Thursday, January 26, 2012

Friday the 13th Update

I was out walking dogs this morning and TWO, not one but TWO, black cats crossed our path. Coincidence? I think not. Friday the Thirteenth needs to get a sense of humor. Actually, it probably already has one and is laughing it's evil little buttocks off at me right now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 14th - It's Raining Cats and Dogs

No, not really, but the clever title fairies aren't on my side today. You may remember a few posts back I declared a few "Blog Rules".  One of the rules is that I will not use any stock photos from the internet. All of our holidays must be documented in real time - no cheating with old and/or stock photos. I may also have mentioned that I was going to break this rule at some point in the near future. Well this was the day. It was already lurking in my mind, I knew what was coming: January 14th was dress up your pet day. If we had a dog, no problem. I'd have the hot dog outfit on him/her in a second and we'd all be having a nifty chuckle. However, we have cats and that's a whole other yarn ball game. I remembered waaayyy back to January 2nd when all we had to do was hold a goofy tiara over Ellie's head and realized in the interest of self-preservation and a "no-skin-grafts-if-we-can-help-it" family policy, other measures would need to be taken. Also supporting this decision was the fact I was flying to Arizona that day and I didn't think people would appreciate me trying to dress up their already traumatized pets in the airport. So we turned to the internet and picked a handful of dressed-up pet pictures to commemorate this day.

Check out this classy cat. Is that a croissant? Hope they held the mayo. 
The ascot did it for me. If only he had on a cheesy George Hamilton smoking jacket...
Not to leave out our canine friends:

So cute he is.
And our favorite:
Terrorist Kitty
I'm pretty sure PETA should be contacted.  That just isn't right.

Because this blog writer has issues has extremely high standards it was imperative that we still celebrate actively (other than wise-cracking about people with too much time on their hands and surfing costumed animals on the web). Today was also Cesarean Section Day. This is pretty cool because I was a C-Section baby and so was Spence.  Apparently Walters women turn out some big babies with life-alteringly big heads. Did you see the classic Mike Meyers film "So I Married An Axe Murderer?" The scene where the Scottish father, Stuart MacKenzie, is talking about the kids' big head? Check it out:

Classic. Orange on a toothpick. That gets me every time. We still put on a brogue and yell "HEED, MOOOVE!" at Spencer every once and a while. Good times, good times.

So we utilized the magic of technology to bring you this gem in celebration of the medical miracle that brought my little man (and me) into the world with a stunning non-conical head:

Get it? Kid in belly? It could have been worse. I could have taken a picture of my scar. Just saying.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 13th - Freaky Friday

It's only January and we already have had a Friday the thirteenth. What great luck! (See the irony there?) A lot of people dread this day, but not us, not this year. It's another reason to celebrate! And how exactly do you go about celebrating a day that is characterized by bad luck and negative mojo? Well, you do as many cliche things as you can to illicit said downturns in luck and mojo. Therefore, mirrors where threatened, ladders were taunted, and black cats were forced into service. We tried to get the cat (that's Maxi, she's a cranky, old lady, but she took one for the team anyway) to walk under the ladder but she wasn't having it. Did I mention she's cranky?

Have no fear. We have no problems sticking out our proverbial tongues at silly superstitions and old wives' tales (like old husbands never tell any tales? Most that I know tell them over, and over, and get the idea), but we are not dumb enough to actually follow through. The black cat has a little patch of white hair under her chin, Spence is actually behind the ladder, and I just scored that awesome mirrored tray off of One King's Lane for a great price so no way that was meeting the pavement.  Are the Buehlmans silly? Absolutely. Stupid? Not when it comes to bad mojo. So, dear Friday the Thirteenth, consider this an homage to you paid with the utmost respect. After the picture we turned around three times, threw salt over our shoulders and spit on the ground. Just to be safe.

I found it interesting that Friday was also "Blame Someone Else Day." I think that is pretty fitting since a lot of people like to blame their troubles on something superfluous (SAT word, score!) like Friday the thirteenth. A particular day with a particular number has absolutely nothing to do with you dropping the toast, jelly side down, on your white carpet this morning. (And if you think I am kissing Friday the Thirteenth's butt right now, you would be right.)

