A day or so later they brought Shelley home in a yellow dress on a sunny Spring day. I sat in the living room, draping my three year old body over the back of the couch trying to get a look at her while Dad carried the car seat inside. I was eating a plum and my fingers were sticky with juice, and I remember thinking, "This is going to change everything."
I have never thought truer words.
Shelley did change everything. Suddenly, it wasn't just Eric and Me. We weren't the "Mom and Dad, Boy and Girl" family that I was so fond of (Eric can back me up on this). It would take years for Eric and I to realize that the addition of Shelley shifted the balance of family power in our favor. Three kids vs. two parents: we would win in any democratic election, except those taking place in Florida.
Shelley added everything to our family. Everything that none of us knew was missing at the time, but now can't imagine being without. Shelley makes everything instantly funny. Shelley can make anything cool. And Shelley can make scrambled eggs better than Martha.
When Shelley came home, I had no idea what it meant to be a big sister. I didn't know that being a big sister meant you had an instant accomplice. Almost every bit of mischief I've ever been in was not only with my little sister, but because, planned, or decided by my little sister.
Shelley decided we should go 50 around a corner and see if the civic could go on 2 wheels. Shelley bought the sun-in that resulted in our having orange hair for all of 1999. Shelley started the wax fight that cost us both our arm hair in high school.
I may be older in age, but I was always along for the ride through Shelley's life as her totally unhip big sister and her: the coolest kid on the block. Shelley oozes cool. Shelley was meant to be 23 from Day 1.
Shelley asked Santa for Reba McIntyre boots when she was 4. She insisted on having a home perm when she was 8. She wore fake nails in 5th grade. And the hair dying began so long ago I can't even remember, but I think it was right around the time that she tried to shave her legs without Mom's permission and came out of the shower bleeding like a gutted fish. "The razor fell off the soap dish." Sure it did.
And now Shelley is a Mom, Shelley is a wife, Shelley will be a college graduate in May. Twenty three years ago, I was right: Everything would be different because of Shelley. Everything would be perfect because we have Shelley.
Happy Birthday, Toonis!
A series of supplies followed -- I've noted which part of Chuck's personality are evidenced in each piece:
- A dowel to allow the wheel to spin for a more authentic sailing experience (too far).
-E-clips to hold said dowel and wheel together which involved more chiseling but I'll spare you the details (anal).
Oh, you know what? I have to go. Chuck's spotted land off the starboard bow.
Pretty cool, huh?
I know I'm a tad biased, but she is the cutest thing since I don't know what. The cheeks, the eyes...what a stunner!
ps. Send complaints to Chuck over my new photo obsession. He bought me Photoshop for my birthday. Now I have no reason to get off the couch, making my transistion into Gilbert Grape's Mom all the more seeemless.
1. Apparently, you are supposed to grill this stuff. Fe and PK gave us a Weber, but you need propaine to work a BBQ...so Plan B: We'll use the electric skillet! Which led to it's own list of questions -- What temp? When is it done? Do I spray the skillet first?
The rice-a-roni was so inedible, it didn't even make the final plating. You can see the rice-a-roni in the back of this picture, which was taken to highlight the plate and towel. After starting, I realized the lid was in the dishwasher which was running. And the towel, well, I packed my pot holders really well when we moved, and still haven't found them...After we ate our plethora of pork, Chuck chowed down on some spamoni. We were laughing pretty hard by this point, since it only took us about 2 minutes to eat the whole meal.Don't worry, we're stopping by McDonald's on our way to Adam and Tyrell's to watch the Office. Mmmm...humble pie....a dish best served burnt!
Here Cappy is just about to tie up his rig. What an Adonis. Remind me again how I got so lucky?
Continuing on, The Captain brought his first mate to the bow (remember, first mate = NOT his wife) and decided to re-enact the "I'm the king of the world" scene from Titanic.
Your job is to decide who is Jack and who is Rose. And then say a little prayer for me.
Catlyn and Laura threw a fit (uh huh, fit) because they weren't featured on the blog. So they had me take a recent picture of them, and then threw another fit when I didn't upload it ASAP (sorry that I put report cards and a sinus innfection above you -- I'll never do it again).
Here they are in all their glory: Catlyn and Laura. Laura is my life partner and Catlyn tries her best to make me cool, even though I will never know what I should wear to a bar or even where bars are. I love you both!
On her wedding day, I was in full Sue-mode trying to coordinate the event and Cheryl didn't have a care in the world. She was marrying Conor and no one was ever a more beautiful bride.
Her Totally 80s Bachelorette Party -- it was the best party I've ever planned.
It's not a new recipe. It's not Martha. It's simple. Because it's Saturday and I didn't want to cook (but my inner miser refused to let us eat out), I made a classic. It's a relic of a recipe in my cookbook and was the first dinner I successfully cooked in my first Ellensburg apartment when I was 19. I probably called my mom 6 or 7 times while cooking it, making it more step by step than independent really, but whatever.
It's withstood the test of time and 7 years later, I still have it in the rotation. It's the jewel in my "good dinners are simple dinners" crown. It's not fancy. It's not expensive. And you can prep it faster than the oven can preheat.
Stove Top Chicken
4 chicken boobies, boneless and skinless
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
Stove Top stuffing
1 Tablespoon melted butter
Put the ta-tas in a 9x13 pan. In a bowl, mix the soup with the sour cream. Pour over the chicken knockers and sprinkle Stove Top stuffing mix (dry) on top. Drizzle with melted butter and bake at 350 for 60 minutes. I think it's best served with cranberry sauce and a salad, but that's just me.
Now let's talk a little about Shelley. Prior to January 7th (Lucy's Birthday), Shelley was the most un-maternal person I'd ever met. She would cringe if she had to hold a baby and cry louder than it if it started to squirm. She barely babysat -- unless absolutely necessary, gun to her head, you get the picture. She once fell asleep in Fe's kindergarten class while trying to earn community service hours. But God love her, the kid (er....woman??) has risen to the occasion. WHAT A GREAT MOM!!!!!!!
Did I mention Shelley went 22 years, 10 months without ever changing a diaper? EVER. Now, look at her go! Changing diapers like a pro with her Dooney and Bourke diaper bag, wearing her non-maternity Joe's jeans, and a look that could kill.
Aren't they so happy together??
I'm not sure what Shelley was saying to Lucy exactly, so I'll improvise a little:
"And in July we travel to our Mecca on NE 8th and Bellevue Way. They hold a big ceremony called the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and we all celebrate together with Grandma Fe. And a month later, Grandpa Ax gets a bill and cries."
Here's my new favorite. I made it for Chuck last week and he declared it the new fried chicken recipe of choice. I'm making it tonight for my parents, Shelley and Lucy, and Shane in spirit (get well soon Shaner!!). It's super easy and isn't greasy, like baked fried chicken can get.
It's Martha Stewart again. The book is Great Food Fast and don't worry -- the picture is not from me. That's all Martha.
Vegetable oil, for baking sheet
8 slices white bread -- I used 1 1/2 cups Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs because I'm lazy
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 pounds chicken parts (preferably legs, thighs, and wings), rinsed and patted dry
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously rub a baking sheet with oil. In a food processor, pulse bread until it turns into coarse crumbs. Again, I used store bought bread crumbs. Sorry Martha. Don't hate me. I know I've shamed you.
In a large bowl, stir together buttermilk, hot-pepper sauce, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a separate bowl, mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan, thyme, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Place the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, turning to coat evenly. Working with one piece at a time, remove chicken from liquid, letting excess drip back into bowl; dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat evenly. Place coated chicken pieces on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until chicken is golden brown, about 35 minutes.