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i promised you enchiladas, didn't i?


it's been a crazy morning around here - marc's in chicago, and i'm starting to think that harper doesn't sleep well when daddy's gone. last night? up four times between midnight and 4:30, and then was up for the day at 6:50. so i plopped her on the couch with frosted cheerios and a blanket and "toy story 2" and then tried to cat nap beside her. that lasted until 8 a.m., when she had to go to the bathroom but refused to use the one downstairs, so i had to get up and take her upstairs. then i was up. so while she finished the movie, i got online and tried to check in on the progress of the data recovery download that i'd read about, trying to salvage any of my pix from the 36 hours that i lost in boston. well, it was just hanging there ... at 29 hrs 34 secs ... no change. in the meantime, a high school friend saw me logged into facebook (yes, i was multitasking) and instant messaged me (is it called that in facebook?), so he and i chatted while i was trying to fix the download, then harper wanted her new markers, then henry wanted a pop tart, then marc called and i was trying to explain the download issue to him while typing with shawn ... then a guy called to reschedule a time to come out and talk to us about something, so of course henry started playing with this stupid voice changer thing and making himself sound like alvin (of the chipmunks) while harper ripped her picture and was trying to climb onto my desk to get tape ...

sigh. too much.

what does this have to do with enchiladas, you ask? i needed a break from them. and i'm now ignoring them. (not really ... don't turn me into CPS. harper is coloring, henry is watching sponge bob something educational.)

Ench-0 so here's the lowdown on the easy peasy enchiladas. the secret is the mexican simmer sauce at super target. if you don't have a super target, you have my pity. you'll also need a roast, a bag of frozen corn, a bag of frozen pepper blend (again, use the target/archer farms one ... the peppers are/look fire roasted), shredded mexican blend cheese, and tortillas. i use spinach ones, because then i can make myself feel like a good mom.

sear the roast in a pan with hot olive oil ... get all the sides nice and brown and crusty.

put the roast into a crock pot and cover with the full jar of mexican simmer sauce and a sprinkle of cumin. because everything is better with cumin.


cover and let simmer all day ... or about 6-7 hours.


(if you are me, placing food in the crock-pot also includes the extra step of putting a layer of paper towel under the lid, because the lid doesn't seal, and without the paper towel all the steam will escape and your food will burn to the bottom and sides of the crock-pot in about two hours.)

while it cooks, this yummy aroma of mexican goodness will waft through the house, inducing sleepiness and growling tummies. don't say i didn't warn you.


when time is up, get two forks and shred the heck out of the meat, then stir it into all that fabulous sauce in the crock-pot. this will be delicious and you will be tempted to eat it as it, but trust me ... it's hot. blow on it first.


heat a skillet to med-high and add the bag of peppers and half the bag of corn. unless you really like corn. then add it all.


you could get all fancy and grill your own fresh peppers and onions and corn and make it all fancy and gourmet-like, but seriously ... why? this will take you five minutes.

now it's time to assemble.

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spray a baking dish with a little bit of nonstick spray. fill a tortilla with meat, top it with the veggies, sprinkle on some cheese, then roll it all up and start over with the next tortilla. when you fill up your dish, cover the enchiladas with salsa verde (or red enchilada sauce ... whatever floats your boat. we prefer the verde variety.) and more cheese. bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. everything is already hot and cooked, it just needs to melt and ooze together.


(note: the one on the left is henry's ... no salsa verde.)

seriously ... we love these things and they couldn't be easier. and half an enchilada is nice and satisfying. and a whole one is even nicer and more satisfyinger.

welcome our new addition to the family!

the muscle car. the man car. marc's new toy. oh, there's sure to be trouble ahead.


he tried to pick it up after a lunch meeting, but didn't have the official title from his old car. so he had to leave empty-handed. but not before the sales guy rubbed some serious salt in the wound:

"man, what a car! we had to take a photo of this baby!"
"we've sold some nice cars ... audis, bmws ... but THIS is a cool car!"
"we saw the rain coming, so we pulled it into the garage. don't want to get it wet!"
i know you can't take it home right now but ... "wanna sit in it?"

these men were just giddy. like little boys. over a stinkin' CAR!

but to be fair, it was a car that's new with tags ...


had only 10 little miles on it ...


and really IS pretty freakin' cool.