Blame Someone Else Day was pretty fun...

but quickly turned ugly with a litany of "it was her/his fault"s and "nuh uh, wasn't me"s. Fortunately, we were saved by the fact that it was also "Rubber Duckie Day" and you know how they roll. If something is amiss, you know the duckie did it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 12 - Where the Wild Things Are...They are much closer than you think!

Imagine our excitement when we discovered that the twelfth was the Feast of Fabulous Wild Men. Imagine MY excitement when I realized I live with two fabulous wild men! All I had to do was feed them and we could consider that holiday celebrated. But you know it was not as simple as that. Alas, these are wild men and they must feast, for it is their day! (Go back and say that sentence like Mel Gibson rallying the troops in Braveheart. Excellent. Now go back and imagine Mel Gibson in Braveheart...Come back and join us whenever you are ready.)

Where was I? Feast, right. So I knew the wild men would need meat, it would need to be on a bone and I decided they had to eat the entire meal with their hands. I used this opportunity to make something I'd never tried before - beef short ribs. Holy cow, they were easy and awesome! You can find the recipe here. So the men feasted on short ribs, whole carrots (they're pretty fierce, right?) and wasabi mashed potatoes. (I planned on mashed potatoes right after I made the rule about eating with your hands. Hey, the rule applies to wild MEN, and I have a weird sense of humor.) Wasabi masher recipe is here.

A raucous celebration ensued. Face paint, chanting, swinging from ceiling fans - it was a Maurice Sendak-ish extravaganza! Actually we just watched NCIS, but there was face paint and I chanted "eat the spuds!" until they did. Love my fabulous wild men!

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! I am jumping out of order here because I think today is so important. Tomorrow I will go back to sharing our holiday shenanigans but today bears celebrating with awareness. [Fair warning: it's my blog and I'll pontificate if I want to.]

MLK Jr. day is a national day of service and honors an extraordinary man. To be perfectly honest, my family and I have never used this as a day of service. This project, however, has made me acutely aware of the presence and design of holidays. They aren't made without cause or thought. Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, whatever it is, it bears taking a step back and really looking at why we celebrate it and, perhaps more importantly, how we celebrate it. These aren't just bonus days off of work or glorious days when the mailman doesn't deliver more bills. There are reasons and intentions, and they are oft forgotten. (Excuse my English. I just finished watching five hours of Pride and Prejudice and I find myself saying things like "oft" and "yes, my lady" or "oh, bollux".) The point is, I take these days for granted, without much thought, and with a lack of gratitude I think they deserve. I know what the days are for but I do not take the time to truly celebrate them and I think it is a disservice to me, to my family, and to what the day commemorates.

Although I am not with my boys today (I'm actually out in Arizona helping my parents make their new house a home, and yes, we are celebrating holidays via Face Time), we will be taking time to discuss how we can better honor these days.

For today though, I'd like to at least share a few of my favorite quotes from Dr. King:

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity."

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good."

"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing to help others?""

January 11th - Shower Your Friends With Love!

On January the eleventh we celebrated "Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day." As I suspected, this was met with great enthusiasm from the dudes at the bus stop. Especially since we had real puddles (not mom made, which was plan B in the absence of rain.)

Up until this point I have received a few holiday suggestions from friends; (for example, my friend Sue recommended a "Post Something Close to Real About Your Kids on Facebook" Day. I think this should be a national holiday and we should all get the day off to revel in the fact that our friends' kids aren't minor deities that are destined for world acclaim and/or domination. I know your seven year old black belt, Rhodes scholar, poet laureate, culinary genius, Mensa-IQ'd builder of life-sized Lego replicas of the Golden Gate Bridge eats his/her boogers and just yesterday threw the mother of all fits in the middle of Kohls over a pair of Pokemon slippers. Let's quit pretending this doesn't happen with our perfect little angels. Sue, that one was for you!) but I personally have not had any holiday creating mojo. Quite honestly, I've got enough holidays to worry about without making up new ones. But it struck me that January the tenth should be "Pray Like Hell It Rains Tonight So I Have a Flipping Puddle to Splash in Tomorrow" Day. Because it was touch and go for awhile and then Mother Nature kindly got her groove on and went to work.

