. I may be a foodie myself, but I swear you don't need a subscription to Saveur to know what this is! I bring out the delicious treat that our chef has made from scratch - roasted tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, cilantro and some other secret ingredients. She dips into it like it might be toxic waste and takes a bite.

Gross woman: "This is nasty."
Me: "I think it's great, we have a lot of people who love it."
Gross woman: "No, it's nasty".

I give the traditional server hate-stare and walk away. I'm thinking, you tell that to the chef who chars every tomato himself and blends it into the family recipe masterpiece that it is! Go back to eating your cigarette and shut up.

But these are the stories that make my job interesting. Whether it's a place that sells pizza out of a window or the highest high-end wine bar - these customers are going to exist. I will continue to discuss the nuances and subtle differences between a burrito and a taco. It's what I get paid for, I suppose.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Binky, where are you?

Ayla's #1 love affair is with her fuzzy, a sheepskin that she has had in her crib from the beginning. Her #2 love is her binkies (otherwise known as nuks, binks, what have you). Big rookie mistake. Those binkies kept her quiet and soothed as an infant, where we so foolishly let her get hooked on the binky habit. In fact, most of the photos we have of her past 6 months old involve a binky somewhere.

We have no plans of ever taking the fuzzy away. If it is durable enough, she might just have it forever. I have no qualms about that. It's the damn binky. I don't know if it's true that they damage growing teeth or if that's a lie dentists tell kids just to be mean. But whatever the reason, Ayla does have to break the habit at some point. I've heard stories from other parents about week-long tantrums and waking up during the night over and over again. I lack the patience and love my sleep too much to put up with that. So what do we do?

Only a few months ago, Ayla started to bite down on the binkies and break them. I like to make that little girl happy, but my limit was met - I was NOT going to buy any more. She still used these torn-up binkies which only made them more gross. We were both teetering on the edge of taking them away, but apparently Gregory hit the edge first.

Many a time we have had to search down a binky in the midst of a tantrum - and the other night, Gregory was in the middle of such scenario. He told Ayla that the binky fairy had taken all of them away and she was never going to see them again. Done and done? Yes, until bedtime. Maybe it's part guilt and part selfish desire for sleep, but we are letting her keep them for nap and bed time until further notice. Ayla asks occasionally and tries to break us down, but she's sticking to the rules. Tonight she said, "If I have my binky out of bed, the binky fairy is going to be very very angry." This is a huge improvement from just a few weeks ago when I just mentioned that the doctor thought she should give up the bink. Her reponse was "I'm going to hit the doctor. With my fuzzy."

And so it begins...

Welcome you! If you're reading this blog, hopefully I can entertain you with stories of crazy children, work in a Mexican restaurant, endless home renovations (all of my own planning of course) and everything else that happens during the day.

I've been reading my friends' blogs and it gives me a nice sense of normalcy when I wonder if I'm the only person who deals with tantrums and cleaning poop off of Cabbage Patch dolls. I thought I knew what I was getting into with kids... but oh no, they just keep surprising! But every day, whether it starts with Ayla crawling into our bed or Jackson blabbering to himself in his room, is certainly unique.

And the name of this blog "Balancing on one foot", is really the story behind it all. I am a person who craves balance. Balance between work and play, life inside the home surrounded by family and getting out alone, between seriousness and ridiculousness. Balancing a baby in one arm and packages that I meant to mail weeks ago. Balancing while keeping the door open to let children out but keep cats in. All day long, it's finding the equality to keep ourselves sane and happy but challenged and open to new experiences.