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and sexy. did i mention sexy? totally, unequivocally sexy. crazy hot.


oh yes. marc's a happy boy. finally, after almost 20 years of driving, he has a car that all 6'4" of him fits into comfortably. and he has a car that HE picked out. and researched exhaustively. and watched every youtube video about until he was convinced that it was the right move instead of waiting another year or two for the bmw he wanted that costs as much as our first house did.

hopefully he can finally sleep tonight. he's been restless all week, waiting for this thing to get here. it's been like the week before christmas to a five-year-old. but tonight? all through dinner he kept smiling. it was like bette midler in "beaches," when she says to her date:

"enough about me. what do YOU think of me?"

but with marc it was,

"are we going to talk about anything besides your car tonight?" "nope."

okay. fair enough. he can have his fun.

and fun will be had, to be sure.

(we put 70 miles on it tonight just "driving to dinner." if that isn't fun ... well ... nothing is!)


yes, i made the enchiladas.

i even took pictures so i could show you how. because they are deeply involved and tricky. yessiree. tricky.

but i know i'll be posting something even more monumental tomorrow sometime, so today i leave you with a musical interlude.

you've heard of coldplay, yes? well, i basically love them. love. and their new album is just fanfreakintastic. number three is my true favorite - i'm a bit obsessed with it, and it's a right sexy little number. here ... i'll show you.

but when pressed further, i'll admit that my real favorite song on the album is hidden in number five. it's called "reign of love" and it's just gorgeous and happy. while song three makes me want to seriously make out with marc, song five point five makes me want to cuddle. in the sunshine. with puppies frolicking.

what does it make you feel?

boston pts 2 & 3, indiana - again, and cha. seriously.

i'm so over trying to find the time to blog everything that's taken place this summer. so, cliff's notes version will commence ... NOW.

boston pt 2:

spent day 3 of the trip walking around with my friend suki, whom i've known for years on a private scrappy/photography/chatty message board. we went on a swan boat ride, i took pix of her gorgeous daughter tess playing on the duck statues in the public garden, and ... i have no pix. they were never downloaded. and i didn't know that when i reformatted my card and stuck it back in the camera.

i received this month's issue of popular photography and read a review of data recovery software that has been known to recover info off reformatted disks ... even AFTER the data has been overwritten ... so i'm gonna check it out. i'll report back.

boston pt 3:

while we were in boston, the most amazing thing happened: the celtics won the nba title. i'm not a huge basketball fan, but i'm a huge fan of being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of it! so on thursday, i headed into the city with marc's uncle, cousin, and cousin's gorgeous girlfriend to watch the celtics roll down the street on duck boats. it was amazing. and even better: kg is now a celtic. all the years we watched him come soooooo close with the timberwolves ... and when he finally wins, i was there to see him celebrate. that was pretty darn cool.

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and i've finally put up a (nearly) complete album. if i ever recover that day and a half of photos, i'll add them and let you know.

indiana - again:

after boston, the kids and i went to my parents' in huntington for a week while marc was in dallas. we went to my high school friend erin's house so the kids could play in the pond with her kids, as well as those of another high school friend. it was like old home week. then i got to meet one of my college best friends and HER kids for a day. then marc returned, we drove home, and breathed for a few days.

until the storm hit. (see previous post.) power returned 48 hours later on saturday, and at 7 a.m. sunday morning i got the call about my grandma. so BACK to indiana we went for another week.

it was bittersweet ... hanging out with all the aunts and uncles and cousins. it was just like old times, and there was much laughing and talking. but for pretty much all of us, it will be the last time we will all be together in grandma and grandpa's house. that was sad. i realized every time i went up and down the stairs that i will always remember the sound of them. very sad, but yet grandma's funeral was so amazing. she was an incredible woman, and everyone in the church knew that and cherished that.



on the way home from indiana, marc and the kids booted me out of the car in chicago so i could attend cha (the craft & hobby association trade show). i was meeting my dear friend katrina for 36 hours of walking the show floor, seeing all the soon-to-be-released scrappy goodies, hanging with friends and making new ones, and laughing until our abs hurt. notice i didn't mention sleeping ... there's a good reason for that.

honestly ... just go read katrina's recap. i would only say the same thing, minus the airport delays. ha. it was a great weekend ... the only thing missing was my lovah, catherine, who was missed dearly.