And in the morning we awoke to a beautiful, splash worthy puddle right at the bus stop. And there was much splashing to ensure they got it jjuuussst right.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 10th - Peculiar People Party with Plants while Protecting the Planet

Holy Alliteration, Batman! It was a holiday trifecta on the tenth starting off with Houseplant Appreciation Day (a special shout out to my good friend, Katie, who alerted me to this one):
Oh, houseplant, we appreciate you so. It appears the plant and I are having an extra special moment while the boys appreciate in their own little way.

In the "keeping it real" department, I kill plants. I love them, but I kill them. It's not on purpose. I'm just plant watering challenged. The plants I appreciate most are succulents - minimal watering required, or in my case, no watering. And when they're dead, they still look alive. Love them. Luckily I'm married to an amazing man who sighs, shakes his head, and waters all the plants I buy. Cause I love plants. I'm just not good on the follow through.

It was also National Cut Your Energy Costs Day. This was a fun one.
Especially if you like freezing your booty off in the dark. Or you could just switch over to some energy (and planet) saving CFL lightbulbs...
so your home too can have the ambiance of a Wal-Mart. Oh CFLs, how I love your heinous-pallor-draining-glow. I'm just kidding. Some of the CFLs we first tried cast a ghastly white hue (hence, the Wal-Mart-esque quality) but we then found some "soft white" CFLs and things are back to warm and glowy.

Rounding out the trifecta of celebrations was Peculiar People Day. And when I say peculiar, I mean peculiar, but I have a feeling you already knew that.

We pretty much celebrate this one every single day. Thank you, Mac Photo Booth. Here's a very special video clip that also celebrates this special day. It's a minute and a half of your life you'll never get back. Enjoy.

January 9th - The Triple "F" Threat

January 9th marked our first holiday conundrum. We had three holidays to choose from: 1) "Play God Day" which I didn't feel entirely comfortable doing, even in the name of getting a good chuckle; 2) "Balloon Ascension Day" which would have made for a good time 'cuz who doesn't love balloons? Oh wait, birds don't. Especially after the colorful orbs of merriment float so peacefully into the azure sky and then pop and get swallowed by, well, swallows (along with a myriad of other birds) and then the unsuspecting and not too intelligent birdies die. Talk about a holiday buzz kill. Couldn't do it; and 3) "National Clean of Your Desk Day" which I inadvertently did without knowing about the holiday. Well, that seemed like cheating and I didn't have astounding before and after pics which for me are requisite.

But we are prepared for such situations. In addition to daily holidays there are also monthly and even weekly holidays. You see where this is going. If we need to, we fill in with one of these. So today we celebrate National Oatmeal Month or as I like to call it, The Fabulous Fiber Fest!
Can you guess who eats which oatmeal? I don't want you to lose any sleep over it so I'll just tell you. The boys get the boxed stuff, I'll let you noodle through who eats which one. You get one guess. And I get the steel cut goodness that will change your life in ways you've never imagined. Yet again, fodder for another post on another blog. And the canisters? I'm originally from the Philadelphia area and I must always have a picture of a William Penn-ish Quaker dude around. No, come on, they are for oatmeal cookies which I now HAVE to make this month. It's nice to have an excuse.

And here is one of the Fabulous Fiber Festers -
I just distracted him with the oatmeal so I could have the rest of the Kings Cake....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 8th - Time for a Little Bubbly...

Bath bubbly of course! How nice of National Bubble Bath day to fall on a Sunday. As a special gift to the two or three people actually reading this blog, I did not photograph myself in the bath. For some reason I think that may be entering a whole other blog realm, and we're keeping it family friendly here, so my trusty assistant volunteered. It's that whole "tough job but someone's got to do it" thing:
Eleven year old boy + bath bubbles + whirlpool tub = "holy-crap-turn-that-thing-off-before-we-have-insurance-people-and-structural-engineers-swarming-the-place!" Somehow Bubble Bath Day was more relaxing for some than others.

Mr. Man has been sporting showers for some time now so the bubble bath was a blast from "little man" past. He had a ball. And there are roughly 30 Star Wars figures in there somewhere. They had an epic battle.

And there's my poster child for National Bubble Bath Day...may the bubbles be always with you.