okay. there. done. now i can get back to blogging as things pop up. keep your eyes peeled this week for entries on ... some seriously cool news about a new assignment for memory makers (coughcoughcontributingeditorcough), a new toy for marc, and insanely delicious and EASY enchiladas, assuming i remember to thaw the meat and make them this week.

i'm all about the diversity, people.

in honor of grandma

gotta take another break from the blog.

my grandma passed away this morning, so we're off on a quick trip to indiana for the week, then i'll be in chicago for cha over the weekend, and then i'll be home.

i'll leave you with this, in honor of grandma ... a layout i made for ronee parson's book, "modern memory keepers."

love you, grandma ... and i hope you and grandpa are already on a lake in heaven, wetting a line.


we interrupt this blog for a severe weather alert ...

sorry there hasn't been a part two yet ... we've been sans power since lunchtime on thursday.

thursday morning the kids and i got up, headed to the library, headed to the grocery store, then came home to eat a quick bite of lunch before heading to a play date. i put away all the groceries, made the kids some soup, everyone ate and i cleaned the kitchen, then noticed that the sky looked really, really dark.

i went online to check radar and noticed a small but intense band of red heading straight for us, so i called my friend traci and told her i might try to come early and beat the rain. the kids and i all visited the bathroom, and before we could flush there was the sound of hail. and rain. lots of rain.

then the lights flickered. i called marc (who was in wisconsin) to see where he keeps the huge mag light, and no sooner had i hung up then the lights were out. the kids already had their flashlights, so i hustled them into the laundry room with flashlights and game boys while i rounded up other flashlights and shoes. at this point, the sirens were going off, the rain had stopped, the wind was still and the sky was a black-green.

Hail Flashlights

by the time i reached the basement, the wind and rain were horizontal and debris was flying. now, i'm a total weather junkie. my dream in life is to someday chase tornadoes. but when you're home alone with two kids, the last thing you want is for your house to blow away. i was actually a little scared. and henry, bless his little heart ... i got back into the laundry room and he said, "i think harper wants to say a prayer." harper, eh? okay.

Treedown within half an hour, it was over. i figured we might as well head to traci's ... if the neighborhood was without power, we might as well deal with it together and let the kids play. as we drove the six blocks to their house, i saw numerous huge branches down, two power line poles down, and several trees blown over. crazy. the boys immediately headed upstairs to play with legos, and harp took off with traci's daughter to play with make-up ... the result: adorable.


marc got home that night after the kids went to bed ... he was a little concerned since he couldn't reach me for hours, and the last conversation we had was cut off as i was telling him that it was getting pretty black. he was amazed by the amount of debris in our yard, including a bird-worth of feathers, but no bird. a mystery to this day.

Bird1 Bird2

all i can think is that there was some cartoon moment of a bird being hurled through the air, smacking into the tree, feathers flying, and the bird lying on the ground with stars and kitties circling his head.

friday came around, and it was 100 degrees with heat index. and no power. the kids and i spent the day at the pool, until marc called around 2 p.m. and said we should probably bite the bullet and get a generator. so off to home depot we went. $700 later, our fridge was again running. sigh. my bathroom keeps getting further away.

we took the kids to jw tumbles for a kids' night out, so they could play in a/c and we could eat dinner in peace, but as we were walking the halls of the galleria after dinner, we noticed the sky again looking ominous. i looked at marc and said, "all the windows are open ..." so we picked up the kids, headed home, closed the windows, and set up camp in the basement, which was a good 30 degrees cooler than the rest of the house. then i went upstairs to watch the weather while marc listened to the long list of watches and warnings on his ham radio (i HAVE mentioned before that he's a geek, right?). talk about a seriously cool sky ...