January 7th - Rockin' in Harlem

Or maybe this post should be titled, "Geologists Gone Wild".  On January 7th we celebrated the much (?) anticipated Old Rock Day! Wow. I could use thirty exclamation points after that statement and I don't think it would elicit any excitement. Sorry rock enthusiasts. And I do mean rock - metamorphic, igneous, sedimentary, take your pick (as I laugh in the faces of all who thought I slept through freshman year geology. HaHA!) We were hoping for Old Rock, like classic rock, day. We considered changing it to that but I do have a soft spot in my heart for dear Professor Potter who had to read my lame essays in geology class (and of course I slept through it, when I was actually there, that's what big lecture halls are for at 9:00 am. Duh.)

So in the name of all things geological - I present our ode to Old Rock Day:
The greatest joy I derived from this holiday was imagining a bunch of rock and fossil enthusiasts having a huge soiree and partying like rock stars. Sorry. Had to be said.

The day was far from over because in an epic coincidence it was also Harlem Globetrotters Day. [Blog Disclaimer #...I don't know, I'm starting to lose count. I have no real skills in life except sarcasm so when I say things like "epic coincidence" it's a good bet there is sarcasm dripping all over it. Not everybody gets it so if you find yourself scratching your head over something believe me when I say it's me, not you.]

The Globetrotters will be in lovely downtown Norfolk in March so we are geared up to see them live and in action. In the meantime...
we rocked out groovy Globetrotter headbands. I kept telling Mark to spin the basketball on his finger like Medowlark Lemon but he couldn't do it. Sheesh.

And in the spirit of being complete nerds...
We got the rocks in on celebrating the Globetrotters too. It's getting wild up in here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Keeping It Real

What no holiday post? The Buehlmans couldn't hang with it for even one month? Nope. Not the case. But in the "keeping it real" department, life gets in the way sometimes. Sick kids, traveling husbands, laundry... life happens. As a recovering perfectionista, I am trying hard to embrace this fact.

I did a project three years ago called "365". I took a picture every day for a year. It was fun, it was hard, it was (at times) overwhelming, and I was relieved when it was over. BUT, it is my most favorite album of all time and I've recovered enough from the exercise to take on this holiday extravaganza and to tackle it with a dose of reality. I wish I could keep this real time, and maybe at some point I will. For instance I'd love to be posting tomorrow's holidays today. I'm just not there yet and that's ok. Perhaps I'll post a monthly list instead. See? I'm celebrating a personal "Don't Get Your Big Girl Panties in a Twist Over This" Holiday! Woo Hoo!
I've realized a few blog/project rules are emerging: Rule #1: It's ok to miss a day, but don't make a habit out of it. If we have to celebrate National Houseplant Appreciation Day a day late, I'm sure the ficus will survive. Unless I'm in charge of watering it, then it has no hope. But that's a tale for another day. Even if we miss a day, it is guaranteed that we are talking about the holiday and planning the celebration; Rule #2: No old photos of us doing something relating to the holiday unless they support the current holiday photos and no internet stock photos. I used personal photos for Bird Day but mixed them with current celebration photos - legal move. [In a few days I will break this rule for personal preservation'll have to check in to see what I'm talking about. Teaser!  Holla!] ;and Rule #3: Spend as little money as possible in the celebrations. This is adding a nice dose of additional creativity (hello groovy hypnosis glasses and BK crowns!) I'm keeping track and hope to have a monthly tally to see how we are doing.

So that's it. Keeping it real. We aren't perfect but we are motivated. Kid is better, husband is coming home, and there will be some major celebrating going on here tonight!

Enjoy this great day and celebrate it - just because!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 6th - Three Kings Day

Being the good "Ex-Presbyterian-Now-A-Methodist" gal that I am, I am aware that January 6 is Three Kings Day or the Eucharist or the Twelfth Day of Christmas. For those of you who have blocked all those agonizingly boring Sundays of your childhood, see more info on it here for an equally agonizingly boring way-too-much information Wikipedia entry on the subject. But seriously, it is a day that has always been on my radar but not something I officially celebrated unless it fell on a Sunday. Just keeping it real.

[Blog Disclaimer #3: Absolutely nothing on this blog is intended to offend anyone. It's all in good fun. If something seems offensive please know that it was not intentional.]

I thought we should have name tags like we did way back on January 4. Remember Chad? Who could forget him. But I wanted to be Melchior and bedlam ensued. So we just settled for celebrating. (And special thanks go out to Burger King for supplying the rocking crowns!)

Is it just me or do I look like I'm trying to take a hit off of that thing? The timer on the camera took way longer than I remember. We almost passed out. Oh, the sacrifices we make for schtick.

It was only the sixth day into the new year but this journey has already had an amazing effect on my day-to-day outlook and activities. While I was reading about Kings Day I ran across some information on King's Cake. I had heard of this Mardi Gras bread that's baked with a choking-hazard-size baby Jesus inside. (FYI: I always wondered about baking a plastic figure in the bread. Apparently you push it into the bottom of the loaf after you bake it. Duh. That makes way more sense.) It's a year of celebration and whenever possible cake should be involved, so I vowed to make a King's Cake.

This may not seem like a big deal to all you bakers out there but this is a huge deal for me. This cake involves yeast. Yeast! Yeast breads are something I buy in the grocery store or the bakery. I have never, ever used yeast in my life. Not only that, but I have a legitimate yeast phobia. Maybe not legitimate, but it scares me. It grows, you have to punch it, it grows more, it's all very odd.

But here it is in progress! It was touch and go at many points. Was the yeast dissolved enough, was it fizzing enough, why isn't it rising, is it rising, has it risen get the idea. It rose, I punched it (which was oddly satisfying), I rolled it, it rose again and what to my wondering eyes should appear...
What?! It's gorgeous and here's the kicker - it is beyond delicious! The recipe made two of these rings and the first one didn't last a day.  You can find the recipe HERE. This is a true "if I can do it, you can do it" thing. I'm already looking for my next bread recipe.
It was also National Cuddle Up Day which should have resulted in lots of nice, cuddly pictures but we were cuddled up with the cake. Yum.

January 5th - Bird and Bean Day

We had the perfect weather to celebrate National Bird Day.  A day to celebrate all of the wonderful birdies in our world.
Every spring we have some fine feathered friends who nest in the spider plants that hang on our front porch. We are the proud grandparents of 8 chicks and counting.
And we have other colorful friends who visit us. Despite the fact they poop on our porch, we do love watching them. In honor of Bird Day we hung up two of our bird feeders (they came down before hurricane Irene hit and never made it back) and filled them up for a little bird buffet.

It was also National Bean Day and I thought about cooking up a big ole pot of beans. Makes sense, right? Well, it would have been anarchy from one boy and I would have had to relocate bedrooms for a few days with the other boy. Not much of a holiday. On to Plan B: throwing beans in the air. Why not? It's confetti-ish and fun. Armed with a bag of black eyed peas (peas count, I checked, and it's good luck to eat black eyed peas on new years so there is a theme going on here) we whooped, hollered, and got pelted in the head with black-eyed peas.

It was nothing short of a bean-a-polooza. Word to the wise: Don't look up after you throw the beans!

January 4th - Hypnotize Chad Day???

Today we celebrated World Hypnotism Day. Imagine if the whole world celebrated at the same time. The earth would essentially grind to a halt and psychiatrists would rule the earth. Ack. Unless everyone self-hypnotized and then what? Between this and the cat tiara I'm thinking I need to get a life. But I digress...
Happy World Hypnotism Day! We celebrated by doing what any good parents would do - we hypnotized our child to meow like a cat and clean the house. Ok, ok, that's not what happened, but it's fun to dream. Dr. Freud whipped out his handy pocket watch and had the kid in a trance like state in seconds. Spence pretty much looks the same as if he's in front of the TV. Hmmm....

But the fun didn't stop here. It was also Dimpled Chad Day. Seriously. You can't make this stuff up. Well, I guess technically someone did. Mark and I got a little sentimental and misty-eyed celebrating Dimpled Chad Day. This holiday spawned from the election debacle of 2000 and guess who was born in November 2000? The day Spence was born we still didn't know who our next president would be and dimpled, pregnant and hanging chads were still being debated, counted, and recounted. If I hadn't been hopped up on Percocet at the time I may have caught onto the coincidence of the gorgeous, dimpled poop-machine in my arms and the chad issue, and a Chad Buehlman may be living with us now. So in honor of this holy of holy days we made a little dimpled chad...
And since we are big ole goofy nerds, we had to hypnotize Chad...
It had to be done.