Stormtake2 Stormtake2-1 Stormtake2-2

and then ...

luckily, it was just rain, thunder, lightning.

the kids were asleep almost immediately, but marc and i couldn't quite make it there. then, at 11 p.m. ... lights! we went upstairs, debated what to do with the kids for about five minutes, then decided to bring them up to their rooms and get the fans on. so we hauled them up, tucked them in, got the fans on, fixed the clocks, marc unplugged the fridge from the generator ... and zap: transformer blew. no more power.


and at that point we said screw it.

and off it stayed until 10:30 this morning.

such an adventure. and if there's ever another adventure, we now are equipped with power. i almost hope there's another adventure ... i'm not sure we got our money's worth out of the generator yet.

regardless, i'm back online and will get to part two by monday!!

trip, in three parts. part 1 ensues:

okay. at some point i need to stop whining and throwing things because of major photograph problems from june and being away. time to suck it up, post quick recaps (for the two of you out there who might be interested), and just get on with life. like a bandaid - time to just bite my lip and pull. so ... here we go.

week one of the trip looked something like this:

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marc left monday for chicago. kids and i left thursday for chicago. while marc worked friday, kids and i walked to ed debevic's for lunch (henry, very impressed. harper, not as much.) then swam at the hotel. marc got off work, we drove to indy to his parents' house.

saturday morning, we left not-so-bright (sun wasn't up yet ... ugh) and early for boston. arrived to perfect weather, and marc's uncle saying, "let's go see cape cod!" uh, okay. no arm twisting needed.

cape cod looked like this:

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i'll put up a whole album at some point. maybe today.

anyway, cape cod was lovely. all the grayed, cedar-sided cottages and azalea bushes at big as a house. amazing. we got the five-penny tour, with stops in yarmouth port, rock harbor, and chatham. fish and chips for lunch in a little fishing shack. multi-million dollar "cottages" perched on a cliff overlooking the water. sea lions bobbing in the water by a fishing boat, hoping for a hand-out. a great day.

RszIMG_9489 we stayed the rest of the week in acton, mass. with marc's aunt and uncle. sunday we got to spend at fenway for a special father's day open house. very cool. wish i had most of my photos ... marc's ibook is holding them hostage. visualize the field, marc and his aunt trying on a replica world series ring that was basically the size of their hands, the world series trophies, a guy with dreads down to his knees, marc's uncle being "knighted" by the ted williams status ... they're great pix. maybe i'll get them back someday.

IMG_9583 we caught the train into boston every day, and while marc worked, i survived on my own resources. i'm still here, so i guess it worked.




monday was the museum of fine arts. what a beautiful way to kill a day!! the el greco exhibit was totally worth the price of admission (even though i borrowed pam's guest card and didn't, in fact, have to pay the price of admission ...), and i was happy as a clam wandering through all the different rooms and displays and exhibits. since my last visit to an art museum, i've become much more versed in using light to make a picture, and seeing how artists from hundreds of years ago "used" light was awe-inspiring.

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tuesday was my day to poke around concord, mass. jack and i visited the bridge where the first shots of the revolutionary war occurred, and i learned that it was actually ralph waldo emerson's grandfather who lived on the property and bore witness. crazy cool. after that, jack headed home, and i walked to louisa may alcott's house, the concord museum, emerson's house, sleepy hollow cemetery and author's ridge to pay respects to alcott, emerson, thoreau, and hawthorne, then into concord to poke around the shops until pam picked me up when she finished her day at work. it was wonderful, and again the weather was perfect, and again ... i'm missing half the photos. everything after the entrance to the cemetery is gone. all i can guess is that marc missed a folder when he was uploading pix that night. yes, i'm sick about it. yes, i'm perturbed. yes, i learned my lesson to never let someone else be in control of my media cards. but i do still have some pix.

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i'll stop here, because if i'm upset about losing pix from tuesday, i'm even more sad about wednesday. i'll deal with that later. and i'll deal with a full photo album later, too. or at least, what i can actually put together from all the photos that still remain of the trip ...


i'm back. really.

back from chicago/indy/boston/indy/huntington. had a blast. saw great friends. experienced an nba victory parade. lost a day and a half of very special photos ... sigh. saw my parents' new house. survived the trip.

and now it's officially summer vacation. got the kiddos signed up for a few activities. took them to the pool today. got sunburned on the areas of my back that i couldn't reach. harper was seriously miffed that one has to be 42" tall and able to swim unassisted in order to go down the water slide. and now it's 12:12 a.m. and marc and i are still up and working on our respective computers.

in other words, we're back to normal.

i'll go through pix tomorrow and try to recap the trip as soon as possible. but there's target to visit, pools to swim in, piles of laundry to address, and a house to dust and vacuum. blogging will happen when it happens.

but i'm back. really. and wanted you to know.